Damages 3.1 Recap: When Damages Decides to Kill Tom for an Entire Season

19 Dec
And so begins Damages Season 3. 
Episode 1:  “Your Secrets Are Safe” 

This same sooo saturated elevator again from a million and a half ago?  Really?

Oh I see, kinda.  New recap at the beginning.  This looks like a movie trailer…?  We’ve got boxes all over with people in them saying important lines from across both previous seasons, with one box at the bottom exclusively playing Ellen running around Manhattan wearing only blood and her green raincoat.

Maybe it's Damageswood Squares. I'll take Marcia Gay Harden for the win!

I wonder if they’re going to do this kind of recap all season, instead of those horrible, “Last time on Damages…”  That might be a welcome little change-up.

Ok, exposition is over, and now Patty Hewes is at some kind of party at someplace fancy, I guess.  She’s happy and drinking wine to a breathy newer version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

As she leaves the table, probably to go to the little lawyers’ room, some dude is all up in her grill, trying to flirt with her by telling her about watching her on TV.  So she’s been on TV since she and Ellen split up?  Must be a big case?  Or is she now hosting a Fox News segment?  I wish.  I would love to see Ann Coulter mess with her.  Oh man, let me write the next season!  It will be all about Ann Coulter skewering Patty Hewes!

Everyone’s two very favorite lawyers!  What?  I’m the only one?  Oh…

Anyway, Patty finally brushes this Julian Decker (who, mark my words, is going to turn out to be some creep connected to some case) dude off when he says, “It must be hard wearing this Patty Hewes mask all the time.”  And Patty replies, “It’s not a mask.  What you see is what you get.”

Okey dokey, Patty.  We’ve seen you crying at The Lake House.

Oh no!  Six months later.

Patty’s driving along listening to a radio talk show discussing whether she’s awesome (spoiler:  she is) when some other car smashes into the passenger’s side of her car.

I could’ve sworn Patty used to drive a black convertible.  Did I dream that?  Or was that her husband’s ride?  Now she drives a red car with a sun roof (which is now wrecked-o-la mysteriously).

Are we supposed to think that wreck is super mysterious?  Because right now it’s not that mysterious, but I’m sure it’s supposed to be.

Six months earlier:

Wow, Patty.  You look weird-ass on this TV within a TV.  What did they do to you?  Patty’s talking about the case:  Ponzi scheme yadda yadda revealing information yadda yadda corporate douchebag stealing people’s money yadda yadda who is now on house arrest yadda yadda Patty’s the court-appointed executrix of assets, which she has frozen yadda yadda.

And cut to Ellen in the DA’s office.  She’s watching Patty on TV with some guys at the office, and they ask her some questions about how Patty is in real life, and she doesn’t care to discuss it, and all of them look the same to me.  One of them went to law school with Ellen and will probably become her boyfriend. 

And now Patty and Tom and some other lawyers are at a meeting discussing strategies about their new case—the Tobins.  The dad was the CEO of the company, I guess, and he admitted guilt in this Ponzi scheme thing, and now Patty’s trying to get the whole family to admit guilt so they can get more out of them in the civil suit.  Or something.

On record:  I do not like Patty’s new hairdo.  It looks like she just rolled out of bed.

Tom doesn’t look that great either.  His hair is grayer than before, which isn’t that bad, but he just looks kinda haggard.  Maybe he has to do more work/be Patty’s girlfriend since Ellen left?

One more thing.  Patty.  You’re wearing all black, too.  If you weren’t the age you are, I would accuse you of trying to hide a baby or something.

So now here’s Martin Short doing a sidewalk walk and talk with a lady who works for Diane Sawyer?  He’s the Tobin’s lawyer, and apparently somebody was scheduled to be interviewing with Diane Sawyer about admitting guilt or not in this Ponzi scheme thing, but he won’t let Joe (the son) do this.

Back at Martin Short’s office, Joe and his wife, whom I feel as though I’ve seen in one million other things but probably just CSI, are talking to Martin Short about doing the right thing.

