“Damages” finale delivers


So, was it good for you?

ended its first season last night and those (sadly, few)

of us who sat through every twist and turn of this exquisitely twisty,

turny legal thriller finally got to see all the pieces of this complex

moral jigsaw puzzle fit into place. Stepping back and looking at the

finished whole, I have to say wow.

***Spoiler alert, so if you

haven’t finished watching, what are you waiting for?***

The finale managed to both

satisfy and leave you hungry for more. While we found out who killed

David in the penultimate episode, last night’s show answered just about

every other burning question. And while the payoff of finally finding

out who did what and why was great, it almost wasn’t the point. Along

the way, the series has morphed from a classic murder-mystery whodunnit

to an in-depth character study in morality, or, more precisely, immorality.

From the show’s riveting

premiere (which I watched so intently, I almost forgot to breathe) and

throughout its 13-episode run, Damages has never ceased to impress

with its sophisticated storytelling, nuanced acting and operatic cinematography.

But I’ve been most impressed by its inherent trust that the audience

was smart enough to navigate its treacherous ethical minefield. Was

it perfect? Of course not. The stalker girlfriend red herring was unnecessary

and Patty’s lingering grief over a stillborn daughter came out

of left field. But the real treat week after week has been watching

Glenn Close
and Rose Byrne square off as intelligent, powerful

and independent women. And, sure, the power suits didn’t hurt either.

How many other shows have given

us such strong, albeit it morally challenged, lead female characters

as Patty Hewes and Ellen Parsons? Heck, how many other shows revolve

around two female characters, period? And what other series allows its

rich cast of characters to reveal themselves so completely? While it

would be easy to make cartoon villains out of ruthless litigators like

Patty or corporate raiders like Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson,

showing layers never seen on Sam Malone), the series resisted all such

shorthand and instead waded happily into the murky gray area that defines

real life. Seldom are we all good or all bad. Even the most evil among

us have good qualities, and the most virtuous have weaknesses.

FX has yet to renew Damages,

which is a true shame. I don’t know if I’ve seen another finale

that so brilliantly tied up the season’s loose ends, yet somehow managed

to unravel a whole new set to potentially be explored next year. Throughout

this season, I kept wondering how the show could possibly come back

for a second season if the Frobisher case got resolved. Now, I couldn’t

imagine not finding out what happens next. Patty vs. Ellen Part II?

I hope I remember to breathe.

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