Oedipal and Electra complexes ain’t nothing new ‘round these parts, but whoa, Daddy/Mommy, did they emerge last night. Resolved: With three episodes left, we’re going to stop pulling out our eyelashes and simply embrace the willy-nilly. On with the show.
Surprise: Patty is the alpha omega of toxic family dynamics that bleed into everything. Though long established, it’s a good vein to stick over again. Patty’s paternal/uncle baggage has already been explored, along with her maternal/matricidal voodoo with Ellen (remember that lost infant girl?). Loser-hottie son Michael is dating a Ph.D. art-gallery owner who’s pushing 40. Patty’s welcome messages to Dr. Cougar? “Are you mentally ill? I’ll tear your face off!” (Patty’s actually upset because Michael no longer cares for the oolong tea she gets him at McNulty’s.) Covering all bases, Patty continues to make carnivorous adoption overtures to Ellen. (“Are you close to your mother? You can always talk to me.”) Meanwhile, Ellen’s real-life mother proves that dopiness, if not mopiness, is genetic: “I can always see when you’re unhappy,” she tells Ellen. Um, Mrs. Parsons? Everyone can see that Ellen is unhappy, because it is the only emotion she can convey.
Actually, Ellen is okay at conveying drunkenness. Ellen’s soooo sick of fake working for Patty as an FBI informant that she goes drinking with Katie Connor at a fratty bar only Katie Connor would patronize, almost picks up a greasy dude, but instead almost confesses her informant status to Katie, who “wouldn’t understand.” (Because Katie doesn’t understand how to make cereal, let alone complex double-agent schemes.) She then goes ahead and really confesses to her new lover, Wes, who always looks like he’s sucking on a cough drop, and who’s secretly been tracking her on behalf of Frobisher et al. since the first day she met with the FBI. Wes is falling for her sullen sultriness, but no matter: Scary Rick tells him he’s gotta kill Ellen or go to jail. Good going, Ellen.
Another surprise: Patty’s nemesis, Claire Maddox, desperately wants her father’s approval and hated her depressed stay-at-home mom. Ball-busting man addict Claire is the world’s only female lead counsel for a major energy corporation, but the price is that she’s unmarried and childless, much to the chagrin of her alcoholic father. She learns that Kendrick — the surrogate father figure whose utter lack of integrity is transparent to everyone but her — lied about the toxicity of Aracite and about the cokehead-hooker case she defended (which connects Kendrick with the staged shutdowns of power plants). The Patty-Claire face-off, in which the former refuses a UNR settlement: too yummy, too brief. (Glenn Close should steal Marcia Gay Harden’s Oscar, by the way.)
Fratricide in the FBI. We didn’t see this coming: FBI Agent Werner’s unending comic-relief calls from his litigious soon-to-be-ex-wife were a front to grease regular intel dumps about Patty to an outside source. When Agent Harrison (goateed husk Mario Van Peebles) finds out, he’s murdered, but it’s staged as a heroin overdose (?!). Pell orchestrated it, he tells Werner; so Pell is involved with a rogue team hunting Patty at the FBI. Werner didn’t mean for his bro to die.
Which leads to: future Patty, evidently shot by an addled Ellen while the crooked FBI watched, bloodied and hobbling to an elevator. Damages needs Patty to survive, so she’ll be fine.