'Damages': I blame Quentin Tarantino
That's it? Really? If it is, it's all the fault of "Pulp Fiction."
Tarantino's 1994 flick started a barrage of out-of-sequence, intertwined, multiple-character storytelling that still hasn't abated. Sometimes it serves the story well -- I'd argue it did in Steven Soderbergh's "Traffic" in 2000 -- and sometimes it serves to jazz up an otherwise mundane plot.
With Tuesday night's episode of "Damages," I'm starting to fear that the technique was used in this show for the latter. Sure, it was fascinating to anticipate how all the various time-jumping strands would coalesce, and in the most recent episode they did. But it resolved into a collective "Wha?"
So Frobisher's henchman were the ones who attacked David and Ellen (pictured)? Seriously? Isn't that what henchman do -- attack people? How woefully unsurprising. So unsurprising, in fact, that it is weirdly surprising. It makes me think that the show has one last twist up its sleeve, which is also rather Tarantino-esque. (And, for the record, all my allusions to "Alias" last week weren't some secret message about the way the plot was going. I had no idea David was going to wind up dead in a bathtub because he knew something he shouldn't about Ellen's career. Much like Danny wound up dead in a bathtub because he knew something he shouldn't about Sydney's career.)
And, additionally, I also have a Comic Book Guy-style nitpick: What kind of police force would allow Ellen -- the suspect in a crime -- to return to the uncleaned crime scene to root around and examine blood splatters and look for critical evidence only she knows about? I can suspend my disbelief for only so long, folks.
There are still a few loose strands out there. What was Patty's son doing hanging around Ellen? Where does Ellen have the tape? And what's up with Hollis Nye also having henchman? Whose grave site was Patty visiting? And will Frobisher get his due, or just keep killing everyone who gets in his way?
Here's my attempt at fearless forecasting for the season finale next week -- and, admittedly, I have seriously diminished expectations. Methinks Frobisher killed Patty's sister in the car wreck in Arlington, and she's had a vendetta against him since then. Hollis Nye is on Frobisher's payroll and has been cultivating Ellen to flip to the dark side since the start. (Does this make him more evil than Patty? Hmmmm.) Patty's son is somehow hooked up with crazy Lila, because I like extraneous tertiary characters to be in love. And Ellen and David's secret hiding place that contains the tape is actually a piece of wedding cake in the freezer.
Or, you know, the henchman did it.
On a programming note, FX will run a "Damages" marathon starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20. It's all 12 episodes to date. Set your TiVo and don't worry about buying it when it comes out on DVD! (Networks love it when we give you advice like that.)
-- Ann Donahue
(Photo courtesy FX)