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'Damages' season finale review: 'The next one's gonna go in your throat'

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Damages ended its season — the series? — with some many plot resolutions it had to expand to 90 minutes and still felt stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey. Not that the finale itself was a turkey; a lot of it was superb.

Finally, we got a scene between Glenn Close and Lily Tomlin that demonstrated just how good these two could have been if they’d joined forces earlier in the season. We learned why Keith Carradine had been hanging around on the edges of this season, as the flirty, slightly creepy architect who kept giving Close’s Patty Hewes apartment re-modeling advice. Most important for the purposes of the bigger picture, we learned who killed Tom Shayes.

Damages spent much of season three proceeding at a leisurely pace. At first I was irritated by it (and when I think about how much of an info-dump last night’s show had to be, I’m still irritated it didn’t parcel out these revelations over the past couple of weeks — it would have made for better dialogue and character interaction). But I now see, with the puzzle complete, that the pace of the season matched the pace of the life that the Tobin family lived.

As mega-wealthy Manhattanites, the Tobins, even embroiled in a financial scandal and a multitude of family secrets, led a typical New York City-ritzy existence. All the dirty work was done for them; everyone, even alcoholic son Joe (what a fine final performance by Campbell Scott as the alcoholic brat), managed to avoid messiness until the very end. (The Joe storyline could be edited and shown at AA meetings as a very effective cautionary tale.)

Timothy Olyphant took time out from Justified to mosey over and justify his last-season behavior to Ellen, and then pull a gun on Ted Danson’s Arthur Frobisher — could that have been any better?

True, some of the pieces of Damages didn’t quite fit. Why was Joe able to appear at the stabbed Tom’s apartment with such perfect timing (after Tom had left a phone message for his family to clear out, and just as Tom himself arrived)? This qualm was overridden by the murder scene that followed. Tom’s death — drowned in the toilet bowl by a totally blotto Joe — was one of the grimmest scenes in the series’ history.

What did you think of the final revelations, especially the extended flashbacks to Patty and her law-school pregnancy, her abortion-by-miscarriage? Did that final scene, with a silent Patty gazing at the departing back of Rose Byrne’s Ellen, make you consider that Patty may have been thinking, this is the daughter I never had? And what about the explanation of the car wreck we’d been shown again and again throughout the season? Is Patty’s son, Michael, the most miserable, doomed kid on the planet, or at least in Manhattan? And does Martin Short’s Lenny live to star in a spin-off? I kind of hope so…

What did you think of the Damages season finale?

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