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Patty's Paralyzing Fear of Death on "Damages"

I don't know about you, but I am absolutely, 100 percent hooked on FX's Damages. It's become one of the highlights of my television-viewing week and I can't help but shake with anticipation every time Tuesday rolls around.

This week's episode ("And My Paralyzing Fear of Death") shed some light onto Patty's past, as well as her current family arrangement, as the firm dealt with a series of possible death threats against Patty. Who was behind the mysterious grenades she was receiving? Was it a furious former target? Frobisher? Or was it someone even more dangerous? Hmm.

Ellen. People keep talking about how they don't really buy the fact that Ellen is some uber-smart attorney that has people bending over backwards for her but this week she proved that she is intelligent and driven. Her brief--except for one "formatting error"--was letter-perfect and Tom didn't have to rewrite the damn thing at all, much to Patty's chagrin. Still, to prove a point, there was no way Ellen was getting to her own engagement party on time. Once again, Patty manipulated her into making a choice (work or family?) and Ellen took the bait, waiting hours to turn in her brief to the judge rather than join her family. I loved the look on Ellen's face when Patty told her to take those hideous Statue of Liberty bookends home. Only fitting then that they're the murder weapon in Ellen's future ex-fiance's own murder.

Katie. I'm still not sure what's really up with Katie. The woman has proven herself to be as big a liar (if not bigger) than Patty herself. She keeps covering up details about her time in Florida and this week we learned that she did stay in contact with Greg after their one-night stand that weekend. She claims that she is trying to keep Greg out of the public eye due to the fact that he's married, but there's more to this cover-up than just this. It's clear that she and Greg were in contact and he helped pay for her abortion. But how exactly did he go from being a waiter in the West Village to being a well-paid consultant? Curious. And just what is his connection to Frobisher?

Patty. It's clear that her son Michael is seriously troubled. While it seemed like Frobisher was the one behind the grenade "presents" for most of the episode, I liked that the emphasis shifted off of him and onto Patty's pathological son Michael, prone to hacking into the school computers and stealing other people's dreams. The dream in question was Patty's and recounted her fear, held since she was a child, that she would meet a violent end. Hmmm, you think? The previews had made it seem as though Michael had disappeared so I had thought that the box contained some part of his body; I'm glad they went into a different direction. Patty is one heartless bitch and I couldn't believe the fact that she organized her own son to be kidnapped and taken to a behavior modification facility. Cruel. (I had wondered why the ex-Secret Service bodyguard conveniently disappeared during the abduction.) Still, if you had Patty Hewes as a mother, I would imagine you'd be a little messed up too. Interesting that Phil isn't Michael's father, which means that Patty has an ex-husband lurking around someplace.

The biggest revelation, however, came at the very episode as we finally learned why Ellen was shaking and covered with blood as she left Patty's apartment. Ellen claims that she didn't kill David (in the bathtub at their palatial apartment) but the reason she was covered with blood was that SHE was attacked. We're treated to a series of quick flashes as a man with a knife lurches at Ellen, throwing her against the window. There's a struggle, much screaming, Patty's dog frantically barking, a tumble, and Ellen covered in blood. Did she kill her mysterious assailant? Who wanted her dead and why was Ellen at Patty's apartment by herself? Curious.

Next week on Damages ("Tastes Like a Ho Ho"), Patty brutally preps Katie for her deposition, Greg withholds a valuable piece of evidence, Patty proves her dislike for desk clutter, and Ellen and David's relationship is put to the test after an incident at the office.


Great episode. I'm glad that it was Patty's son, not Frobisher, who was behind the grenades, even though Frobisher was certainly pleased by the chaos in Patty's camp. I loved his conversation with Fiske and wanting to "pinch his cheeks." And I really enjoyed seeing Patty have some (dysfunctional) family time with her husband and son who sent away in a brilliant turn of events.

I also really love how they film this show. Some of the shots are very interesting and/or disturbing like the shot of the Statue of Liberty bookends on Ellen's desk with her in the background and the pigeon opening from last week or the scene this week between Patty and Tate Donovon that was filmed from outside the car as though you were intruding on their private conversation. Very cool and not something you see a lot of in TV.
Anonymous said…
I am with Danielle - loved that it was Patty's son and not Frobisher, but that scene w/Fro and Fiske in the restaurant was great. Once again - Ted Danson stealing the show.

This was my favorite ep so far. You just knew that Ellen was going to end up missing most of the party, but it was only a matter of how.
Sooz said…
Wait, I don't think that's Patty's apartment Ellen runs from. It's the apartment Ellen and David moved into last night. Are you saying that Patty owns the apartment, hence it's Patty's apartment?
Jace Lacob said…
Sorry, Sooz, it's *definitely* Patty's own apartment.

Besides for the fact that Patty's dog is present in the scene in which Ellen is attacked, Ellen visits the very same lobby that she stumbles out of in the second half of the pilot (around the 44 minute mark) when she drops by Patty's apartment and speaks to her maid, Lucia, who tells her that Patty had to go to Michael's school. (Check it out if you don't believe me.)

Whoever attacked Ellen did so at Patty's apartment... and then Ellen made her way back to the flat she shared with David and allegedly discovered his corpse.

For some reason, I appear to be the only one who has noticed this so far.
Sooz said…
Wow, you have a sharp eye and have a keen attention to the details. I shall pay closer attention in the future.
Unknown said…
danielle must have talked to my wife because I said the exact same things when we watched this episode. I loved the shot from outside the car, where their faces were obscured. (Most directors would have removed the glass for a clear shot.) The subtle (until Patty mentioned them) presence of the bookends in the frame. The dog yawning during Katie's sex scene. Heh. Great stuff. The cinematography (if a TV show can have cinematography) is excellent.
Anonymous said…
Ah, but how do you know Michael sent *both* grenades? I had assumed Frobisher sent the first one and Michael the second.
Anonymous said…
Anon, I wasn't sure in the end who sent the two grenades and thought that Frobisher was joking around with Fiske when he said that he send it to Patty. Unless you're right and he send the 1st and Michael send the 2nd one. Either way it was a great episode and I can't wait to see the next one already. Thanks FX for giving us a smart summer show!
Anonymous said…
I too thought that it was Frobisher who sent the first grenade but I could be mistaken. Great episode. I love this show.

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