Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Review - Damages Season 3 Episode 1 Your Secrets Are Safe

I wish I hadn't read spoilers, but I did. Two weeks ago, I read that Tom Shayes would be killed off, so when the police started poking around the dumpster, I immediately assumed Tom would be inside, dead. Well I was right, so I wasn't that surprised. If I hadn't read the spoilers, I assume my reaction would have been greater. Tom has been a fixture on the show for two seasons, and Tate Donovan is fantastic.

It was a great plot twist that rivals that of season 1. We know Tom will die, we know Ellen's handbag bought by Patty is at the scene of the crime, and we know Tom's car was used to hit Patty's car. The clues are in place, the case is in place, and

Tom is a sad character with no hope for redemption now that he'll die. He's always strived for more, pushing to be added to the company name. He's a loyal worker for Patty and does the dirty work she asks for. At long last, he's gotten his name on the company logo. The cost is his life. His success always comes at a price and finally he'll get his due.

Ellen, after being at the DA's office for a while, is being dragged back into Patty's world. Ellen has always been drawn to Patty and vice versa. Their mutual attraction (in a non-romantic sense) is pulling them together once more.

The case Patty is working this season is a pulled from the headlines Bernie Madoffesque ponzi scheme. The villain is Louis Tobin (Len Cariou), but the focus of the season doesn't seem to be on him. His wife Marilyn Tobin (Lily Tomlin) and son Joseph Tobin (Campbell Scott) are now "poor" and don't know where Louis stashed his money.

The difficulty with Damages is the duality of the developing stories. In all three seasons, the jump months ahead shows the permanent main characters doing something. In season one it was a bloody Ellen. In season two it was Ellen with a gun on Patty. In season three it's Patty hit by a car and Tom dead in a dumpster. The balance between the build up to those instances and the case Patty is working on often doesn't mesh well. Season one worked because Ted Danson is such a powerful force, the case was more straightforward, and there were less storyline. With Ellen's crazy story also occurring, it made for one of the best seasons of television ever. Season two had the really bad story with William Hurt and had so many threads going on, there was no focus or order.

I'm hoping the next few episodes will be as good, because I really like what's going on right now.

Score: 9.4/10


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