Last week, Patty Hewes threw down the gauntlet for Ellen Parsons and set the bar for just how tough the McClaren wrongful death case is going to be. Ellen needed a win, and this episode of Damages was her doing just that.
First, Ellen gets her client to admit to lying to her. After showing McClaren the security tape Ellen’s investigators dug up, McClaren fessed up to meeting with Naomi Walling. According to him, they met twice in total. Once, they spoke in Rome, and the next time was at the hotel before she uploaded the documents to his website. His account of events was accompanied by a flashback to the hotel scenes, in which McClaren assures Walling that her identity will be safe and she promises the files. All seems well and normal, except that he left his cigarette case behind. While McClaren’s version of events makes it clear they did indeed know each other, there is no evidence of reason for malice, and thus no intent to harm Walling. A good point is raised during these scenes — why would McClaren want to embarrass his source?
While Ellen finally gets all the information she needs, Patty and Walling’s daughter, Rachel, meet to prepare for her upcoming deposition. Rachel tells Patty that she too had been lying up until that point and that her mother told her that she and McClaren did have a personal relationship. When Patty questions her as to why she hadn’t mentioned it before, Rachel promises she’s not making up lies just to make the case look better. This sets the stage for the heart of the episode — two days worth of Rachel’s deposition.
DEPOSITION DAY ONE: When Ellen sits down to finally interview Rachel and get her side of the story, Rachel nails every question beautifully, obviously coached to perfection by Patty and Bill. She even throws a curve ball into the mix, accusing McClaren of attacking and attempting to rape her mother in the hotel. Interestingly, there are flashbacks to the same hotel scene that McClaren had already previously described, but this time they take a more sinister turn, Naomi resisting the idea of giving up documents to McClaren and then having to violently fend him off as he attacks her. When Ellen points out that all of this is secondhand hearsay, Rachel produces McClaren’s cigarette case (dented from where he supposedly “threw it against the wall”).
With both flashback sequences seeming just as legitimate as the other, the audience is left as judge and jury to decide which version is the truth. McClaren asserts that he never attacked or tried to rape Walling, but his associate Rutger Simon confirms that McClaren did have a cigarette case that went missing.
DEPOSITION DAY TWO: After having her new associate, Kate Franklin, go through Walling’s phone records the day she died, Ellen decides to bring them up at the deposition, questioning Rachel about each one. They seem mostly boring, average conversations between mother and daughter that serve no purpose other than to prove just how close the two really were. Finally, Ellen asks Rachel to walk her through the last phone call she and her mother shared together just before she died. Rachel walks Ellen through the phone call, explaining almost word for word what they said to one another, Kate Franklin transcribing and timing the conversation the entire time. Patty begins to look confused and suspicious as to what is really going on, but can’t stop Ellen from dropping the bomb — the last phone call Naomi made to her daughter only lasted two seconds, clearly not enough time for the two to have said all the things Rachel claims they did, forcing Rachel to admit that she made up the entire conversation. So what else did she make up? Patty is “throwing barware” levels of angry when it’s over.
And that’s how a protégé of Patty Hewes gets it done.
LINGERING QUESTIONS: The man who tried to get McClaren to pay him for more information about Princefield tries and fails to get in contact with Patty. What could he possibly have that would be of interest to her? Another mystery concerns a benefactor who meets with Simon several times during the episode, scenes that suggest his money is really in control of the McClaren team.
On the personal side of things, both Ellen and Patty had very interesting things happen that went without full explanation. For Ellen, it was the discovery that her mother is working at a pharmacy. Though she initially claims being very happy there, she later goes to Ellen’s apartment late at night very upset, asking to stay with her. What’s going on in Ellen’s parents’ household? The twist of the episode, however, goes to Patty and Kate. While celebrating her granddaughter’s birthday, Patty takes a moment to speak with Kate, who randomly dropped by Patty’s apartment. In their brief encounter, Kate mentions that Patty isn’t returning an unnamed man’s phone calls, and that Kate just wanted to deliver the message to Patty that “he” is dying. Oh snap? Oh snap.
Ten bucks says Kate’s maiden name is Hewes. Who is with me?