This week on Damages, Glenn Close scares the crap out of everyone.
But in a much kinder and gentler way than usual.
We begin right where we left off, with Danny Purcell in the Car of Sadness and Secrets. Busty, of course, is riding shotgun. “Did you kill your wife?” Busty asks. I assume the show cut out the dialogue where they both awkwardly discuss how it’s raining cats and dogs. You shouldn’t jump right into accusations of spousal murder before warming up with a little weather small talk first – at least, that’s how I was raised.
“I had nothing to do with this,” Purcell says in a monotone. Busty asks if Christine Purcell found out about their affair, and we jump to a memory of Purcell and Christine arguing in their kitchen, both in their gala wear. I’m gonna take that as a “yes.” But Purcell, reading my mind and spiting me, says “no.” In Purcell’s world, every day is Opposite Day. It helps me keep track of things, because I’m just going to go ahead and assume that he’s lying about pretty much everything for the rest of the season.
“Someone leaked your toxicity report to Patty Hewes,” Busty says. “I did,” Purcell responds. Lie!! Oh wait, no, that’s actually true. Damn.
“This is not what I had in mind when you suggested a ‘quickie in the car.’”
Busty asks why and Purcell says there are certain things he can’t tell her about for her own protection. Like his herpes outbreak. “You have got to tell me the truth,” Busty presses. “Who is responsible for this?”
“Who do you think?” Purcell asks. As usual, his cryptic responses are utterly useless.
We cut to Tommy filling Patty in on Ultima National, the energy company that employs Busty, er, Claire Maddox. He points out a picture of Walter Kendrick, CEO. He looks like a nice grandfatherly figure to me – like the type of boss who keeps a bowl of Werther’s on his desk and reads to the blind in his spare time. “Ultima National Resources is destroying the environment,” Tommy says. That doesn’t sound like Grandpa. “West Virginia. Acid rain from coal burning power plants.” Grandpa??? “They’ve pushed mercury levels to 87 times the national average.” Okay, we get it, Grandpa is Dr. Evil.
Tommy continues to expand on Ultima’s evil agenda, and Patty gets a justice hard-on. She explains to Tommy that Purcell knows more about Ultima than he’s letting on. She plans to get it out of him. This will not be pretty.
Tommy says he’s on board, but wants Patty to come clean about her past with Purcell. “Is there something between you I need to know?” Patty thinks about that Skinemax special she shot with Purcell in the early 80s, but then remembers that she had all copies destroyed. Then when it found its way onto the internet, she had the internet destroyed as well. She blows off Tommy’s question. (Much like she blew a certain lying scientist we all know and love…heyo!!)
But seriously, Tommy, did you really expect an answer?
After the credits we see Ellen in her hotel room, talking to Dee and Dum. They’ve picked up their suits from the dry cleaners, and are no longer the distracted slobs of the last episode. They ask about the screw-up with Tommy and she says that he was taken off the infant mortality case, right before the payoff was meant to occur. “I don’t see how Patty could have known we were setting Tom up,” Ellen says. That’s because you’re an idiot.
Ellen asks about the Purcell case, and Dum tells her they’re “putting a pin in that,” even though it’s all Patty cares about right now. Strangely, Ellen starts putting on her shoes and adjusting her outfit. She didn’t get dressed before her visit with the FBI? Dee tells her they need to lay low until they figure out why the Tommy plan didn’t work, even though that was detailed in the last episode. These are our tax dollars at work, people. Ellen says her cover’s fine and Patty doesn’t suspect a thing. Again, I say thee idiot.
Dee and Dum tell Ellen to back off and leave it alone for awhile. “We’ll be in touch,” Dee says. I’ve heard that one before, Ellen, and I wouldn’t sit around waiting for his call, girl. He’s just not that into you. Move on, there’s other fish in the sea! Ones who will provide you with even bigger wire taps! Swim, girl, swim!!
You’re breaking up with me? What am I supposed to do now, be an actual lawyer??
