Last night’s episode of Damages was a fun, twisty labyrinth of tension and back-stabbing, and all of the characters were feeling the heat. Patty was dismayed to find out that the plaintiffs on the Tobin case had grown impatient and wanted to replace her as their lawyer. Judge Riley gave her one last week to make some progress with Tessa Marchetti, and warned her against going outside the law to retrieve the money. With the clock ticking loudly in his ear, Tom took matters into his own hands and tried to shake down Tessa himself, which only sent Tessa running and crying to the DA’s office. Ellen’s co-worker realized that she’s been in cahoots with Tom and Patty, and selfishly ratted her out to Gates. Then just as Tessa was about to align herself with Patty, Gates had her arrested!
Meanwhile, Marilyn Tobin was all in a tizzy because her African charity wouldn’t let her go on safari to visit impoverished children in Tanzania. She hoped Mr. Zedeck could swing the board in her favor, but at the last minute, he used his deciding vote against her! Winstone was getting hot under the collar himself when his blackmailing father called asking for money. Winstone tried to shut him out, but his pops literally barged his way back into his life and his office, this time demanding to be cut into the hidden Tobin money scheme.
Patty lent Ellen her trusty henchman, Mr. Clean, who didn’t have any good news regarding Ellen’s jailbird sister, Meth Face. Meanwhile, Ellen suddenly became plagued by disturbing nightmares about yellow posies, bloody soup, and a mysterious, maternal brunette. When she found a photo of the brunette in question, she asked her mom and sister for answers, but both seemed less than forthcoming, other than to tell her that her name was Ann, and she used to babysit Ellen. Ellen decided to let her sister rot in jail and set out on a search to find Ann.
Ellen wants to follow in Patty’s footsteps so badly that she’s having nightmares now, too!
Ellen’s dressed all black and carrying yellow flowers. Whose funeral is it? She lets herself into an apartment and calls out, “Patty?” Somewhere, “Twinkle, Twinkle” is playing on a music box. In the kitchen, a mysterious hand is stirring a giant pot. “What’s for dinner?” Ellen asks. “Your favorite,” replies a mysterious brunette, who then starts speaking to Ellen as if she is a little girl.
Who the hell are you, Mamma Mia?
Ellen is stirring the soup when she suddenly ladles up a photo of a little girl and everything goes all wacky surrealist. “What’s this?” “Oh, that’s you, sweetheart,” coos the brunette. RED RUM! Ellen wakes up from a nightmare.
Is that oregano in my Polaroid soup? Because I’m allergic to nightmares with subtext.
Come play with me, Ellen!
Ellen interrogates her sister, who’s quickly learning that orange is the new black. Meth Face blames her arrest on her buddy, Becky, who turned her over to the police after she sold to her. Ellen says she’s not supposed to get involved, but she found someone who can help.
Cut to Patty working at her desk. Tom comes up with Tessa’s flight plans for the month of November. Her first trip to Antigua was Thanksgiving, and she’s flown there every week since. Patty deduces that the money was already in Antigua, and that on Thanksgiving, Tessa started moving it out! Alex Benjamin, MIA for several episodes now, barges in with some unfortunate news in her unfortunate accent: the plaintiffs in the Tobin case have demanded a meeting with Patty.
Alex Benjamin! Where have you been hiding, girl?
Winstone tells Tobin that Patty Hewes approached Tessa. When Joe asks how he knows this, Winstone says he heard it from Marilyn, who heard it from Tessa over girl talk during lunch in the cafeteria. Joe decides he needs to speak to Tessa in person.
The Tobin case plaintiffs start sniping and bitching at Patty in the conference room. They are at their wits’ end, and demand money! Patty swears the money is out there, but if they settle now, they’ll only get 3% of what they originally lost. Tom is sweating bullets. The plaintiffs come clean to Patty and tell her they requested a new lawyer for the case. Tom officially craps his pants.
Bitch better have my money!
Tessa is skipping down the street with some greasy Italian boyfriend we’ve never met before, regaling him with some lame story about a bitchy passenger, when Joe Tobin pops out of the blue and requests a moment of her time. Joe says he knows he didn’t want anything to do with her before, but now they are family, and he wants to take care of her. He hands her a check and tells her to have a special dinner with her boyfriend. Tessa happily accepts the hush money from her new half-brother and immediately starts making a reservation for two at Babbo.
Sorry, Big Bro, but you’re kinda cramping my style.
Ellen meets with Tom and Patty for their customary hush-hush pow-wow. Patty tells Ellen about the plaintiffs’ petition. Tom wants to put extra pressure on Tessa, but Patty seems to exude a defeatist attitude. Tom gets snippy, and Patty tells him to calm down, which only makes Tom more irate and belligerent. Ellen doesn’t like it when mommy and daddy fight, and she looks like she’s about to cry. Patty tells Tom to stay away from Tessa and Tom storms out in a huff. Patty switches gears by asking Ellen if she has contacted “Malcolm” yet, because he will prove instrumental in helping her sister’s case.
