'Suits' in flashbacks: Not the can-opener story we want but the can-opener story we need

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suits-the-other-time-can-opener-recap-flashback-usa.JPGAfter more than two seasons of speculation, "Suits" actually gave its fans a hint about the mysterious can opener! The flashback episode, "The Other Time," also explained a whole lot about Harvey and Donna's relationship, as well as that time Mike went down the wrong path with Trevor.

But the can opener is what matters. Of course.

You want the can opener? You can't handle the can opener!

It's time for an unpopular opinion: "Suits" should never fully explain the can opener. Sure, we want to know the great mystery behind that utensil, but we don't always want the right things.

The can opener falls into that category.

Now, in case there is someone reading this who doesn't know, Harvey and Donna have a victory ritual that involves a can opener. We don't know why. We don't know how. All we know is that the can opener is integral to the process.

That's still all we know, even after the expected big reveal. And that's okay. It's okay because there is no answer to the mystery of the can opener that could ever live up to the anticipation the audience feels. If "Suits" were to give its fans an answer -- any answer -- the crazy ritual would be ruined.

Even so, the episode does give us at least a hint on the can-opener front. It turns out that the specific utensil was chosen by Harvey as a matter of convenience at the moment when a new ritual became necessary. It could have been a spatula if Harvey and Donna had been sitting closer to the kitchen.

But it is the can opener. Somehow, that has become important over the years.

Before the can opener, the case

Harvey Specter left the DA's office angry and betrayed. Donna hated the man they left behind. "The Other Time" explains exactly why.

Remember last season's McKenzie Brothers case? That was apparently the legal straw that broke the camel's back. A key piece of evidence was not disclosed, and Harvey's attempts to make it right were shot down by Cameron Dennis -- the District Attorney had purposely left it out to make sure the case was won.

Donna wasn't going to stand for this and took a job at Skadden (a real New York law firm, by the way) instead. Harvey had a little more agonizing to do before his decision was made.

Continuity problems?

Wouldn't both Harvey and Donna have a clear memory of the case so corrupt and awful that it chased them to Pearson Hardman? Instead, it seemed, last season, that neither really remembered much of anything about it.

That's as weird as the idea that Donna would forget to file the discovery in the first place. Oh well. They had to make it all meaningful for heightened drama.

There is also the awesomely unstated possibility that the reason why neither Harvey nor Donna knew about the undisclosed information was that Cameron Dennis screwed them over after their departure. Cameron wanted to win. Honor was not part of the equation. Were there any way to hide that discovery yet again, he would do it.

Safe money says he did just that. The rest is history.

Less-important Mike stuff

Because "Suits" has two leads, "The Other Time" has to give us a bit of Mike too. That's okay -- it's an interesting (although already known) chapter in the Mike Ross story.

10 years before "Suits," Mike was a young and stupid college student, happily smoking pot with Trevor and hitting on girls. Then it all got messed up. Mike was cheated out of a poker win, leaving Trevor owing a drug dealer some money. In order to save the day, Mike gave Trevor math-test answers to sell. And they rather wonderfully went see a "Pulp Fiction" and "Wire" loving dealer who calls himself Omar.

It all would have been hunky-dory, except that Trevor sold the test to a dean's daughter. That Dean ended up fired and took out his anger on Mike. The irony here is that Mike only turned himself in because of the "loving" relationship between himself and Trevor.

As mentioned above, Mike was stupid back then. He even has only a 3.8 GPA, despite that perfect brain. How does that happen?

Oh, and Mike Ross had just gotten into Harvard when all of this went down. That's never been mentioned before. For the present, its meaning seems to be that Rachel gets a Stanford hat.

Harvey Specter, honorable man

When Cameron Dennis demanded dishonesty, Harvey knew enough to check with his moral compasses. Those people were:

  • His baseball-hitting, beer-drinking father -- a man who informed us that Harvey's brother is named Marcus and his cheating mother is Lily
  • Donna, obviously

  • Jessica -- It seems that Jessica was in the midst of planning her very first coup right when Harvey had his crisis of conscience. Somehow, her middle-of-the-night attack on the other partners was far nobler than Cameron hiding evidence in order to keep the streets safe.

