Damages is taking a risk in season three, seemingly hinging its action around Tom Shayes (Tate Donovan), who has not been the brightest light in the Damages starry array. Tommy is certainly the fulcrum around which episode two pivots.
The key moment is actually a great use of silence and stillness – set between rapid scenes where the dialogue never lets up for a second – as Tommy gazes shocked at a mystery file handed to him by a fellow Hewes associate. The moment seems to last forever as he stares into the abyss.
Turns out that he has all his stock invested with a broker who then secretly placed that investment in Tobin’s now collapsed ponzi scheme. His family’s future (and his cousins’ and his parents’ and his friends’ – as he angrily tells his wife) is wholly tied up in it. Never heard of a balanced portfolio? For a smart lawyer he sure is dumb.
It shows the power of the scene that you empathise fully as you envisage his destroyed future stretching ahead of him – and only then remember, oh yes, he’s going to be found dead in the dumpster in 6 months anyway. Such are the twisty-turny joys of Damages.
The acting coaches must have got to work on Tate Donovan since he now has way more than two facial expressions – somewhere upwards of six I counted in this scene alone. Way to go. By the end of the series he’ll be up to … oh wait. He’ll just have the one.
Patty Hewes for once takes a bit of a back seat in this episode, but provides a diverting subplot romp with soon to be ex-husband Phil. Toying with him mercilessly through the divorce proceedings, which is fun to watch. And even stooping low enough to use their dog’s apparent illness as leverage. Dumb employees and dumb animals, she’ll use anyone to get what she wants. Continue reading