Damages, "I Hate These People," October 9, 2007
Ray Fiske's suicide on Damages had all the makings of the perfect plot twist. I didn't see it coming and it hit me like a ton of bricks (I screamed, I'll admit it), but after it happened, it made perfect sense. The Ray Fiskes and Patty Heweses of the world are little more than schoolyard bullies. They dish out unbelievable cruelty to others without a second thought, but the second their livelihoods, their relationships, their secrets, whatever, are threatened, they crumble. Ray couldn't live with the thought of losing Arthur Frobisher's friendship, even though the guy's a corrupt idiot, because he was the only way Ray could justify the heinous things he'd done. Believing he was protecting Arthur, the family man, his friend, no matter how awful both of their actions were, allowed him to sleep at night. Without that, he just couldn't live with himself.
And in a show that's essentially about the ideals we sacrifice in the name of ambition, Ray's line, "You know, I always wanted to work with you, Patty. Not anymore." before he took his life was a heartbreaking admission of the monster he knew he'd become. It was also a nice slap in the face to Patty, and boy did she have it coming. -- Mindy Monez
Pete's Balloon, Have You Met Bertram's Pin?
Mad Men, "Nixon vs. Kennedy," October 11, 2007
Mad Men viewers know that the show doesn't go for the quick fix -- it likes to let its best storylines simmer until they are perfectly ready to consume. So it's no surprise that it took until the next-to-last episode of the first season for Don's secret past to be revealed to someone in a position of power. But when Pete, who'd had a love/hate hero-worship relationship with Don from the beginning, happened across proof of Don's previous identity as Dick Whitman, he thought he'd finally be able to bend his sometime idol to his will. Don, however, made a battlefield decision that exposure was preferable to submitting to the unctuous upstart of a loathsome man-child, so he stood and awaited his fate as Pete told Bertram what he'd discovered. And said fate was handed down in four wonderful, even magical words:
"Mr. Campbell. Who cares?"
Could this moment have been more delectable? It's hard to figure how, with Pete absolutely sputtering in the face of Bertram's pragmatism, and Don almost not daring to believe that the secret he went to such lengths to protect could be treated with such blithe disregard. The first season was a masterpiece, and many storylines were paid off in wonderful and unexpected ways, but for me, no moment tasted quite as sweet as this. -- Couch Baron