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February 04, 2009

"Damages" Recap "Hey! Mr. Pibb!" (1/28/09)

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We're at the fourth episode of this second season of "Damages" and I'm truly underwhelmed by the whole Daniel Purcell case.  First of all, I don't see he and Patty as a couple. 

I know he's supposed to be a mysterious character, a man with secrets, but he's got no charisma and I don't care if he killed his wife. 

I'm still happy with the show because Patty is such a ruthless character and because I like Ellen working undercover to try and get the goods on her.

But Danny Purcell? The less I see of him the better.

So how do we open this episode?  With Danny Purcell.

He's washing dishes at that beautiful house on the lake and smiling happily.  Looking out the kitchen window he sees Christine on a swing laughing and swinging in the setting sun.   Danny gets to a dish with some stubborn dirt on it and frowns as he tries to clean it.  Christine is still swinging and calling to Danny to come out and join her.

Danny's rubbing at the dish, glancing out the window and suddenly he sees a hooded figure walking up behind Christine.

"Daniel!  You're missing all the fun!"

Christine....!

Danny sees the figure getting closer to Christine but all he can do is keep scrubbing at the plate.  The dirt stays stubbornly in place.  Danny mumbles he'll never get it out.

"Daniel!"

The figure gets closer and closer.

Christine....!!

A jail guard bangs on the jail cell door and Danny jolts awake in his bunk.

At Hewes Inc., Patty is telling Ellen about Reporter Josh and how she can't get in touch with him.  She wants Tommyhawk and Ellen to go down to the wilds of West Virginia and find out what he knows about the Evil Empire.  Ellen mildly protests, saying she'd rather stay behind and work on the Evil Empire/Christine murder angle, but Patty says they need Reporter Josh and "you and Tom are going to find him."  And by the way, next time just do what I say and don't give me any lip. 

Hee hee.  Ellen's pushing her luck by not saying, "Yes, ma'am, No, ma'am" every time Patty speaks.  I think she's starting to get on Patty's nerves.

Flash forward five months later to Ellen's apartment.  She's putting away her gun when someone knocks on the door.  She invites the unseen person in and asks, "Is that the money?"  We see a closeup of a black briefcase. 

"Are you sure you're okay?"  Ellen asks.  "You look worried."

In the hallway, outside the apartment door we hear two loud bangs.  Ellen comes out of the apartment carrying the black briefcase.

Opening credits.

Now I'm not sure if those two bangs were in addition to the two bangs during the scene where Ellen was calling someone a liar, or if they're two entirely new bangs aimed at an entirely new person.

Flashing back to Patty's office, she's meeting with Detective Huntley and...Cass Winthrop!  I haven't seen him in anything but commercials in years.  Cass Winthrop is a character from the old NBC soap "Another World."

He's played by actor Stephen Schnetzer and I used to love him!  The Cass/Frankie/Kathleen triangle  was a classic in soap history and seeing Cass made me all nostalgic.

Anyway, Cass is with the district attorney's office and is telling Patty if she wants a plea deal for Danny, now's the time.   Especially since a week before the murder, Danny was heard by neighbors yelling "I'll kill you" to someone in his house.

Patty claims it was the original intruder Danny was yelling at and she also claims the police are ignoring important evidence, namely the ruby ring.

Cass attempts a little smooth talking, smiling and saying his and Patty's relationship doesn't have to be unpleasant.  After all, some of his best friend's are plaintiff's attorneys.

Patty gives him a shark-like smile and states that she doesn't need any more friends and if they don't find the ring, she will.  Meeting over.

PI Malcolm's on the street meeting with some shady looking guys, saying there's a $5,000 reward for anyone who finds the ruby ring in the pictures he's handing out.  If any of them get info, they're to bring it straight to him and no one else.

Who do we see next?  The guy who pawned the ring.  Druggie Kevin's his name and he's sitting on a park bench with his druggie wife/druggie girlfriend who's not happy he only got $300 for the ring.  Or so he says.  She's with their hopefully non-druggie daughter and she's hocking him about all the bills they have to pay.  Once she's done, she take the kid and leaves. 

