Sunday, December 05, 2010

THE THING ABOUT DAMAGES

Season 3 of Damages further solidifies its position as one of the best dramas on television. Read on



The thing about Damages is that it’s the one show that has no flaws; nothing that is not plausible, nothing that is unreal. That’s what makes it brilliant. The writing is fantastic and clever. It stays completely true to its genre, i.e. a legal thriller. The first season put the show on the map of quality television. It has always been an underrated show, and definitely not spoken about or written about enough. This show is one that deserves all the critical acclaim that it gets, and certainly deserves the awards that it receives. I would like to see it winning the Emmy for Outstanding Drama, a category that has been swept by an overrated show like Mad Men these last few years. However, Glenn Close winning Emmys and a Golden Globe for Outstanding Lead Actress, Drama is good consolation for that, because she hits the nail on the head with her portrayal of the ruthless Patty Hewes. The character is so complex, with so many shades, and only a brilliant performer like Glenn Close could have done justice to it. On the other hand, Rose Byrne is equally exceptional, while playing the wronged Ellen Parsons, who then grows stronger, and learns to stand up to Patty. That brings me to S3.

To say it in one sentence, it was the best season of the show yet! We can’t really take away from the brilliance of S1, which had the Frobisher case as the backdrop. That was indeed fantastic, especially since it was the season when Byrne’s character enters the big bad world of Patty Hewes and her cases. However, this season brought out sides to the characters that had not been revealed earlier. And as long as the complicated and twisted Arthur Frobisher is still around, I’m certainly loving it, especially after a rather lukewarm S2.  

It was unfortunate to see Tom Shayes die, since Tate Donovan was such an effective actor in the role, really matured since his earlier days of acting. Your heart had to go out to him seeing him suffer because of others’ mistakes, and because of the way Patty treated him. His end was tragic and brutal. It kept me at the edge of my seat throughout the season, as they make that revelation right in the beginning, thanks to the enticing format of flash forwards of the season finale throughout. Now right from the beginning of the season, it was thrilling to just see Ellen working at the District Attorney’s office and the friction that that brought about between her and Patty. It was so poetic, even though it came only in small doses. Later, when they team up to fight the Tobins, seeing Ellen and Patty on the same level, with Ellen looking her in the eye and being upfront with her, is something that we’ve all been waiting for since S1. When Ellen tells Tom to let her take the blame for his indiscretions, in front of Patty, and says, “What’s she going to do? Fire me?” it was just so exciting!

As for the case, the Tobin case was simple, but complex, with so many levels and so much opportunity to dig out dirt and drama from the family concerned. Campbell Scott did a phenomenal job as Joe Tobin, who got dragged into a financial and lethal mess of betrayal, left by his father. Other actors this season, like Lily Tomlin and Martin Short also played a big role in ensuring a strong cast. The secrets within the family and the lies and betrayal revealed one after the other, ensured that I was hooked till the end. Almost every episode had some deadly cliffhanger, even with the main cast. When patty’s relationship with her son reaches another low, it brings out their darkest sides. Ellen grows stronger as a character, as she makes peace with her past losses. Tom deals with a deteriorating marriage, with financial problems, and Arthur is in a conflict between his past and present, fighting his dark side. Eventually, a lot of things go wrong, and the writers have left us in the lurch, more than at the end of S2, with a shocking end to a phenomenal season. Will Patty and her son call a truce? Will Arthur’s arrest make him the focus of S4? Will Ellen come back and work with Patty? These are all the questions that I’m waiting to get answers for!

It’s a pity that FX had to give the show up because of poor ratings. But the good thing is that DirecTV has made a deal with Sony to buy two more seasons that they will exclusively air starting January 5, 2011. Just a month to go, and I cannot wait for it to come! I’m just thrilled that this show won’t die for another two years at least!

5 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more. DAMAGES is my favorite show and Glenn Close is always flawless. There's just one comment of yours that I take issue with: "Your heart had to go out to him seeing him suffer because of others’ mistakes, and because of the way Patty treated him."

    In the last episode, Patty decided to give up on winning the BIGGEST CASE OF HER CAREER because she didn't wish to endanger Tom and Ellen. For once, she cared less about winning than for the two people who had remained loyal to her. Remember when she told them to "call it off"? Remember when Patty offered to financially support Tom's ENTIRE EXTENDED FAMILY? Remember when foolish Tom stubbornly disobeyed, decided to play Lone Ranger, then wandered around Manhattan without seeking medical attention after receiving serious stab wounds?

    Also, the new episodes will not air on DirecTV until summer. On Jan. 5, they'll start showing seasons 1 - 3.

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  2. Hi Heather, thank you for your comment, and thank you for the clarification about when the show will air on DirecTV.

    About the point you mentioned here, I was referring to the way she treated him from the beginning. "Your heart had to go out to him..." was to do with him never having a chance to be his own person before he lost his life. I agree that I missed mentioning how Patty came through for him, and offered him partnership, and later looked out for his and Ellen's safety, without being concerned about the outcome of her case. I think it probably went without saying that she did truly value him. That was evident when she said, "Tom was family," when she was informed about his death. Tom sure did act hastily, but sheer desperation like what he went through makes people not think straight. As for not seeking medical help, I found it silly too, and I thought he was calling 911 when he went to that payphone. Instead, he called his wife. But, I suppose he wanted to do all he could, to salvage the situation, before he died and/or was taken to the hospital.

    Please keep reading. and commenting. It's nice to read views of fellow-fans like you.

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  3. i think i should start watching season 1 from whatever you wrote about season 1 in your review and i like the way you have gone about with the whole What I love and What I don section

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  4. Hello again. I want to apologize for "yelling" in my last post by writing certain words in CAPS. I didn't mean to come across as quite so rude and obnoxious. I simply "geeked out" and became overly excited when talking about my favorite show.

    Also, I instantly jumped to Patty's defense because so many viewers (not you) love to label her as evil. If the character were a man, I don't believe the word "evil" would pop up so often. Even Hannibal Lector was usually described as "charming." Surely murdering and eating people surpasses even Patty's worst behavior.

    Anyway, thanks for your polite and kind response.

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  5. I agree that Damages is a seriously underrated show. Why would FX want to give it up, i don't understand, because despite alleged "low TRP's", the show has a fair share of critical acclaim.

    I like Heather's view on how foolish it was for Shayes to be roaming around Manhatten with stab wounds. But maybe he was scared. Like Ranvijay said, the situation may have made him desperate.

    Patty Hewes evolved too, as a character. Coming to terms with a past where she chose a career over family, as she now realises the importance of family when she says "Tom was family" is plain moving.

    However, I don't agree that Patty didn't give Tom his due. She tested him for 10 years. In the first 2 seasons, she realised how important he was. Whether this was because of how much Ellen affected her or whether because she was suddenly without a husband and son at home, I don't know. You have to understand that for a lone figure as independent and unattached as Patty, giving in to Tom and acknowledging him as partner in the 'Hewes and Associates' nametag, was a big deal.

    Waiting to find out what Season 4 has in store for us. This show only gets better with time.

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