Our insider, Josh Payne, brings you a detailed recap of every new episode plus extra background info only a Damages writer would know!

The chess game begins.

We wanted to open this episode with a vibe somewhere between a TED talk and the launch of a new Apple product. Excitement and a buzz in the air to be sure, but the quirky buzz of a tech crowd. Ellen chaperones Channing McClaren to this public talk he’s giving on transparency in the digital age. When McClaren goes off-script and admits that his organization made a huge mistake in publishing Naomi Walling’s personal communications, Ellen realizes she’s representing a loose cannon. Patty arranges for McClaren to be served with a subpoena while he’s on stage. Concerned that McClaren could flee the country, Patty knew she had to act quickly.

Buoyed by McClaren’s admission that he made a mistake, Patty is confident she’ll be able to build a case against him. Bill Herndon warns her that the key is to prove McClaren had intent to do harm to Naomi Walling.

Later, Patty, and Ellen appear before the Judge Haring for the first time, Ellen suspects he is partial to Patty. Once Ellen determines Patty and Judge Haring both sit on the philharmonic’s board of directors and know each other outside the courtroom, she decides to investigate him further. With help from McClaren’s team, Ellen unearths some of Haring’s corrupt dealings and blackmails him into stepping down.

A woman named Kate Franklin approaches Ellen outside her law office. Kate says she’s been out of the legal world for almost two decades after taking time to raise her kids, but she’d like to get back into the game. Kate hands Ellen an envelope containing her resume and additional information she thinks Ellen may find interesting. Later, Ellen reads it and discovers Kate worked with Patty decades ago when Patty was establishing her legal practice. Though Kate says she didn’t like working for Patty, we wanted to leave the audience a little room to question her motives.

Ellen questions Channing McClaren about Naomi Walling. He claims he never met her in person and that all their correspondence occurred online. McClaren has also made that claim publicly, but Patty thinks he’s lying. She tasks Bill Herndon to dig up evidence of a McClaren-Walling meeting.

Back in the courtroom, Haring cites his wife’s poor health when recusing himself from the case, but Patty smells a rat. The new judge assigned to the case, Richard Gearheart, gives Patty even more leeway in establishing her case against McClaren. Ellen’s move backfired. In a late-night phone call to Ellen, Patty compliments Ellen on her tactics but points out that things aren’t always what they seem. Ellen misinterpreted Judge Haring’s relationship to Patty; he didn’t like her very much. But Patty and Judge Gearheart are much more amicable.

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