With the senior partners' vote only four days away from finally determining whether Jessica or Hardman will be managing partner, the numbers are split right down the middle. Or at least they are until Hardman quietly promotes Louis to managing partner. Luckily Donna is back, and she's the first one to figure out Hardman's move, whereupon Jessica and Harvey realize they're going to have to court Louis's vote. Worse, Harvey is. He sucks up to Louis pretty convincingly, even showing Louis the documentation that proves Hardman set up Louis to take the fall for him in his embezzlement scheme five years ago. But Louis is offended at Harvey's timing, which demonstrates clearly that he and Jessica aren't using him any less than Hardman is.
Harvey and Mike also have a case they're working, defending an obnoxious TV sports commentator from a libel suit. The client's a dick, but he won't burn the source who could exonerate him. That means Harvey and Mike have to threaten to burn the guy for him, until he backs down from his insistence on completely humiliating the guy who's suing him. Whatever, it's the least interesting part of the episode anyway.
When Harvey fails to close Louis, even by warning him that a vote for Hardman will forever taint his long-awaited promotion in people's minds, Jessica goes to Louis herself, armed with Harvey's offer to give Louis his office. That conversation does not go well, to say the least. But afterward, Louis confronts Hardman on his actions back in 2007 that could have destroyed Louis's life. Hardman admits it, but is continuing to insist that he's changed. As for the promotion, he claims it was only what Louis deserved, and that he should vote his conscience. Louis accepts the promotion, but as far as what that vote is actually going to be, we're going to have to wait until next week to find out.
One good thing about the whole Pearson vs. Hardman thing is that Mike's stunt with Monica Eaton last week worked well enough to earn him a huge bonus, with which he (with help from Rachel) buys his Grammy a new apartment so she can move to Manhattan and see him more often, as some small thank-you for everything she's done for him. I guess the question of her care while she's living there will have to be deferred to a later date. Or actually to never, because just when he's about to surprise her with her fantastic new place (seriously, it may be nicer than Harvey's), he gets word that she's just died. Okay, that suuuucks. Not least of all because I almost didn't see it coming.
Harvey intercepts Donna on the sidewalk near her apartment and she is clearly not in a receptive mood, not least because the show still hasn't bothered to give her an actual apartment and keeps shooting these scenes on the street outside. She points out to Harvey that he's been to her place twice, for "that god-awful dinner party and... the other time." Did that other time involve a can opener? Because Donna denied to Rachel last season that anything had ever happened between them. In any case, Harvey offers her an envelope containing her "bonus," which she rips in half unopened. She's still pissed at him for jumping in to protect her from Louis at his fake trial, thinking he made it look like she loves him. "Oh my God, you think I do," she realizes when he gives her a look. After another reference to the "other time," Harvey points out that Donna didn't ever answer Louis's question about whether she loves him, and Donna says it's complicated, comparing her feelings for Harvey to those for a cousin you're happy to see at Christmas and then happy to see leave. As she's starting to leave Harvey to his post-holiday letdown, Harvey says he wants her back. Needs her, even. And Jessica's on board. Donna says she'll come back on two conditions, the first being that Harvey replace the check with a bigger one. "And the other?" Harvey asks, pulling a second envelope from his jacket. So at least he isn't totally bereft without her.
In the bullpen at the firm, Mike busts Harold looking at porn on his computer, but Harold assures him he's just shopping for that tattoo he's going to get with his first bonus. Right on cue, Louis comes in with checks for all the associates -- except Mike.
Mike delivers a file to Harvey, who summarily dismisses him. Mike starts to stutter something. "Are you having a stroke?" Harvey wonders in obvious amusement. Mike is curious about where his bonus is, and Harvey says maybe Jessica thought he didn't deserve one, not being a lawyer and all. Mike grabs for the file he just dropped off, but Harvey's just messing with him -- he has a check for Mike so big he starts stuttering all over again. Harvey proudly says that Mike's stunt with Monica Eaton last week won three partners over to Jessica's side, enough to secure the vote in her favor. But Mike says one of the others on Jessica's side is leaving for another job, so they're even. "The tide goes to the incumbent," Harvey shrugs, saying the vote is four days away. Mike reaches for the check, but now has to pry it out from under Harvey's hand. It's like a metaphor for their relationship somehow.