After the first three intense episodes of the season, “I Love You, Mommy” was less dramatic, used mostly as a plot point haven.
HACKING MONTAGE: Patty finally hires a new associate, Jake Stahl, who has a background in computers. He seems to be just the guy for the job of helping her get more information in the McClaren case. Jake believes that if he can get access to the Princefield servers, he can determine if Naomi Walling’s files were hacked by McClaren. There’s only one problem: the servers and hardware are in possession of the SEC, and they’re not willing to hand them over to Patty.
Meanwhile, Ellen finds out that McClaren is no longer positive Naomi leaked him the Princefield information in the first place. He tells her about the hacker, known as Samurai Seven, who has repeatedly tried to contact him in order to sell him more Princefield documents. This revelation makes Ellen uncomfortable of what Patty could accuse McClaren of, considering that if anyone with the skills could hack Walling’s computer information, there’s no way of disproving McClaren didn’t do it himself. Gitta and Simon decide to go behind McClaren’s back to find out what it will cost them to obtain the Princefield documents. Samurai Seven demands $500,000 in exchange for the information. Simon asks the mysterious benefactor seen in previous episodes for the money, but doesn’t answer immediately. Simon then turns to Ellen and lets her in on the whole deal about buying the documents.
It won’t be a simple purchase for Ellen if she wants them, though. When Patty realizes that Samurai Seven had tried and failed to contact her, it becomes a race between Patty and Ellen to obtain the Princefield documents. Samurai Seven offers the information to both camps for $500,000, giving both sides 48 hours to make a decision. Patty has no trouble coming up with the money, of course, but Ellen has to take out a loan. Samurai Seven is only too happy to find out that both women want the documents, and agrees to meet with both of them for payment. Patty manages to make the exchange, but when it’s Ellen’s turn to also meet Samurai Seven, the hacker is attacked at the last minute and his car lit on fire by an unknown man. Though there are scenes of Patty reading the documents, there is no reveal just yet as to what she finds out.
MOMMY ISSUES: Besides the main plot, there was a lot of mother-themed things going on. Patty continues to have the intense dreams where she ends up screaming at a bloody, creepy Ellen, only this time the Dream Ellen called Patty “mommy”. As for Ellen’s real mother, she finally tells Ellen that she’s left Ellen’s dad because their fighting has intensified to the point where he threw something at her. Then there’s Michael. The McClaren case judge issues a gag order, stopping Ellen and Patty from speaking with the press, Realizing that Patty has manipulated the court into silencing her from publicly defending McClaren, Ellen pushes back and gets Michael to spill all of his worst opinions about Patty to a journalist.
An episode that deals with a lot of covert computer exchanges can only be so interesting. Damages is strongest when its actors are allowed to perform the hell out of dialogue, not sit around as the audience reads instant messages off screens. Obviously, there’s important stuff going on, but it just wasn’t very thrilling to watch. Truly, the most exciting part of the entire episode was in the first five minutes when it was revealed to Patty by a friend that she’s on the short list of lawyers being considered for the Supreme Court. Justice Patty Hewes? Now that sounds like drama. It will be fun to see if that’s explored at all or if was just a throwaway scene. With a show like Damages, half the fun is not knowing what is important, so there’s no hurry to find out. However, with so few episodes of the show left, hopefully the rest will require less setup pieces like this one.