We’ve passed the halfway point on Damages this season, and Wednesday’s episode sort of felt like the writers realized that fact too and had to stuff a good deal of plot in there, from a death to a change of heart to the big flash-forward reveal we’ve all been guessing at since the premiere.
I suspect that last thing will be what drives most of the conversation, so let’s deal with it first.
A monkey, an otter, a jackal and a rabbit are not in any way involved in these spoilers.
To get to the last scene, we had first to say goodbye to Uncle Pete — which isn’t really a surprise in itself, but the way in which he died was. Patrick, the man Pete hired to kill Ellen last season, comes back and makes sure that Pete won’t give up anything to the feds — not out of any loyalty to Patty, or anyone, but to cover his own butt. I suppose it’s fitting since Pete’s inability to break with his criminal past got him bound up with the FBI in the first place, that someone from that part of his life would be his undoing. (Side note: Patrick, you suck.)
But although Pete is gone, the trouble is not. Three months after his death, his wife later finds some of his things, including a picture showing Katie’s dog as a target and a file folder marked “Ellen Parsons.” The widow unwittingly hands it over to Ellen, which brings us to the opening scene of the series, which finally means we get to see the person Ellen is talking to.
It’s Patty, and it’s a smack-your-head and say “duh” moment. Damages has gotten us all so twisted around, guessing at the meaning of every little nuance, that we sometimes don’t see the thing in front of us. Of course that’s who Ellen would most want to be pointing a gun at, and of course Patty is the person she’d relish toying with the way she does in that sequence.
So now the question is: Did she really shoot Patty, and if she did, where? In what we saw tonight, Patty tries to convince Ellen not to shoot, arguing that it’s not her nature. Ellen agrees, and claims the gun isn’t even loaded. Recall, though, that in earlier episodes, she tells Patty, “I lied too,” and then blam-blam.
My skepticism about how much danger Patty is in arises from the knowledge that FX ordered two new seasons of Damages last year. It’s a network known for being bold, but somehow I don’t see people there signing off on a plan to off the series lead and one of the best actresses working on television this long before that two-season order is fulfilled.
I’m willing to be proved wrong, and I’m also curious to hear what you think of the end-of-episode development. First, though, some thoughts on the rest of the episode:
Frobisher: Before the final scene, I was thinking of titling the post “Frobisher loses his religion” and putting Ted Danson’s picture up at the top. After reading Danson’s take on the character earlier today, I looked at Frobisher a little differently and really started noticing how pathetic he can be (sometimes you wonder how he was ever able to amass a fortune if he’s that easily led). All it takes was a little bit of a threat from Messer — with an assist from Wes, whose role (“He works for me,” Messer says) is spelled out more clearly than ever — and he drops out of the UNR case.
He’s also apparently given the OK to Messer to clean up some loose ends, as we see them discussing “the same arrangement as before” toward the end of the episode. Watch your back, Parsons.
The UNR case: Frobisher’s withdrawal from the case doesn’t faze Patty too much, because a number of other plaintiffs have since come forward and Tom is making inroads with the call girl who was arrested with energy trader Finn Garrity. Despite his coke-and-prostitute habit, Finn is apparently some kind of genius trader capable of manipulating huge swaths of the market, and Patty surmises Kendrick is using him to help ensure UNR’s bad merger becomes a good one.
Phil’s shady friend Dave is confident in it too, telling Phil that “someday you’ll thank me” for suggesting, with only a tinge of menace in his voice, that Phil send some money UNR’s way. Phil mentions his conversation to Patty, but he also puts some money into UNR — albeit quietly, presumably so his wife won’t find out. Something tells me that’s not a good idea.
A couple other notes:
- The flashbacks to Patty’s childhood served mostly to illustrate her bond with Uncle Pete, but it also helps explain why she’s always looking to take down a bully. Based on the flashbacks, her father certainly fit the description. I also found it interesting that she still rationalizes her dad’s behavior to Ellen.
- Where’s William Hurt? After all that was made of his signing, did he turn out to be the equivalent of the first-eight-hours bad guy on 24? You have to figure he’ll be back at some point, right?
- Anyone else think the bunny was doomed when Messer took it out of the guru’s hands?
- Line of the night goes to Tom, who initially gets nowhere in trying to convince Finn’s call girl to cooperate with him. “Go screw yourself,” she finally tells him. His reply: “I may have to, given our obvious lack of chemistry.”
OK, I’m done. Your turn to talk about the big reveal in the final scene and anything else from this week’s Damages. What’s it all mean?