Wouldn’t you know it, one episode after I give an extended diatribe about what’s wrong with Damages’ flash forwards, the show delivers its best use of them since the premiere. Not only does this episode significantly advance the post-murder plot, it also puts some past events into their proper context and helps us understand what’s going on. Beyond that we get some more excellent entertainment out of Arthur Frobisher and Ray Fiske emerges as one of the show’s most compelling characters. All-in-all, “She Spat at Me” is one great hour of television.
Guys, let this be a lesson to you: if a hot girl who’s “up for anything” offers you casual sex on your terms she’s probably insane, or involved in a conspiracy that’s going to end up getting you killed. Whether Lila’s a part of the Frobisher case or just some random crazy doesn’t really matter at this point. The reveal that she was stalking rather than screwing David was great, and completely redeems their flirtation last week. I didn’t care enough about David to watch him cheat on Ellen. Watching him get stalked? That’s entertainment.
Frobisher’s efforts to redeem his public image are equally entertaining. After being spat on at a basketball game he decides, against Ray’s advice, that a slick memoire is in order to gloss over his evil rise to power. Watching him try to convince everyone, including himself, that he’s really a good guy is both sad and loathsome at the same time. His sense of identity is tied up in ancient history; humble beginnings, childhood dyslexia, and a crappy Cub-car are what define him. No, really, it’s true. There’s little to like about him today and so he clings to the image of the man who came from nothing, as though this isn’t overshadowed by how he got where he is. Frobisher’s true colours are revealed when he smacks the ghost writer with the aforementioned Cub-car; far from redeeming his present, his past is tarnished by it.
There’s something a lot more serious than an ill-advised memoire bothering Ray, as he’s plagued by insomnia and nightmares of his teeth falling out. The show managed to fool me with both of the dream sequences, which were as enjoyable as they were gruesome. Ray’s conscience seems to be getting to him, a bit of internal conflict that’s sorely lacking in the other characters. With everyone on the show so committed to their agenda, the series doesn’t really feel character driven even though it is. Having a character’s emotions get in the way of his schemes makes the entire situation feel more organic.
There’s also some significant advancement of the Frobisher case, it was just overshadowed by the great character work. Ellen’s able to make some inroads with Greg, who narrowly avoids an assassination attempt and ends up at… Ray Fiske’s door!
Frobisher’s concern for his image, while good, would’ve been a lot better if it had been explored before he recklessly withdrew his offer.
Patty’s thoughts on gender dynamics are interesting, though not as interesting as her ongoing efforts to turn Ellen into her Mini-Me.