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

Damages: "Don't Throw That at the Chicken"

Illustration for article titled Damages: "Don't Throw That at the Chicken"

Flashbacks, glorious flashbacks! Where have you been? Seems like, what, two whole weeks since I saw you last? Don’t stay away so long next time, ‘kay?

As much as I appreciated last week’s character play between Patty and Ellen, I’m really wrapped up in the death of Tom Shayes. The problem with having created such an absorbing central mystery is that the writers don’t have as long a leash where filler is concerned. I want all clues and details all the time. I realize that’s not realistic, but it seems the Damages brain trust is having trouble balancing the episodic stories with the season-long arc this time around. If the more immediate stories were better, maybe I would be more patient. I’m sorry, but I’m not sure I care what Patty’s bratty son is up to these days (pretending to be Gordon Gekko, Jr., when really he’s just goofing around with paint and waiting on his cougar girlfriend to push out their baby.) Nor do I care whether Ellen’s sister will admit she’s a meth-head (she won’t.) If we’re not going to get much further into Tom’s death – and since it’s only episode four I understand why we wouldn’t – I need a little more to chew on.

Of course, there are the Tobins, but since the Danielle Marchetti situation is settled for the time-being, I’m not quite as intrigued by what’s going on with them. I did enjoy seeing Patty question Louis, if for no other reason than that it was reminiscent of the scene in season one where Patty needled Frobisher about his impending divorce. I love when Patty hits below the belt. Meanwhile, Winstone is worried after figuring out Joe is back on the sauce, so after consulting Louis he dispatches icy Girl Friday to have him followed and, if he’s drinking…kill him? Am I missing something? Seems a little harsh. Don’t people have interventions anymore? Louis was trying to convince Joe to see him one last time before his prison sentence starts, or before he has to have him murdered for loving Beefeater too much. Please tell me I’m wrong about the Joe plot, it just seems…ridiculous.

By the end of the episode, though, it was the elder Tobin who was dead from drinking, after Uncle Pete 2.0 gave him some death potion to mix with his tea. Joe, who avoided being killed by pouring out some drink for his dead homies, showed up in time to find his father’s body, and an envelope for Patty. Yet another opportunity for Joe to do the wrong thing.

As for Tom, we didn’t exactly learn much about his death, though there were some very creepy scenes of him inside the apartment near the dumpster. And last, after Patty learns of his death, we got a scene of a very distraught Patty on the phone with someone who presumably had something to do with it. Or maybe it was the bank, informing her that the stop payment she put on a recent check didn’t go through. That’s the thing about watching Damages as a fan at this stage. Those kinds of scenes taken out of context don’t make me draw conclusions as much as they make me say “Hmmm…” I don’t think Patty was involved in Tom’s death (the tone of the phone call sounded like she was being threatened more than anything), but I do wonder what the significance of the phone call was. Those little nuggets of intrigue will have to be enough to keep propelling me forward during these early piece-moving episodes.

Stray observations:

  • Hasbro had hits with Don’t Spill the Beans and Don’t Break the Ice. If they’re looking to add another title to their line of children’s board games with ominous, admonishing titles, Don’t Throw That at the Chicken is not a bad choice.
  • The Danielle Marchetti phone call is the least convincing red herring ever. Obviously that call wasn’t the call.
  • I’m still loving Tom Noonan’s performance. It’s like he goes out of his way to come up with the oddest possible reading of every line of dialogue.
  • “You always said you were a terrible mother.” And soon to be a terrible Grammy!
  • “I don’t think you’re looking at the next de Kooning.” I don’t think so either.
  • Lest I wrongly besmirch the good Tobin name, I should clarify the point I made last week about Joe and Danielle. If we’re to take his word, Joe was involved with Danielle prior to marrying Rachel, it wasn’t an affair.
  • Was the scene with Winstone goofing in front of the television display supposed to be funny or creepy? Both? I couldn’t decide.