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The Scales Fall From Their Eyes: Vindictiveness and the Truth on "Damages"

Was it just me or was that scene in Patty's clothing-strewn bedroom between Patty and Ellen one of the best showdowns in the history of the series?

Last night's episode of Damages ("London, Of Course") saw Patty get an emotional punch to the gut as Ellen uncovered proof of Phil's philandering ways and hired her own private investigator to connect David's murder with Arthur Frobisher and Calder Protective Services.

Meanwhile, Claire Maddox made a bold play for control of UNR now that she knows the truth about Walter Kendrick... and was betrayed by the man she herself sought to sell out.

Yes, the scales fell from all of their eyes: from Patty's, Ellen's, and Claire's as they finally saw the truth about a number of things: a cheating husband's sloppiness, a boss' all-knowing glare, a mentor's dismissal.

Claire. I have to say that Claire Maddox has become one of my favorite characters this season and has proven to be a worthy adversary--and perhaps now ally--for Patty Hews. Marcia Gay Harden has done a superb job of bringing Claire to life, flaws and all. The look of horror on her face as she walked into the boardroom to see only Kendrick standing there was palpable, as was the disgust with which she viewed the surveillance footage of her having sex with Daniel Purcell. That her relationship with Purcell should be her own undoing is not lost on Claire; he's been at the crux of this case since the very beginning. I loved seeing her attempt to play Walter and Mitch against one another in a fashion that would have made Patty proud... and the scene between the two former adversaries over drinks in Patty's office as Claire offered to help her take down Kendrick for good. I'm glad that she admitted that she was just as surprised as Patty when Purcell flipped on the stand. And I'm hoping there's someway that Claire can stick around on Damages... perhaps as Patty's new partner at the firm in Season Three? Pretty please?

Ellen. I was glad to see Ellen not back down from Patty telling her that they wouldn't be pursuing the Calder Security connection because of the FBI investigation against her. The nerve with which she told Ellen that she has to deal with her anger and let things roll off her back more was absolutely insane. We're not talking about a vendetta that Ellen is harping on; these people killed her fiancee and Patty convinced her to return to work by offering up the firm's resources in solving David's murder. Fortunately, Ellen set out on her own and hired a private investigator who's not in Patty's back pocket to do some sleuthing and he uncovered links between Calder and the NYPD... and confirmed Ellen's suspicions about Phil cheating on Patty (loved how nonchalant he tried to be after running into her at the hotel) with some proof in the form of pictures. Pictures that Ellen then sent anonymously to Patty and watched with more than a little glee as her boss was devastated by the photographs. Glad that Ellen stood up to Patty at the end of the episode and told her that they were both vindictive and that the reason why Patty leaked the photos to the press is because she can't let things roll off her back either. Go Ellen!

Patty. As for Patty, she was more upset that Phil got caught cheating than the fact that he actually was cheating... and she still doesn't know that he had secretly invested in UNR. By leaking the photographs to the press, she ended his bid as Energy Secretary and paid him back for humiliating her. Of course, she knew that Ellen was behind the anonymous tip-off and I loved the moment of clarity when she wondered whether Ellen did it out of loyalty or spite. Could it be that the teacher has taught her pupil too well?

(Meanwhile, just wait until Patty learns that Michael isn't planning on attending university. There's a world of hurt just waiting there for her son.)

I'm happy that we discovered that Ellen DID shoot Patty in the hotel room and then let her walk out and stagger into the elevator towards the lobby (and possible death). But why let Patty live? Why would Ellen wait around for the FBI to collect her and arrest her? Is she desperate to get into prison for some reason? (Please, no Michael Scofield-style body tattoos!) Is this part of a larger plot? Or did she give into that seed of anger that's blossomed into a full-blown rage? Hmmm...

Messer. As for Rick Messer, we've now discovered that he's not even an on-the-books contractor paid by Calder Security, but a member of the black ops division. As Calder himself says, they don't even know he exists... and he squarely puts the blame for what happened to David on Messer and tells him to clean up his own mess. Which means that Messer's efforts to shoot Ellen at the hotel are of his own volition. He's terrified that she'll be able to link him to David's murder and willing to do anything and everything to stop her. Let's just hope that Wes gets to him first (as I suspect it's Messer whom he shoots in the car).

