Tuned In

The Morning After: Role Reversal

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It’ll be a while before I catch up on last night’s Damages, so I’ll leave this thread for any fans to discuss it. In last week’s (spoiler alert, if you’re behind) Tom and Ellen took a road trip and we discovered the killer of Daniel Purcell’s wife—not, because it turned out he was a volunteer fall guy in an elaborate ruse / self-frame-job in which Purcell participated. The episode kept my interest, but it also exemplified something maddening about Damages: the constant strategy of pulling the rug out with these sudden reversals. She’s evil; no, she’s good! He’s innocent; no, he’s guilty; no, he’s innocent again! He’s on this side; no, he’s on that one! 

I realize it’s a little unfair to criticize Damages, since that kind of whiplash reveal is, well, pretty much the whole point of the show. But I’m starting to wonder whether TV in general shouldn’t place some kind of moratorium on this plot device, which is a great way to throw a change-up if used sparingly but, used constantly, becomes numbing and frustrating. 24, of course, is the original offender, what with all the bad guys proving good and good guys turning out to be moles and double agents revealed as triple agents.

(And let’s be honest: my beloved Lost has done its share of this, although I like to think, as when Jin turned out not to be the heavy he seemed at first, that it’s less of a cheap plot device and more gradual revelation of character.) 

Are you tired of role reversals as a plot device on TV too? Or do you think I’m a crank complaining for no good reason? Because of my opinion turns out to be inconvenient, I’m prepared to do a 180 and say that I secretly believed the opposite the whole time.

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