Chill, baby, chill. I’ll text you.
Tommy walks into an office and finds Purcell injecting himself with a needle because he’s diabetic. It’s pretty…well, gross. But a clue? Perhaps…. Tommy is briefing Purcell before his meeting with Detective Huntley (Skeletor). He tells him that Christine’s autopsy report revealed signs of a struggle. Purcell asks if there was any evidence found from the murderer, and Tommy says no.
Ellen tracks down Patty in the hall and asks to sit in on the meeting between Purcell and Skeletor. She thinks it would be valuable to gain some experience with criminal law. Plus, all the other lawyers are making fun of her in the lunch room again and she has no one to sit with. Patty turns. “I don’t think Mr. Purcell would be comfortable with you there. And I’m not running a law school.” Burn! I love when Patty shuts Ellen down for absolutely no reason.
Skeletor grills Purcell. He brings up the police report Purcell filed before Christine’s murder when someone broke into his house. He asks if anything was stolen, and Purcell says no. I’m going to start a drinking game – take a shot for every time Purcell tells a lie. I’m literally getting out the tequila now (it’s leftover from my Lost-garita party last night), so this recap could get interesting.
Skeletor asks if the second intruder, the one who killed Christine, stole anything. “Not to my knowledge, no,” Purcell says. Skeletor asks if it was the same man on both occasions, and Purcell says it could have been. Skeletor nearly giggles – he needs to work on his bad cop routine – and asks why someone would break into a house twice and not steal anything. “There wasn’t enough time to steal anything. There was barely enough time to kill her,” Purcell says.
Skeletor lays out some photos of the crime scene. They’re pretty graphic. Purcell starts to cry when he sees the photos. Skeletor asks if there’s anything out of the ordinary. Purcell says no, then gets a concerned look on his face. “Her ring,” he says. She always wore a ruby ring on her right hand, and it’s missing in the photos. “So they stole the ruby, and not the diamond?” Skeletor asks. Skeletor is being kiiiiind of a dick.
“This is a very important development, Mr. Purcell,” Skeletor says. “I made a note.” He points the note out to Purcell. Hehe. “Listen, asshole,” Purcell says (way to demonstrate you don’t have an anger management issue, guy). “You find that ring and you find my wife’s killer.” Patty tells Purcell to calm down. He respectfully declines the suggestion. By going apeshit.
Skeletor gets up to go, but gets in a parting shot. “One last question. Did you ever lay hands on your wife?” Purcell says no. SHOT! Mmmm, that’s the stuff, Jose.
Then Skeletor pulls out his ace in the hole – documents proving that Christine Purcell placed a restraining order against her husband three years ago. The documents include a picture of a bruised-up Christine. Purcell takes this opportunity to go double apeshit. The documents were apparently sealed under court order. Patty basically tells Purcell to shut up before he blows his whole defense.
“Don’t manage me,” Purcell tells Patty. “I’m not a goddamn child.” Even though he throws more tantrums than my 9-year-old sister on a sugar high.
“This is the amount of testicles you will have if you don’t don’t exactly as I say, comprende?”
Later, Patty lays into Tommy for not knowing about the restraining order. “I swear to God, he’s acting like he wants to get arrested,” she says. “He looks like he’s lying about everything.” That’s probably because he IS. Tommy suggests turning Purcell over to a criminal defense attorney and going after Ultima National themselves. “Ultima National is bulletproof,” Patty says. She needs a man on the inside. She knows Purcell knows more than he’s telling. God I hope so, because so far he’s told jack.
Ellen looks up a connection between “Patricia Hewes” and “Daniel Purcell” on the internet. Eight years of law school and she learned how to Google?? Next she sleuths through some files. She pulls one labeled “IBC Global Summary 1999.” She looks through the files in her office, and comes across a transcribed conversation between Patty and Purcell from a deposition in 1999.
