The ultimate battle between Patty and Ellen is on! Each week, Josh Payne will give you an episode-by-episode breakdown of the developing conflict between the two women, but ultimately it’s up to you to decide who wins each round. After watching last night’s episode, who do you think is ahead? Vote at the bottom of this post.

While sketching the outline for the final season of the show, the writers wanted to make sure each episode showcased the duel between Patty and Ellen. The duel could be literal as the women slug it out in the legal arena, or more figurative, with each woman affecting the other’s psychology. But we wanted to be sure they engaged each other at almost every turn. The series had been building up this dynamic since the beginning and we wanted to pay it off.

In the season opener, the dreams begin.

A dream haunts Patty. She arrives in her office to find her granddaughter Catherine sitting at her desk. Patty tells her to move. When Catherine refuses Patty lashes out at her, only to see Catherine replaced by Ellen. But it’s not the professional version of Ellen we’re used to seeing—instead, Patty sees the blood-drenched Ellen from Season 1, who ran through the streets of New York after Patty’s assassin tried to kill her.

In Patty’s waking life her son, Michael, is suing her for custody of Catherine. Patty adopted Catherine after she had Catherine’s mother sent to jail and Michael went missing. At the end of Season 4, Patty learns that Ellen has agreed to be a character witness for Michael in the custody case. Fearing that Ellen will spill her secrets to the world, Patty scrambles for a way to prevent Ellen from taking the stand.

When Channing McClaren, a famous computer hacker and champion of government and corporate transparency, asks Patty to represent him, she sees an opportunity. Rather than take him on as a client, Patty refers him to Ellen. Knowing that Ellen just launched her own law firm Patty suspects she won’t be able to resist such a high-profile client.

We continue the Patty-Ellen standoff in the flash Forwards, where Patty is arrested and taken from her apartment building in the back of a squad car. Elsewhere in the city, Ellen lies on the ground. Her vacant eyes stare at the sky and a pool of blood collects behind her head. Did Patty order Ellen’s murder again?

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