PTR Senior Staff Writer
This is television, folks.
At its best.
Having been thoroughly disappointed with this season's offerings on Dexter, lost interest in Cold Case, been on again/off again with Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles and still on the fence about the rest of this season's Saving Grace (which returns in the Spring), I was wondering if I was getting my hopes up too high with the return of Damages.
Like, did the success or failure of my entire television viewing season hang in the balance on this one show?!
We recall it just WOWED with its first season - so much so that neither I nor PTR's Editor-in-Chief TVFan could stop talking about it. And, I do vaguely recall saying I was going to have to take a contract out on the heads at FX had they NOT renewed it for a second season.
Problem is, when you like a show THIS much, your expectations can get the better of you. And, should the show not deliver, well ... let's just not go there.
Thankfully, Patty and Co. did not let me down.
As if she could.
So, how good was the second season premiere?
Let's just say it didn't feel as if it had been over a year since the last time we checked in; they brilliantly recapped key points of the first season for everyone WITHOUT running the flashback-this-is-what-we-did routine into the ground; and, they set the table once again for an even more complex web of manipulation, betrayal and Lord knows what, with Ellen set to take down Patty once and for all if she can get past her own revenge issues.
And that was all laid out for us in just ONE hour, folks.
Vengeful Ellen working for the Feds is just a brilliant storyline. She is SO different from the wide-eyed, fresh-out-of-law-school Bambi that was presented to us last year. Hardened by Patty's betrayal (uh, you know ... the whole tried to kill her thing), grieving over the murder of fiancé doc David that has her simultaneously wanting to disembowel Frobie (can we blame her?), and having this veil of icy calm whilst seething on the inside as she agrees to play nice with Patty only to eventually be able to destroy her in the end ... GENIUS.
Rose Byrne has got the simmering with rage thing down pat. Her therapy sessions with her revenge dreams on Frobie are telling, eh? And the flash forward has her killing "someone" point blank. I'm taking bets right now on whether it's going to end up being Patty or Frobie.
Speaking of Frobie (that's Arthur Frobisher to those just tuning in), you just can't keep a corrupt corporate executive down. I will confess there is something satisfying in seeing him reduced to an invalid state as he recovers from being left for dead by one of his former workers. I'm definitely glad to have Ted Danson back in the fold given he was just SO good at being the man everyone loves to hate.
Patty is still Patty. She seems a little more mellow, but haunted by her sins of the first season. She's preoccupied trying to set up a charity foundation, which really serves as an outlet to try and clear her conscience. How good is that? Glenn Close is still fabulous. This role is hers and hers alone. I swear, it's like an honor to get to watch her week in, week out.
And I just loved - loved, loved, loved - the introduction of William Hurt's character, Daniel Purcell. Even if the storyline did seem a little tobacco industry-esque given he supposedly has smoking gun data to bring down an entire "industry," he's mysterious in a sympathetic way. There is a history between he and Patty that is alluded to just enough to make you want to know more. And that, my friends, is great writing.
Don't give the story away all at once; give us enough to want to come back for more.
Which is exactly what Damages does best.
(And to think we haven't even SEEN Marcia Gay Harden, yet!)
New episodes of Damages air Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FX. To catch up on the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How of the show, head on over to the official Damages Web site.