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'Damages': Sins of the father

February 9, 2010 |  7:36 am
Campbell-Scott-Damages-FXDamages” executive producer Todd Kessler has said that “family” is one of the big themes for this season of the FX show.
So far, we’ve seen glimpses of the theme with the Tobin mystery, Patty’s divorce and Tom’s discovery that he has led his immediate and extended family right into Louis Tobin’s Ponzi scheme.
This week’s episode, though, really drove the “family” theme home.

Tom loves the chase

After discovering that Tobin’s mistress, Danielle, may be on the run and leaving the country, Tom spent most of the episode trying to track her down. Meanwhile, his wife and in-laws were waiting at a restaurant for him. Though it was obvious that Tom wanted to make sure the job was done right, it was also obvious to me that he was taking any opportunity he could not to actually tell his in-laws that he led them right into Tobin’s clutches and lost all their money. I don’t blame him, do you?

Ellen is back on

Meanwhile, Ellen went home to Jersey to see her parents and her visiting sister. It soon became clear that something was going on when Ellen’s sister explained why her husband couldn’t come for the visit. Her story about him staying home for a bowling league tournament didn’t exactly mesh with Ellen’s mother saying that he had to stay home for work. After she caught her sister and mother crying in the living room, Ellen had to find out what was up. Turns out her sister’s husband left her. Ellen decided to stay, especially because it seemed that she was a good buffer between her sister and their verbally abusive dad. Later that night, though, Ellen discovered a pipe and, I’m thinking, crack cocaine in her sister’s bag. Her reaction after that was very similar to Tom’s: escaping into work. She excused herself to call Patty about whether they had been able to track down Danielle.

Joe's true colors

The biggest surprise of the episode was just how clearly the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to the Tobins. Last episode, we discovered Joe Tobin is an alcoholic. Though I didn’t consider that a sign of faulty character last week, I believe the writers planted that detail to prepare us for the character flaws we’d discover in Joe this week. They’re major. The good guy we’ve known thus far was effectively erased from my mind when his reaction to hitting Danielle with his car resulted in Joe effectively making Danielle a hostage. She obviously needed medical attention, but the first person he contacted was his lawyer, Leonard (played to the hilt by Martin Short).

While we waited for Leonard to arrive at the house, we learned that Joe already knew Danielle. When I say “knew,“ I mean Joe had an intimate knowledge of the woman. Before she hooked up with Louis Tobin, Joe was having an affair with Danielle. Did you all see that coming? I certainly didn’t.

It seems that right after Danielle dumped Joe, she started dating his father. Dirty, I know. So, there’s much more there when it comes to Joe’s feelings for the woman, and those feelings don’t seem pleasant. Despite the doctor’s orders and with Danielle’s injuries showing increased severity, Joe was determined to get her on a plane and out of the country. According to the doctor, she wouldn't survive the flight.

Thankfully for Danielle, Patty and Tom had tracked them down using Joe’s license plate number. She was prevented from getting to the airport, and Joe is probably waiting in a holding cell at the nearest jail for Leonard to bail him out.

Most certainly, we know that Joe Tobin is going to have a lot of explaining to do next week. It remains to be seen if Danielle will live to tell what she knows about the whereabouts of Louis Tobin’s secret money. I think that would be too easy for “Damages,” don’t you?

– Jethro Nededog (Follow me on Twitter @TheRealJethro)


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Photo: Campbell Scott as Joe Tobin on "Damages." Credit: FX