In the visiting room at Rikers--or is it Attica--Patty's brought Erica to visit Daddy Danny.  He's happy to see her.  Little Erica wants to know if Danny's ever coming home.  Patty reassures her that he'll come home as soon as he falls in line with Patty's master plan to take over the world.

What she really says is she's doing everything possible to bring home Daddy Danny.  He asks if there's any info on the ring and Patty says no.  But she assures him her people are in the wilds of West Virginia looking for Reporter Josh and trying to determine if the Evil Empire is using aerosite.  If they are Patty will have a whopper of a case. 

Cut to wilds of West Virginia and Tommy and Ellen in a car at night trying to find a motel.  Ellen has a map and though she might be a budding star in the courtroom, she doesn't have a clue about finding her way around a Rand McNally. 

They've got some wicked bad music playing on the radio and when Ellen complains about there being seventeen stations of bluegrass on the radio, Tommy gives her a music lesson.  The music on those stations wasn't bluegrass but old time country.  With old time country the background instruments accompany the melody.  With blue grass, each instrument takes turns playing the melody and improvising.  Ellen laughs and teases him about being "a fascinating man."

First of all, I love that Tommyhawk knows the difference between old time country and bluegrass.  I'm also liking Ellen and Tommy working together.  I think this could be an excellent partnership.

Ellen's still trying to read the map and is just about to give up when she spots something on the side of the road.  Tommy pulls over.  The two of them get out and watch as several fires burn across the road.  Whatever's burning is also giving off an awful smell.

"What the hell is going on down here?"  Ellen asks.

Goodwin is at some fancy country club playing golf with Mr. Kendrick.  He hits a shot and compliments himself, "Goddamn that's just about long enough to measure my manhood!"  Heh.

Kendrick gives us a history of the game of golf and he and Goodwin chat about how the Scots started it.  Kendrick says, "Some hunchback prick in a kilt hit a rock with a stick and now it's a $40 billion business." 

A flunky-type guy, Donny shows up and tells Kendrick the kid they caught was a reporter who was in touch with Danny.  Goodwin once again says that Danny's been taken care of and won't be an issue.  When the flunky-type guy also tells Kendrick the reporter got a water sample, Kendrick tells the guy to get it back. 

PI Malcolm calls Patty to announce he's got the ring back and he thinks he knows who pawned it.  Patty tells PI Malcolm to bring it to her office, ASAP.  Actually I added the "ASAP."  I don't think Patty would ever say "ASAP."

Down in the wilds of West Virginia, Ellen and Tommyhawk show up at Reporter Josh's house only to find it's been broken into and thoroughly trashed.  Reporter Josh is nowhere to be found.

Since "Damages" is shot in New York I keep wondering where the producers went to shoot the wilds of West Virginia.  My guess is Westchester.  They get pretty wild up there too.

Patty is having a meeting with Detective Huntley and she produces the infamous ruby ring.  She informs him it was retrieved from a pawn shop and then shows him a picture of Druggie Kevin taken from a security camera.  She proclaims that Druggie Kevin is Christine's killer. 

Detective Huntley takes note of Druggie Kevin's blond hair, just like Danny described, but he points out that just because he pawned the ring doesn't mean he killed Christine.  Patty's like, you really want to bring this to court now?

Detective Huntley agrees to look into it.  He gets up and goes toward the door, but turns just before he leaves.  He says he wants to believe Danny, but after being on the job for 26 years, he just can't. 

Druggie Kevin is walking down a New York street at night.  He walks into a locksmith shop and the owner greets him by name, asking him how the druggie wife/druggie girlfriend is.  As an answer Druggie Kevin takes out a gun and orders the owner to give him everything in the till.  The owner complies and Kevin leaves.

The owner must also be thinking what I am:  Druggie Kevin's not the brightest bulb on the block, is he?  What does he think, the guy he just robbed ain't gonna say, "Druggie Kevin robbed me!?"  What a dunce.