Tom tries to diffuse the tension with his cross-eyed, duckbill pladypus impression.
Marilyn barges into Winstone’s office, bitching that some charity returned her generous check donation and is refusing to let her attend her annual trip to visit the homeless Tanzanian children she apparently sponsors and loves so much. “They’re the only thing that give my life meaning anymore!” she whines. (That, and some cheap L’Oreal red hair dye.) Winstone says he will try to pull strings with the board, and Marilyn suggests he talk to board member Stuart Zedeck. Winstone pretends he’s never heard of Zedeck before, but will see what he can do.
Send in the clowns!
Tom tells his wife about the plaintiff’s petition. Mrs. Shayes is confused, because she thought Tom was making progress on finding the money in Antigua. Oh, sweetie! She couldn’t buy a clue even if they still had their money. Tom tells her they have to sell. “Sell what?!” she asks incredulously, like she’d rather cut off her left breast than part ways with her precious lake house. “Anything we don’t need!” Tom explains to her in plain English. When he says he accepted an offer on the lake house, she loses her shit and says she wishes they could make these decisions together. Lesson one, sweetie: when you actually start earning half the income, THEN you get a say. Mrs. Shayes then goes all Lady Macbeth on Tom’s ass, and tries to get him to follow his instinct about putting the pressure on hostile witness, Tessa.
I’m sorry, but Tom’s wife is SUCH a rag! Why can’t he sell HER?
Curtis Gates slithers through the DA’s office, and makes a snide comment to Ellen about her inability to do her job. Ellen doesn’t seem at all worried that Gates is planning on re-interviewing witnesses himself, because he thinks she let something slip through the cracks – which she did! You’re playing with fire, girl!
Winstone calls Zedeck about Marilyn’s temper tantrum and asks for his help. Zedeck says he’ll see what he can do.
Ellen meets with “Malcolm” who turns out to be Mr. Clean. Ellen gives him the 411 on her Meth Face sister. Mr. Clean makes it very clear that if Becky testifies in court, then Meth Face will be going behind bars. He also makes it abundantly clear that Patty told him to do WHATEVER it takes to keep that from happening. Ellen naively says she is aware of the implications, but I don’t think she is! Becky is about to get a bullet between the eyes! Mr. Clean promises to be in touch.
Spuds Mackenzie? Is that you?
Tom is at work trying to focus, but gets distracted by some cheesy family photos. Cut to him meeting with Tessa on the sly and trying to force her hand into helping him. Tom twists the knife in her side by revealing that the Tobins are really behind her mother’s mysterious death, and that they killed her to protect their money. He begs her to tell him the truth about Thanksgiving, and promises he can protect her. Tessa tells him to shove his protection up his ass and storms off.
Winstone’s shirt is unbuttoned, and there’s cheesy stripper music playing as he pours himself a drink and then sucks face with his buxom Russian concubine. They are interrupted by a call from his creepy father who wants to know why his blackmail checks haven’t been arriving. “You’re not getting shit!” Winstone sneers. “I’m disappointed in you,” his dad says and hangs up.
Ellen narrowly escapes a lunch date offer from her crash-test dummy co-worker, when Tessa Marchetti walks into the DA’s office, and asks to speak to someone about the Tobin case. In light of what Tom Shayes told her, Tessa wants to know if they are investigating the Tobins in regards to her mother’s death. Ellen realizes that Tom’s actions have potentially exposed her breach of confidentiality, and she quickly tries to apologize and say Tom’s claims are unfounded. But Crash Test Dummy is no dummy. He puts 2 and 2 together and deduces that Ellen is working with Patty behind Gates’ back. Ellen begs him to keep quiet – for the time being.
Ellen’s either shifting uncomfortably in her seat or passing gas.
Either way, she’s silent but deadly.
Zedeck meets with the board about Marilyn’s trip to Tanzania. The board feels that she and her shiteous red hair would be a PR nightmare for the charity, so they put it to a vote. 5 are in favor of her going, and 5 are opposed. The deciding vote comes down to Zedeck, who stuns the board (and me!) by admitting that he thinks Marilyn should not be allowed to attend!
“All those opposed to Marilyn’s shiteous red hair dye?”
Ellen lays into Tom for blowing her cover. He apologizes and says he’s going to come clean to Patty, but Ellen stops him. Why, you ask? Beats me! She says if Patty finds out, he should blame everything on Ellen. It’s not like Patty can fire her twice! True, but she CAN always try to kill you again!
“Thanks for blowing my cover, dummy!”
