Damages 3.5 Recap: When It’s Not Patty’s Birthday, and Ellen Doesn’t Bake Cupcakes for Patty’s Nonbirthday and also Doesn’t Care about the New Associate Patty’s Not Hiring Just to Not Get under Ellen’s Skin

4 Feb

Episode 5:  “It’s Not My Birthday”Previously on:  That reporter from Appalachia?

Patty’s running late and talking on the phone.  She’s back in better clothes—those big collars on her shirts and all.  But why black?  I want that checked gray blazer back!

Patty turns a corner to see the ghost of Uncle Pete!

Wait.  Dream Pete?  He’s there for her birthday and has brought a present.  “It’s not my birthday,” says Patty.  Patty turns and there’s a horse in her house!

That’s gonna make a big mess, Patty.  I suggest flipping it for profit.  Or, flipping it for dream profit, as it were.  And Ellen’s also in the kitchen warning, “Careful.  She’s a big responsibility.  Are you sure it’s what you want?”

At which point, my roommate, who has managed not to fall asleep yet (she loves napping during Damages) sings to the tune of Bootylicious, “I don’t think you’re ready for this hallucination.”  And I lol.

Anyway, Patty asks Ellen, all wide-eyed, “Can I keep her?”  and Ellen replies, “You’ll have to wash your feet first.”  And we all look at Patty’s feet, which are (say it with me in unison) covered in blood!

End dream.

Seemingly the next day—but who can tell in Damages land?—Tobin’s funeral is in progress.  They’re burying Dad Tobin already?  Didn’t he die yesterday?  Under mysterious circumstances?

Lily Tomlin's intermittent appearances as a crazily dressed, chain-smoking society dame pull ahead for my favorite part of the season so far.

And Sister Tobin is eulogizing him:  “Daddy never judged.  He treated everyone the same.”  Love your scarf, Sister Tobin.  You seem kind of lame, though.  She keeps on going:  “Those investors knew what he was doing.  He was doing what they wanted him to do,” and devolves into some crying.  What’s your deal, Sister Tobin?  Are you the crazy one of the family?

Patty and Gates discuss selling everything in Tobin’s apartment.  She’s finally back in grey, but with a black blouse underneath.

They’ve ruled Dad Tobin’s death a heart attack, but nobody’s convinced, so Patty suggests they all talk to DMM together.  Several things about this:  I thought they already agreed to that exact thing last episode.  And, is she doing this to be close to Ellen, to whom she directs most of the conversation during the meeting?  Also, during this conference, she’s wolfing down a muffin like nobody’s business—do nutty dreams famish her?  Weird behavior for Patty.

Does Patty drink chocolate milk for breakfast? My goodness! I always figured her for a black coffee girl. In other news, look at how pissed Tom is!

Martin Short and Joe discuss the contents of the envelope, which apparently explain about how to get this mysteriously hidden money that Dad Tobin was always talking about.  It also contains a letter that attempts to clear Dad Tobin’s name that mentions that DMM does know some things and that some dude named Stuart Zedeck (which I continue to spell Zetig in my head even though I looked up the approved spelling) has something to do with the money.

Ellen, at the DA’s office, using the Patty bag, tells the DA that they should talk to DMM first before Patty gets to her.

Parellelly, Patty at her office tells Tom they’re talking to DMM first (which proves Ellen really does know how to “suss Patty out,” as Ellen would say). Then they discuss candidates for replacing Ellen.  Patty claims she doesn’t want a woman, but caves to “Alex Benjamin.”  K.  We’ll see.

5 months later, Tom’s scrambling on a wood floor, being dragged by someone who may or may not be murdering him.  At which point my roommate says, “It’s probably Beardy” and I lol again.  If only Ghost of Beardy were the murderer!

5 months previous, Tom brings in Alex and begins priming her for a Patty interview just like he did to Ellen.  She’s foreign (English or something, just like Ellen in real life) and looks like Blossom.

New Girl Alex Benjamin: Things in common with Ellen--So lame; Wears primarily black, white, and tan; Loves Patty Hewes. Things Not in Common with Ellen--Foreign; Looks like Blossom; Drinks wine, not bourbon; Patty Hewes does not love her back

Tom asks, “What if the meeting were to take place during your sister’s wedding?” She claims she would miss the wedding.  Tom smiles, remembering his friend, Lame Ass Ellen, who would never do such a thing because she has VALUES.  Or something.

