When Suits returns tonight, Rachel Zane has a lot on her shoulders. Her fiancee has just been arrested for fraud (which she knows he’s guilty of) and her family relationships are pushed to the brink as a result. At the USA drama’s premiere event last week, LA Fan Cultures Examiner spoke with her portrayer Meghan Markle to find out just how much Rachel’s world is about to be rocked yet again.
It’s not just during the midseason premiere that audiences will see Rachel in tears. “How about more like an entire season?” Meghan laughed. “It makes me very strong outside of the show because I’m so emotionally spent from all of that.
“[In] these next six episodes, and understandably so, the stakes are so high – how in the world would it not be upsetting for Rachel?” she continued. “Everyone else’s lives are on the line, their jobs, but for Rachel it’s the future she’s building. Everything she’s gambled on. Her commitment to Mike, to prove to her parents that she does have the right judgment and makes the right choices. There’s so many pieces involved, how on Earth is she supposed to be even-keeled about it?
“You can only keep your cool for long and then she has to have a moment where she breaks or crumbles or freaks out and we see the progression of that for these six episodes,” she added. “What I especially like is at a certain point she just calls Mike out on it.”
Rachel and Mike (Patrick J. Adams) have constantly been fighting battles in their relationship. They’ve gotten together, broken apart, dealt with each other’s exes, and seem to fight at least once a season. So after this latest blow-up, is there really anywhere else that they can go emotionally?
“I think there’s waves of it,” Meghan reflected. “As an actor that’s the challenge, to find the different levels of it where it’s like you’re so upset that you can’t cry. Maybe you’re so sad it becomes anger. You never know. It constantly evolves into something and I think that’s what’s been so interesting, especially for me.
“[If] Rachel is crying, how do you make that different aside from trembling your lip. Where does that tear come from?” she explained. “I also push back at the writers and go, I don’t think she’d cry, I think she’s just numb and she has no feeling. Maybe in this moment she’s terrified and shaking, or she can’t think straight. Try to find a different approach to it, because I think we’re trying to bring the humanity to it and try to make it believable, but at the same time I’ve never been in a position like this, so you don’t know how to play it.”
It’s not just Rachel’s relationship with Mike that is tested. Rachel’s father Robert Zane (Wendell Pierce) returns and has some very strong words for his daughter, and their relationship is equally wrecked. How does Rachel feel when her father is pushing her to drop Mike and save herself? Is there any part of her that may think he has a point?
“I think it’s a challenge for her because she’s always been his little girl,” Meghan said. “She’s always committed to trying to make it okay and at the same time she’s come to understand that her dad is perhaps never going to agree with her choice of Mike Ross and she has to decide if she’s going to elect to continue her relationship with her father in the same capacity or say this is a choice I made, I’m an adult, I’m self sufficient and I don’t need your support.
“It was painful to shoot,” she continued, “but Wendell is so talented and giving in his performance; he comes in for a day or two and is able to bring all that emotionally. We’ve built that father-daughter thing for so long that we’ve earned those scenes.”
One thing that’s clear is that Rachel’s role in the final six episodes of the season isn’t just going to be about supporting Mike. She also has to concern herself with her own survival. “When you look at the other pieces to it you go, she is standing by her man and there’s something so incredibly beautiful about that,” Meghan said, “but even Rachel has to have a breaking point.
“I think while she’s watching Mike’s response and in many moments [he’s] taking for granted the fact that she’s always there, at a certain point Rachel calls him out on it, and she’s like this isn’t okay anymore,” she said. “That’s an episode I’m really looking forward to seeing.”
Suits returns tonight at 10 p.m. on USA.