'Damages': When family is relative
Ellen gets disowned
When we last left Ellen, she was on her way to discover the woman from her dreams, Annie. In this episode, she finds her. I think she was going there fully expecting the woman to be her real mother. That would then explain why Ellen felt so different from the family she had always known. In the end, she found out that Annie wasn’t her true mother. Instead, she discovered that her mother had almost given her away when times were rough at home. I’m not sure what’s worse. I couldn’t quite tell what her emotional response was. Was she disappointed that Annie wasn’t her mother or relieved? Was she hurt that her mother tried to give her away or happy that her mother changed her mind? What do you think?
Then, when she heard about Tessa Marchetti's arrest, Ellen rushed to Patty’s apartment. There, she took the blame for Tom approaching Tessa, which really caused her to be found out at the district attorney's office and led to Tessa’s arrest. Now, Patty has said some mean things to Ellen, but this one takes the cake. She basically called her a ruthless, ambitious, backstabber. Um, projecting much Patty?
After that, her boss at the district attorney's office then placed Ellen on mandatory leave. Poor Ellen can’t catch a break. And while she found out her mother is really her mother in this episode, she lost her mother figure in Patty and her place within her new “family,” the district attorney's office. She then started talking to dead people. This begins to set up the flash-forwards we’ve seen of her and Tom creating their own law firm.
Patty’s empty nest
After telling Ellen off, Patty receives an interesting confession from Tom. He tells her that Ellen was covering for him and that he had been the one to approach Tessa against her orders. As if finding out that she had just disowned the wrong “child” wasn’t enough, Tom adds some mutiny to his confession before he leaves. Later, while working with new associate Alex, Patty thinks of Ellen and what she said about not liking Alex, then suddenly Patty fires the baffled attorney. Patty’s pattern of pushing away those close to her continues. Not to mention she hasn’t found out yet about another loss in her close-knit group.
Marilyn shows her cardsJoe Tobin reaches a whole new level of low in this episode, but it was Marilyn Tobin who finally showed just what she’d do to protect her family. When Joe finds out that Tessa had been arrested, he goes into a panic. No matter what Mr. Zedeck or Leonard says to him, he just won’t believe that Tessa is on their side. Leonard has no choice but to ask Marilyn to intervene. It turns out that Tessa isn’t Louis’ daughter after all. She is Joe’s daughter and he doesn’t know it. Marilyn has known all along, though.
Meanwhile, Patty has made a deal with the district attorney's office for Tessa’s release. She then dispatches Tessa back to Antigua in order to grab the mysterious third page that she signs, which Patty believes is the key to figuring out how and to whom the money is being transferred back into the U.S. by the Tobins. Malcolm, Patty’s trusted thug, escorts Tessa on the trip. When she returns to the hotel room after successfully nabbing the transfer slip, she discovers a dead Malcolm. Then, she turns to find a man ready to put a bullet through her head. Patty doesn’t even know it yet, but she just lost another trusted associate and her star witness. I can’t wait to see the fallout in the next episode! Something tells me Carol Tobin has suddenly become more important.
The true treat of the night, though, was when we discovered that Marilyn had never told Joe that Tessa was his daughter and she allowed him to order her death. The look in her eyes was intense. I believe I called it last week when I wrote that she seemed to have some ulterior motive for befriending Tessa, but then I believed that she was Louis’ daughter. The fact that she participated in killing her own granddaughter was just pure evil.
It was exactly as Frobisher, who I’ve realized has been playing some kind of Shakespearean chorus to the action of this season, described in the car with the actor playing him: Marilyn was faced with the idea that someone could take everything from her and her family. That intense look in her eyes was her staring into the darkness.
With only two episodes left, how do you think Patty will react not only to the loss of Malcolm, but also her star witness, Tessa?
-- Jethro Nededog (Follow me on Twitter @TheRealJethro)
Photo: Lily Tomlin as Marilyn Tobin in "Damages." Credit: Craig Blankenhorn / FX