Our insider, Josh Payne, brings you a detailed recap of every new episode plus extra background info only a Damages writer would know!
One week until the trial begins. Ellen’s in Patty’s office, asking when Patty plans on deposing McClaren, Rutger, and Gitta. Patty says she plans to do it all in one day, unnerving Ellen.
In a flash to one week later, Detectives Williams and Ortiz lead a handcuffed Patty to the back of a squad car. Ellen, meanwhile, lies in an alley with blood pouring from the back of her head, her vacant eyes staring at the sky. A pigeon pecks near her head and some items that spilled from her purse, including an ultrasound sonogram. Patrick Scully, Ellen’s attacker from Season 1, looks down at her from the top of a building. In the interrogation room, Det. Ortiz tells Patty something that disturbs her, but we don’t hear what it was.
Then a flashback to Rome in 2011, where Princefield CEO Bennett Herreshoff and Naomi Walling woo an Italian businessman to invest in Fund 23. After the meeting, Herreshoff makes a pass at Naomi, but she says their relationship is in the past. Later, Naomi sleeps with McClaren. This is the first time they’ve met, and this is when he gets his first look at the Princefield documents. He says there’s a definite pattern of insider trading and asks to see more documents. Rutger knocks on the door to remind Channing about an interview, and he sees Naomi in Channing’s room. A short while later, after Naomi has gone, Rutger blasts Channing for sleeping with her. A Princefield leak could solidify McClarenTruth as a premier investigative site, but Rutger argues Channing’s sexual exploits with Naomi could jeopardize everything. Rutger then laments having given his life to McClarenTruth for the past eight years—losing his wife and daughter in the process—only to see McClaren treat it as a joke.
In the present, Rutger sits in the carriage house, sipping a Scotch and replaying the memory. Channing joins him and says Chris Sanchez’s leak brought McClarenTruth its best week in months. Rutger apologizes for bringing on Helmut Torben as a donor, but Channing isn’t sure what to believe.
At the shooting range, Ellen fires a nice grouping into the target. Afterward, she asks her private investigator Waleed Cooper to track down Patrick Scully. Meanwhile, Scully stakes out Ellen’s office and learns the code to enter the building while watching Kate Franklin enter.
At Hewes & Associates, Patty and Herndon watch Ellen being interviewed about McClaren’s latest leak. Ellen calls Patty’s accusations “scurrilous” and Herndon mentions there are some big clients looking to work with her. He also hands Patty a file on Torben.
Ellen’s mother Denise comes over. She’s petrified. Ellen’s father Gary pounded on Denise’s apartment door, demanding she come home. Denise pretended she wasn’t home, and Gary sat outside for two hours. Ellen tells Denise to stay the night with her but urges her to stand up to Gary. The next day Gary drops by Ellen’s office, where Ellen tells him to give Denise some space. When he refuses, Ellen tells him he is a monster to live with, constantly belittling Denise and acting like a tyrant. Enraged that his daughter challenged him, Gary storms out.
In Torben’s office, he tells Herreshoff that both Patty and Ellen know he provided financial support to McClarenTruth. Despite their panic, the men know it is not in Ellen’s best interests to reveal the truth as it would weaken her case. And Patty hasn’t chosen to make it an issue, as far as they know.
Ellen returns to her office. She doesn’t notice Scully following her into the building. Scully enters Ellen’s office suite, creeping steadily toward her office. Outside the door, Scully removes the garrote from his pocket and wraps it around his fist. He kicks open the door to Ellen’s office and is shocked to find no one there. He hears a noise in the hall and ducks into Ellen’s office. Kate Franklin enters. On her way to her office she stops to read a note Ellen left on the conference room table. Once Kate is in her office, Scully skulks to the conference room to check out the note, which reads: “I went up to the roof. Be back soon – E.” On the roof, Ellen takes in some fresh air to settle her stomach. The door opens behind her and someone approaches. Ellen turns to see Kate, who asks how she’s feeling. When Ellen says she’s feeling a little off, Kate notes she’s been feeling off for weeks and should see a doctor. Ellen points out the pigeon’s nest to Kate, noting that it’s rare to see one. It’s the same nest we’ve seen in the flash forwards all season. Outside Ellen’s office building, Scully gets spooked by a police siren and heads back to his car.
