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Damage Report: Trust No One

Sigh. Confession time: I'm missing tonight's episode of Damages ("Sort of Like a Family"), as I'm currently in London, and will have to wait until this weekend in order to catch up. (Yes, I'm definitely freaking out that I'm missing one of the penultimate episodes of my current television obsession.)

Instead of getting frustrated about missing this week's installment, I can't help but think about last week's reveal that Patty might just be human after all. Did she fail to heed her own admonition to Ellen to "trust no one"? Or did something truly terrible and unexpected (and outside Patty's realm of control) occur?

In a series where the lead character wisely cautions against putting one's faith in another human being, who do you trust? Or more to the point, given what we've seen so far on Damages, which character can the audience trust any more?

Patty. It's been clear since Day One (or even earlier) that this Prada-wearing devil is evil incarnate. A puppet master pulling the strings of everyone around her, Patty has proven that she's often thinking eleven steps ahead of everyone else and is willing to do anything--at any cost--in order to win, regardless of whom she has to step on (or break down) in order to do so. We knew instantly not to trust her (thanks to her ordering the killing of Katie's dog Saffron) but we can't help but fall under her dangerous spell. Last week's episode clearly showed that she and Ellen have entered into some sort of conspiracy ("Do you regret what we did?") and now she might be cleaning up the mess by having Ellen eliminated once and for all. Still, what was her beach house breakdown all about? Could Patty actually be capable of feeling guilt or shame?

Tom. I really hoped that Tom would be the one trustworthy guy in the bunch, but he too proved to be a consummate liar. Once he got his partner status at Hewes and Associates and took Ellen under his wing, I had assumed (incorrectly) that he'd also be her protector. Not so, as he quickly sells Ellen out to Patty for concealing the fact that HE offered HER a job during his time away from the office. (Bastard!) Then he has the gall to lie to Ellen's face when he visits her in prison, claiming not to know where Patty is and then phoning her and warning her to stay away from Manhattan. Just what does Tom know? I'm not sure, but he seemed just as surprised as us to discover Patty's beach house empty, a glass smashed against the wall, and Patty nowhere in sight. Could he be tangled up in Ellen's attempted murder and the subsequent cover-up? Or is Tom as much a patsy as Ellen in all of this?

Ellen. She's our lead character but over the course of the season, she's turned into a shadowy clone of Patty Hewes before our eyes. I want to believe that Ellen is still a good and decent person but it definitely seems as though she and Patty did something terrible together. (After all, Tom told her that someone is dead.) But is she liar? I don't think so. She's always remained our moral compass on this show, even when her actions have been more in line with Patty's, but she's always managed to tell the truth, even when it came back to bite her in the ass (as it did with Katie). However, given the fact that she soon ends up in prison after killing a man in self-defense and possibly being framed for her murder of her fiancé David, I'm not sure what her honesty has gotten her. Still, is it a sign of things to come that the only truly truthful and decent character still ended up with blood on her hands?

Fiske. I thought up until last week that Ray Fiske's main purpose in life was his responsibility to his client. Has he been involved in some shady dealings? Obviously, as that comes with the territory when you work for someone like Arthur Frobisher, who defrauded his employees of their life savings AND pinned the blame for a fatal car accident on a dead girl. Fiske arranged the rendezvous between Frobisher and George Moore in Miami Beach via Gregory Malina (whom he appeared to have feelings for) and paid him off with Frobisher stock. But I always thought that Fiske would draw a line in the sand as to what moral barrier he wouldn't cross. Sadly, I was stunned to learn that he had no such compunctions; his actions directly lead to the murder of Gregory Malina and, unless he has a crisis of conscience sometime soon, Fiske has now allied himself wholly with the forces of darkness in this case: colluding with an SEC officer, engaging in multiple crimes (including accessory to murder and conspiracy), and even lying to his employer, urging him to settle out of court. Is there any hope of redemption for this bloodsucker?

Uncle Pete. I'll admit that while Patty seems to portray Uncle Pete as a doddering old man who helps out with errands and tasks around the office, there's something particularly nefarious about him. In the pilot episode, he acted as a go-between for Patty and Tom, delivering evidence of Saffron's death to Patty; was he the one who left that gruesome warning to Katie with Saffron's bloody corpse? It's clear that Patty has implicit trust in Pete (possibly the only person to deserve such faith) but after last week's episode, I think he's done some pretty bad things in her employ. Just what was Pete doing rifling around in Patty's desk when Tom surprises him in her office? And what is Pete's real duty for Patty and how far does it extend? I trust him less than I do the people who left a baby in George Moore's possession.

