Wednesday, August 1, 2007

"Damages" Recap & Review - "Jesus, Mary and Joe Cocker"

“Jesus, Mary and Joe Cocker”
Original Air Date: July 31, 2007

[Submitted by: Tom R]

Cute title. Makes you wonder when they’ll be using “The Ellen Parsons Project”.

So… with all the questions in the air, what do we really know (or what do we think we know) as we head into the second episode?

Ellen was running from Patty Hewes’ apartment building at the top of the episode. Her fiance has been murdered, and her engagement ring was found at the scene of the crime.

Ellen was hired by Patty to get access to her future sister-in law Katie Connor, who may be a witness in the case against Arthur Frobisher. Katie’s new restaurant in NYC is being bankrolled by Frobisher, and his chief attorney, Ray Fiske, has referred to her as “our chef”. When Katie’s dog is killed in an effort to silence her, the plan backfires and she is ready to testify.

Patty seemingly fired her right hand man, Tom Shayes, but Ellen is still confiding in him, while he reports back to Patty. As the episode concludes, Tom meets with“Uncle” Pete, who was first seen delivering fresh clothes to the office for the attorneys working on the Frobisher case. He takes a payoff from Tom and returns a “souvenir” for Patty. Tom delivers it to Patty at her lake house, and she promptly throws it into the water.

Onto this week…

Episode 2 focuses on Katie in the past, as she is squeezed between Fiske’s pressure for her signature on a confidentiality agreement as a condition of funding for the restaurant. She meets with Patty, who has reviewed her timeline of the Frobisher weekend. Basically, Patty calls her a liar and asks her to leave.

Pressured by media scrutiny on his family, Frobisher’s vague directions (“Whatever it takes, fix this.”) are taken to extremes by his associate, who recommends taking Katie out of the picture completely. Eventually, Frobisher caves and authorizes the hit. However, after Katie leaves Patty’s office, she is ready to sign Fiske’s agreement, although she does meet with Patty to admit the timeline is false.

In the present, Ellen’s fiance is discovered, along with a murder weapon and a photo linking her to the victim. The irony is incredible between the opening and closing shots of the same bathroom (and presumably the same pigeon) at different points in time.

Standout moment: Katie is stalked in broad daylight. Most directors would cut Hitchcock-style from eyes to eyes, feet to feet, to the knife being opened and so on. Here, the direction keeps both actors in almost full body shots, with both constantly in the frame. The resulting sense of menace works because you never lose sight of how little distance is between the two.

Damages airs Tuesdays at 10 PM on FX and repeats immediately after and during the week.

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