With episode five, we’re officially halfway through the finale season of Damages. Say it ain’t so! This week dealt with the fallout of the Samurai Seven documents and introduced new characters of importance.
Neither Ellen nor Patty is sure if the other has the documents they both fought so hard to obtain. Ellen finds out that Samurai Seven had an associate, going by the screen name “Blackbird”, and has her investigator find the woman. Blackbird tells Ellen that she hasn’t been able to contact Samurai Seven since the transactions (considering he was murdered), but that she knows Patty has the documents. Ellen takes Samurai Seven’s financial records as evidence to the judge, which forces Patty to give Ellen the documents in discovery.
Meanwhile, Patty is busy trying to find out what the documents actually contained. They include papers that show Bennett Herreshoff, the CEO of Princefield (played by Victor Garber of Alias) started to conduct an internal investigation on Naomi Walling before she leaked the insider trading information. Patty meets with Herreshoff, who seems to be an interesting fellow, offering praise to both McClaren and Naomi for revealing the bad seeds within his company. However, he tells Patty that he cannot give her any information about the Naomi Walling investigation because he handed the case over to the SEC.
Fueled with this new information, Patty goes to the SEC to meet again with Clark Reinsdorf. She blackmails him, threatening to make it seem as though the SEC knew about the insider trading at Princefield but did nothing about it. To stay quiet, Patty demands Reinsdorf help her with her case. He agrees, and eventually is able to bring her evidence of a recording of Naomi Walling and Bennett Herreshoff. In the audio, it is clear that the two had a intimate relationship, and Herreshoff was extremely jealous of another man Walling was seeing. Reinsdorf assures Patty that he has destroyed the evidence, because if it is found it would be to Ellen’s advantage, proof that other people could have been responsible for Walling’s death besides McClaren.
FAMILY ISSUES: As Ellen deal with McClaren’s professional problems, he deals with his personal ones. There were some very important scenes for him in this episode, some that finally added necessary layers to his so far very muted character. It is revealed that McClaren had relations with a woman named Sally that resulted in a child. Though McClaren has ever met his son, Charlie, he does provide for him financially. Sally and McClaren meet in the episode because she wants to send Charlie to a school that will better suit his needs. He seems to be showing intense signs of autism and has a hard time communicating with others, especially Sally’s boyfriend, Jeff.
The news that his son is probably autistic strikes a chord with McClaren. Throughout the episode, he obsessively organizes his cigarette case, a suggestion to the audience that McClaren also has autistic tendencies. He attempts to reach out to Jeff, who he sees treating Charlie like crap. McClaren tries to explain to Jeff how Charlie’s mind works, but Jeff doesn’t care to listen, believing that Charlie just needs to be better disciplined. McClaren threatens Jeff, but Jeff punches him. This makes McClaren want to find a legal way to keep Jeff away from Charlie, but Ellen warns him that it will be a long process. So, he takes matters into his own hands, hacking Jeff’s emails, which show that Jeff is involved in some sort of illegal dealings. McClaren has Jeff arrested and then gives a large sum of money to Sally so she can start over and find a school for Charlie. She offers to let McClaren meet Charlie, and he accepts. For whatever reason, McClaren never shows up for their meeting.
Patty deals with some family issues as well. Kate Franklin brings her cookies and asks once again if she will meet with the mysterious ill man they’ve discussed before. Patty is dismissive (but eats the cookies in private). Later, Kate visits the ill man in what seems to be hospice or a nursing home, telling him that Patty still doesn’t want to meet with him. However, Patty does show up later, bringing a lot of disdain and hate for the man with her. Though it’s never said explicitly, the man seems to be Patty’s own father. Though they clearly harbor ill will towards each other, the man tells Patty he put her in his will. She tells him to take her out of it. There’s clearly more to the story here, and it remains to be seen just what exactly their history is, and what role Kate plays in any of it.
This was another episode that seemed like an information setup. That being said, even when Damages is pretty expository, it’s still damn good television to watch. The most important scenes were probably the McClaren ones, because he’s been one of the less fleshed out main characters they’ve had on the show. It is probably an intentional strategy on the part of the show runners, keeping vague about McClaren, to make Ellen and Patty’s struggle against each other even more intense. That being said, it’s great to see him have some human moments.
So, what do we think about Bennett Herreshoff? Did he have Naomi Walling killed?