Damages 3.2 Recap: When Tom Is No Longer Flush with Cash

22 Dec
Episode 2: “The Dog Is Happier without Her”

Daddy Tobin and Joe Tobin are again secretly meeting in Martin Short’s office.  Joe feels conflicted about whether he should find the hidden money his dad has promised exists “or [he] could go to Patty Hewes now and clear [his] name.”  He seems to want to do the right thing, yet his dad keeps pressuring him, culminating in this line:

You have to decide:  Your family or Patty Hewes?

This is totally a motif in the show.  David certainly gave almost that verbatim ultimatum (Verbatim Ultimatum!  Awesome band name!) to Ellen.  When that ultimatum was issued way back in season one, Ellen picked Patty.

I’m torn on what’s going to happen with Joe, though.  He seems pretty genuine, and it could make for interesting viewing if he and his mom have a conflict about it, but logistically, he can’t really pick Patty because the show must go on (and he’s guaranteed a conflict with Mom because she knows more than she’s letting on).  Thematically, he won’t pick Patty because his storyline is a family-oriented one whereas Ellen’s is a career-oriented one.

Anyway, now Patty and her ex, Phil, are in divorce negotiations, debating who gets what.  Patty wants to keep the apartment (fond memories of that time she tried to have Ellen killed?).

“Mention Gay Crush Lawyer again. I dare you.”

It all ends in a bunch of arguing in which Patty says, “I have nothing to hide.” Neither Phil nor I agree with that statement.  I would’ve mentioned conspiracy to commit murder, but he does the next best thing and says he wonders if Gay Crush Lawyer would agree.

That is the wrong button (or exactly the right button).  Patty is PISSED.

Meanwhile in Tobin land, Joe’s still holding on to his good-guy thing.  He claims he wants to “help Patty Hewes get the money back for the investors.”  He is not going to last the whole season saying stuff like that.  Either he’ll cave or Martin Short and Lily Tomlin will get rid of him.

While he’s at Martin Short’s office, Joe gets a call saying Patty’s had his apartment seized.

Tom Shayes has found The Hobo who had the phone Patty called last episode.  The hobo’s got a bunch of stuff that a hobo normally wouldn’t have, including some snakeskin boots, for which Tom barters his watch.

Meanwhile in DA land, Ellen just denied an ADA date offer, and he’s a lot less creepy than Julian Decker although he is boring/nondescript.  But isn’t that the way Ellen likes ‘em?

Six months later, Magician Cop is questioning The Hobo about what he knows about the dead guy in the dumpster.  The Hobo knows “Tommy” and has done a lot of trading with him, but he’s reticent to say too much because, as he says, “Girls have secrets; men have honor.”

Six months earlier, the snakeskin boots had been Dad Tobin’s. Tom, who is an awesome investigator, has found that not only did Dad Tobin buy boots from the store he bought the boots from, but he also bought thousands of dollars’ worth of women’s clothing, all of which he had marked with the initials DMM.  Mistress time!!!!!  Now they’ve gotta track this lady because she may have been the one he called that fateful Thanksgiving night.

And Patty’s dog is sick!  She implores Phil to take care of the dog for a while because she’s not going to have time for it, and she’s worried the dog’s problems are emotional.

Pantsuits are not my favorite, but Patty looks all right in them.  She has better ones, though.  The gray high-wasted, wide-legged one looks best because the slacks fit nicer.  This one is kind of frumpy looking.  You know, looking at it again, I think it’s the boxy blazer’s fault.  It’s too bad she’s wasting popping her collar (awesome) on this lame blouse with weird blocks of color instead of something orange.  Wouldn’t she look great in orange?

And Joe goes to see a black dude?  Does Joe have a secret boyfriend?  Oh, I get it.  That’s his AA sponsor.  Aha.  AA Sponsor asks Joe what the most important thing to him is—justice or family.  He picks family, so I guess he’s gonna go after the money.

"You can't fool me with this inflated y-axis! I took stats, too, y'know!"

Bald Financial Analyst Lawyer comes into Tom’s office to tell him some dire news that we don’t get to be in on.  It’s a bunch of papers, some of them with graphs, and Tom’s very, very, very upset about them and says, “Don’t tell Patty about this.”  Tom’s not skimming from the company, is he?  Is Patty going to have to sue him?!

Patty meets with Joe in the park.  He wants to exchange info about his dad and the money for unfreezing his assets.  Patty ain’t makin’ no deals, and she ain’t makin’ no promises, neither!

Tom’s still moping around, sad about those graphs.  Maybe they were misleadingly labeled.  He also hasn’t found DMM yet.  Patty, in her elegant red and white striped satin blouse and white tulip skirt, is not happy about not finding DMM.

Six months later, The Hobo is still being questioned.  He claims:  “I find a lot of things a lot of places.”  I believe him.  He seems an enterprising young hobo.

The cops bring in Ellen’s bloody purse, in which they’ve found her drivers’ license.  Why does it make me lol that Ellen’s photo is awful?  It’s so season one!

Is this really what DLs are like in New York? We only have to renew ours every 6 years in Kansas. And why doesn't it have her weight on it? How'd she get out of that one?

The cops question The Hobo about Ellen.  His response:  “Her and Tommy.  They had a thing goin’ on.”