Then the words jump off the page and onto your screen with a flashback, 10 YEARS EARLIER. Patty faces off with Purcell across a board table crammed with lawyers. Patty grills Purcell about an IBC Global contaminant. He says it was entirely safe, even at 100 parts per million. She asks if he was sure, then gets out “Exhibit 19.” It’s a letter from Purcell to his child’s daycare, telling them to relocate. Apparently the “safe” toxin was on the day care’s land and he thought it was unsafe at 30 parts per million. Busted.
Ellen gets a phone call. It’s Katie. Our favorite neighborhood coke whore! And she’s doing what she does best – getting wasted at a bar and picking up dudes. Katie asks when Ellen’s coming out and Ellen says she forgot.
“OMG so I met this totally awesome guy, and I’m like 57 percent sure he’s not involved in an international fraud conspiracy. You HAVE to meet him. His name’s Buck. Also, he’s my dealer.”
Katie says she wants Ellen to come down and meet her new boyfriend. Ummmm, have you run a background check on him, sweetie? You don’t have the best taste in men, if I recall. Ellen says she’ll do her best.
Tommy comes in and asks Ellen who she’s blowing off. She tells him it was David’s sister. “Katie Connor?” Tommy asks. Ellen says she hasn’t seen Katie since David’s funeral. “I think she’s in denial.” Denial. Is that a new bar downtown? Then yes, Katie is most likely there.
Ellen asks Tommy about the IBC Global case. She tells him that Daniel Purcell was a key witness against Patty in that trial. “If there’s anything we need to know, Patty will tell us,” Tommy says. That’s a good lap dog.
Middleman is jogging up some stairs in a snazzy tee shirt. I get all uncomfortable when this show creates evil villains and then starts to humanize them. Now not only does he potentially blackmail people and execute scientists’ wives, but he jogs, too? My brain does not compute moral ambiguity. Busty comes up to Middleman, who I now have to call Middleman Wayne because apparently he has a first name. “Thanks for getting our materials back from Patty Hewes,” Middleman Wayne says.
“Why didn’t you tell me Daniel Purcell leaked them?” She asks. Middleman Wayne wants to know why she cares. “I didn’t. Until his wife turned up dead.” She’s pissed that Middleman may have compromised their company. “Your insinuation stops here and now, you understand?” Middleman asks. He pins the murder on Purcell. “You ever meet Daniel Purcell?” Define ‘meet.’ Does ‘meet’ mean ‘have illicit sex with?’ Because, then, yes. “Once or twice,” Busty lies. Oh, Busty.
“The police will find the killer and when they do, my money’s on Purcell,” Middleman calls out.
Middleman immediately calls Mr. Kendrick, a.k.a. Bad Grandpa, a.k.a. Dr. Evil. Kendrick says he’ll take care of Busty. “Make sure Aracite can’t come back to bite us in the ass,” Kendrick says. Middleman assures him that it can’t. They agree that Middleman should come down to West Virginia to talk about what comes next.
Ellen approaches Purcell in the law offices and offers to escort him to Patty. He turns to her, and I swear to God, delivers the following lines in complete monotone, like a robot: “Good morning. I am sorry. I know we have met…” He reaches out to take her hand. Ellen shakes his hand, completely unaware that he is a robot mimicking her human ways. Purcell mystery solved! I called it first.
“I don’t believe a word you say,” Patty says to Purcell in her office. Um, duh. “I’m telling the truth about Christine’s ring,” Purcell says. “I have told you everything I know.” SHOT! Patty says he’ll have to prove it.
Next thing, Purcell is hooked up to a lie detector. The operator asks “Are you a scientist?” Purcell answers yes. (Nerd!) He asks some more questions, and then “Ever think about killing your wife?” Purcell pauses, and the lie detector man, who is sporting a choice mustache of the walrus variety by the way, says that thinking about something isn’t a crime. Purcell doesn’t answer and they move on. “Did you kill your wife?” Purcell pauses, then “no.” I’m taking another SHOT, just for the hell of it.