That's actually true, technically. It just seems odd.

Whatever the case, Harvey left the DA's office (in spectacular fashion, I might add) and claimed his place at the brand-new Pearson Hardman firm. He took Donna along for the ride and thereby showed just how lovely a human being 10-years-ago Harvey was.

Associates don't get secretaries, you see. But Harvey couldn't leave Donna behind and agreed to PAY DONNA OUT OF HIS OWN SALARY! Seriously, that's who Harvey was back then. He didn't even want Donna to know anything about it.

Not that this could ever have worked -- Donna, then as now, knew everything. There's no way she failed to figure out the salary deal.

The other time

Speaking of Donna, "The Other Time" offers one little moment for the 'shippers out there: Harvey and Donna definitely did sleep together. Granted, they did so right at the moment when both had left their jobs and figured they wouldn't be working together anymore.

But they did it.

Once Donna agreed to follow Harvey and be his conscience (et cetera) forevermore, however, there had to be a deal. Neither of them would ever speak of what happened, ever again.

It's a testament to the involved acting of "Suits" that we get to see Harvey's very real sadness in this moment. Gone and forgotten a moment later, that bit of sadness explains everything about Harvey's reaction when Donna later dates Stephen.

Harvey Specter, dishonorable man

It isn't 10 years ago anymore. Harvey Specter is a different person, and that has never been more apparent than in this episode. Whereas the old Harvey learned a lesson and ran when the morality fell apart, today's Harvey doesn't know to do the same.

But it might not be all Harvey's fault. His father has died, and there's no obvious relationship with the rest of the family. Donna, meanwhile, has been too wrapped up in her Stephen Huntley fun to keep tabs on Harvey's moral compass.

No wonder Harvey veered from true north in his dealings with Jessica. At least the man tries to make it right on the rooftop -- he tells Jessica about the scheme and tries to back out of it. Jessica doesn't want to hear it.

One little problem

The renewed and ever-widening rift between Harvey and Jessica is unfortunate because they're both about to get stabbed in the back. While the lawyers figure out that Cameron Dennis is lying about having a new witness, Stephen Huntley's interference muddies the waters.

Cameron manages to get his witness by the end of the episode, thanks to Stephen. And Ava Hessington's murder trial is far from over. Thus, Harvey has not yet made managing partner but is instead working beneath a woman scorned.

Never take anything for granted in the big game or when playing for high stakes. The other side is just waiting to cheat -- and thus there may be many future "Suits" episodes which the struggle continues.

It's not time for the can opener yet.

A few parting words from the "Suits" folk

"Why didn't you tell me?" - Donna
"I shouldn't have to." - Harvey

"I read. I analyze. I fix." - Donna

"I don't want you working for me anymore." - Harvey to Donna

"I'm not into you. I'm Donna." - Donna

"You are definitely not a gentleman! What would we even do it with?" - Donna
"Whipped cream." - Harvey

"So now I know why you wanted to meet me at the elevator." - Mike to Harvey, looking at the new sign

"I'm here. You're here. Do your job." - Harvey to Donna

"I'm all for skirting the law, but this is breaking the law!" - Harvey

"I'm here. You're here. Do your job." - Cameron to Harvey

"If you're going to quote 'Pulp Fiction,' at least have the balls to quote 'Pulp Fiction.'" - Mike

"If you do this, you're gonna keep doing it." - Donna to Harvey

"Don't tell 'em you're coming and slam the door behind them." - Jessica

"If I'd known that this was going to happen, I never would have come over." - Harvey to Donna

"I don't want to find out what kind of lawyer I'd be without you." - Harvey to Donna

"Maybe we can think of something to do with a can opener?" - Harvey
"Harvey, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Actually ..." - Donna

"I'm not his girlfriend. I'm his Girl Friday." - Donna

"I made a move in the night. I get Ava Hessington acquitted, Darby backs me for managing partner." - Harvey
"I guess congratulations are in order." - Jessica
"I don't want it anymore." - Harvey
"Get out of my sight." - Jessica

Photo/Video credit: USA