I've been almost unintentionally ragging on Damages for the past four reviews despite trying not to, but honestly this has been because the show hasn't delivered an episode which didn't contain some cheap writing trick or the like which detracted from the brilliant performances of the cast. With the latest episode I'm very happy to say was really good. I have virtually no complaints what so ever about it.
Read about burgers, Clarke Peters and guns, lots of guns beyond the link...
So the short and important things to note in this episode are easily summarised into a single paragraph. Ellen returns to Patty's apartment - cue flashbacks of her attack, we learn that Wes is working for Frobisher (called it!), Clarke Peters arrives on the scene and gets to work with John Doman (Kendrick) again, Phil - Patty's husband - is having an affair, Ellen is almost outed as working with the FBI to Patty but manages to avoid this, Wes on the other hand realises that she is meeting with the Feds and we're still not sure if Purcell killed his wife or not - but signs point to yes right now.
That's the important plot related stuff out of the way, now I can gush about various things I liked about this episode and the things I felt made it work, especially when compared to the previous episodes which tried too hard. For a start the twists which were included in this episode weren't overplayed like last week, I'd already figured Wes was working for someone to keep an eye on Ellen and I wasn't surprised to discover it was Frobisher. I'd already begun to link those two in my mind anyway, it just felt like a better fit than Wes working for Patty. So that wasn't really a shock.
It was also great to see Detective Rick Messer/Bearded Man (David Costabile another Wire alumni) back into the thread as he's the one directly responsible for the murder of David. With him back in we have another potential target for Ellen's shooting at the end of the season. Possibly the most likely target considering Wes's
position of influence on her. -- Speaking of which, this week's reveal on Wes means that Frobisher likely knows Ellen went to his hospital room but didn't kill him. -- In fact, right now I'm going on record saying that if Ellen is shooting someone in the present day timeline (and it's not misdirection) then it'll be Messer being shot.
Tate Donovan remains my favourite throughout this with his wonderful performance as Tom, he's not given as much to do this week but it's OK, that's part of his brilliance. When needed he's able to take front and center, but the rest of the time he's more than capable of being an unassuming support character.
The other thing I'm beginning to enjoy is the interaction between Patty and Ellen, as shown in the very first scene. Ellen's conversation with Patty is almost always loaded, she's clearly simmering about the attempt on her life, it says a lot about Ellen that she seems more driven over Patty trying to kill her than Frobisher actually having David killed.
Clarke Peters, ah... Clarke. What a star. I was thrilled when I heard he'd be on the show and I had great expectations. He's only present in three scenes this episode but he's every bit as good as I'd hoped. The scene where he walks into the bathroom after Kendrick has laid into the man who was roasting him was just perfectly delivered and hilarious. Also it appears he's on Patty's side, or at least friends with Phil - which means he could be coming back time and time again. That's a good thing indeed.
Really all I can say about this episode is it was exactly what I wanted to see when I started watching this season of Damages. There have been a few rough episodes leading up to this one, but if the show continues with the same form as "I Agree, It Wasn't Funny" then I will forgive the earlier missteps and embrace the season with gusto.