'Damages': Of course you know, this means war

Glennclose_damages_s2_240 Going to keep things reasonably short in re: Damages tonight, because I suspect that with only a few weeks left the flash-forwards and puzzle-filling bits of information are going to start coming fast and furious, which will mean lots of what we thought we knew will turn out to be wrong, or at least not right in the way we all thought it was.

Which doesn't mean I'm not going to speculate about things. There will be lots of speculation, I promise.

I don't have any wasabi peas, but I do have these spoilers.

Patty vs. the FBI: All sorts of hinky things are going on with the FBI's case against Patty this week, not least of which is the two months ahead flash-forward with Tom being denied entry to the Hewes and Associates office and screaming about a wrongful termination suit. We then see him handing Ellen a gun, which takes us back to last week's reveal that Patty is Ellen's conversation partner in what will be the season's climax.

The context of the flash-forward scene, coming right after Tom gets miffed at Patty for not telling him about the FBI probe and followed shortly (in present-day Damages time) by Tom going to his U.S. attorney sister for more information, leads me to think the two things are connected. (I know, likely to be proven wrong, but that's what it feels like.)

Meanwhile, agents Harrison and Werner are a little miffed to find out -- from Ellen, no less -- that there are no files on their case. They spin her a story about not wanting anything to leak to Patty and then go to their boss, a career-minded chap named McGrath, for the real scoop. That goes nowhere, but it becomes clear when Patty comes to his office and declares war on the FBI that McGrath isn't the one calling the shots. After the showdown, he calls someone and asks, "What do you want me to do?"

Maybe Patty's comment to her husband about the FBI, the government and UNR all being part of the same dark force massing against her isn't so paranoid after all. Because ...

UNR: It's looking more and more like the mysterious Dave Pell and whoever he represents are the real forces behind UNR and all its corporate evil. Dave is the one setting up the highly illegal secret trades with coked-out wunderkind Finn, which are connected with Kendrick and his flunky Wayne's efforts at manipulating various energy markets (tonight, heating oil supplies in Idaho). The codes in the product-placement SUV correspond to the kinds of trades Finn is being directed to make.

Dave is also taking a run at Phil to be the new energy secretary, which practically screams "setup" to me. It was Dave who told Phil to buy UNR stock in last week's episode, and now he's trying to push him into office as a friend of the energy industry despite a more regulatory mood in Washington. You think that just maybe, if Phil accepts Dave's offer, the Senate won't dig up his ties to the company, which would disqualify him and, oh yeah, also get Patty's case all muddy? You would think Phil would see that too, right?

Timothyolyphant_damages_s2_240 Wes-Mess: New working idea on Wes' involvement with Messer the krazy kop: Wes did something very bad before we met him, and Detective Messer is using him to tie up the loose ends of David's murder, along with whatever other dirty work he needs done (like delivering a trunkful of guns to New Jersey). Hence Messer's insistence that Wes extract information from Katie when Ellen tried to put some distance between them.

Katie doesn't exactly realize she's being interrogated, but she does recognize that Wes is hung up on Ellen. Which complicates things, given that the episode ends with Messer telling Wes to take Ellen out right after they finally spend the night together. Boy, is that going to be awkward.

Other thoughts on this week's episode:

  • I think it's fair to wonder whether Patty, the FBI or anyone else will figure out that it was one of Uncle Pete's small-time criminal cronies who killed him, and how that might affect things. At the moment it feels like a bit of a Coen-esque twist that's set a lot of things in motion but for none of the reasons anyone thinks.
  • When I heard Phil say the words "dinner party," I thought, "You know who we haven't seen for a while? Sam Arsenault." And there he was at the party, although it looks like he's once again destined to be a pawn. Interesting, though, that Patty inadvertently turned Dave off Arsenault (and presumably onto Phil) as a possible energy secretary candidate by her description of him as an "entitled brat."
  • One more thing that makes me think Tom's concern over the FBI investigation and his apparent dismissal are connected: Patty still has the knowledge that the bureau's fake infant-mortality plaintiff tried to get money from him, and he kinda-sorta agreed to until Patty called him off the case.
  • David Costabile, the actor who plays Detective Messer, is, I believe, also starring in a T-Mobile ad as a hangdog father. I saw the ad a few minutes before Damages started tonight, and it made for an odd juxtaposition.

What did you think of this week's Damages? Is it time to stop trying to put all the pieces together and just let the show run its course?

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