Ray Donovan: Breakfast of Champions (recap and review)

Ray and Terry Donovan at the Fite Club
Last week, Ray Donovan made a deal with the devil to get Terry out of jail and in Breakfast of Champions he is learning what it means to work for the Finney’s and Terry is getting used to his freedom. Abby has run away from home, back to Boston, and Mickey learns just how much Terry does not want to have anything to do with him. While Ray’s family continues to disintegrate, he gets a very close look at just how dysfunctional the Finney family is.

Terry is adamant that Ray tell him the true cost of buying his freedom. Abby heads back to the family business, Kelly’s bar. Ray and Terry talk down at the Fite Club, the brothers have coffee and Ray tells his brother he will get him a new coffee maker. After asking again about how Ray got him off, Terry says Ray can get him a new coffee maker but what he really needs is a new car.

Back at the Donovan home, Bridget refuses to take Conor to school, “Stay home and make love to your mattress,” she says before leaving. Bunchy and Mickey come in to see Terry and Ray is called by Varick Strauss to perform his first Finney duty of the day. Mickey is pleased to see his “little Terry” and their meeting is awkward. Not too surprising since his son took a fall for Mickey.

Mickey tells Terry, “You wouldn’t believe what your brother and I had to do to get you out.” Terry says, “What did you have to do.” Mickey stammers a reply and Terry cuts him off saying he has to get dressed and leaves. Andrew Finney tells Strauss that he is not ready for the meeting and Abby wakes up in Boston and she and Margaret have a chat.

Conor takes the family car to school and picks up a friend.Three older girls confront him and he tells them his parents are gone for the day. They ask for his address. Casey gets distracted by the cereal in the store and asks Ray what cereal his kids eat. Ray says he does not know and Casey replies that it’s a shame as breakfast used to be a family meal. As Ray learns from Strauss that the meeting has been cancelled Casey starts a creative journey with the boxes.

After dropping Casey off at the studio, Ray and Varick talk. “How’s your brother,” Strauss asks and Donovan replies that he is doing okay. “Of course he is,” Varick says, “He’s free.” “Who the f**k are you anyway,” Ray asks. Strauss reveals that he is the “Chief of Staff of the Finney Organization” and Paige’s husband.

Donovan learns where his office will be and Paige shows who wears the pants in her relationship with Strauss. Casey continues his cereal riff. Ray calls home and Conor tells his dad that he is sick. Abby takes a walk down memory lane with Dave and Lauren while flirting with Gus. Ray calls her to tell her to get home.

The girls show up at the Donovan house and Conor learns that they have brought their boyfriends. They head out to different rooms in the place to make out. Bridget learns that her teacher’s wife was decapitated and Terry goes to get a checkup. He learns of Ray’s deal with Finney and Terry says it sounds like Finney made Ray his servant.

Paige tells Ray to collect Tina Harvey (Cheryl Ladd) from her trailer, she is the “wheel spinner” on one of Casey’s gameshows and the man who wants to buy the studio wants to see her at the show’s taping. Harvey is refusing to leave her dressing room. In Boston, Lauren reveals that her boyfriend gave her an STD.

Donovan goes to see Tina and they have a drink and a chat. She tells Ray that she is not leaving her dressing room until she is allowed to host the show. Harvey is upset that she never gets to say anything on the gameshow, “I want to talk,” she tells him. Bridget bumps into her teacher at the coffee shop and has a TMI moment.

Ray bumps into Tommy Wheeler, who tells him that he surprised that Donovan is working for the Finney’s. Tommy tells Ray that he is going to marry Chloe, “for real this time,” and he reveals that Casey will sue him if he does. Donovan tells Tommy that he will talk to Casey. He does and Ray reminds Finney of how they met and that maybe he should give Wheeler a little leeway.

Terry’s coming home party is not going well for him. Ray goes to see Paige who is with Sandy, the gameshow host, and he tells them about Tina’s demands. Ray jumps in when Sandy tells another woman that she will be on. Sandy then rounds on Ray and says that Tina Harvey is “a pair of tits and an arm.” Ray slaps the host on the mouth. Sandy, comes back and asks Ray who “the hell you think you are…” and Ray slaps him again. Paige is amused and impressed. Donovan walks off saying, “I’ll go get her.”

Back at the Donovan house, Conor tells the “guests” that they have to go and gets punched in the stomach. Tina hosts the show and potential buyer Mr. Liu is pleased. Harvey does a great job and Sandy is spinning the wheel. Paige is pleased with the result and then gets a migraine. Ray takes her back to her office.

Conor gets a baseball bat and takes out the boy who punched him. Bridget comes in and tells the group that she is calling 911 and they can either get out or talk to the police. Back at the gym, Terry has a go at Mickey and Daryl shuts the party down. Mickey and Terry talk and he promises Terry that when the shakes get real bad he will not go anywhere.

The studio meeting takes place. Andrew asks that Ray attend. Andrew comes in and tells Casey that Paige will not be selling his studio. She then asks for a word with Andrew. Abby has a heart to heart chat with Margaret who tells her to come home.

Finney tells Ray to remember that he works only for him after revealing that Mr. Liu will be buying Casey’s studio after all. He explains that his family is not a “good one” and that Paige sees him as a competitor and not her father. Terry and Bunchy have a brotherly talk.

Ray comes home and after Bridget tells him about Conor she tells her father off. Margaret tells Abby that she does not have to stay with Donovan. Ray is washing the dishes and he notices cereal boxes on the counter. He zeroes in on the Frosted Flakes and grabs a bowl. Paige calls him asking to meet. Ray tells her he cannot as he works for her father.

As Ray hangs up the phone, Abby’s dog returns and barks to be let in.

The episode looks at both families, the Donovan’s and the Finney’s. Each are dysfunctional in their own way and both attempt to work around their problems. The Tina Harvey storyline was clever and the thinly disguised Vanna White allusion was funny. Terry’s return home was strained and sad.

Liev Schreiber continues to imbue his character Ray with a battered charm and tough guy succinctness that makes Donovan one of the most interesting protagonists on television. His busy first day as the Finney’s “gopher” was odd, fascinating and amusing. Conor (Devon Bagby) did not “make love” to his mattress this week, but he got to show that he is a Donovan full stop.

Ray Donovan airs Sundays on Showtime and is an excellent drama not to be missed by the discerning viewer.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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