Patty and Tom visit the hospital to be told their access to DMM has been suspended.  Gates looks pretty satisfied with himself and tells Patty that if she wants to have access to witnesses, “Next time, don’t keep information from me.”  Patty and Ellen glare at each other a little (in the same frame!).

Pictured (L to R): How-dare-you face; You-just-got-told face

Ellen and Gates talk to DMM and tell her she will get immunity because all they want is the family.  She may be reluctant to cough up any info.

Tobin family crisis:  Somebody has videotaped the funeral!  In other news, Crazy Sister is crazy.

Martin Short and a hooker scene.  You’re cheating on your hairdresser friend with a hooker? And telling her about Tobin’s death tearing you up?  Weird.  The scene ends when Martin Short asks the hooker, “Can I put my head in your lap?”

Genu-Ine Patty Hewes Face!

At the DA’s office, someone tells Ellen there’s a guy waiting for her in the conference room.  Ellen thinks it’s Wes, but she didn’t watch the previously on.  It’s the reporter.  He’s now a crime reporter, and he wants to exchange help for help.  She’s hesitant, and as he leaves, she makes an I-don’t-trust-you-but-I-might-find-you-useful face straight out of the Patty Hewes playbook.

The remaining Tobins are allowed to look at stuff before the auction.  Martin Short gets a call.  Is it the hooker?  Meanwhile, Crazy Sister makes a scene about some trinkets.  Tom loves this.  Lily Tomlin is so mad (and only slightly gypsified).  Martin Short tells Joe that Stuart Zedeck will meet with them—I guess it wasn’t the hooker.

5 months later, Tom is calling someone on a payphone while looking very upset, sick, and/or injured.  He says, “I love you.”  Don’t worry.  It’s probably his wife, even though Damages wants to red herring us into thinking it’s Ellen.

5 months previous, Patty (via Bald Financial Analyst Lawyer) finds that Tobin had money in trusts and the money in the trusts probably goes to a minor.  Bum bum bum!  (Kind of.  Money talk, whatever.)

I suppose this is a run-down overpass or something, but it's giving off such a Southern Gothic Bayou vibe to me!

A dark alley meeting featuring Joe and Martin Short, which looks as if it takes place at a haunted plantation house in a bayou.  A Zedeck associate shows up claiming money transactions are not available because someone in the family breached the terms Dad had had with Zedeck, and says ominously that they will not be able to do much business “as long as [DMM] remains a problem.” Gonna have to kill DMM!  Joe says he’ll take care of her.  Oh no!  Joe’s slide to the dark side continues—all those ominous things he’s been saying are coming home to roost!

Alex Benjamin is meeting with Patty.  She wants to be Patty’s new girl so bad!  She’s being really over-eager and trying to say all the right things, but Patty is totally not into it.  Oh girl, you ain’t no Ellen.  Are you, in fact, lamer than Ellen?  That’s a sad state of affairs.

Joe and DMM meet, and he urges her “to stick to the same story” as he’s going to stick to, but DMM wants to tell the truth.  Joe has gone downhill.  Joe says, “If we go down, I am taking you with us.”  PS DMM looks like Emily Prentiss.

Emily Prentiss is the one with the Xena bangs. Or is she?!

Now Alex Benjamin and Ellen are at a bar together?  Alex Benjamin says that Patty suggested that they meet.  This exchange happens:

Pictured: (L to R) Palpable Disdain, Incredible Awkwardness

EP:  “Once you sign on, she’ll own you.”
AB:  “I think I’d like that.”
EP:  “I didn’t.  I wanted a life.”
AB:  “And how’s that going?”
EP:  “Great.”

Nuh uh, you lyin’ liar face!

Now Patty and Lily Tomlin conference at Dad Tobin’s grave.  Patty brings a gift—the videotape of the funeral for Lily Tomlin to destroy at her leisure.  Lily Tomlin admits, “I think my husband killed himself.”  They conference some more, but Patty can’t let sisterhood stand in the way of her duty and says, “I have an obligation to your husband’s victims. . . Why did [Dad Tobin] really call [DMM] on Thanksgiving?” Lily Tomlin contends that the call had nothing to do with the money and that “his mistakes were much more foolish than that.”

