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Damages is back, and its style of storytelling makes a coherent recap quite the challenge. But we're up for it! Let's start with events in the present day...
Ellen is working for the DA's office. Patty is still the head of Hewes and Associates, of course. Their professional paths still have something in common, however: the Lou Tobin case.
He's a Bernie Madoff-like character, having been placed under house arrest and having admitted to running a Ponzi Scheme that took billions from his clients. The DA is pursuing criminal charges against Lou, while Patty has been assigned by the court to follow and recover the money.
It's worth meeeting the Tobin family at this point: Lou is the patriarch; he's married to Marilyn, who handles her deposition with Patty smoothly and seems to be hiding a lot; Joseph is the son, who truly does seem to be in the dark about his father's dealings; Rachel is Joe's concerned wife; and there's a sister of Joe's we barely meet.
Joe wants to speak to the press in order to clear his immediate family's name, but the Tobin lawyer won't let them. He's played, in a serious turn, by Martin Short.
Patty also comes across a man named Julian twice, both times in a bar. He's played by Keith Carradine and he appears to be hitting on Patty. She turns him down both times, but there's clearly more to his character and we're sure we'll meet him again later on.
Meanwhile, Ellen gets a big break on a case at work: a drug dealer flips on his supplier after two men with baseball bats destroy his motorcycle and threaten him to stay quiet about their boss. But this just angers the dude and Ellen gets credit when he turns on the much bigger fish. Did Patty somehow set this up? Ellen believes so, as she confronts her former boss - who she hasn't spoken to in nearly a year - and tells her to not play games. If she wants to speak to Ellen, just call; don't send a $3,000 Chanel purse to her office, as Patty did earlier. Keep this hand bag in mind.
Also, Tom is made into a partner and we learn that Lou told his family about his Ponzi Scheme on Thanksgiving night. Joe saw him call someone that evening and he convinces his mother to give him the number of who it was. Marilyn hands it over, Joe gives it to Patty and Patty calls - the cell phone inside a shopping cart of a homeless man rings. Huh?!? Seems like a good time to go ahead six months...
SIX MONTHS LATER
Patty is driving along, listening to radio hosts debate her success, when she's smashed into by a car. Both vehicles are totaled, but Patty is okay. The driver of the other car is gone, and Patty winds up in the police station. She's asked a few questions by the detective, who is summoned out by his partner: they've determined the owner of the car that hit Patty. It's Tom.
At this, the detective go to Tom's apartment, the address found on the car's ownership. It's small and rundown and there's just a mattress inside it. They spy a homeless man outside and follow him. Once they track him down, they notice he has the aforementioned Chanel purse in his shopping cart... and it's covered in blood! The man claims he doesn't know where it came from.
The detectives also locate a nearby dumpster and viewers will soon be shocked at what they discover: Tom's dead body.
That's how the episode ends. Six months after the events described above, Tom is found dead and Patty is in the police station after a car registered to him runs into her.