Damages spews apparent revelations this episode, yet none are really all that revelatory. There’s Patty and Daniel’s long-ago affair and love child, 17-year-old Michael; Daniel and Claire Maddox’s more recent, equally verboten canoodles; more on the Big Bad, a corporate energy Godzilla called Ultima Natural Resources, whose West Virginia coal factory is poisoning the water and killing blue-ribbon pigs. There are more puzzle pieces, too: the murder victim’s missing ruby ring and the mystery idiot killer who (apparently) hocked it; a scrubby reporter, not yet downsized, sleuthing the Civil Action action in West Virginia. The various alliances are frayed, duplicitous, and destined to collapse. As one grouchy pig farmer quips sagely, “we are all alone here.” But Damages itself is not alone among television shows. In fact, we couldn’t help but watch this quiet episode through the prism of some of our other favorite programs.
Flash-forwards are out, slightly less confusing flashbacks are in! Joining the lawsuit pileup are two crucial cases from ten and seventeen years ago involving asbestos and whatever carcinogenic pollutants were hip in the late nineties. Patty’s flashback hair: as lemony as today.
A sweaty reporter, armed with empty water bottles and wire cutters, tries to take the lid off the brouhaha in West Virginia. Before thugs beat him, he utters the best line of the night, to that pig farmer: “We haven’t met, but I knew your pig.”
We now know that Daniel is an adulterer, an intermittent wife smacker, a secret baby daddy and a corruptible witness — but probably not a wife killer. What a catch!
Sex and the City
As noted, UNR counsel Claire Maddox delights in her décolletage and in sassing men at their sweatiest (on handball courts, in Central Park, riding cabs in Queens). She’s a Samantha with a somber smidge of Miranda!
Like those existentially disturbed Cylons, Patty grows more human than human every day, as her mercurial ambition clashes with dysfunctional emotional attachments — to quasi-surrogate daughter Ellen, to Daniel, her baby daddy, etc. Yawn. But she withheld that information from Daniel for seven years. And her henchman tipped off the cops that Daniel tried to leave town. And she doesn’t seem to know that Ellen is playing her. You may take off that Kabuki mask, Patty, but only for a breather before the real showdowns begin.