And Kendrick? He's getting sloppy. He tells the Deacon to chop up the car and put it in the river but he's not fast enough. The car is in Patty's possession and she's learned that Kendrick was able to pass information about the brownouts to Finn Garrity via the GPS console in the car. Ouch. This info, along with the fact that Kendrick has now made an enemy out of Daniel Purcell and Claire Maddox? Kendrick is going down. Hard.

What did you think of this week's episode? Do you want to see more Claire Maddox? Are you surprised that Patty was so, well, unsurprised about Phil's cheating ways? Why does Ellen shoot Patty but let her walk out of that room? What's does any of it have to do with the suitcase of case Patty brings her (which hasn't been seen in quite a while)? Discuss.

Next week on Damages ("Look What I Dug Up This Time"), Ellen convinces the FBI to change their approach in the investigation against Patty; Daniel becomes critical to Patty's case against UNR; Daniel confronts Walter Kendrick.

Comments

rockauteur said…
Only two episodes left this season and still lots of unanswered questions:

1) Who did Wes kill in the car? It could be Messer... but it also could be Ellen's new private investigator.

2) At what point in the timeline did Messer break into Ellen's apartment to kill her? Before or after she shot Patty?

3) Will Ellen find out that UNR had the FBI agent killed?

4) Why does Tom get fired?

5) Why does a security guard get hired to protect the firm, and thus bar Tom from entering? Why does he procure the gun for Ellen? Clearly, there's a big gap in the story here that's gotta be uncovered in just two short episodes.

6) Will Ellen discover that Wes is working for Messer?
Harleypeyton said…
I think you're wrong about Ellen shooting Patty. For a show that never, and I mean never, takes the direct line between point A and point B, it would be far to simple and far too predictable. Patty is given to weird rictus-expression hysterics. I'm guessing that's what's happening in the elevator. And when the Feeb says that Ellen shot her, take another look at Patty, who seems to be saying the word, 'no.'

Also, from a non-narrative prospective, there's no Season Three, not really, if Ellen shoots Patty. So there's that.
Anonymous said…
Crazy Theory Premises:
- Last night Patty tells Ellen that things are going to get ugly and much is going to be required of them.
- Ellen's been target shooting and can now hit a target well at what - 20-30 feet?
- Ellen shoots twice at close range and doesn't kill Patty?

Crazy Theory:
Patty is going to *have* Ellen shoot her, knowing that the FBI is listening. Why? Somehow it's going to reveal the corrupt links in the FBI's investigation of Patty.
(Haven't figured out how yet.)

Yeah, like I said, crazy theory...
Anonymous said…
Oh, and this may tie in the whole thing with Tom and his giving the gun to Ellen. All of this is a ruse to fool those watching and going after Patty.

(Still crazy though...)
I'm sure we don't yet know the whole story regarding Ellen, Patty, and the gun. (And won't until the last episode.)

What we do know is that Claire Maddox rocks! Even though her plan failed, it was thrilling to see her try to bring down Kendrick and I really hope that she's there on judgment day when he, and UNR, fall. I don't think that she and Patty will be braiding each other's hair anytime soon but it would be cool to see more of them working together.
Patty, Ellen, and a gun....but maybe there is another person (armed with a gun) in the room...weren't two shots fired? The unknown shooter shoots Patty, Ellen shoots the shooter...if that's the case, who would be the other shooter?

This series always zigs when you thnk its going to zag. If Ellen shoots Patty it would be TOO obvious, given the clues we have been presented. And like another poster said...there goes the series.

Another thing..what about Purcell's poor murdered wife? Isn't the truth behind that going to be exposed?

Stay tuned........
K said…
Anyone know the name of the actress who played Phil's mistress? Her appearance was REALLY brief I know, but she looked familiar...

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