Brief and only mildly spoilery remarks on the season premiere of Damages after the jump:
I watched the first three episodes of Damages before I went on vacation to write a brief review for TIME. Had I planned better, I might have written this post then, but I didn’t—hey, I had to pack!—and I didn’t re-watch last night because there are only so many hours in the day (and The Real World is in Brooklyn this year). Thus, strictly from memory:
I’ve said before, I think, that for me Damages will probably always be a good rather than great show, because while the plots are crisp and the performances stellar, the characters don’t really have more depth than they need to move the story downfield. That said, I was solidly entertained in season 1, and I was surprised how quickly I got sucked into this season.
I think you can only make this series work for so many seasons before it becomes exhausted like 24—another TV thriller with which, actually, it shares the whole well-acted-but-thinly-written characters attribute—but the ongoing Patty and Ellen cat-and-mouse game, with Ellen now as the cat, may give it legs for a while. (Besides, season 2 of 24 was pretty excellent.) And I like the simple framing device of Ellen holding someone at gunpoint, which adds suspense without too much linear-story slicing-and-dicing. Do I buy Ellen as a badass gunslinger? No, but Rose Byrne has always been a weak link for me in the show, and I can live with that.
Her going to the Feds, on the other hand, is entirely plausible, and it has the benefit of moving the biggest story arc ahead without seeming ginned up. As for the new additions, I hesitate to say too much (for fear of accidentally mentioning something that’s actually in episodes 2 or 3), but I was pleased with how quickly Tim Olyphant made me forget Sheriff Bullock. However, while I’m glad to see Ted Danson back, I was curious how well Frobisher would ultimately be re-integrated into the story, or if he was just kept around because Danson had been so good.
As we move into the season, I’ll try to so more proper Damages Watches at least occasionally, if there seems to be the audience for them. For now—your witness.