Patty, What's His Name and Michael are eating dinner at the apartment.  This time they're at a table. As Michael eats and chats with her hubby, Patty keeps staring at her son.  What's His Name--whose name turns out to be Phil--is telling Michael about a dream he had.  That's right, Phil!  How could I forget?

Anyway Michael's trying to interpret the dream while puzzling over Phil's references to "Saturday Night Fever," a movie he's never seen.  Hee hee.

As we know from last season, Michael is good at interpreting dreams and in fact, making dreams up to suit his own purposes.

We flashback 10 years earlier.  Patty approaches Danny sitting on his front stoop.  Danny's filed for custody of Michael and Patty is pissed.  She tells him to back the hell off because if he doesn't she'll cut him into so many pieces there won't be enough left for a street sweeper to pick up.

Flash forward to the dinner table and Patty is still staring.

Can I just say, I love how in the flashbacks Patty hair looks just like Glenn Close's did in say "The Big Chill."  I think that's pretty cool and makes it look like it really is the past.  The job their doing with William Hurt is not quite so good.  The extra hair on him looks fake.

Anyway, Patty goes to Danny in jail and tells him she found the ring.  Being in a particularly morbid mood, Danny asks Patty to find him an estate lawyer so he can get his affairs in order.

Oh come on Danny!  Even if you're convicted it'll take them at least 10 years to get you under the needle so what's your hurry?

Then he starts reminiscing about Christine and how she didn't like to talk about the future because it scared her....blah, blah, blah...she shut down after what her father went through. (Don't know if that's going to come into play but I took note of it.)

Erica was the first baby he ever held...heartwarming...blah, blah...

See, this is my problem with him right here.  Like Patty last week, I don't believe a word he says.  He might be totally innocent but William Hurt's not pulling off the sympathy factor at all.  And Patty's caring glances and reassurances don't play at all either.  She put him in the jail for goodness sake.

There ain't a beaker full of chemistry between them.

In the wilds of Westchester...er, I mean West Virginia, Tommy and Ellen are meeting in a restaurant with Reporter Josh's editor.  He's being all clammy, not saying much except Josh thought he had a story about livestock deaths and there was no evidence to support it so Mr. Editor sent him to cover women's basketball two towns over. 

Tommy's like, yeah tell us another one.  What's the real deal?

Mr. Editor looks like he might say more but he sees a guy at the counter paying a bill and then gets even more clammy.  Sorry guys, Reporter Josh is a good kid but "he'd dead wrong about this one."  As he's leaving he adds, "You two be careful down here."  Uh oh.

Detective Huntley is going into the police precinct when a cop comes up to him and tells him about Druggie Kevin robbing his own cousin's locksmith shop and how when they picked him up, he had a pawn ticket on him.  The cop agrees with all of us that Druggie Kevin is not too bright. 

Chuck, the guy who freaked out Mr. Editor at the restaurant meets one of Kendrick's men in the parking lot.  He tells him all about Ellen and Tommy meeting Mr. Editor and where Ellen and Tommy are staying.  Kendrick's guy gives Chuck some money and thanks him.

At Patty's apartment, Huntley arrives and tells Patty they found the guy who pawned the ring and he matches Danny's description.  Huntley admits he was wrong and that's why he came to tell her in person.  Patty says she wants a line-up.  Huntley says he'll arrange one.  Then he puts his hand out for Patty to shake.  After hesitating, she does.  Kind of strange, that.

Next we're at the line-up and Danny is checking out a couple of guys before he finally taps Druggie Kevin as the guy who killed Christine. 

Christinnnnnnne!

Cut to Danny being released from jail.  Erica hugs him as Patty waits next to a waiting limo to take him home.  Patty looks smug and happy and I have to wonder why she is so quick to believe the Druggie Kevin killed Christine scenario.  Or doesn't she care? 

Claire Maddox is in a farmer's market selecting items for dinner.  Kendrick is with her and asks what she's cooking.  Claire says cider braised pork shoulder.  Hmmm.  What time do I show up?

Kendrick asks her why she doesn't have a husband.  She's like, well hell, maybe I don't want one.