And I don’t feel like anybody’s evil yet.  But I guess that’s how the other seasons were?  No, I hated Beardy straightaway.  No!  I do think somebody’s evil:  Julian Decker, the guy who was hitting on Patty Hewes.

Anyway, Martin Short ends this scene with, “If you don’t let me do my job, this can spiral out of control.”  Ah yes, that’s what we’re hoping for.

BOOM!  CAR WRECK! Six months later!

Patty Hewes goes to investigate the other car, and the driver has evacuated.  Stuff is strewn around the front seat.

IS THAT ONE OF THE BOOKENDS THAT KILLED WHAT’S HIS FACE??!?!?!?!?!

And Patty’s at the police station.  And there’s Magician Cop (he played a magician on CSI).  Isn’t he in homicide?  Why’s he interviewing Patty?  They must think this is an almost homicide?

“Do you think this could’ve been done to you on purpose?” he says. It better be, or this season is gonna be sooooooo boring and pointless.

Six months earlier:  Who’s this new bald financial analyst lawyer?  They must’ve put him in to give us info when we needed it so that we didn’t have to see Patty and Tom do all that drudgery.

Tom and Patty have a discussion about how much time and space Bald Financial Analyst Lawyer will need for this case, and exposition happens:  Ellen’s been gone 10 months, and Patty has refused to change Ellen’s office up until now, as if she’s a kid who’s been kidnapped.  Sweet?  Creepy?  Hopeful? 

And now Ellen’s in her car watching a guy on a motorcycle go into an apartment and rifle through it a lot—cocaine or something in the freezer.  Is this her job for the DA’s office, or is that her new boyfriend?  This could really go either way. 

Oh, cops at the door.  Must be her job, I guess.

Is this really going to be Patty and Ellen separate? And Ellen’s gonna have her own Law & Order story line?  And Patty is going to have her own corporate douchebag storyline?  Not interested in that, especially the Ellen Law & Order storyline.

And now Patty’s in Ellen’s old office rummaging through Ellen’s old stuff longingly.  At least she’s wearing a better blouse.  I thought it was just pink, but it’s striped.  Very nice, with a black blazer and skirt.  I’m still disappointed in the black.  I like her in slate better.  She’s a little pale and severe in black, but it does take some gumption to pull off two different stripes.  Oh, Patty.  You and your million stripes.

 
Tom comes in, and she kind of embarrassedly puts down the picture of Lame Couple she’d been mooning over (for some reason), and they talk, and, perhaps in an effort to make Tom forget that he just caught her fantasizing about Ellen, she offers to put Tom’s name on the door.  He makes a look that says he thinks it’s fishy.  So do I.

And now they’re deposing Lily Tomlin about the day her husband told the family he’d been stealing his investors’ money.

 And there’s a flashback to that fateful Thanksgiving, which the title card claims happened one year ago, yet it seems more like 80.  They’re listening to Dixieland.  Also Lily Tomlin’s outfit/hair.  She looks as though she’s about to read somebody’s palm in a lavish carnival tent.

Lily Tomlin--gypsy/tramp/thief

And nothing really happens in this flashback—Joe gives a lame toast, and Lily Tomlin does not perform a séance, even though her outfit suggests she is fully equipped to do so.

Flashback over.  Patty continues in a boring line of questioning culminating in, “Joe contacted the District Attorney the next day.  Did that make you angry?”  Is this a deposition or a therapy session?

Ooh, Lily Tomlin, you’re trying to deflect attention with all your tea requests and tangents about grandkids.  You forget you’re up against Patty Hewes.

And Lily Tomlin says, “I like you, Miss Hewes.  You know what it’s like to have a husband betray you.”  Kind of below the belt, but Patty has her Patty smirk on.  She’s about to zing her.

                LT:  Men have their secrets
                PH:  Yes, and so do women.  And I find that women are better at
                keeping them.

Perhaps, Patty.  I think we’re supposed to be wondering what secrets Lily Tomlin is harboring, but I’m not all that intrigued with that yet.