Patty sits down with the judge on the Tobin case and tries to explain their new lead in Tessa. But the judge isn’t hearing it. “I already warned you once,” he tells her, and says the plaintiffs have good reason to want to fire her. Show me the money! Patty muses that she can try to use her own resources to find the money. “Operate outside the bounds of my courtroom, and I’ll have you disbarred,” the judge growls. Patty says when she finally finds the money, no one is going to care HOW she did it. “Consider yourself warned,” the judge says, and gives her one more week.
Where did this smart, coral suit come from, Patty?
Ellen is having another nightmare. She walks into the kitchen with the yellow flowers. “Did you pick those for me?” her mother asks. Ellen sits on her bed and looks through old photos. Suddenly she comes across one of the brunette woman holding yellow flowers! Creepy!!
This is the mother of all coincidences!
Winstone consoles Marilyn. She’s outraged that Zedeck couldn’t be more persuasive with the board. Winstone’s secretary calls to inform him that an Albert Wiggins is there to see him. He says he’s an old friend. Winstone turns a pale shade of white and tells her to relay a message that he’s with a client. Just as Marilyn asks who that is, Albert barges into the office and says he’s sorry but he just HAD to see Winstone. He then ingratiates himself to Marilyn, who is utterly confused as to who he is. Albert pretends to be Winstone’s law school teacher, who is considering retiring to the city. Winstone tries to hussle out his pops, who threatens him that he’ll be around, and he looks forward to a chat soon.
“You’re probably wondering my manners are! Well, I lost them. Along with my marbles!”
Ellen picks up her mother, who is nervously chattering about Meth Face’s drug case. Ellen shows her mom the picture of the brunette woman and asks her about it. Her mom reveals that she used to babysit Ellen. Her names was Ann-Something, but it was so long ago, she can hardly remember. Her mom chuckles and tries to get them out the door, but Ellen digs deeper, and asks if she ever slept over at Ann’s house. This seems to rattle the mom’s cage. Ellen is definitely on to something here!
Now we know where Ellen gets her crazy eyes from!
Ellen’s dummy co-worker approaches Gates and completely rats her out. Wow. I didn’t see that coming! What a douche!
Mr. Clean surreptitiously meets with Ellen in her car. He tells her that her sister is “knee deep in this shit” and has been selling for quite some time. Mr. Clean hints at a way to make this all go away (ie, snuffing that bitch Becky) but Ellen says she’ll handle it. She then asks about that other matter, and he hands her a file on Ann Connel. He couldn’t find much – just an address 100 miles out of the city.
Zedeck apologizes to Winstone, but he says his decision was in Marilyn’s best interest. He then hands Winstone a duffle bag full of cash and says they’ll have to keep up these transactions in small doses.
Ellen and Patty are chillin’ on the couch, chatting about Meth Face. Ellen asks Patty for advice. Patty says her husband left her and her unemployed teenage son is about to become a father. “You may want to ask someone else for advice!” I’m impressed Patty made such a scathing funny at her own expense. Then Patty fishes for info on Tom, and wonders if Ellen knows why he’s been so tense lately. Ellen plays dumb, and instead comments on that damn hole in the wall.
Ellen visits Meth Face in jail and shows her the picture of Ann. The sister gets all cagey, too. Ellen is now rightly suspicious. Out of nowhere, Ellen says her sister used to taunt her by saying she was adopted. Meth Face gruffly says she was just kidding. Obviously she is a Parsons! She then asks if Ellen can help her out with the case or not. Ellen says she CAN help her, but she WON’T. Ellen says it’s Meth Face’s fault she’s in jail, and she has to deal with the consequences. WOW!
Whoever said orange is the new black … was probably on meth.
Wintone meets his pops at a bar and threatens that he can have his dad whacked if he’s not careful. His dad laughs in his face and actually compliments Winstone on conning the Tobins all these years. Winstone whines that the Tobins aren’t “marks,” they’re more like family. The dad says he’s not there to ruin his game. In fact, he knows Louis Tobin stashed money away, and he wants in on the action.
Tessa barges up to Ellen on the street, and Ellen tells her that this confidential meeting never happened, or she will lose her job. Ellen then admits that the Tobins are in fact being investigated for Danielle’s death. Ellen worries for Tessa’s safety and gives her the number of someone to call.
Patty is dealing with another one of Tom’s whiney meltdowns, when Tessa calls her and says she wants to talk. Patty convinces her to come to her office, then wonders aloud to Tom what changed her mind. “I have no idea,” says Tom.
Ellen phones in sick to work, and tells Gates’ secretary that she is out of town on an investigation. She then looks over at the passenger seat and smiles at the photo of Ann.
Tessa is en route to Patty’s office when a black sedan pulls up in front of her and two feds step out.
“Where is she?” Tom asks Patty, nervously pacing.
Tessa is arrested and thrown into the back of the sedan, where Gates is waiting. Her phone rings. “I wouldn’t answer that if I were you,” he warns menacingly, and the sedan pulls off.
Tessa looks genuinely scared. And for once I’m worried about her…