As “Failure is Lonely” and the rest of the fourth season proved, Damages’ move to DirecTV came at not loss, and even gains. With a reduced season of 10 episodes, it was plotted tighter, allowing for each episode to hit the pertinent points with greater force than before. Along with the great performances from John Goodman and Dylan Baker, this season turned out to be damn good, possibly rivaling the first season.
As far as plot details go, I’m satisfied with how it turned out. Chris was actually still alive, Boorman is dead, and Erickson is going down. There some cool twists–Boorman revealed as the one who killed the team, and the boy being Boorman’s son–but nothing as extreme as in previous seasons.
What the episode hammers home, however, is the differences between Patty and Ellen. Ellen wants to be successful and she wants to have a life. Patty, on the other hand, is successful and believes that is enough. In her own words, “Failure is Lonely.” And is it this stark difference which eventually drives them apart. Ellen does not want to gamble lives while Patty is fine doing so. At the end of the day, both are kind of right. Ellen does not get the recognition she probably deserves for the work she put in, but Chris is also alive; it balances out.
I don’t really like Michael, but the final development of the season, Ellen as witness against Patty, leads into the final season. Everything will come full circle, as Ellen can recap all the things Patty has done to her since the beginning of the final season. It’s fitting that Ellen has finally turned against Patty to take away the last thing Patty has left, Katherine.