They talk about Danny being released from jail and Claire says she thinks Goodwin had something to do with the murder and Kendrick should cut all ties with him.  And by the way, she asks, is it possible we had anything to do with the murder?  Kendrick's like, oh no, never, wouldn't happen, totally out of the question.

Uh huh.

Cut to Goodwin getting a massage and with a creepy guy watching.  Creepy guy is telling him, "Our guy's been arrested" and Purcell's been released.  He wants to know his next instructions and then he pulls out a chapstick and uses it.  Fun-ny!

Chappy makes the Masseuse nervous by staring at her and Kendrick tells him to cut it out.  He then instructs him to send a special "thank you" to Druggie Kevin.  Chappy grins with his freshly chapsticked lips.

It's nighttime and Ellen and Tommy are in their motel parking lot.  Tommy's on the phone leaving a message for Patty that there's definitely a case down there.  He hangs up and Ellen climbs the steps, telling him goodnight.  Tommy's about to do the same when he spots a soda machine.  He says excitedly, "Hey!  Mr. Pibb!"

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to this week's episode title.

Ellen's upstairs about to open her room door when someone comes up behind her.  It's Reporter Josh and he wants to go someplace safe to talk. 

The safe place they find to talk is the motel parking lot, which doesn't seem so safe to me, but whatever.

Reporter Josh's story goes like this:  Danny sent him a fax after reading one of his obits.  The obit was about a hog farmer who killed himself when all his livestock died.  The fires Ellen and Tommy saw by the side of the road were farmers burning dead livestock.  All Reporter Josh's research shows that anybody who lives closest to the coal plant has an increase in livestock deaths and also gets leukemia at a higher rate.  And anyone who talks about it too much gets silenced. 

Ellen and Tommy want to know if Reporter Josh knows of anyone who could serve as a plaintiff.  Josh says it's possible but they'll need protection.  Tommy says they can provide that and Ellen adds, for him too. 

When he hears about Ellen and Tommy finding his house trashed he says he was there when the goons got there but he escaped out the back door.  Besides, he's pretty sure they were there to get the water sample he took.  Josh goes to his jeep and shows them the bottle.  It's runoff from the coal processor and Ellen says they'll need to get the water tested in New York.

From across the Lot, Kendrick's flunky-guy is watching all three of them.

Chappy is now in New York at a jail talking to a burly looking inmate.  Chappy tells the inmate he needs him to deliver a message. 

At Patty's apartment she's staring at Michael again as he works on his laptop.  He's re-writing his college essay--Ellen must have given him some good tips---and Patty tells him they need to talk. 

Cut to the country house by the lake and Patty is there telling Danny they found Reporter Josh and he has a water sample.  Danny offers to test it and Patty tells him she's already filed a preliminary complaint.  They now have to win a motion and to do that, Danny needs to testify that aerosite is toxic and the Evil Empire ignored his warnings.  Danny's like, no problemo. 

Patty then tells him that after talking it over with What's His Name...I mean Phil...they decided it was time to tell Michael about Danny being his father.  She's already told him everything and he'd like to see Danny if that's okay. 

Danny thanks her and says he'd like that very much. 

Now wait.  Michael already met Danny at the elevator at Hewes, Inc.  And I'll put money on the fact that What's His Name doesn't know anything about this little father and son reunion.

The next thing we see is Michael getting out of a car at the country house.  We watch from a distance as he goes to Danny on the pier overlooking the lake and they start to talk.  We can't hear what they're saying but it seems pleasant enough.  Patty is watching from the house as if she might need to intervene at any moment.

But she doesn't because Danny and Michael get up and walk together as they continue to talk.

Back at Patty's office, she's meeting with Cass Winthrop.  She's telling him that Danny's wife was killed to protect secrets of the Evil Empire.  Even though Druggie Kevin confessed there's something bigger going on. 

Speaking of which, over at Rikers or Attica, or whatever, the messenger inmate is out in the rec yard with a bunch of other inmates.  He goes over to Druggie Kevin and after identifying him says he has a message from Chappy.  Kevin wants to know if his family is being taken care of.  The messenger inmate says, oh yeah, they've got a condo in Yonkers and everything.  And by the way, Chappy sent you this too.

