Ray Donovan: Poker – It is All in the Smile (Review)

RayDonovan_311_268.R-2Last week in Ray Donovan “Ray Ray” got Mickey out of a jam with both the police and the Armenian mafia and Ed Cochran found the poker. This week’s episode proves that in the case of the Hollywood fixer, it is all in the smile. Such as the small one glimpsed on Liev Schreiber’s face as his character turns away from Hank Azaria’s former FBI agent. The smile shows that regardless of just how much sh*t Donovan seems to be in, he is going to come out on top.

As Paige (Katie Holmes) says, Ray is addicted to the fight and this is why he is so good at it. On a sidenote, what sort of neighborhood must Cochran live in where a gun is fired, and the victim screams out in pain, and no one notices or calls the police. Poor Ed has definitely  fallen on hard times since his viral video and fall from FBI grace…

Bridget is still chasing after her teacher and Terry tries to help out.  Mick manages to talk his way out of doing the Reno relocation and Bunchy is back from his honeymoon. Terry and Abby share a kiss and Andrew Finney folded when Ed Cochran shows up with that poker. Although Finney does try, albeit not very hard, to not implicate Donovan, Ed insists. Later Andrew pressures Paige to back his lie that Ray murdered Varick and initially, she agrees.

Cochran has been a busy little beaver. Calling the police, planting evidence at Ray’s apartment and when Ray pays a visit to Ed’s place, the Dybek investigator proves he has not learned his lesson from dealing with Donovan before. Before the visit, Avi has to go out and dig up the late Strauss from his Santa Clarita grave.  The murder weapon that Ed got from Avi’s lock up must be retrieved.

Shot in the leg, tied up and threatened with a baseball bat, Ed finally caves in and tells Ray where the poker is. The rest of the episode deals with Bridget trying to make contact with her teacher, Terry and Abby getting ever closer to doing more than sharing a kiss and Paige shifter allegiances.

In the case of Paige, she may have made a tactical error in backing Donovan and tossing daddy to the police. As Andrew says he has a lot of favors owed to him. However, this is Hollywood; a town that will kick you when you’re down. Finney seems to have forgotten that.

Comedy moment of the evening award goes to Jon Voight as Mickey. His realization that the power of attorney (based upon Mick having Alzheimer’s) could become an asset with his other children was classic. Twisting things around and committing a lot, he convinces not only Bunchy, his new wife, and Daryll but he gets Conor on his side.

Mickey breaking the “terrible” news to the clan…

Later, he and Ray have a confrontation that ends with Mickey’s nose bleeding. He is victorious in his wounding, he has outsmarted Ray Ray but his son is not pleased.

Amazingly, Ed Cochran survives his encounter with Ray.  Avi and Lena put  Varick’s  body, along with that poker,  in a dumpster right next to the Finney property. Lina douses the whole mess with gasoline and sets  fire to the lot (so close that Andrew can look over the fence at the conflagration). Paige goes to the police, just as her father asks her to.

Ray catches Paige before she gives the statement corroborating her father’s version of events and talks her into telling the truth.

A brilliant episode that shows that Schreiber’s Donovan is at his best when running full pelt at a problem.  There are still issues with the whole Strauss scenario, regardless of who the police chose to believe. Avi’s face on the camera going into Mexico on Varick’s passport being the big one.

The other “comic” moment in the show was Michelle (Christy Williams) going out to get coffee and stealing all of Daryll’s money and Mickey’s car. The punch line? Daryll wakes and finds that she did indeed get the man a coffee. Leaving it outside the room with “sorry” written on the lid.  

This hooker may not have  a heart of gold, but Michelle  was not going to deprive Daryll of his morning caffeine fix. Just his transport and money…

It a great to see Pat Healy on the show and as usual, his delivery of character is just this side of excellent.  (Guest star moment award, the whole forcing at gunpoint routine was classic Healy.)

This penultimate episode of Ray Donovan is signposting a cliff hanger. Will Andrew Finney be carted off for murder? Will this whole ordeal kill the NFL deal, even though it’s already been approved? Will Ed Cochran rise again?  Some of this may be revealed next week on Showtime but until next Sunday, Poker leaves us with Ray and that baseball bat…and that little smile when Ed cracks…


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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