Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Damages: "Don't Forget to Thank Mr. Zedeck"

Illustration for article titled Damages: "Don't Forget to Thank Mr. Zedeck"

Since the season premiere we’ve been waiting for the reappearance of Julian Decker, the overconfident silver fox who tried in vain to melt Patty Hewes’s thick sheet of ice. The longer he hid, the more we wondered where he was hiding, and when he would return to reveal his true agenda. Well the wait is over! Now we know that Decker is just a fabulous interior designer and his only agenda is zapping some new energy into Patty’s apartment and getting his picture into Dwell Magazine. Mystery solved! Of course there’s more to Decker, and I hope we don’t have to wait too long to find out find out what it is. Watching him flit in and out reminds me of a poorly-executed guest spot on Law & Order: “Oh wow, how nice of Lucy Liu to turn up for that 45-second cameo in act one. Wait, hold the damn phone, she’s the killer?”

There were some well-earned surprises in this episode though, chief among them the revelation that Ellen was one of (probably) many guests at Chateau Shayes on the day of Tom’s murder, that Tom had a duffel bag full of cash for her, and that they were keeping some secret from Patty. Hopefully it’s something other than the fact that Tom lost all his money to the Tobins, because it’s hard to believe that Tom would be able to keep that from Patty for that amount of time. It’s hard enough buying that she hasn’t figured it out already. This was a very Tom-centric episode, from watching his family’s financial situation crumble from dust into something subatomic, to his fight with the oily financial advisor, to the possibility that he could have been behind the wheel of the car that broadsided Patty after all. If, by some small chance, this isn’t the final season of Damages, I’ll be curious to see how the show manages to absorb the death of such an instrumental character.

Maybe they could replace her with the irksome Alex Benjamin, whose sycophantism seems boundless. I was certain that Patty wouldn’t hire Alex, especially after she agreed to do the favor for Sterling Biddle (Wallace Shawn!) Alex seemed the type of woman Patty could never respect, a careerist doormat with no leadership potential. I was surprised that Patty extended the offer, but not at all surprised by Ellen’s reaction to it. In spite of her conflicted feelings about Patty, and she’s got plenty of reasons for them, she still misses and relishes being Patty’s right-hand woman, and bristles seeing someone else, especially someone like Alex, slide into that slot.

For now, Ellen will have to settle for being Patty’s ally/adversary at the DA’s office, where she’s been tasked with piecing together the similar deaths of Louis Tobin and Danielle Marchetti. The investigation leads right to Uncle Pete 2.0, who immediately rolls over and admits to everything. As Pete would never do such a thing, and would sooner die than snitch, I’m officially revoking that nickname and replacing with Uncle Pete Beta.

Meanwhile, Joe finally gets to meet the shadowy Stuart Zedeck, a former friend of his father’s who has taken on the job of secretly disbursing the Tobin fortune. Joe accepts that it’s too soon to start funneling money his way, but insists that Zedeck prove that he has access to the funds. A fur for Marilyn proves unconvincing, so Zedeck and his henchman return with a suitcase full of cash instead. If it wasn’t for the insinuation that Zedeck’s tough is the same guy who pitches Tom’s body in the dumpster, I’m not sure that any of this would have held my interest.

But I am interested in Danielle’s daughter, who Tom figured out is the link between the Tobins and a well-funded bank account in Antigua. A couple weeks back, a commenter floated the theory that this flight attendant isn’t Louis’s daughter, but is Joe’s instead. It’s the explanation that makes the most sense by far, but considering all that has happened, I hope there’s a compelling reason for why Joe was never told. It seems like the Tobins are going through a heck of a lot to conceal such a mundane secret, assuming that is, in fact, the explanation. We’re almost at the halfway point, so some of this should start coming together pretty soon. I hope.


Stray observations:

  • I love Dominic Chianese, but I’m not sure he’s striking the right notes as Zedeck. I expected someone a little more…authoritative.
  • “What am I, your Hannibal Lecter?”
  • Was anyone else sort of disappointed that Alex wasn’t actually dispatched to have sex with Biddle? As creepy as that would have been, I’m now more curious to know if she would have gone through with that favor, rather than the much more manageable task of smuggling caviar.
  • “They handle divorces so your Daddy can marry somebody else.” Kids say the most litigious things!
  • “You’re a rich little bitch and you had too much fun at the party and now you have a hangover.” Tom’s financial advisor is a douchebag, but he still sort of owned Tom.
  • Any theories on Tom’s apartment yet? Does he ultimately move out due to the family’s mounting money issues, and his desperate need to fix them?