Review: 'Damages' - 'Flight's at 11:08'
by Jonathan Toomey, posted Feb 9th 2010 11:25AM
(S03E03) "Tonight's been educational." - Patty
Educational it was, both for Patty Hewes and viewers alike, as last night's 'Damages' proved that it can tell one helluva narrative without any of those pesky "six months from now" flashes. 'Flight's at 11:08' isn't the first episode to put the back and forth, past/present/future jumps on the back-burner, but it is the earliest it's happened in a season. Normally, those narrative devices don't fade away until the climactic moment later in the season when everything collides. What we got instead was a bit of different angle for 'Damages' as last night's episode was driven by the characters and not the over-arching plot.
In many ways, the whole point of the hour was to lead us up to that final moment when Ellen called Patty. Despite Ellen's feelings, these two of more alike that she'll ever admit. On one side, we had Patty doing whatever it takes to find Danielle Marchetti while Ellen did all she could to focus on her family and distance herself from her work. It didn't matter, though, because by the end of hour Ellen was only concerned about the same thing Patty was -- did they get Danielle?
When it comes to Ellen's family, for the most part, they've always been an afterthought. In the past, Ellen helped her dad when he had the car accident, we've seen her mother visit a few times, and the biggest moment was in the pilot when Ellen passed on her interview with Patty to attend her sister's wedding.
Her parents (played to "oblivious to everything" perfection by Gordon Clapp and Debra Monk) obviously mean well, but more than anything, this episode served as an in-your-face reminder of the conversation that Patty had with Ellen at that wedding in the pilot -- family always means well, and even though they may worship you and your accomplishments, at the end of the day, they're always going to disappoint you.
So it came as no surprise for Ellen to see her mother in the dark, her dad perpetually angry, and her sister addicted to crystal meth. As guilty as it makes her feel, Ellen has risen above them and Patty knew it from the second she met her.
While all that was happening, Patty put on a tour de force performance as she expertly out-lawyered Leonard Winstone. The look on Martin Short's face when Leonard realized he had been played was priceless -- he's more involved than anyone ever knew, until now. Kudos to Tom as well, for putting two and two together with the glass full of ice and realizing they had probable cause to pull over Joe Tobin's car with the busted taillight.
Tom's the same as Patty too -- his life is falling apart and he's broke, but all he could think about was the case. Now all they can do is hope that Danielle doesn't die from her injuries or else it's back to pulling teeth with Joe "I slept with Danielle first(!?)" Tobin.
[Watch clips of 'Damages' at SlashControl.]