I’ve been OK thus far with how Damages has jumped back and forth in time; the end-of-the-timeline scenes with Ellen in jail have served as a good reminder of how far she’s had to stray off the path in working for Patty Hewes.
The show has now introduced a third timeline, showing the days (hours?) before David’s murder and the attempt on Ellen’s life, and it’s starting to feel like a little too much. Which is kind of a shame, because other than that, Tuesday’s episode kept up last week’s momentum on the Frobisher case and offered us more fantastic Peter Riegert nastiness — seriously, I could watch him and Zeljko Ivanek play off each other all night.
We’ll get to the good shortly, but let’s deal with that third timeline first. I didn’t pick up on it last week, but clearly Ellen and David’s fight took place within that third timeline (represented by a slightly grainier film stock, as opposed to the bright and clean look of the main story and the blue-green tint of the Ellen-under-arrest scenes). Tuesday’s episode showed us Patty offering her apartment to Ellen and Ellen asking "Do you regret what we did?"
The problem I have with that is that it’s not really presenting us with much new information. We know from the investigation scenes that David and Ellen had a fight, and we know she was staying at Patty’s place. Showing us feels a little redundant, and it muddies up the dramatic waters.
But back in the main storyline — the time-setting title cards have returned to tell us it’s six weeks before Ellen’s arrest — things are getting pretty darn good. The (brief) return of Gregory Malina filled in a few holes, and we learned a whole bunch about Riegert‘s George Moore, who is one devious cat.
Based on what Greg told Katie (who, for someone afraid of her own shadow, probably shouldn’t be watching Dracula movies in the dark), Frobisher was trying to set up Moore by having Greg bring Katie to the condo in Florida. Except a blotto Katie didn’t see him, so all that’s happened to her — buying her silence with the restaurant, selling her out as a witness — was over nothing.
Why would Greg do this? Because he was working for Ray Fiske, and he got a job and some Frobisher stock (oops) as a payment. Moore knows all that, and he knows that once Patty finds out Greg is back in the U.S., it won’t be long before Patty knows all that too. So he decides to play both sides, using Ellen as a conduit to deliver some potentially damning information to Patty.
Seems that Frobisher was involved in a Chappaquiddick-like accident 25 years ago and paid off the victim’s family with company stock. It was ruled inadmissible in Frobisher’s criminal trial, but it might come in handy in a civil case. Moore figures that if Patty drops that bomb on Frobisher, he’ll have no choice but to settle, leaving both him and Fiske in the clear for whatever dirty dealings they had with the tycoon. It’s kind of brilliant, really.
Of course, there are a couple of wild cards here: Frobisher is stubborn enough that he might insist the case go to trial — especially after that dream and the subsequent workout he had with the lawyer prepping him for his deposition (that was Tony winner Donna Murphy who was "playing Patty Hewes"). And if he does try to settle, Patty may smell blood in the water and refuse any offer. We can probably assume, though, that things won’t be that easy for Moore and Fiske.
Other bits and pieces from the episode:
- Looks like stalker Lyla is, in fact, just a stalker, and not somehow connected to the case. I still don’t know exactly how she fits into the larger story, but if she turns out to be involved in either David’s death or the attack on Ellen, I think I’m gonna be really disappointed.
- Patty’s beach house apparently has some role to play other than as a place she disappears to right before Ellen is attacked. What do you make of Patty’s waterfront freakout, and what do you figure she’s taking with her out of the state of New York?
- RIP, Gregory. We knew you weren’t long for this world, but you deserved at least a more stylish death. It appears your luggage is still in Katie’s house, though, so there’s a chance she’ll happen upon your tape.
How’d you like this week’s Damages? Does the third timeline clear anything up for you?