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'Damages': Ellen against the world

March 9, 2010 |  9:35 am
Damages-Rose-Byrne-Ellen-Parsons-against-the-world-fx In this episode of “Damages,” Ellen Parsons, who has been a bit in the background this season at her new job at the district attorney’s office, steps out to the forefront as she makes some calculated moves.

Ellen vs. the future
In the flash-forward, we see Ellen being questioned by the police about her bloody Chanel bag being found at Tom Shayes’ crime scene. She claims it was stolen, which seems credible because police discover Lester Wiggins' -- a.k.a. Tobin family lawyer Leonard Winstone’s -- prints on it. That’s just one of the many striking developments in Ellen’s story line in this episode.

Ellen vs. the D.A.
It’s clear in the first few episodes that Ellen was being used as a tool to decipher Patty Hewes for the D.A.’s office. Although she was working on a totally unrelated (well, so far) case involving drug dealers, she was constantly pulled into meetings with Patty. In turn, she gave the office her insight on what Patty would probably do next. Up until now, it seemed she was on the same page with her bosses.

In this episode, Ellen takes a step away from them, and it becomes clear that she’s not so aligned with them as we thought. She was dispatched to question Danielle Marchetti’s doorman as to whether Joe Tobin had been at Marchetti's home the night of her death. When he ends up identifying Tobin’s sister, Carol, instead, it’s clear Ellen has found a direct link to the Tobins. When she goes to share the information with her boss, he’s just finishing a phone call in which he’s being accused by the D.A. of not getting far enough on the Tobin case. When Ellen suggests he work with Patty, he returns her suggestion by putting her in her place. He also makes it clear that he doesn’t care about finding the money. He just wants to put a Tobin in prison. Of course, that doesn’t sit well with Ellen, who knows that Tom has lost his savings to Tobin’s scheme. She decides not to share her new evidence, after all …

Ellen vs. Alex
There has been an interesting dynamic going on between Ellen and Patty’s new hire, Alex Benjamin. They’ve shared several casual meetings to discuss working for Patty. Each time, Ellen has warned Alex that she may not really want the job. Alex, blinded by her ambition, hasn’t heeded the warnings. When Ellen found out Alex got the job in the last episode, she made an undecipherable look. Was she jealous? We couldn’t tell then, and I’m still not sure if Ellen is worried for Alex or jealous of her.

This week, Ellen set Alex up. She had her current lover/newspaper reporter Josh Reston approach Alex for a featured interview in the paper. She knew Patty wouldn’t like it. What was Ellen’s motive for setting Alex up? My initial thought is jealousy, but something tells me that’s too easy.

Ellen vs. Patty
On the flip-side, Patty has been clearly orchestrating an Ellen/Alex showdown. It was Patty that suggested Alex meet with Ellen in the first place, and Patty has made sure that Ellen has been abreast of the process of hiring Alex on. In this episode, Patty invited Ellen to a party at her house. When Ellen arrived, there was no party, just Patty and Alex working on the Tobin case. Patty insisted that Ellen got the night wrong, but it’s clear that she didn’t.

Later, Ellen approaches Patty with the information from Danielle’s doorman that she kept from her own bosses. She then suggests that she and Patty work together on the case, citing her desire to find the Tobins' money over her office’s desire to put them behind bars.

Patty, who we all know is a smart cookie, has already connected Alex’s newspaper article to Ellen. She then confronts Ellen about it and asks her if she’s jealous that Patty has replaced her with Alex. Ellen denies she knew anything about the article and replies, “You haven’t replaced me.” By the way, that’s the title of this week’s episode.

What do you make of Ellen’s calculated moves this week? Do you think she’s jealous of Alex or is she trying to save Alex from the grief she herself experienced while working with Patty? It’s clear she has had a parting of the ways with the D.A.’s office, but how far will she let herself fall back into Patty’s world?

– Jethro Nededog (Follow me on Twitter @RealJethro)

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Photo: Rose Byrne as Ellen Parsons on “Damages.” Credit: Timothy White / FX
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