Damages: What a Long, Strange Trip...

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Photo: Courtesy of FX
Show
Damages
Episode Title
They Had to Tweeze That Out of My Kidney
Season
2
Episode
8

Fun fact: a hypnopompic hallucination is a subconscious audiovisual thingamajig experienced by someone in between sleep and waking. We know this thanks to David, Ellen’s know-it-all, dead fiancé, who made a hypnopompic cameo last night. The Freudian possibilities of this marvelous word seemed to drive last night’s rather gloomy affair, heavy on psychodrama, remembrances of things past, and spiritual quests.

Frobisher’s Spiritual U-Turn
Claptrap-babbling, bead-wearing Frobisher wants to reclaim the traumatic site where he was shot, by constructing, with guru Manu’s blessing, a healing center with equine-therapy stables, drumming circles, and a holotropic-breathing thing, with his bullet as the cornerstone. Thank goodness the terrifying Det. Rick Messer (David Costible), with Wes in tow, later arrives to call out the tomfoolery — and scare Frobisher into dropping his lawsuit against UNR, which would expose their having murdered David. Frobisher’s return to his true, hooker-banging, corrupt self was satisfying.

Put ... the ... Rabbit ... Down
Scariest showdown: Messer’s confab with Manu, in which they take turns cradling an adorable white rabbit as they retell a twisted Aesop-ish yarn about a bunny, monkey, otter, jackal, and blind man. We breathed a sigh of relief when this exchange ended without Messer dashing the bunny’s brain out on a meditating stone.

Patty’s Origin Myth
To avoid betraying niece Patty to the Feds, as well as jail time for his bootleggin’ ways, Uncle Pete tried to kill himself with lots of pills. That didn’t work, and as he languishes in the hospital, a nakedly distraught Patty begs him to save himself. Softened to a porridge, Patty remembers her freckly, leaf-frolicking younger self, when Uncle Pete, a crook but ultimately a good egg, protected her and her mom after abandonment from her no-good dad. What’s the take on absent fathers and sweet but criminally inclined uncles? And may we suggest Elaine Stritch as the not-yet-revealed Mama Hewes? When Patty gets the call about Uncle Pete’s demise, she’s gazing wistfully into an urban playground as a smug, 2009 version of herself plays with her dad. Uncle Pete’s been offed by Patrick, one of the failed Ellen-killers afraid of being exposed; despite the tricky editing of the overlapping phone calls (Ellen to Patty, Patrick to .. ?), Patty did not coordinate Pete’s death. She’s just a wounded little girl, after all.

More Bad Men
Ellen and Patty can’t trust their dudes. Wes, who has a shrewd emotional intelligence that makes him seem sensitive and caring in group therapy, is in cahoots with the fiancé’s hirsute killer. Patty’s husband, Phil, is eager to buy some of that to-be-inflated UNR stock and make lots of cash. Phil, in other words, is gonna be in trouble. Sympathy also goes out to Lonnie Kemble, the pricey hooker informant whose client, Finn Garrity, may be manipulating UNR stock. Lonnie has to suffer annoying witticisms from Tom (“I want honest discourse”), and worse, from Finn (“I’m sorry I said that thing about you being dead. Now undress me”).

Girls’ Night In
Finally, the target of three-months-hence Ellen’s gun-and-gin chat is revealed: Patty! Figures that Ellen’s gun isn’t even loaded. She just wants to talk about a red folder with her name on it. Ellen, you couldn’t have packed some heat?