***We know it’s a bit late in the season, but we love our Damages and finally found the recapper to take on this beast! Please welcome our newest hero, SlifeGoesOn!!
This week on Damages: Patty is warned by Judge Riley (and by extension, disgruntled viewers at home) to step up her game – and boy does she ever! Patty comes out of the gate swinging, enlisting newbie Alex in her scheme to become a pimp! Tom and Joe Tobin have more in common than we thought, as both struggle to find enough cash to make ends meet. Ellen steps into the ring and gets in a few good shots, but it’s Tom who proves the ultimate champion as he gets out some much needed aggression.
In this corner, the reigning champ, Patty Hewes!
For starters, we can all breathe a heavy sigh of relief. Lily Tomlin was mercifully NOT in this episode. Aside from the fact that she is unconvincing as ANY man’s wife (even a dead man) … I find her Ronald McDonald ‘do SO distracting! She was a welcome absence!
Does the carpet match the drapes?
The episode opens with Tom Shayes and his beleaguered wife getting some unfortunate news from their lawyer: Time to cut back! But where to start? Megan’s private school? Never! The lake house? Surely, you jest! Oh, to be a rich, white devil woman whose biggest problem is having to sell her lake house! Mrs. Shayes wants her hubby to sue their nefarious financial advisor Eric Nichols who supplanted them with bad advice. But Tom’s a puss, and the lawyer warns them to stay away from Nichols. Mrs. Shayes storms off in a huff as visions of WalMart dance in her head.
Cut to “4 Months Later.” Weird irish music is playing. Vic, the cop investigating Patty’s car crash and Tom’s death stares out into the harbor, and licks his lips menacingly. This guy is BEYOND weird! He’s giving Martin Short’s Leonard Winstone a run for his money when it comes to “Biggest Creep of the Season.” What was up with that TV set – spaz attack last week? I feel like we’ve only hit the tip of the kinky iceberg! Anyways, the other detective, Officer Chubbo, announces that Tom’s time of death was AFTER Patty’s car crash, meaning he could very well be the other driver! Dun dun dun!
Normally, I fast-forward through shows’ opening credits, but there’s something I love about Damages‘ artistic title sequence. Maybe it’s the lyrics to The VLA’s song, “When I Am Through With You.” Every time they sing, “Little lamb… When I am through with you / There won’t be anything left,” I literally picture Glenn Close savagely devouring an innocent lamb with her bare hands. What?! Don’t look at me like that! You’ve seen what she does to bunny rabbits! You know she’s capable of it!
I said I wanted my lamb medium rare!
Moving on … Judge Riley pays Patty a little social visit. “People are losing confidence in you,” he warns. “They want to see progress.” Yes, we do! She needs to produce some results (read: stolen Tobin funds) ASAP! Otherwise, he’ll be forced to take her off the case! Patty plays it cool, but clearly he has lit a fire under her cold, steely ass.
Meanwhile, Ellen’s boss, Curtis Gates, is investigating the death of Danielle Marchetti. The coroner has ruled it as heart failure. “Same as Louis Tobin,” Ellen points out. “Holy coincidence!” Curtis exclaims. “To the Batmobile!”
Leonard Winstone helps Joe Tobin prep for his cloak-and-dagger meeting with Zedeck, one of his late father’s associates, by handing him a pistol from the 1800′s. You know, in case they duel.
Just when you thought Damages had front-loaded the season with guest-stars, out pops the incomparable Wallace Shawn (Inconceivable!) as Sterling Biddle, an ex-con who Patty arranges a meeting with in prison. Their razor-sharp tete-a-tete was an even more masterful battle of wits than his sit-down with Cary Elwes in The Princess Bride. Basically, she wants his crafty financial expertise to help locate the Tobin money. And he wants a conjugal visit. But who will come out “on top?” My mind went to a very dark place, imagining Glenn Close and Wallace Shawn going at it in the sheets. Ugh!! My eyes! My eyes! But seriously, how far will Patty go to get what she needs?
Conjugal visits? Inconceivable!
I only had to wait until the next scene to find out! Eager-beaver attorney Alex Benjamin saunters into Patty’s office, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, hoping that Patty has called her in to offer her a job. Not so fast, blondie! Patty has a rather large hoop for you to jump through first. “Have you ever been to prison?” Patty asks coolly. OMG! Patty is willing to whore out prospective associates in exchange for information? Now, that’s the Patty we know and love!
