Last season’s finale saw Ray Donovan taking on the Armenians (in the guise of the Minassian’s) and his brother Terry’s nemesis the Russians. Ray ended up the floor of the church with a bullet in his abdomen. He forced Mickey to leave town and head to Vegas. “Girl with Guitar” picks up after the events in “Exsuscito.”
Ray is watched over by boxer Hector Campos (Ismael Cruz Cordova) until his wound heals. Donovan relives having the bullet dug out by a veterinarian and has a vision that disturbs him. Detective Muncie (Michael Hyatt) calls Ray into her office looking for Mickey (Jon Voight).
Mick is in Primm, Nevada working in Buffalo Bill’s Green Horseshoe as bartender. The man is up to his old tricks, using hookers to help him rob high rollers as they pass through. The owner of the casino Bill Primm (Ted Levine) fires Mickey.
Ray hunts down Bridget and asks her to come home. Abby gets devastating news from the doctor. Terry tries to join the clergy and is turned down and he is not happy, “I f***ing came back from the dead!” Donovan is approached by Mrs. Kovitzky (Embeth Davidtz) to get close to Muncie.
Hector gets in trouble and Ray has to help him out. Meanwhile Campos has an argument with Marisol (Lisa Bonet) things get out of hand. A policeman arrives. Hector panics and takes the man hostage.
Donovan must step in and help Hector who has a big fight coming up. (Campos’ daughter tells everyone that her dad will “da story” the competition.) Ray does what he does best and fixes the situation.
MIckey has his own issues up in Primm, Nevada. Buffalo Bill tells him if he comes in the casino again that he will not be able to walk out. Mick takes some peyote and ends up back in Buffalo Bill’s establishment. Security approach Mickey and he goes on the attack and escapes.
Back in LA Donovan sorts the cop out and afterward speaks with Hector who reveals the shocking truth of who Marisol is and why she has such a hold over him.
Liev Schreiber still manages to make his character fascinating. Ray Donovan feels a lot like a modern day version of Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe, sans the gumshoe sign and restrictions of being a PI. What the two characters share is a certain amount of world weariness and a dogged determination make it to the end.
The big difference is that Ray has the utmost confidence in his ability to make everything work. There is no self doubt in the man at all when it comes to his plans to make things right. It is a trait he shares with Mickey although his father’s confidence is usually misplaced.
In season four the powerful Finney clan have disappeared but Sheila Muncie has not. Kovitzky may be the big temptation this year and Mickey has annoyed Bill Primm the owner of the Green Horseshoe Casino and Hotel. These two new characters have apparently replaced the Finney family.
Girl with Guitar, which is the name of the painting that Kovitzky gives Ray, sees some powerful guest stars. Ted Levine never fails to intimidate. That deep voice and those steely eyes would make most men quake in their boots. Embeth Davidtz (who is perhaps best known as Miss Honey from Matilda) also impresses with her entrance. Her character is also intimidating, unlike Buffalo Bill however, hers is an intellectual menace.
The episode ends with Ray and Abby lying in bed and she asks him to tell her everything will be alright. Mickey awakes in another bed with a different, more upsetting, visitor.
Directed by Liev Schreiber, Girl with Guitar has a deft feel to it and every twist was projected perfectly. This season of Ray Donovan may just be the best yet.
The series airs Sundays on Showtime. Do not miss this one.