Mini flashback with Lily Tomlin and DMM—“You had the baby didn’t you?”  Boom, roasted!  Knew a baby was involved!

“Do you know where that child is now?” Patty asks.  Lily Tomlin still adheres to her original nothing-to-do-with-money statement.  Do we believe that, Patty?  Not sure Patty believes it.  I might half believe it.

Ellen’s lolling about in bed.  Whom did you sleep with?  Oh that reporter.  Duh.  Is she going to start telling him everything the way she did Wes?  He’s sure asking a lot of questions.  He’s working for someone!  And now Ellen says she’s going to bake some cupcakes?  Okey dokey, slutty/domestic Ellen.

Of course, DMM does not plead the 5th in the same dramatic, ridiculous, fake-Southern fashion as Marcia Gay Harden on SVU.

Patty talks to DMM and advises her not to “feed the story to the DA’s . . . and I’ll control who gets the money.  Help me now, and I’ll provide for you.”  She also advises DMM to plead the 5th.

Now at the DA’s deposition, DMM does as Patty instructed, and Gates chews Ellen out about it.


At Patty’s apartment, a present arrives at her door.  It’s those cupcakes Ellen baked for Reporter.  Apparently it was Patty’s birthday after all.

Crazy Sister comes to see DMM.  She acts as though she wants to be sisters or something?  DMM says, “We were just trying to make the best of a terrible situation.”  What does this mean?  What terrible situation?

In a series of quick cuts:

  1. Zedeck’s guy(?) is watching the house, and he’s wearing gloves.
  2. Same gloves 5 months later putting Tom in dumpster?!
  3. 5 months previous, Patty wants Tom to go make sure DMM’s still on board.
  4. A cab pulls up to Lily Tomlin’s—it’s DMM’s kid.  That kid is old!!!!!!!  I was expecting like a ten-year-old (because of the will’s provisions), but she’s in her late teens or something!
  5. Tom finds DMM dead in her house.  Duh.
  6. Oh no!  It’s wasn’t Gloves!  Crazy Sister’s throwing drugs off the pier!

And now Patty’s going to binge eat these cupcakes.  Maybe she’ll have another hallucination.  SO right!  The cupcakes turn into blood cupcakes!

End dream.


  • I liked DMM (mostly because I miss watching Criminal Minds?), and I was excited about what they might do with her character.  But now she’s dead.  At least Crazy Sister killed her instead of some shady nobody that I wouldn’t care about.  I’m intrigued to see what Crazy Sister will be up to in subsequent episodes.  Maybe she killed Tom!  Oh, no, probably not.  It had to be somebody big to manhandle him on the floor.  However, she’s kind of a zaftig girl, and with a little adrenaline maybe she could overpower Tom?  Nah, probably not.
  • Alex Benjamin, what are you up to?  Your life, as I know it from this episode, has been a series of strange choices.  First, it’s not cool for Alexandras to be called Alex anymore.  Second, you think it would be a positive thing to be owned by Patty Hewes?  Weirdo!
  • Ellen’s now sending Patty presents.  They’re totally getting back together.  Maybe Ellen took up baking as part of following Patty’s advice to not always think about work?  And maybe she’s making sure Patty doesn’t forget about her because of the new girl?
  • Is this kid actually Dad Tobin’s or Joe Tobin’s?  Dad Tobin seemed to think it was his, the way he provided in the will for her and everything, but that could’ve been just DMM covering up for herself?
  • Dreams—should we interpret or leave that BS to Freud?  Horses—power?; every little girl’s dream?; Uncle Pete as Patty’s dad—pretty natural; Ellen as Patty’s mom—totally weird; bloody feet—harkening back to that blood stain on Patty’s shoe from when Gay Crush Lawyer died; bloody cupcake—still guilty about Ellen?  IDK.
  • I think Joe’s firmly the bad guy now, directing all the shady stuff with the envelope and all.  That envelope was his last straw, maybe.  His slide into the abyss, as it were.  His motives may still be ok, but he’s willing to fight dirtier now, perhaps.  Maybe he killed Tom because Tom was taking his money!  We know Joe can fight, so it’s feasible…

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