'Damages': David is Goliath

Clarkepeters_lifeonmars_240 The last act of this week's Damages packed in an awful lot of information, what with a death, more revelations about Wes and yet another tease about what happens in this season's climax. If only the rest of the episode had been as valuable.

These spoilers have you under surveillance right now.

Instead, though, we spent an inordinate amount of time dealing with parental issues: Ellen's mom worrying that her daughter has no one she can really talk to with David gone, Claire Maddox's father nagging her about grandkids and Patty and Phil meeting Michael's new girlfriend, the 40ish owner of an art gallery.

I'm willing to ignore all of that if you are. OK? OK. Let's get to the good stuff.

We had known for a while that the cool and mysterious Dave (played by the eminently cool Clarke Peters) had a lot of irons in the fire, and tonight we learned that he -- not Walter Kendrick or his flunky Wayne or anyone else on the UNR payroll -- is the No. 1 bad guy this season. I almost wonder whether we're going to get his full story in the remaining three episodes, or if he'll be involved in next season's story too, because for all we now know about what he does, we still have very little inkling about why he does it.

But oh my, he does do some things. He flatly tells Kendrick that he's pushing Phil for energy secretary to create a conflict of interest for Patty, while at the same time pushing Kendrick to settle Patty's shareholder suit because he knows that if she sniffs the market-manipulation he's pulling off through Finn, the case will only get more volatile.

And, oh yeah, he has one FBI agent on the take, and by episode's end another one in a body bag. Harrison has the misfortune of answering his partner's phone and, thinking it's the ex-wife Werner has supposedly been battling for months, discovers a male voice on the other end. A little digging and a rooftop confrontation later, Werner fesses up to feeding information on Patty to his benefactor and tells Harrison he can get a cut too. Harrison ruminates on it and finally says yes, but let me meet the guy first.

He never gets to meet Dave, though, because two of Dave's goons murder him and make it look like a heroin overdose. Dave apparently has the bureau's deputy director in his pocket too, and now Werner is even more on the hook to bring down Patty. (I'm assuming, too, that he's the one with cameras trained on Claire and Daniel.)

Rosebyrne_damages_s2_240 Following the edict of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," then, Dave and Ellen should be BFFs, but something tells me it won't work out that way, because the episode's other major bit of business was a little more revelation of what goes on with Ellen and Patty in the oft-played "I lied too" scene.

What goes on, we learned tonight, is not what Agent Werner expected. He's got Ellen's suite bugged and is expecting to hear some kind of confession from Patty -- and not a pair of gunshots that send him sprinting from his van (into daylight, curiously enough. The way the scene has been lit previously, you'd have figured night, wouldn't you?). The episode ends with Patty staggering out of the room with a look of utter shock on her face, which she then smears with a blood-stained hand before slumping to the floor of the elevator.

The scene is just ambiguous enough to be interpreted as Patty having been shot (thus making it her own blood on her hand) or to the idea that someone else is also in the room, which would mean Patty touched the victim before leaving. I'll let you sort it out in the comments.

Less big, but still important, is the added bit of Wes' background we discover. As an emotionally wrecked Ellen tells him she's working with the FBI, we see her first meeting with the agents from a different perspective -- one that has Wes staking out the limo and reporting her movements via phone, presumably to Messer. So he's been running a long game on her, to say the least.

It also seems that Wes is an ex-cop, given that Messer threatens to "call your old lieutenant" if Wes doesn't follow through on the order to get rid of Ellen. I'm not sure whether the specifics of what Messer has on Wes will end up mattering, but it's nice to clear up that piece of business.

Other thoughts from this week's Damages:

  • I get that the parental interludes were meant to be illustrative of character, but I'm not sure they were all that necessary (though watching Patty try to restrain herself when she met Michael's lady friend Jill was pretty amusing). I think I could have understood, for instance, Claire's disillusionment with Kendrick and her career without her dad spitting "But what do you have to look forward to?" in her face.
  • On the subject of Claire, I'm curious to see what she does with the knowledge that Kendrick is a liar and a criminal. Will she continue to fight Patty or flip on her boss?
  • If you listen closely to the first call Werner gets from "Pam," it's a man's voice on the other end. My initial thought was, "Did they forget to correct the audio?"
  • Line of the night goes to Patty, threatening Jill: "You will break his heart, and when you do, I will tear your face off." To her credit, Jill hardly blinks, and even offers Patty "the family discount" on items in the gallery.

What did you think of Damages this week? Are you happy that the endgame is about to start?