Six months later:  Oh no!  The vehicle is registered to Tom Shayes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Six months earlier:  A scene in Patty’s office in which the fit on Tom’s shirt sucks.

Tom, why is your shirt so unflattering?

And now at the DA’s office:  Ellen offers a deal to the motorcycle guy to turn over his supplier, but he won’t because his lawyer won’t let him because the lawyer is in on stuff with the supplier.

Back at Ellen’s desk, Ellen’s just received a package from Patty.

And some DA guy needs Ellen to be completely confidential about the Tobin investigation.  Because the DA is also investigating the Tobins?  I thought he had already admitted his guilt and whatnot?  I guess they don’t have everything on him they need.  Maybe I’ll have to watch Arrested Development again to see how these things work.  Because I feel like this plot is so similar that I keep waiting for GOB to show up on his Segway.

The scene cuts away before we can see what kind of present Patty sent.  I bet it’s either something frightening or awesome.  Maybe Patty’s trying to lure Ellen back.  Is it bookends?!

And now Joe Tobin is at a street market getting hassled by a guy.  The Tobin boy can fight!  I thought he might’ve been fighting the dude who was hitting on Patty earlier, but he’s not.  It’s some other guy who kind of looks like him.

That guy who was hassling Joe Tobin was one of Patty’s clients in the case!  We know this because he’s shut in a room in Patty’s office, and Patty and the DA are discussing whether he’s going to press charges because the DA says it would be good for the criminal case.  But Patty says he refuses to press charges.  The DA says something about how he hopes Patty isn’t playing games.

Guess what?  Patty was playing games!  Duh!  She had told the hassling guy both to go get in a fight with Joe and to not press charges!  What are you up to, Patty?  Is this going to be one of those plot lines that gets lost in the merry-go-round of writers they have on this show?

And now Joe’s on some dock thing going to clandestinely meet with his mom, Lily Tomlin.  His outfit would look better on Tom.

See what I mean? Tom would rock that out.

Lily Tomlin, I think you were lying to Patty about not having talked to your son since Thanksgiving!

Joe’s trying to pry info out of Mom about whom his dad called on Thanksgiving after he had told the family.  He’s convinced Lily Tomlin knows more than she’s letting on.  So am I.

I’m a little suspicious about him, too.  This could be another William Hurt situation.  We’ll see.

Lily Tomlin says about Patty, “She’s not particularly sharp, that woman.” No you didn’t!  Girl, you’re gonna eat those words later!  With a side of mashed potatoes and Patty’s heel print on your ass for dessert!

And she gives Joe a piece of paper about whom Dad called.  Did she write it down just so that we wouldn’t see who it was?  Cheapest.

Six Months Later:  Patty looks awful in these flash-forwards.  I wonder what happened to her in these six months… Did Ellen break up with her for real?

The car that hit Patty is registered to Tom Shayes and the address listed is this ridiculously rundown apartment with a mattress on the floor, papers all over, empty water bottles haphazardly everywhere, blood on the wall.

Six Months Earlier:  Tom’s meeting Ellen for a sec on the sidewalk.  Ellen mentions her uncooperative drug guy and apologizes for the FBI arrest that made him miss his son’s birth.  I had forgotten all about that.  Thanks for the exposition, Ellen.  I guess you’re good for something.  Tom then says, “There’s always a place for you at Hewes and Shayes.”  He’s so proud!

And Tobin’s at Patty’s! Joe gives the slip of paper from his mom to Patty because he wants the media and cops and everybody to know that he cooperated and knew nothing and tried to help, etc.  Patty ain’t makin’ no promises.

And some guys are whacking up the motorcycle guy from earlier’s motorcycle with baseball bats.  I wonder if Ellen hired those guys to beat up his motorcycle?  It sounds very much like that time Uncle Pete killed Terrible American Accent’s dog.

Back at the DA’s office, Ellen’s colleagues congratulate her on the flip Motorcycle Drug Guy has made—he decided to give up his supplier because the motorcycle overhaulers told him to keep quiet, but he was too spiteful to do so.