Then he stabs him, I'm assuming fatally.  The messenger inmate then mumbles to Kevin something about having a family of his own to take care of.  

Kevin falls to the ground and all the other inmates just kind of stand around.  We didn't see nothin', nope, not a thing, nothing at all.

Tommy's in a car in the wilds of West Virginia and comes to a roadblock.  Along with the cops at the roadblock there's some hired muscle of Mr. Kendrick's as well.  The cop tells Tommy they believe he's in possession of stolen property and to get out of the car.  Tommy's like, you can't do this, illegal search and seizure...blah, blah, blah...

The cop is like, just open up the trunk, you city slicker.  Tommy opens the trunk and the cop starts searching bags mumbling to himself, "Where's the goddamn water?"  Until now, we've assumed Ellen was in the car with Tommy but who comes around the side of the car to the trunk but Reporter Josh.  My, my, where's Ellen?

Why she's back in New York walking into Patty's office and handing over the bottle of sample water.  Nice fake out guys.

Ellen tells Patty she and Tommy decided to split up and he's still down there trying to find a plaintiff.  She goes on to say how entire farms are being wiped out and how they have to do something.  Patty's like, they'll bring a class action suit as soon as Danny goes on record about the fraud and his doctored reports.

Now we've arrived.  Claire and Patty are in court arguing over whether Purcell's papers should be admissible since he stole them.

The judge wants to hear from Danny himself so he's sworn in.  Patty questions him about why he thought it was necessary to steal the papers from his company. 

Flashback to Purcell at the lake house taking out the bottle of sample water. 

Patty asks Danny if he's aware of fraudulent activity by the Evil Empire.  Claire objects.  Judge sustains.

Patty asks if the Evil Empire doctored his reports.  Objection.  Judge allows it.

Danny pauses for a long time.  Then:

"The Evil Empire doctored nothing.  The results are clean."

Flashback to Danny dumping the bottle of sample water in the lake.

Underneath the shot we hear Danny say, "The information I shared with Ms. Hewes in confidence was on an entirely unrelated matter.  I never wanted my documents to be used against the Evil Empire."

Claire pops up and wants the judge to immediately deny the motion.

A gobsmacked Patty wants a recess  The judge says no.  And by the way, don't waste my time on this kind of crap again.  Motion denied.

Patty looks like she's been hit in the face with a baseball bat a couple of times.  Before Danny even gets off the stand, she stalks out, but shoots him a look as she gets to the door.  Wearing those freaky glasses she walks down the courthouse steps.

Flashback to Danny finishing pouring out the water.  Goodwin walks up to him and Danny wants to know what he's doing there.  Goodwin's there to say thank you 'cause he knows all the death and destruction has taken a toll. 

Danny tells him to get off his land.  Goodwin answers by saying Kendrick made the first wire transfer and it went through.  "You've been reasonable, so will we."

Danny's like, I said leave.

And Goodwin does.

Flashback three weeks earlier and it's nighttime and Danny's in a car freaking out. It's obviously the night of Christine's murder.

Chappy gets in the car and says they're good.  Then Druggie Kevin gets in the backseat, introduces himself--what did I say about being a dunce--and then shuts up when Chappy tells him to. 

Chappy then shows the ruby ring to Danny and says it was on Christine's hand.  Chappy then gives it to Druggie Kevin and tells him to pawn it and keep the ticket. 

Danny's still freaking out but Chappy tells him all he has to do is take a good look at Druggie Kevin, then go back to his house and call 911.

Cut to Purcell at the lake house standing in the same spot where he dumped out the water.

And we're out. 

See, I would have been much more shocked at Purcell's lying on the stand if we hadn't already known that he has a relationship with Claire Maddox.  And if we hadn't already seen him with Goodwin near the toxic river when he asked if Danny was ready to be reasonable. 

That was too much information, too soon, but it'll be interesting to see where we go from here.

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