Joe Tobin is nervously riding the F train, surrounded by a bunch of low-lifes and commoners. The fear in Campbell Scott’s eyes looks pretty authentic, as if he is wondering whether he is a guest-star on Damages or The Wire. The train reaches its final stop, and everyone clears out, save for one thug who approaches Tobin menacingly and reaches into his coat pocket. Seized by yuppie fear, Tobin reaches for the pistol in his own pocket, but it turns out the thug was only putting on a pair of glasses to read the subway map! You’ve been punk’d, Joe Tobin! But before he can let out a sigh of relief, Zedeck’s henchman appears out of nowhere and feigns a routine frisk so he can playfully molest poor Joe. Just as he’s about to discover the pistol however, the mysterious Zedeck emerges from the traincar’s shadows, played by Dominic Chianese, the actor most famously known for his role as Uncle Sal on The Sopranos. Zedeck starts waxing poetic about Joe’s mom, and how awful her current financial situation must be without the vacations and the furs. “Marilyn always loved her mink.” Odd. He supposes that he and Joe are partners now, but Joe needs proof first. “What kind of proof” asks Zedeck. “Money!” Joe hisses rather desperately, or he’ll turn over all evidence to the authorities.
“You shop at Lens Crafters, too? No way!”
Wallace Shawn is informed that his visitor has arrived, and Alex Benjamin timidly enters his cell. “Patty always had an eye for the pretty ones,” he says, and I am literally terrified for Alex. Does she really think that boning Wallace Shawn will land her that corner office at Patty’s firm? Does Patty really think she can get away with being a madam? Surely I am not watching one of the final episodes of Nip/Tuck? Alex claims she is fine, and begins to slowly and seductively unzip her thigh-high boot … Inconceivable!!!
“Is that my reflection in your head?”
Ellen’s investigation leads her and her half-wit coworkers to Richard Renfro, one of Patty’s clients in the class-action lawsuit, who was rather vocal about his disdain of Louis Tobin. They question him at Patty’s office, under Patty’s watchful eye, but get nowhere. Patty asks Ellen to stay a moment, then chides, “Why are you wasting my time? You just brought two lightweights into my office!” The gloves are off, and this kitty’s got claws! (Though Patty should really watch out; her grandma sweater from J. Crew is no match for Ellen’s smart pantsuit!) Patty then tries to add insult to injury, by asking Ellen what she thinks of Alex Benjamin. Ellen politely replies that she is just what Patty is looking for: “She’s smart, ambitious, very dedicated. She’ll fit right in.” “I’m glad you like her,” Patty retorts. “I didn’t say I like her,” Ellen says, and walks out. Ta-dow! Speaking of heavyweights, this round goes to Ellen!
Bitchy is not a good color on you, Patty.
In the episode’s most hilarious and heartbreaking scene, Tom finds himself in front of Megan’s classroom on Career Day asking if anyone knows what a lawyer does. One sassy little ginger named Charlotte responds with, “They handle divorces. So daddy can marry somebody else.” Charlotte’s young, buxom stepmom shifts uncomfortably in her seat, as Tom forces a smile, and I burst out laughing. Tom spies the unscrupulous Eric Nichols in the room, rudely texting away on his Blackberry, and uses some lame mashed potatoes metaphor about rules to try and get his attention. Luckily, someone starts applauding and Tom returns to his seat mere moments before a giant, comedic hook yanks him off the stage.
If looks could kill, Charlotte’s new mommy would have no head.
Alex returns to Hewes & Shayes, but is summarily dismissed by the Zooey Deschanel wannabe receptionist, who informs her that Patty asked for her to leave. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Just get the hell out! Puzzled and dejected, Alex walks away, not knowing that her only crime is that she isn’t Ellen.
Zedeck’s henchman leads Joe Tobin on a wild goose chase through the Russian ghetto, to a mailbox containing a dry cleaning receipt. At the dry cleaners, Tobin wordlessly exchanges the ticket for a giant garment box. “Don’t forget to thank Mr. Zedeck,” the grizzled old woman tells him in a thick, Eastern European accent that made me chuckle.
Back in prison, Patty pays another visit to Wallace Shawn, who thanks her for the “delightful” girl. “She was just what I needed,” he says. I nearly vomited. Mostly because Patty is still wearing that hideous, frumpy sweater. Patty cuts to the chase, and asks where he thinks Tobin stashed the stolen money. “You want to find that money?” Wallace Shawn asks. “Don’t look further than the Caribbean.”
Again with the sweater!
Later, at home, Patty’s much sought-after architect arrives, and it turns out to be none other than Keith Carradine, aka Detective Frank Lundy from Dexter! I mean, it turns out to be that weird, random guy who asked Patty out on a date in the season premiere. He apologizes for their first encounter, then strides in and tells her that the problem with her loft conversion is that all of the building’s original beauty, history, and warmth all lay hidden behind her new, cold, minimalist walls. Ok, I took enough English classes in high school to get it: he’s talking about Patty, not her loft. But the way he licks his chops as he caresses the wall makes me wonder if he’s not a plumber just looking to clean her pipes? Patty tells him that she’s not ready for the mess of a renovation, and the aging gigolo takes his act back on the road. “You know where to find me,” he says simply.
