Damages (spoilers)

As I mentioned earlier, I have been catching up on Damages on NetFlix. I had seen the first two seasons, and all but the final episode of the third, but had missed the fourth or fifth.

I’ve been fair speeding through it, at an unhealthy rate (but what else is there to do if you are snowed in). I have just finished season 4, and although I am still enjoying it, I didn’t get the same buzz from it as the previous seasons.

Spoilers follow. This may seem OTT for a series more than a couple of years old, but it was never broadcast on UK public TV, and I have only just caught it, so others may be in the same position. If you are yet to watch this, I would skip the rest of this post, and any comments.

The interesting thing is that they had almost everything they needed there. They had a decent enough plot, good actors – the regulars, Glenn Close and Rose Byrne, and John Goodman was excellent as a nemesis who whole-hearted believed he was in the right (and was totally delusional). But the standout act for me was Dylan Baker, who I had last seen in The Good Wife, playing a CIA operative who was completely out of control.

One thing that season 4 lacked was Tom Shayes, played by Tate Donovan, who had been a regular up to now, but was killed off in season 3. A lot of the dynamic of previous seasons was the triangle between the two women lawyers and their male colleague, almost like a battle for his soul.

But the main problem for me was that it didn’t change from the old formula. Which had been great, but had simply got too predictable:

1) At the beginning, you see something in flash forward, that so clearly spelled curtains for a major character, and was so persistently returned to, that you knew there had to be a twist. And, of course, there was. Furthermore, it turned out that he wasn’t really that much of a major character, but more of a mcguffin.

2) Just like previous seasons, a major part of the plot turned out to be important, in that influenced the characters actions, but – against all appearances – had nothing to do with the investigation/lawsuit.

3) Dreams. Whenever a scene rolled out a surprising or startling conclusion, you just knew that one of the participants would suddenly take a deep breath and wake up from dreaming – on their couch, in a car, at their desk, or even sometimes in bed!

Finally, there was the extraordinary rendition of a young afghan boy, which was clearly not anything of the sort. And when our Bad Guy (Baker) dies saying “he is my son”, you can’t do anything but say “yes, we know, so?” I think it was supposed to be a great revelation along the lines of “Bruce Willis was dead all along”, but it was so clearly signposted, it was an anti-climax.

So does that mean I am not going to bother with season 5? I wish, but I have got to watch it. I still like the characters, and I am a bit of a completist. However, I think I may have a rest for a few weeks before starting the final season.

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