Then we’re on a farm in Bloomsfield, West Virginia. The cows are lowing, the roosters are clucking and the pig is…not moving. Oh my God, they killed Wilbur. Bastards! A hot guy sporting a tattoo and clutching a reporter’s pad walks up to check out the dead pig. He takes a moment of silence. It’s…intense. Is there a back story between these two? I smell a truly forbidden love story in the works. Or maybe I just smell Wilbur.
“I don’t know how to quit you!”
“Never let go, Jack. Never let go!”
A woman tells the reporter to get away from the pig. The reporter introduces himself as Josh Restin. “We haven’t met, but I knew your pig.” I’ll say. He was some pig.
Josh asks how the pig died. The woman clams up. “Seems to me a lot of folks are losing livestock,” Josh says. “You mind me asking where you get your water? Do you think it’s contaminated from the coal plant?” The woman stares at him. “We’re all alone here,” she says, cryptically. “Don’t fool yourself.” She tells Josh to get off her property.
Ellen is talking to Old Man Nigh, her kindly lawyer friend. She says that 17 years ago, Patty used Purcell as an expert witness and he helped her win a case. But 10 years ago they went head to head on opposite sides of the IBC Global case. Nigh was defense council for IBC at the time. “I read the transcript of Purcell’s deposition. Patty destroyed him. It was like he wasn’t even prepared,” Ellen says. “Oh, we prepared him,” Nigh replies.
Nigh says that IBC was Patty’s first case after she started her firm. She was determined to win. “Daniel Purcell is a brilliant man, but when he faced Patty, he collapsed. It never made sense to me.” Ellen wonders if Patty paid off Purcell to burn the testimony. “If I could prove that, I would have done it a long time ago,” Nigh says.
Back at her hotel, Ellen calls Dee. On his cell phone. From her cell phone. Why doesn’t she just sign a confession reading “I’m spying on you,” and put it under Patty’s door? Honestly, woman. She leaves a voice mail, basically begging the FBI to pursue Purcell’s case. “This is bullshit. I’ve left you five messages today.” Yes, she’s become That Girl. Put down the phone! He’s Just Not Interested. Sigh. They never listen.
Back at Casa de Patty, Hewes is having dinner with her husband and Michael. Michael asks who Danny Purcell is. “If I were you I’d stay away from the guy. He totally killed her,” Michael says. Word. Patty looks down. “You should have seen the look in his eye when I shook his hand. Guy’s a creep,” Michael says. Patty looks at him, sadly. And suspiciously…
Josh walks through the woods, talking on his cell. He’s leaving a voicemail for Purcell. “I need you to call me back. Things are getting worse down here,” Josh says.
Purcell ignores the call. He’s waiting for Patty in a park. When she arrives he asks how he did on the polygraph. “The results were inconclusive,” Patty says. Purcell laughs. Patty says she’s trying to help. “No, for you this is just another big conspiracy to uncover,” Purcell says. “But you were right all along. I was lying to you.” Shocking.
He says he won’t tell Patty everything he knows, because when he does she’ll just cast him aside. “I understand everything about you, Patty.” Do you understand that she will cut a bitch? “I’ll call a good defense attorney for you,” Patty says. “We’re done.”
Michael knocks on Ellen’s door and asks her to look over his college application essay. “Tell me if it sucks. Be brutal with me, I can handle it.” He says.
Purcell gets into a taxi where Busty is waiting. She tells him that she doesn’t know who killed his wife, but he is going to be blamed for it. She tells him that he’s not safe, that he should take his daughter and get out of the country. Wow. Even Purcell isn’t that monumentally boneheaded.
Ellen goes into Patty’s office and asks (again) why they’re defending Purcell. She’s clearly digging around for information, and Patty calls her on it. “If you have questions, just ask.” Ellen asks how they met. “Long before IBC Global I needed an expert witness in an asbestos case,” Patty says. “There’s some men you’ll meet who just, I don’t know, they may be exactly the wrong thing for you, but things start to happen and you can’t help yourself.” Dude, have I ever been there. His name was Marco, and we met at the hot dog stand, bonded over relish hatred …aah, youth.