Who do you trust when no one seems to be particularly trustworthy? Is the only way to successfully survive the shark-infested waters of the Manhattan legal system by trusting only yourself? Do the ends truly justify the means when you're attempting to conquer evil? And when we will finally learn the truth about what exactly happened in those six weeks to throw everyone's ordered lives into absolute chaos?

Find out tonight as the countdown to the season finale of Damages continues.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: NCIS (CBS); Singing Bee/Biggest Loser (NBC; 8:30-10 pm); Beauty and the Geek (CW); Cavemen/Carpoolers (ABC); Bones (FOX)

9 pm: The Unit (CBS); Reaper (CW); Dancing with the Stars (ABC); House (FOX)

10 pm: Cane (CBS); Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC); Boston Legal (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: Beauty & the Geek.

I'm a sucker for the CW's "social experiment" Beauty & the Geek. On tonight's episode ("Double Dare"), the teams play truth or dare, a couple begins a romance and the beautoes learn about human anatomy. There's a joke there, but I am just not going to make it.

9 pm: Eureka on Sci Fi.

Season Two of Eureka concludes tonight with the second part of the two-part finale, "A Night at Global Dynamics," in which Carter and Stark try to save Allison's son and stop the spread of a virus.

10 pm: Damages on FX.

FX's brilliant legal drama continues with an-all new episode tonight ("Sort of Like a Family"), Frobisher and Patty face off during his deposition, David receives a surprising visitor, and Ellen, pushed to the sidelines, considers a series of daring moves that might bring her back into Patty's inner circle.


Anonymous said…
Come over to mine tomorrow night and we can watch the episode together! I couldnt wait for the BBC to show it next year and Wednesdays can't come quick enough to watch the next episode of Damages!

Hope your having a great time in our city :)
Jace Lacob said…
London Buddy,

Having a brilliant time as always over here: dinners at Tom's Kitchen, Bumpkin, hanging out at Shoreditch House (sadly, not at the pool on the rooftop with this weather). Ducked into Wagamama's for my favorite chicken katsu curry, but soooo upset about missing this week's Damages.

Working in the TV industry, I have to take a hard stance (officially, anyway) on illegal downloading, but it's so tempting in situations like these.
Anonymous said…
ME?? Download illeagally?? :)

its actually possible to watch them online.. is that still illegal??

Glad to hear your having a great time, and in all the nice places too! Wagamama's is the best - i have their chili chicken ramen everytime.
Anonymous said…
Trust no one indeed. When Patty and Ellen were sitting together last week and Patty said 'so David called off the engagement' and Ellen followed with 'do you think we went too far', my head spun with possibilities, and that is saying something for a show where the day it plays it straight is the day it will catch us all out.

My first reaction was, hang on, this goes even further than I even imagined possible. That the original storyline where Patty only recruited Ellen to work for her to get to Katie through David was only the part of it, that the implication was that maybe Ellen had only got together with David in the first place because she was already in cahoots with Patty and wanted to get to Katie.

Thinking back over what we've seen I realised that was a step too far, but it's an indication of what the show can do to you, it really gets its hooks into you.

That still leaves unresolved what that seen was all about. 'Do you think we pushed him too far?' What can that have been about? Why would they be pushing David at all, what does he have that they need? Although a major part, his role had always seemed peripheral to what was really going on, but maybe not in fact. Maybe opening the door on the killer, maybe there is something more to his death than psycho girl.

Anyway, hopefully we'll know more after tonight's episode, though I'm not counting on it.

This is such a good show that it must get another run (Jace?), but you can't help thinking, Jeez, what a crazy life these characters have had with the Frobisher thing. When that's resolved, surely anything else is gonna be pretty ordinary...
Anonymous said…
oh my god. the episode was unreal.

i won't get into specifics as i don't want to spoil it for you jace, but i will say HOLY CRAP - BCM!!! i'm starting to think many things about him, none of them good.

first off, patty shows her true colors as a demon. she is so nasty and vile it is almost unbelievable. i'm all for breaking of balls, but she went way too far.

fro. despite his penchant for bumping uglies with women outside of his marriage, my heart totally went out to him. and i guess his 3-iron didn't quite work for him.

gregory. who ordered his execution?

ellen. good for her. on many counts.

BCM and Fiske. good god, i want to know what side they're really working for!!!

and maybe it's just me, but the sex scenes in this show are almost laughable; i just don't see Ted Danson, no matter how scummy his character, as a sexual dude...i lol'ed last week as he did that woman on the desk. and don't even get me started on his tryst with the hooker....and the short dream sex scene this week...i couldn't help flashbacks of "Fatal Attraction." although my husband appreciated Ellen's brief appearance.

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