And the guy who will probably be Ellen’s boyfriend soon convinces her to open the present from Patty.  He asks if it’s a present for no reason, and she replies, “Patty always has a reason.”  Never a truer word spoken, Ellen.

It’s a purse.  An expensive one, judging from the look on Ellen’s face.  Oh man, expensive gifts from Patty.  I’d hold out for some earrings before I’d go back.  But I’m not really a purse girl, either.

Six Months Later:  The cops leave the crash pad to trail into the alley/wharf thing where a homeless guy has kind of a cardboard box hovel set up.  He’s got stuff he sells from a cart.  The cops start looking through it.

Oh no!  Ellen’s purse!!!!!

Six Months Earlier:  Martin Short pulls up to where Joe’s jogging and tells him to get in the car.  Don’t go, Joe!

And Ellen’s calling Tom about the purse?  Why not Patty?

And Patty’s at a bar drinking and doing paperwork in this silky mauve blouse.  The lay of it isn’t my favorite, but the color’s ok.  I don’t think I’ve ever really seen this color on Patty before.

Creep-o Julian Decker is back hitting on Patty again.  Get offa Patty, Julian Decker!  Who are you even?!  Where do you keep showing up from?  You’re stalking Patty, aren’t you?

 She brushes him off again and goes to the ladies’ room to put on lipstick.

But if she’s leaving, which she implied she was, why’s she putting on more lipstick?

Oh, so that we get a good shot of her in the mirror realizing that somone has come in.

And she’s got her Patty smirk on, so we know it’s Ellen.

And then Ellen’s in the frame.

And she’s got a weird Ellen face on, so we know she’s Ellen.

Ellen and Patty exchange pleasantries in kind of an awkward you-sent-me-an-expensive-gift-after-I-haven’t-seen-or-talked-to-you-in-ten-months-after-you-tried-to-have-me-killed-and-I-subsequently-held-you-at-gunpoint-and-I-thought-I’d-catch-up-with-you-in-a-public-bathroom sort of way.

Ellen gets around to everyone’s (or maybe just my) burning question:

“Everyone’s congratulating me for my work on the drug case.  Only thing is, I didn’t have anything to do with it.  But I think you did.”  Patty denies it, but she’s got her Patty smirk on.

And then Joe Tobin’s at Martin Short’s office, where Dad Tobin is out of house jail for a little bit, telling Joe they’ve got money hidden somewhere.

And Ellen’s maybe at home or somewhere, modeling the purse in the mirror.  You’ll never escape Patty, Ellen.  Especially if you can be bought with stupid, too-expensive purses.

And Patty’s in her kitchen calling the number from the paper from Joe from his mom.  It goes to that hobo from six months later.

Speaking of six months later, the cops have looked in the dumpster outside that creepy apartment and found that Tom Shayes is dead. 

Whew!  And done with episode 1!

Notes:

  • I’m not convinced Tom’s dead.  He’s been fake fired so many times, I bet everyone got tired of it and Patty had to try something else.
  • Patty and Ellen are weird together.  They are even weirder apart.
  • It seems as though there are more cuts going on this season.  It really felt like every minute it was changing scenes.  It kind of felt like a cheap way to manufacture suspense.
  • I haven’t noticed any of Ellen’s outfits yet.  But her coloring’s looking better.  She seemed pallid and sickly at times in seasons one and two.  I wonder if that was for dramatic effect?
  • If the DA’s so worried about Ellen leaking info to Hewes & Associates, and he knows it’s like pulling teeth to get Patty to play by the rules, why did he/the court appoint her in the first place?
  • I keep trying to analyze why I love this show so much.  I really shouldn’t:  It’s amoral and sometimes anticlimactic.  But I think it may come from my love of film noir and femme fatales.  Patty Hewes is like the perfect femme fatale, except she’s the main character.  Sometimes I think I might prefer it if Patty Hewes were, instead of the lead of this show, a recurring semi-evil character on a different show—that way I wouldn’t have to be embarrassed to love such an awful show, and I could love her in a socially acceptable way—á la my acceptable love for Lady Macbeth and Mama Rose.
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