I wasn’t necessarily going to do a recap of Damages this week, figuring that this might be one of those middle-season, not-much-happens episodes that sort of hold everything in place until the next big revelation. Man, was I wrong.
These spoilers prefer Dr. Pepper, but to each his own. Also, the big spoiler is coming quickly, so stop here if you don’t want to hear it.
Ten years ago, Daniel Purcell tanked his testimony in a case Patty was involved in, to her great benefit, because he thought it was the right thing to do. Toward the end of tonight’s episode (which is incongruously titled “Hey! Mr. Pibb!”), he tanks some testimony again, this time doing some pretty serious harm to Patty and her case against UNR.
At first it looks like Daniel is doing what he’s doing for a fairly prosaic reason: money. Patty interrogates him during a hearing to expedite discovery in the case, hoping to move things along so UNR won’t be able to cover its tracks. Daniel, however, testifies that UNR did not, in fact, doctor his toxicology reports and that the data he shared with Patty were unrelated to that particular study.
In a nicely edited sequence, his testimony is intercut with shots of him pouring out the tainted water sample from UNR’s West Virginia facility and listening to his boss, Wayne Suttry, tell him that Daniel and his daughter “have been provided for.” OK, that’s a pretty nasty turn on his part — particularly after Patty told Michael about his biological dad and let Daniel and Michael meet for what looked like a pretty pleasant conversation. But given the recent death of his wife and the not-unreasonable fear he has about providing for his daughter, it’s not incredibly hard to see what he’s thinking.
It’s the scene after that, though, that provides the serious jaw-dropper. After a “three weeks ago” title card, we see Daniel sitting in his car. Darrell Hammond, playing (according to the closing credits) a character called The Deacon, hops in next to him, along with the stringy-haired blond guy — his name’s Kevin Walker (not that one), and he’s a junkie — Daniel earlier picked out of a police lineup as his wife’s killer.
Oh, and earlier in the episode we saw Saturday Night Live star Hammond — who’s really good and creepy here — ordering a prison hit on Kevin the Junkie, so their presence together is intriguing, to say the least. The Deacon then gives very specific instructions to Kevin to take the ring, hold it for a couple days, then pawn it and keep the ticket. Then, to Daniel: “All you have to do is take a good look at him. Everything’s gonna be OK. Just go inside and dial 911.”
Ho-ly crap. So it now appears that Daniel was at least complicit in his wife’s death, although it seems unlikely he committed the act. And we now know that Patty’s case has been built on sand: Even though UNR did doctor Daniel’s toxicology report, Daniel has cut her off at the knees in court and disposed of the evidence to boot. Despite what Tom and Ellen found out from reporter Josh Reston in West Virginia, they’ll basically be starting from scratch without Daniel’s cooperation.
The big question now is, why? How could UNR, or whoever’s behind all this, convince Daniel to become part of a plot that has the death of his wife at its center?
We also still don’t quite know how Claire Maddox fits into things. We know she’s involved with Daniel and representing UNR and Kendrick’s interest, but she doesn’t seem to know about the company having a role in Christine Purcell’s killing (or at least isn’t letting on that she does, as she accepts Kendrick’s word that UNR’s hands are clean).
With all that, the new piece of Ellen’s flash-forward seems almost unimportant. It’s now only five months in the future, and we get a little bit more of the conversation with the unseen party. “Is that the money?” she asks. “Are you sure you’re OK?” Well, no, probably, considering the U.P. is about to get shot. Ellen exits with the briefcase, and that’s your teaser for this week.
What did you think of the turn of events on Damages this week? What do you think it means for the case? And how skeevy is Darrell Hammond? (Also, feel free to discuss Tom’s love of old-time country.)