Josh Wolk
April 02, 2009 AT 02:00 PM EDT

Even though the season 2 finale of Damages was 90 minutes long, I wasn’t sure how they’d resolve everything.  But they did, and at a breakneck pace. Let’s quickly dissect all the switcheroos, flip-flops, and general what-the-hells that went down in the finale:

Wes refused to kill Ellen, and the unknown guy we had seen him kill in the car a few weeks ago turned out to have been the evil Detective Messer. Score one for comeuppances! But demerits for never explaining just what Messer had on Wes in the first place to force him into going undercover to befriend Ellen. (Or did I miss that? There were so many damn dark secrets to keep track of. I was juggling so many that I barely had brain space left over to remind myself how to get dressed in the morning.)

Ellen did not in fact shoot Patty in her hotel room. Instead, she shot the FBI camera behind them, buying her time to force Patty’s confession for trying to have her killed last season. Although it did take Agent Warner an inordinately long time to ditch his surveillance van and run to Ellen’s room afer hearing the shots. Could he not get a parking space closer to the hotel?   

Patty, spurred on by the ghost of Ray Fiske, decided to make everything right by working with Tom and Tom’s sister to turn Ellen’s bust for bribing a judge into a bust of FBI Agent Warner for framing her.

The reason Patty was bloody when she stumbled out of Ellen’s hotel room was not because Ellen hurt her, but because on her way up to the room, Finn Garrity had stabbed her in the elevator when she rejected his offer to testify against Walter Kendrick and expose the energy-trading scheme, and…now wait just a minute!

I can suspend my disbelief with the best of them, but this was a bit much. Okay, so it became clear that the reason Patty looked so sweaty and scared when Ellen was talking about the botched hit on her was because she was in great pain. Fine. But how exactly did she manage to look so smooth for the first part of the meet? She was bleeding like a stuck pig, yet found the composure to coyly talk about bribes. We’ve been told that Patty can remain cool under pressure, but I didn’t think that applied to deep flesh wounds. Who knows, perhaps when she was deposing Frobisher last season, a tiger had just chewed her leg off: She’s just that good! And another thing: If she had on tape the deal made between her and Dave Pell to frame Ellen in exchange for UNR evidence, why did she need to enact that whole elaborate charade of having Ellen make the payoff?

The answer to that, of course, is “for the surprise reveal.” Which is the answer to any question you ask about this series. That’s the fun of it. I’m addicted to Damages and think the writers do a great job keeping balls in the air and then shocking you with where they land. But as hooked as I was on the story, I feel like they tried to keep a few too many balls afloat this season. There were so many characters that Patty sometimes dissolved into the background, and she should be the center of attention. And William Hurt vanished for the entire middle chunk. That I can’t argue with, though. As good an actor as he is, I was glad to see him go. I think he vanished because the writers realized they had flip-flopped him a few too many times for him to make any logical sense anymore. It’s like they’d binged on script tricks and then woke up one morning with a hangover and couldn’t believe what they’d done, and tried to dump their mess outside and forget it ever happened. Although those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it—they brought him back and his return made just as little character sense the second time around. For example, if he had an epiphany that he had to own up to what he’d done and no longer accept the money from the evil polluters, then why did he refuse to incriminate them in his wife’s death?

Oh, and more thing: What was with the brief cameo from Ted Danson? Are they setting it up so that next season Frobisher sells his new environmentally conscious building to Patty’s law firm, and the two of them fight crime together in between his long lunch breaks spent snorting blow in his car with a hooker?

But the trick to enjoying a show like Damages is not to pull at any loose plot strands, because the whole show will unravel. (A rule I’ve just broken.) So I’ll stop my nitpicking and look to next season: Will Ellen, as Patty predicted, “be back”? That would be great! Oh, the tension that would bring, as well as twists galore, and…why would she possibly go back to work with the woman she held at gunpoint for trying to have her killed?

Whoops, there I go again.

What did you think of the finale? Were you satisfied with the way it all wrapped up? Did you see any of the twists coming, and which ones completely shocked you? Would you like to see Ellen rejoin the firm next season, or would you rather she stayed away and left the show to Patty?

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