Category Archives: Season 3

Final Thoughts: Damages Season 3

This was definitely the weakest season of Damages thus far.  While still a very good show in most respects, the series seldom reached the heights that characterized its first two years.  The finale was the only episode I’d consider up to past standards, and it did a lot to redeem what came before, but there were still too many stretches along the way when I wasn’t particularly interested in what was going on. Continue reading

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The Next One’s Gonna Go in Your Throat

I’ve really got to hand it to Damages, whatever the shortcomings of the buildup, it invariably delivers a finale that both shocks and thrills.  I wouldn’t quite place this up there with season one or two, but this was one damned entertaining hour and, more importantly, it delivered huge payoffs for key elements of the season.  This is really impressive considering I often found myself disengaged from the narrative as it was unfolding. While I still have some small quibbles (what happened to Zeddick?) and some big ones (this is how Frobisher’s story ends?), I’ll still say that this was a thoroughly satisfying payoff to an uneven season. Continue reading

You Were His Little Monkey

Joe Tobin seems to have shifted gears into outright villainy this week, which I’ve got mixed feelings about.  Thus far he’s been a rather singular television character, delivering an arc we’ve never really seen before.  While that’s certainly interesting, it does leave the audience wondering exactly what to feel about him and has caused me some ambivalence anytime he’s on the screen.  It’s unfortunate that the series only solved this problem by becoming more generic, but at least Joe’s now assumed the proper villain’s role of someone we want to see fail.  His constant talk about protecting the family, the hit on Tessa, and strong-arming Zedick all have some serious mob undertones.  Combine this with his vindictiveness in turning on Lenny and you’ve got a character you can love to hate. Continue reading

All That Crap About Your Family

I’ve got to say that I’m impressed with the way that the Patty/Ellen/Tom falling out is shaping up.  I was expecting some towering rage from Patty when she discovered how she’d been undermined; instead, we saw some genuine vulnerability followed by the possibility of some personal growth.   Of course, the full scope of Ellen and Tom’s betrayal has yet to occur and I’m sure we’ll get the towering inferno when it does.  It’s another fine example of Damages playing with our expectations as it delivers some of the best acted drama on television. Continue reading

Tell Me I’m Not Racist

Did we really need more Parsons family drama?  Ellen’s sister’s been proving a minor distraction as the season has otherwise gained momentum and I fail to see why we should have any interest in “the woman in the photo.”  Family’s certainly shaping up to be a major theme of the season as various characters ask where their loyalties lie and who they should trust, but introducing a new element at this stage feels really counter-productive, especially considering that Ellen’s already got two mother figures.  I guess we’ll see how it goes; if nothing else, it has the effect of getting Ellen out of town while shit goes down. Continue reading

Drive it Through Hardcore

Looks like I might have been wrong about Terry turning the Frobisher bio into a farce.  Or I was right and the film they’re pitching him isn’t the one they intend to make.  Either way, they seem to be making this into an actual story, which is a very pleasant surprise.  I think that the lackluster start to this season has made me overly pessimistic as new elements are introduced.  It’s difficult to pinpoint why, but this season finally seems to have developed some momentum and I’m finding myself better able to appreciate the things it’s doing well. Continue reading

I Look like Frankenstein

I feel bad for Arthur, and I’m pretty sure that’s not a good thing.  Art’s newfound love of green energy is clearly more about his ego than the earth, but having his life story portrayed as a comic farce (yes, that’s Terry’s plan) is probably the worst thing that could ever happen to him.  Considering the fact that he’s an unrepentant murderer, I should probably enjoy seeing him humiliated but it’s not something I’m actually looking forward to.  It’s not that Arthur’s suffered enough (again, unrepentant murderer) but what I think’s going to happen to him just seems… unjust and, given what series this is, I’ll say that even Frobisher, perhaps especially Frobisher, deserves justice.  Whatever his many appalling faults, Arthur has always served as one of the most human villains ever to grace the screen (a benchmark that Kendrick, Pell, and now Tobin have all failed to live up to) and seeing this humanity turned into caricature just isn’t something I want. Continue reading

You Haven’t Replaced Me

Better Damages, much better.  It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes this episode exciting where its predecessors fell short, but I think it has something to do with what I said last week about expectations being both served and thwarted.  There weren’t any mind blowing twists here, but it did feel like the narrative took some smalls steps sideways, and that’s a very good thing.  Even better, most of the shifts are character driven, either in surprising reveals or unexpected actions.  It’s more than enough to keep me engaged while I wait for the big mysteries to unfold. Continue reading

Don’t Forget to Thank Mr. Zedick

Wow, so Louis Tobin’s partner in crime was Junior Soprano.  They do a good job disguising Dominic Chianese, but this really is a distracting piece of casting.  It’s doubly unfortunate because Chianese is a very talented actor and does fine work here, but Zedick feels way too much like a mob boss for it to work.   There’s a similar problem with the rest of the episode in that it all feels pretty predictable; Joe’s scavenger hunt, Tom recital rumble, even Alex’s conjugal visit, none of them serve to move things in an unexpected direction, and I’m left thinking that this one I could’ve merely read a recap for rather than watching. Continue reading

It’s Not My Birthday

The bizarre dream sequence has become a bit overused in the post-Sopranos world.  Well, maybe more than a bit, which is a shame considering that the imagery surrounding Patty’s tainted innocence is actually pretty great.  It just doesn’t feel as creative as it ought to… which is a criticism I’m tempted to level at this season as a whole.  I still really like the show, but with five episodes down I have yet to be amazed and that’s well below standard for Damages.  Perhaps I’m grading on an unfair curve here, but the quality of television these days is such that I can afford to be unfair.  If a series isn’t “great,” I’ve got a half dozen ones that are waiting in my “to watch” pile. Continue reading