Damages, Season 4. On the season so far.

The fourth and current season of Damages is the first to show on DirecTV instead of FX. Despite the lower budget and the smaller audience, it’s still one of the best shows on TV. Ellen Parsons is heading a wrongful death suit against a Blackwater-style private security firm operating in Afghanistan. Her lover, Chris, is her key witness and the bigwig is played by none other than John Goodman.

The season has the hallmarks of the past three: retroactive continuity, timelines that run back to front against each other, and gradual, but significant, revelations that leave viewers waiting eagerly for the next episode. There are some things that seem different about this new season. For one, it’s set three years after the events of the last one; Patty Hewes is the de facto parent to her granddaughter, and she’s lost that sharp edge. She’s distracted and looking for her son. By the fifth episode, you get this feeling that her son isn’t well off, and the writers have planted the seeds of worry (not that he is a sympathetic character, no, but he’s one character out of a very small cast) over his fate.

Highstar—the “Blackwater” of the series—is a very different Big Bad from previous seasons. There’s more depth to the organization, and there is an elegance to the dynamic between Jerry Boorman (played by Dylan Baker), a Machiavellian and amoral loyalist to Highstar, and Howard Erickson (John Goodman), the CEO who’s a study in contradictions.

Despite the differences from previous seasons, the show remains highly entertaining and intriguing while following a deliberate pace that doesn’t bore. And if you’d like to see how much detail and how many twists get into the show, here’s Fast Rapper Watsky to get you all caught up:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PARsx03hpNM

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