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'Damages': Truth is relative

February 16, 2010 |  6:21 am

Louis-Tobin-Leonard-FX-DamagesAt this point in the game, how could we know anything for sure?

After last week’s episode of “Damages,” I believed that Joe Tobin had had an affair with Danielle Marchetti before she moved on to his father. Now, we know that’s not true. I also believed that if Danielle were to live, Patty Hewes could get her to sing like a canary after all that she had been through. I had no idea, then, that the show would kill off a major player in this season’s Ponzi-scheme mystery: Louis Tobin. That’s a complication that changes the game for Patty, Danielle and Joe.

Louis was also guilty of simplifying the game of “Damages” when he pieced together a plan to take his own life (quite elegantly with a cup of tea, I might add), apparently kill his unpredictable alcoholic son and presumably surrender the whereabouts of his fortune to Patty in a manila envelope. With senior Tobin out of the picture, we’re left to watch what happens with the remaining standing pieces in the show. How will they fall?

Joe Tobin narrowly avoided the hit his own father had placed on him. I presume senior Tobin was going to kill him. It sure looked like it. Instead, Joe tossed the alcohol aside, saving his own life, and then he went to visit his father on his last day of freedom. He would end up being the first to discover his father’s dead body and a manila envelope addressed to Patty. Again, we couldn't be sure whether that envelope contained the information she was looking for. What’s certain is it provides Joe with a decision. With his father gone, will he do the right thing with the information he possesses? Most signs point to no.

I say “most signs” because we once again saw the “good” side of Joe in this episode. He refrained from drinking while with his family, he came off as a good-natured parent, and he visited his father despite originally not wanting to. It seems that his weakness lies in making decisions when the morality of the situation isn’t so cut-and-dried. That could have been a side effect of the statement Mrs. Tobin made in this episode to Louis. She said, “You never let him be his own man.”

For Patty, the game also has changed. All the work she did to pull off a very effective mind trip on Louis Tobin in this episode’s heated Q & A seemed to have gone to waste. Now, she’ll have to get one of four people to crack: Joe; Tobin lawyer Leonard (whom Martin Short has made into a frightening character); Mrs. Tobin (Lily Tomlin); or Danielle, the mistress. Needless to say, if you were wondering if any of the aforementioned “B” characters were going to become more important, we can assume that they are.

Flash forward five months and Patty will have Tom’s murder to deal with. It’s still unclear how much, if anything, she had to do with it. In her last future scene, we see her berating someone on the phone for going forward on a plan she had ordered to be stopped. Could she, like she had done previously with Ellen, have planned to kill Tom at some point and changed her mind?

Like I said, it’s almost impossible to make real conclusions at this point in the season. It’s fun to speculate, though. Isn’t it?

– Jethro Nededog (Follow me on Twitter @TheRealJethro)


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Photo: Len Cariou, on left, and Martin Short on “Damages.” Credit: Craig Blankenhorn / FX