Damages Season 3 (6): “A lot of big brothers out there want to steal your mashed potatoes”

Dominic Chianese: keeping the money hidden and the suits sharp

I must report that Ms bold, a Glenn Close and Damages fan, found this episode curiously unsatisfying. I fear it’s because each scene is now on average 4 seconds long and by this point the series is weaving so many multiple strands of story that you’d have to be a skilled Lancastrian loom operator to follow the warp and weft on this cloth.  It will look great when finished, but right now we’re all too close to the threads to see the big picture.

This episode primarily builds up Tommy’s emotional and financial motives for the flash forward ending.  Extra denouement glimpses this week – Tommy and Ellen with vast amounts of cash; new timeline reveal, means we know Patty’s car smash was a few hours before Tommy died.  So it was Tommy … but of course it won’t be this obvious. Never is.

And the flash forward now has some lovely guitar music – maybe Patty sued to stop the shrieking music that sent her eyes into lunatic independent rotation.  It’s a nice 4 seconds of relaxation among the ongoing plotting mayhem.

Best set up scene:  Patty seeking deal with (beautifully Dickensianesque-named) Sterling Biddle, a fraudster she put away in the 80s.  She wants to know how the Tobin cash might be squirreled away.  He promises information in return for a “conjugal visit”.  Patty calls as yet unhired blonde Alex for an assignment: “How badly do you want the job?” Alex is next seen unzipping her leather boots, sitting uncomfortably next to a gently salivating Mr Biddle:  “Patty always had an eye for the pretty ones”.

Would Patty really do that? Such is her hardball status that you think – yep, on reflection she could. And they let you think this, right up to the end, when you see she was in fact smuggling in caviar.  Mind you, he did want her to stay and watch him eat it.  Sicko.

In a delightful casting twist, Biddle was played out with greedy relish by Wallace Shawn – who starred as villain Vizzini in Princess Bride, and voices both Rex in Toy Story and Stewie’s half-brother Betram in Family Guy (thanks Wikipedia).

Yet another lovely casting move:  who should play shady illegal money-holder for the Tobins? Dominic Chianese, last seen old and dying as Junior Soprano, now resurrected as a cool and dangerous “friend of your father’s” who was in the dry-cleaning business.  No doubt when he pressed suits, they stayed pressed.

Best use of apartment as metaphor:  handsome interior design architect coming to Patty’s to advise how he could remodel the place for her.  “My ex-husband made all the interior design choices.”  “When your husband did this conversion he was choosing clean lines over original detail.  But your beauty, your history, your warmth all lie behind these walls.  It would take a few days demo to fully see what we have to work with.  Or I could take a hammer to it right now to show you.  But you’d have to be willing to live with some mess.  You think you’re ready?”  Patty stops short of asking him to get his toolkit out, but they use pretty much every line bar this.

Biggest complaint:  Tommy still seems too dumb to hack it as Patty’s No 2.  But then maybe that’s how Patty likes it.

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Posted by arialbold

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Damages Season 3 (6): “A lot of big brothers out there want to steal your mashed potatoes”

  1. inkface

    I very much enjoyed the slow boot unzip tease. Classily done implied smut. Now, if it had been pork scratchings rather than caviar, it would have been even better…

    • arialbold

      Not for the verisimilitude of the scene. Her boots would have rustled suspiciously as she walked into the cell and the guards would have been tipped off. Amateur snacking error. These writers are pros.

  2. inkface

    I can see you know a thing or two about snack smuggling yourself. They’d have been crushed too I guess.