“That’s what it was like for Daniel and me,” Patty continues. Until the IBC case, that is. “In the transcripts, it didn’t seem like much of a fight,” Ellen says. “What are you implying, that I paid him to throw the case?” Patty responds, smiling in the way she does when she is mentally picturing impaling someone on a letter opener. Then she laughs.
“You amuse me, human. I will let you live…for now.”
We flash back to Patty – ten years ago and sporting a Fierce haircut – handing Purcell an envelope shaped suspiciously like a bundle of money. “I threw the deposition because it was the right thing to do. You don’t owe me anything,” Purcell says. Patty hands him the envelope anyway. “I have given this serious thought and I want you to have it.”
Ellen meets with Dee and Dum. They ask if she found evidence that Patty bribed Purcell in the IBC case. “No, but I think there’s a deeper reason she’s so obsessed with his wife’s murder.” Ellen says she was focused on the wrong case, and that she should have been focusing on the case Patty and Purcell were working on together 17 years ago. 17 years, you say….isn’t that about the time….wait, I’m putting something together here….nope, lost it. Must be all the Jose. Continue.
“Michael Hewes is applying for college. He’s about to turn 18. Roughly 9 months after Patty’s testimony concluded, Michael was born.” Holy shit, Michael is the son of Patty and Purcell!? No wonder he’s the devil’s spawn. I honestly didn’t see that coming.
Flash back 10 years again, Purcell meets Patty on a park bench. He has the envelope with him. It’s not full of money, but instead pictures of a then 7-year-old Michael. “I guess I should thank you for this,” Purcell says. “I always wanted a son.”
Purcell continues that Patty’s timing struck him as odd. He accuses her of only telling him because he helped her on the case. Apparently, that’s not the way he wanted to find out. They get into an argument and Purcell stalks away.
In the present tense, Patty is in her office sipping a latte when Tommy walks in. He says that Purcell was just arrested at JFK for trying to flee the country. I take back my “bonehead” comment.
Meanwhile, in a land far, far away (let’s call it “West Virginia”), our hot intrepid reporter man breaks some laws by cutting through a fence with…let’s call them “fence cutters.” He runs to a rock formation that is leaking water and takes a sample.
Patty stares down Purcell in jail. “What were you thinking” She asks. “You practically forced them to arrest you.” She says she believes he was set up. She will defend him if he tells her everything. He pauses and Patty gets up to go. “Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait,” Purcell says. Patty’s inner voice is all “Bingo, bitch.” Purcell agrees to take her on and tell her everything.
“There’s a reporter that you need to meet,” Purcell says.
We flash back to the very same reporter, climbing out of his new fence hole. He gets to his truck but finds the tire is flat. He throws the water sample in the front seat. As he’s getting his spare tire from the trunk, two big, thug-looking dudes come up from behind him. Uh oh. Is West Virginia where Deliverance was shot?
West Virginians: not friendly
While Josh the Reporter/Pig Lover bleeds on the ground, the two flannel-clad thugs steal his recorder. The keen observer would note, however, that they leave the damning water bottle behind… “Let’s get this back to Kendrick,” they say, as they walk away. Why, Grandpa? Why??
In Patty’s office, Tommy asks Patty why they set Purcell up. Apparently it was Patty who tipped off the police that Purcell was on the run. “People have a tendency to talk when they’re behind bars.” Or when they’re in bars. Or when they’re sitting in front of their computer screen taking shot after shot of Jose Cuervo and pretending that they’re in a bar…
Patty says she’s not sure if Purcell is guilty, but that she does remember seeing a ruby ring on her hand the night she was murdered. “Something definitely happened to it.”
Cut to a nervous, sweaty-looking dude walking into a pawn shop and handing over…the ruby ring! Hey, that dude looks….Nordic…..!
Okay, off to pass out now.