Seriously! Does she not own any other clothes?!
Tobin and Winstone are equally confounded when they open the garment box and find a mink coat inside with a card that simply reads, “For Marilyn.” Mink? Really? I haven’t seen anyone receive a mink coat as a gift since Whoopi Goldberg’s mafioso boyfriend gave her one in the 1992 smash comedy, Sister Act. And even then it was purple, and a re-gift from his wife’s closet! How tacky! Tired of the mind games, Tobin tells Winstone to send the coat back.
Tom meets privately with his father-in-law, who gives him some sob story about how he can’t afford his wife’s cancer treatments, blah blah blah. Ever thought about selling YOUR lake house, grandpa?! Tom, ever the bleeding-heart boy scout, promises he will help.
Cut to “4 Months Later.” Ellen knocks on Tom’s apartment door, then lets herself in. The tension builds. Someone’s in the kitchen (with Dinah.) It’s Tom, holding a giant duffel bag of money. Ellen asks, “Does Patty know?” Tom replies, “Don’t worry about Patty.” Smash cut to Patty driving her car and then getting plowed into! Hmm, the plot thickens!
Tom tells Patty that Wallace Shawn’s intel checks out about the Caribbean. Tobin would have needed someone close that he could trust to fly under the radar and deposit the money in person. Unfortch, no known Tobin associates have a record of traveling to the Caribbean. Back to square one, Patty!
Ellen grills Louis Tobin’s personal physician, Dr. Brandt, about the matching elevated potassium levels they found in Danielle and Tobin’s bodies. Dr. Brandt confesses only to supplying Louis with the KNOWLEDGE of how to commit suicide. Speaking of which, where is crazy Carol during all of this? She was totally the breakout star of last week’s episode!
Over drinks, Alex asks Ellen for her advice about Patty. She confesses that Patty made her do something … unorthodox. Flashback to Alex unzipping her boot, and pulling out a small jar of caviar for Wallace Shawn that she smuggled in. Just as she’s about to leave, he asks, “Aren’t you going to stay and watch me eat it?” GENIUS! Alex can’t understand why Patty won’t return her phone calls now. Um, she’s just not that into you, girl! Ellen smugly tells her to run. “Run for your life!” Then she takes a big, dramatic swig of her drink like she’s a matriarch on some telenovela.
“I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch scotch!”
Zedeck finds out that Joe returned the mink. “If he doesn’t trust me, then I don’t trust him!” Zedeck whines like a little bitch. This playground tussle is growing very tiresome.
In other schoolyard news, Tom becomes enraged when smarmy Nichols brags about his busy day. “You played golf?” Tom asks. “You took the jet?!” he gasps. The divide between the have’s and the have-not’s has never been more poetic. You can literally hear Tom’s sanity snap in half. When Nichols excuses himself to take a phone call, Tom follows him into the hallway and proceeds to beat the crap out of him.
Tom’s balls grew three sizes that day.
Ellen emerges from the subway (wow, is everyone cutting back these days?) and gets a call from Alex, who is over the moon about Patty’s sudden and miraculous job offer. Although Ellen congratulates Alex, she struggles to hold back the tears and it is clear that this is a one-two punch to her ego. Patty wins … yet again!
Joe Tobin checks into a seedy motel for another meeting with Zedeck, who grumbles about Tobin being unappreciative of his generosity. Just as you think Zedeck’s henchman is going to bitchslap Tobin, they tell him to check the bottom dresser drawer, where he finds a standard issue briefcase full of cash. His face lights up like a kid on Christmas morning.
Tom, now sporting a busted lip, calls Patty from some flim-flam private jet company, to tell her that he suspects Tobin was using Danielle Marchetti’s daughter, now a flight attendant, as his cash mule to Antigua. That’s quite a stretch of the imagination, but I’m up for a little vacay! Antigua, here we come!
Cut to “4 Months Later.” Vic and Officer Chubbo finally get around to inspecting Tom Shayes’ busted up car. In the trunk they find the duffel bag full of cash. Cue the weird Irish music again. Vic smiles and says, “I like where this case is heading.” Is he packing his bags for Antigua, too? Cuz if I have to see him in a Tiki shirt sipping a mai tai, I’m going to vomit.
The final scene is a bit of an anti-climactic letdown, as Tom storms past his lawyer into Hewes & Shayes, vowing to get his money back. And, scene! Still, all in all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable episode. As always, anyone dumb enough to get in the ring with Patty is cruisin’ for a bruisin’. Here’s hoping she leaves the J. Crew sweater sets at home when they go poking around for answers in the Caribbean, though!
Clearly, Patty, one size does NOT fit all!