The deposition begins in Patty’s office. Patty quickly deposes McClaren, Rutger, and Gitta, ascertaining that McClaren first met Naomi Walling in Rome, where he learned about Princefield’s insider trading. When Naomi had second thoughts, McClaren met with her again in New York unbeknownst to Rutger and Gitta. McClaren maintains he had no sexual contact with Naomi Walling in New York; Rutger and Gitta back him up. It’s all routine until Patty asks Rutger if he knew Helmut Torben, one of McClarenTruth’s financial backers, had a financial relationship with Bennett Herreshoff, Princefield’s CEO. Neither Rutger nor Ellen was expecting this question. Then Patty pulls a 1987 Wall Street Journal article from the folder Herndon gave her. It states that Helmut Torben gave Bennett Herreshoff money to launch a hedge fund. Patty asks Rutger if he understands how Torben’s involvement with Herreshoff represents a huge conflict of interest in terms of Torben’s subsequent support of McClarenTruth, and the site’s posting of the Princefield leak. As the site’s business manager, Rutger acknowledges the conflict but claims he did not know Torben had financial dealings with Herreshoff. Patty suggests Torben’s agenda was to discredit Naomi Walling to undermine the validity of the insider-trading leak, and either Rutger was wildly incompetent or complicit in the plan. Patty’s offensive rattles Rutger.
When Ellen asks Torben about supplying insider trading tips to Fund 23 he denies it. Ellen presses him, asking why he would fund a Web site that could expose his own illegal activity. Torben denies everything and doesn’t answer when Ellen asks about Rutger’s involvement. Ellen threatens to turn Torben over the DA if he ruins her defense of McClaren.
McClaren blasts Rutger for his poor performance in the deposition, saying the fact that Rutger couldn’t answer Patty’s questions means he’s untrustworthy. Rutger shoots back that he built the business, saying, “McClarenTruth has always been more mine than yours. You know that as well as I do.” McClaren fires Rutger.
Rutger goes to Patty’s apartment to tell her his side of the story. Rutger says in Rome he made it clear to Channing that Rutger should be the only one to deal with Naomi going forward. Rutger then says that Channing admitted to sleeping with Naomi in New York a few weeks after the Rome meeting and that things got out of control in the hotel room. According to Rutger, McClaren then took the codes to upload Naomi’s Princefield leak before Naomi could act against him. Rutger claims he saw McClaren upload Naomi’s personal correspondence along with the Princefield information. He tells Patty that McClaren posted Naomi’s personal data to discredit her in case she went to the police with allegations of sexual assault. When Patty asks why Rutger is telling her this story, he offers to testify against McClaren in return for funding to keep the Web site functioning after McClaren’s convicted. Rutger wants to continue running the site. Patty agrees.
Gary Parsons storms into Ellen’s apartment, incensed that Denise sent him divorce papers and that Ellen is shielding her. When Gary becomes belligerent, Ellen pulls her gun on him and throws him out of the apartment.
That night in the carriage house, Rutger reflects back on the real story—in Rome, Rutger approached Herreshoff, Princefield’s CEO, offering to delay the leak and then discredit Naomi by leaking her personal correspondence. In the aftermath, McClaren will be ruined and Rutger will take over the Web site with financing from Herreshoff. Then we see Rutger uploading Naomi’s personal correspondence himself, which is actually what happened. What Rutger told Patty was a lie.
The next day, Ellen’s back on her office roof. Behind her, the door opens and Scully quietly emerges. He sneaks up on Ellen, taking the garrote from his pocket. He’s almost upon Ellen when she turns around with the gun in her hand. Cooper steps out from behind the stairwell door, holding a gun on Scully’s back. Surrounded, Scully drops the garrote. Down in Ellen’s office, she asks Scully who hired him to kill her. Scully names Patty.
Ellen arrives at Patty’s office. Patty is down the hall and Ellen stares at Patty’s chair, then takes a seat. Patty arrives in the doorway and tells Ellen to stay there to “see how it feels.” They wish each other luck at trial and then Patty apologizes if she was insensitive during their conversation in the Maine airport. Ellen then apologizes for accusing her and the women hold a long stare. As Ellen leaves, Patty says she’s having a premonition that this is the last time Ellen will set foot in Patty’s office, to which Ellen replies, “You never know.”
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