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Us or Them: Some Questions About Damages

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It seems as though week after week I choose to criticize and complain about the same shows. I see absolutely no reason to break this trend.

Can anyone out there watching Damages take a few minutes to explain some things to me that I simply do not understand? Last night, Ellen (Rose Byrne) explained to her lawyer that prior to finding her fiancé, David (Noah Bean), dead, she had been at Patty Hewes's apartment where someone attacked her. Her flashbacks of this event show the fight with her attacker, the attacker ending up dead with a knife in his or her chest, and explain that this is how Ellen got blood all over herself. She did touch David's body when she found it, so there is some blood from him, but the vast majority of blood on her person is from the unknown attacker. The police have checked Patty's apartment and finding no body they dismiss Ellen's claim of being attacked there. They do however arrest her because her fingerprints are on the murder weapon.

I understand completely how damaging it looks to have her fingerprints on the murder weapon, but do the police not care that the bloodstained clothes they are in possession of do not, for the most part, have David's blood on them? Is this just completely irrelevant? Are the cops actually going to wholly dismiss Ellen's claim despite the fact that her clothes are drenched in blood that is neither hers nor David's? Are we to believe that the police are just that bad at their job? Or, is this the producers assuming that the audience watching the show is not clever enough to figure out that the police ought to realize that they have some unknown person's blood on Ellen's clothes? Is this going to be some sort of amazing reveal later that gets the charges against Ellen dropped? Because, if it is, I feel insulted.

Actually, I feel more insulted by that than the other gaping plot hole from last night's episode. Ellen believes Patty (Glenn Close) to be responsible for her getting attacked in Patty's apartment because Patty was the only one, Ellen says, that knew Ellen was there. Now, the show does seem to want the audience to believe that the attacker was after Ellen, which would implicate Patty; however, why is it never floated as an idea that the attacker was after Patty? Surely that could be reasonable; there is nothing to argue against it at this point, then, once the attacker saw Ellen decided that she had to die because she could testify against the attacker for the break-in and a whole huge plot to murder Patty could be revealed? Why is this never dealt with as a possibility? Why are we led to assume that Patty is behind this attack? It really boils down to the same question asked above: is this a case where the producers are leading us down a less than intelligent road assuming that we will be impressed when they reveal how we were misled, or are the producers fumbling around in the dark not realizing their mistakes? Are we going down this path not because the producers are trying to fool us, but because they simply do not see the error of their ways?

I also have to ask how much the answer to the above questions matter. It seems to me at this point that either the audience is smarter than the producers because the question of the blood and the attacker do not fool us, or the audience is smarter than the producers because these are plot holes that we see a mile away even if the producers do not. Whichever answer the correct one turns out to be, the audience is still unable to maintain the suspension of disbelief necessary to watching the mystery unfold.

I am going to continue watching Damages, because I could be wholly off-base here. It could be that everyone involved knows way more than I do and I am supposed to notice and be disturbed by the above things and question everything. I don't think that is the case, but it is a possibility.

Dear reader, what say you?

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.
  • http://dramatic-personae.net Cariel

    I think you need to take into account that there are still quite a few episodes left in which to answer these ‘gaping holes.’ It is of my personal belief that these ‘holes’ are there intentionally right now in order to keep you watching to find out what happens and how it all comes together. ;)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/katrina Katrina

    “is this the producers assuming that the audience watching the show is not clever enough to figure out that the police ought to realize that they have some unknown person’s blood on Ellen’s clothes?”

    BINGO! This show started out with such promise, and now it’s just weak. I, too, will continue watching though – Glenn Close is just plain effing fun to watch, and Tate Donovan’s got a pretty good character. Ted Danson amuses me as well.

    PS: Was it just me, or did anyone else notice some subtle homo-erotic imagery between Fiske and Gregory?