Friday, January 09, 2009
Damages: 2.01, I Lied, Too.
Season 1 of Damages had secrets, back-stabbing, lies, illegal doing and a whole load of damage done all around. It ended with the fresh-out-of-law school Ellen Parson (Rose Byrne) losing all that was important to her, including her fiancée getting murdered, and her almost killed be her boss Patty Hewes (Glenn Close), a ruthless and politique machine who believes that the ends justifies the means. Their end entails the case being won with $2 billion of damages won, Ellen Parsons wising up to the real world of law, and Patty Hewes making herself on dangerous enemy.
We begin 6 months into the future. Ellen Parsons has lost all of the twinkle in her eyes and we see her toying with someone sitting opposite her, asking, nee, threatening for the truth, before bringing out her coup de grace: a gun.
Flashback six months. Patty Hewes appears on a TV talk show, chatting merrily about wining her case and how she’s going to use the proceeds to set up a charity. Ellen stands in the corner, smiling prettily. Once the cameras are off, however, she storms to a nearby car wherein she plots with the FBI how to bring down the woman that tried to have her killed. And so it begins…
There are some new faces in season 2. William Hurt stars as an energy consultant that uncovers some unsightly facts about the treatments that the patients are using, information unsightly enough that it could bring down the company if he went public with them. There’s an amusing subplot regarding Patty’s attempts to get the financial backing of her “friend” Sam Arsenault, showing that the old crow still has a few tricks in her bag. The characters are as cold-blooded and unrelenting as we remembered them; lying and using each other. Glenn Close is worthy her Emmy win and more, her face an unreadable paint pallet, she moulds it into whatever expression will get the best out of the situation with people. However, when she’s alone, she’s haunted by the things she did in the past, with the ghost of Ray Fiske, a man she’d driven to suicide, repeatedly taunting her.
It’s tense, gritty, well-written and extremely well-acted TV. Rose Byrne’s portrayal of the grieving girlfriend caught in between two minds of executing revenge of forgiving is particularly well-done; in one scene where she is in group therapy, the therapist asks her, "What do you think would make you feel better?", to which she replies, "Seeing David again...and you know what that's not gonna happen". Indeed, it’s not. Ellen will have to get used to the fact that her boyfriend’s dead, and one suspects that she’s has no intention of doing it by herself.
As it’s not actually out in the UK, I thought I’d pique your interest with this awesome trailer -