He’d been hanging back for a while, content to be part of the ensemble while Glenn Close and Ted Danson stole all the attention. But this week on Damages, it was finally time for Tate Donovan to come into his own, and he didn’t disappoint.

(Look out for spoilers.)

Tom Shayes was the man of the hour. Not only did he tell Patty he was leaving without managing to be gruesomely killed on his way out, but he took on the Frobisher case after the employees fired Patty. He even thought of setting up shop on his own for a while. All of this he did with the encouragement of his loud, obnoxious, yet somehow awesome friend, played by Donal Logue. I don’t know what it was — Donal Logue’s character was the worst kind of self-centered businessman, offering tips on negotiation and using "Power!" as a catchphrase, but I still ended up enjoying his presence on screen.

Anyway, so Donal took Tom out to celebrate, which only ended in Tom passing out and having a vision of Patty telling him he was good enough to make it on his own. Of course, they had to do some nifty camera work to get the point across that it was a hallucination, because showing up randomly in a locked men’s room isn’t something that I think any of us would put past Patty Hewes. The real Patty Hewes did not think Tom was good enough, and told him to take his clients to Cutler because Tom’s only talent was as a subordinate.

In the end, fratty pal Donal helped Tom realize what he really wanted: to stay with Patty. Which would be kind of heartwarming, if Patty hadn’t treated Tom so badly up to this point. He just looks like a masochist now. But Tom delivered his clients back to Patty, and Patty now she has what she wants. Again. Am I going to have to say that every week? She’s got her clients back, and now she can subpoena Greg legitimately — you see, she was waiting for Ellen to find out to prevent tipping her off. Like a game of telephone (but not exactly like it, because there was none of the inevitable garbling or flat-out messing with the message), Katie told David, David told Ellen, and Ellen told Patty.

Just as I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Ted Danson’s work on Damages, I was impressed with Tate Donovan this week. He delivered in the drunk shouting match with Imaginary Patty, sparred confidently with Ray Fiske, and then went into adorable dad mode for the scenes between Tom and his daughter. Damages has really given all of its actors the chance to step up and shine, and for the most part, they’ve acquitted themselves well.

Meanwhile, in The Future, there were plenty of flash- um, backs? Forwards? Whatever. Flashes to Ellen struggling with the person who tries to kill her. That person ends up dead in Patty’s apartment, and I was all set for a big reveal that it was Tom, but it never came. Come on, you can’t have an entire episode about Tom and about the guy who tries to kill Ellen and not expect me to believe they’re not one and the same. Just tell us it’s Tom already. Honestly, who else would it be?

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Posted by:Lori Brown