"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Damages: There Is No "We" Anymore

"Ellen... I can trust you?" - Patty

I think the best word to describe this episode was safe. Was it bad? No. However, it wasn't outstanding either. Then again, there is something respectable about giving me exactly what I've been expecting all along.

Of course, the inherent problem with a show set-up like Damages is that when you finally reach the pivotal episode when past and present collide, you're forced to re-watch all the scenes from past episodes. Seeing them in order is an added bonus, but Damages is like The Wire. Neither show treats viewers as being stupid and I think most people who watch this show had already pieced together the puzzle and were just waiting for those few remaining holes to be filled.

So what was so safe about this episode? Not throwing any curve balls. The entire season, Frobisher has been the bad guy and this episode didn't change any of that. Be honest -- wasn't it satisfying when we found out that it was Frobisher's goons all along who killed David and attacked Ellen? For me, it justified the show up until this point. Would my jaw have dropped if it turned out Tom was the one beating David senseless? Of course! But at the same time, I would have been confused because nothing to this point had implicated Tom. It feels good to get the answers I want rather than some poorly thought out surprise.

There were little things throughout the episode that kept me into it though. I think the writers realized that it was a lot of repetition and tried to make up for it. Finding out that Lila's true purpose in the show was to sneak in unannounced, leaving the door unlocked for anyone to wander in was awesome. So in effect, she really did get David killed when she had that duplicate set of keys made. If she wasn't around, David certainly wouldn't have answered the door for Art's cronies and I'd like to think that David would have gotten out before they found another way in.

It seems that Patty's visit to the beach house was just that -- time for her to reflect and relax. Ray's suicide really shook her up. Whose grave was she visiting at the cemetery though? I know at one point she said she was visiting family... what don't we know about her past?
Other thoughts... because my mind is all over the place now...
  • I loved the moment when Ellen finally walked out of Riker's Island and -- snap -- real time. The tinted color of the past changed too, just as I had hoped.
  • Patty's well-dressed real estate dude seems to have just been a diversion all season. It appears that he really is just very attentive to his clients and his involvement with Ellen and David's apartment was meant to throw us off.
  • How were the goons able to get up to Patty's place so easily? All season long, the process of having to check in with that doorman has been drilled into our minds. Was he paid off? Has he been working with Frobisher all along?
  • Seeing Arthur at his worst, with Ray gone, was exactly what I wanted to see. Hookers, tons of coke... further proof that this guy is a world class a-hole.
  • I liked the confirmation that Art's goons had never stopped trailing Katie. Little things... I know. But its nice to see how it all tied in.
  • It was obvious from the first time they showed that safe (where Ellen placed Ray's file) that it wasn't her and David's secret hiding place. Can you imagine how unexciting the finale would have been if Frobisher had gotten the tape?
  • What's the deal with Patty's son? Where does his involvement go? "I wasn't here." Huh?

The last few minutes when Ellen and Patty met up were definitely the best. Hearing Ellen finally lay it all out on the table for Patty was outstanding -- she knows why she was hired, that Tom is just a lap-dog, etc. Getting Patty to defend her was smart too because it'll reveal her true allegiances. Will she get Ellen off the hook for David's murder or send some of her own goons to just get the tape and be done with Ellen for good?

Obviously Ellen realizes this. Accusing Patty was smart though. It got Patty back in NYC and her bail paid. Hollis Nye was probably the real shock to most though. I think the majority of people probably thought he was working with Frobisher when he sent those two guys after Ellen. My initial thought? Ellen told Hollis everything, as she has all season, and he hired some protection to tail her should anyone else come after her. Of course, I could be wrong there but I just don't see Hollis as being bad. Then again, no one in this show is really "good" either.

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