I doubt it.  Unless it’s just to make Patty jealous.

Six months earlier, Tom and Ellen lunch together at one of those chic little outdoor cafés.  He wants her to help him investigate DMM.

“We’re limited to financial information.  Your office has a a broader scope,” Tom begs.  She still stonewalls until he reveals something that we don’t get to know yet (probably about those graphs).

So this is how their storylines converge!  Goodbye, L&O Ellen!

A scene with Phil and his girlfriend and Patty and Phil’s dog.  Girlfriend tries to analyze why Patty wanted to send the dog with Phil, and she suggests they keep the dog.  For some reason, I am very offended by this scene.

Joe has decided to take the money.  He’s formulating a plan and, because he’s so covert and all, tells his dad, “From today on, we don’t speak to each other again.”

Pictured: Vampire Weekend's biggest fans

Ellen, looking as 7th grade as possible, decides to use the ADA who has a crush on her to get info on DMM.  And I know you can’t hear the music in this scene, but what club are they at?  Surf Punk Jamboree?

This is the face Patty makes when she asks about Ellen.

Tom’s sad and staring at a picture of his family.  The pieces are falling into place:  The graphs had to do with his family.  He did some bad investing?

Patty has found out Tom’s gone to the DA’s office for help.  Patty says, “Don’t apologize.  Why not use Ellen?”  Oh, Patty.  We can always count on you to be underhanded and vaguely sinister!

And now Patty and Tom are interviewing Joe about DMM.  Was Joe also having an affair with DMM?  His face is suspicious.

And Tom and his wife are arguing big time.  Not only has the Tom Shayes immediate family lost all savings, but the Tom Shayes extended family has as well because they invested with a company that was invested in Tobin Industries (I made up that company name, BTW).  And Tom was the one who suggested they put all their dough into this company in the first place.  Whoospy daisies.

Six months later, Ellen’s gone over to Tom’s house and is asking his widow, “Who else knew about Tom and me?”  I do not believe for one second that Tom and Ellen are having an affair.  It is something else.  He’s so emasculated by Patty he couldn’t do it with anybody unless she gave him permission.  And she certainly would not give anyone the stamp of approval to go ahead with Ellen.

Six months earlier, Phil has brought the dog back, and now he and Patty are talking about brandy or something he got from France.  $20 says they get drunk together.

Meanwhile, the wallpaper in Martin Short’s office.  Was the wallpaper left over from The Three Amigos?  It’s so tropical!  And then the other room is all red and gold and swastika-like?  Who decorated this family?

Joe’s adamant that they “can’t let Patty Hewes subpoena [DMM].” I am convinced she’s not just a mistress.

Back at Patty’s, someone owes me $20.  Drunken Phil gets serious and says, “Would you be willing to give us another shot?”  I don’t believe him right now.  Earlier in this episode, he was letting his girlfriend play with his and Patty’s shared dog and say mean things about Patty.

Patty doesn’t believe him right now, either.  Her response, delivered with a perfect ice-queen coolness, encapsulates why I love Patty Hewes:  “I don’t need you anymore, and I certainly don’t want you.”  Coldest!

Oooh!  I bet she calls Ellen soon!

And Joe drinks some liquor in his car while rocking out to some ‘80s metal and walks in, drunk, to DMM’s, which is a cute little bungalow.

And he’s all up in her grill about how she and his dad were lovers:  “How’d it all start?  Was it the old Tobin charm?”  I still don’t believe she’s just a mistress.  I bet she and Joe used to go out.

Meanwhile, Patty and Tom have found out that DMM (who has a name now; I just prefer calling her DMM) has filed for an express passport!  She’s about to bounce!

Back at DMM’s, Joe can’t get anything out of her, so he decides to leave.  He’s drunk, and she sees her cat in the drive and goes out to get it, when BOOM!  He accidentally runs her down!

Negligent, drunk-driver homicide!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Six months later, the cops have found that Tom had some mysterious injuries around his body, but his COD is drowning.  And Ellen’s looking at the Hudson (or whatever) with tears in her eyes.


  • Extension of family vs. career discussion:  All the best family people on the show are men, whereas the driven career people who suck at family are women. Patty’s implied to have had a rough homelife, in which Uncle Pete was the only one she could trust.  Then, she has that whole mysteriously dead baby who would’ve been the same age as Ellen.  Did her career kill that baby the same way it ruined Michael?  Then there’s Tom, who has been shown to excel at family and love his family, finally gets his name on the door and dies soon after.  Even Gay Crush Lawyer was shown to be a loyal family man, even if he did have that pernicious gay crush.  He was shown to not be adept at navigating the business world because his ethics got in the way, and this was kind of implied to be a feminine trait because he and Ellen were both identified as the moral centers of the show?  I’d like to investigate this further.  Maybe I’ll take another look at season one sometime.
  • In season three predictions news, exposition in the divorce settlement scene reveals that Well-Dressed Black Guy is in jail, so I guess that means Ellen can’t date him.
  • I’m intrigued about the mistress and this negligent drunk-driver homicide stuff that’s happening with her.
  • I love The Hobo.  Although he is bearded, he is not creepy, and I can’t wait to see how else he figures into the story.
  • Also, I’m wondering if Tom’s death is going to be Tobin-related or not.  Did Patty have him killed?

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