'Damages' series finale: So is Ellen Parsons dead or what?

rose-byrne-damages.jpg"Damages" concluded its five-season run Sept. 12 in a 70-minute, action-packed thrill ride -- with no commercial interruptions -- on DirecTV's Audience Network.

So after teasing Ellen's ( Rose Byrne) apparent murder in flash-forwards all seasons, was she really pushed off the roof by a deranged pigeon? Or the hit man who didn't get it right the first time?

There is one shocking murder in the finale, "But You Don't Do That Anymore," but it isn't Ellen. She collapsed on the ground because of health problems related to stress...and her pregnancy!

But before that...

The big early reveal was that Rutger Simon ( John Hannah) plotted the whole thing to take down Channing ( Ryan Phillippe playing vapid to perfection -- if that's what he was aiming for) a year ago. He worked with Torben ( William Sadler) and Herreshoff ( Victor Garber) to hack Naomi's ( Jenna Elfman) personal email with the help of the Samurai -- downloading everything but her personal exchanges with Herreshoff.

That tipped off Naomi to the setup, who tried to blackmail Rutger. That's how she ended up in a bathtub full of her own blood.

Just like Ellen's fiancé David, in fact, who makes another hallucination cameo. Partly because, like with David, Ellen prioritizes her case over her relationship with Chris ( Chris Messina): She turns in Chris' informant rather than let the government arrest Channing for revealing government documents. Later Chris moves out and is obviously crushed by her betrayal. Hey, at least he survived.

Has it really taken us this long to mention Patty Hewes ( Glenn Close)? Oops. Anyway, she tells Ellen that Rutger is going to testify against Channing, meaning there is no chance that Ellen can win the case. Except she does, because Patty is forced to withdraw when Rutger Simon disappears.

It seems he's skipped town after being threatened by Herreshoff and Torben, who were tipped off by Ellen about Rutger Simon's plans to testify.

Channing is leaving too. While packing up the office to head back to England, he says, "Why do people hate you so much when you tell the truth?"

So with the dullest case in "Damages" history over, our attention turns to Michael's ( Zachary Booth) custody case against Patty.

Patty seems uncharacteristically desperate -- and she doesn't even know about Ellen's audio recording of Patty admitting she paid Uncle Pete to hire Patrick Scully to kill Ellen (and that poor dog!) and incriminating blackmail payment. Patty tries to make a 50-50 custody arrangement with Michael, who turns her down because he knows he'll win the case with Ellen's testimony. (The hit man is getting immunity.)

It takes Patty's tearful "go to hell" speech to her dying father for us to realize why this last season was dragged down by the story of Ellen's parents' breakup. We were simply too annoyed to realize it before: Patty and Ellen are the same because both their fathers were cruel, brutal bullies.

Moving on: Just like Rutger, Ellen goes missing before she can testify. Turns out she wasn't pushed off the roof, but collapsed outside her office because of her pregnancy- and stress-related health problems.

Waleed ( Gbenga Akinnagbe) and Scully discover her, and Scully, believing she is dead, prepares to flee because he'll lose his immunity. He encounters Michael on the way out, who, when Scully says he won't testify, revealed he saw him that night as well. Naturally, Scully kills him.

So the horrible discovery teased in the flash-forwards is Ellen finding Michael's body. The detectives break the bad news to Patty (arrested after Ellen's disappearance) and she is distraught.

In the final scene, Patty tells Ellen she didn't care about the case -- only about seeing how far Ellen would go to win. And when she tipped Ellen off about Rutger, she went to Torben and Herreshoff knowing full well that Rutger would be killed. And he was.

In the epilogue, Patty runs into Ellen and her young daughter in a store. Patty fantasizes that Ellen introduces her daughter and thanks Patty with all her heart for everything she did. But instead Ellen doesn't talk to her and leaves with her daughter, who asks if she knows "that lady." "I used to do, when I was a lawyer."

"But you don't do that anymore," says the girl (providing the episode title) as they make their way to "see daddy at the VA."

Ellen got her happy ending after all -- while Patty sits in the back of her limousine, bitter and alone.
Photo/Video credit: DirecTV Audience Network
SHARE IT ON: