Monday, April 06, 2009

"When I Am Through With You..."

"...there won't be anything left."

If you're not watching Damages, you're making a big, big mistake. I have two words to describe it: Effing glorious.

There are a LOT of shows I watch that I don't blog regularly about. Damages is a show I've been watching from the beginning, but because my husband and I like to collect 4 or 5 episodes on the PVR and then watch them all at once, I tend to be behind, so I don't talk about it. But a couple of weeks ago I made an offhand remark about watching Damages, and was surprised to see so many people comment, "You watch Damages?!" and talk about their love of the show.

So it's time to get the rest of you on board. (No spoilers ahead, just me begging you to watch.)

If you love Lost, and the questions and mysteries each week, Damages makes that show look like one that revealed the butler did it in the first episode. There are so many twists and turns (in EACH episode) you never know who's good, who's bad, who's playing whom, and who's being played.

The show stars the inimitable Glenn Close, who first wowed us on The Shield in a brilliant turn in the fourth season, where this tough-as-nails woman showed up to run the Farm, and become yet another nemesis to Vic Mackie. Now she plays Patty Hewes, a vicious, ruthless attorney who has clawed her way to the top, and now that she's there she's going to hold her position by refusing to let anyone read her. In the first episodes of season 1, she convinces a young lawyer named Ellen to come on board, seemingly because in Ellen she saw someone the firm could really use. What Ellen didn't know is that Ellen's background was useful to the case, and Patty was about to manipulate things to get what she needed. Or was she?

Each season opens with the END of the season: The film is grainy, someone stumbles out of a room or a building, it's hard to tell what's happening, but whatever it is, it's completely unnerving. Then we go back 6 months to see how we got to this horrible point. As the season goes on, they keep showing you that final scene, only adding a few seconds at the beginning or the end of it to help you piece it together. But at the end of every ep, just when you THINK you know what happened, you're proven completely wrong.

The series rests on Patty, and she encapsulates what it's all about. One minute she's inviting an attorney into her office and telling them they can come to her, she'll be their BFF, and if they ever need anything, don't hesitate to let her know. The next time they walk into her office she'll stare at them with nothing but coldness, her eyes tiny slits, and hiss something so unbelievable at them they're instantly aware that Patty is their superior, not their chum, and don't you DARE forget it. And then a few minutes later she'll pop into their office, a huge smile on her face, and invite them over for dinner. Only Glenn Close could pull this one off so brilliantly.

Season 1 featured Ted Danson as Arthur Frobisher, the head of a corporation that was screwing its employees out of millions of dollars, and Patty took on a civil suit against him to try to turn his name to mud. Just as Patty had a Jekyll and Hyde persona, so did he (Danson is awesome in a way you can't even imagine in this season) and his lawyer, Ray Fisk (played by Juliet's evil husband, for the Lost fans), seems to be the worst of them all, until we discover his vulnerability.

The end of the season will make your head spin. First you think one person is behind things, then another, then another, then you flip back to the first, then away from them, and just as they've revealed everything and the show enters its denouement for the season, there's a sudden turn AGAIN in the final moments of the episode and you sit there going, "WHAT?!" Don't ever think it's over.

Oh, and that final "What?!" that you had at the end of the season? All the crazy discussions you might have with your friends about "oh my god can you believe it ended like that?" In season 2, they twist it AGAIN and just when you thought you had a handle on what really happened in season 1, you discover you were wrong. Again.

It's awesome. Season 2 features not only Close, but Oscar winners Marcia Gay Harden and William Hurt, and it's full of even MORE twists and turns. And if you're a fan of The Wire, Lester Freamon is on there this season, along with Commissioner Rawls. Darrell Hammond from SNL plays this crazy creepy hitman, and Seth Bullock from Deadwood is on there. You'd be hard-pressed to find a tighter cast on television right now.

From the opening credits, featuring a wicked loud song from The VLA, where they moan, "When I am through with you... there won't be anything left" (shockingly, I've read of fans who really hate the loud, abrasive opening, but I LOVE it... judge for yourself, and watch it here) to the end credits, which always come too soon, this show is one of the best on television.

Next Sunday is the season 2 finale. Don't watch it if you haven't tuned in yet. Go out and get season 1, and season 2 will be along shortly. I promise you, you won't be disappointed.

UPDATE: I just found out from my readers that it's the finale this Sunday ONLY in Canada. If you're in the U.S., you've already seen episode 13 (lucky bastards!!) Thanks to everyone for not posting spoilers, but after this Sunday, post anything you want on it below. :)


Jonathan said...

Sounds amazing. But where you and your husband like to build up 4 or 5 episodes, my wife and I like to build up one or two seasons, then watch. Good to know the finale is next weekend. I'll look into this show soon.

A.G.Wooding said...

There is not one cast member i'm not fascinated by which is hard to find in a show. I wish Zeljko Ivanek was still in it, he is a fantastic actor. Also love the opening music, don't know why people wouldn't.

Anonymous said...

Nik, I believe the season 2 finale aired already. I watched it last week, unless i missed something and there is actually one episode left?? Its a great show, I too have watched from the beginning. I hope i havent missed anything for season 2

Nikki Stafford said...

Anonymous: Oops, I didn't realize FX was on a different airing schedule as Canada. Ours airs this Sunday. We're only at the part where we discovered that ____ didn't actually ____ as we'd previously thought. ;)

Jill Hopman said...

i love your blog; and i love damages! almost as much as lost. i would say that they are my top two favorite shows. while the season finale of damages aired already, the last 15 minutes or so blew my mind - enjoy! and thanks so much for all of your amazing work.

ps: i heart the opening song on damages, too.

Nikki Stafford said...

jhop: Yay! I can't wait. I'm so glad to hear it sounds like it'll be as mind-blowing as season 1's finale was.

And yes, that song is awesome. It's the best U2 song that U2 never wrote. :)

Thank you for the kudos! That's very sweet. :)

edgeshat said...

Hey Nikki,

I love Damages, the 2nd season finale was awesome, but I have a question about it. Don't want to spoil it, so can you post saying you watched it, and then I'll ask my question.


flexible said...

I live for it :) Wednesdays. Lost and Damages. By Thursday morning my brain is on life support and I have to watch something lighthearted to get it back in neutral. Love the show. Love Patty Hewes and Ellen Parsons. I thought Episode 13 was the finale? We are not watching on the same schedule are we Nikki?

Nikki Stafford said...

edgeshat: We can definitely discuss it after this Sunday! :) I can't wait.

flexible: Are you in the U.S.? If so, that explains it... I didn't realize FX was a week ahead of us in Canada (it airs Sundays here, so we just saw ep 12 this past Sunday).

And for lightheartedness on Thursdays, it's 30 Rock and The Office for me!! :)

Nikki Stafford said...

P.S. Speaking of which, here's a reminder that Amy Poehler's new show, Parks and Recreation, starts this Thursday.

Amy said...

I love, love, love Damages! Glenn Close is so amazingly fantastic in this show. I agree with A.G. -- every character brings something to the show. I've been particularly fascinated with Wes (played by Timothy Olyphant) this season.

flexible -- I don't know how you watch both Lost and Damages in one night! I tried, but I'm always too consumed by Lost questions after it airs to appreciate Damages, so I end up recording Damages.

And for those who have also seen The Wire, isn't it weird to see Lester and Rawls kind of working together?

NanX said...

I'm with Amy, after watching Lost I can't concentrate on anything else.

I love Damages but they show it about three times so Sunday night is when I catch it. I think this finale was better than the first one. And the theme music just fits it I think.

flexible said...

Nikki- Ah, that's why. I've never managed to get into the Office. I like 30 rock though.

Amy-I think I am a glutton for punishment. I do not know to this day, why I put myself through both on one day.

BTW, the theme music is fantastic. I am so excited when I hear it. I think it is very appropriate for the show it is and has gotta be Patty's theme. Though Ellen is becoming a lil' biatch herself :)

finn garrity's nostrils said...

is it me or does marcia gay harden look like Bruce McCullough from THE KIDS IN THE HALL?

edgeshat said...

Hey Nikki, did you watch Damages yet?

What did you think of the ending?