Damages: The Complete Second Season

Damages: The Complete Second Season
Back when Ted Danson was dating Whoopi Goldberg, he made a public statement suggesting that their engagement of coital obligations was much like "throwing a hotdog down a hallway." Early on in the second season of Damages, in a character-shaping scene introducing season-long CEO boys club villain Walter Kendrick (John Doman), someone blurts out this very statement in reference to Marcia Gay Harden at a corporate celebration. This is just further proof that everything within this critically acclaimed FX series about the moral ambiguity and misanthropy involved in taking down an institution from within is intentional and rife with meaning. Where the first season introduced ambitious law student Ellen Parsons (Ellen Parsons) to the sinister world of corporate law under the conniving and terrifying Patty Hewes (Glenn Close), the second season expands on their relationship and trust issues. With Arthur Frobisher (Danson) defeated and seeking guidance through Eastern philosophy, Ellen sets her sights on taking down Patty through F.B.I. corroboration. Meanwhile, an environmental scientist named Daniel Purcell (William Hurt) seeks legal help on a pollutant corporate cover-up after finding his wife murdered. The narrative shifts between climax, flashbacks and flash-forwards, revealing character-defining moments regardless of time, much like the first season. But here, the plotting is far more intricate, upping the ante on an intellectual, if not emotional, level. People are killed, hookers are roughed up, everyone manipulates each other and seemingly erroneous scenes of people entering GPS co-ordinates become pivotal at opportune moments. While some logistics on the legality front occasionally ring false, Damages' unflinching tendency to make characters vengeful, narcissistic and unlikable is commendable, shaping an overall lack of predictability. It's much like a non-fantastical version of what Angel might have been if it were picked up for a sixth season, thematically speaking. Included with the three-disc box set are brief interviews with the creators and leading cast-members on character development and season two plot arcs, along with four commentary tracks. While informative, if a little too ironic, the commentaries reveal that Rose Byrne and Timothy Olyphant have a sense of humour, while Ted Danson does not. (Sony)