Ray Donovan: Chinese Algebra – Harder Than (Recap/Review)


In the middle of Ray Donovan this week, Jack Raleigh (Jake Hoffman) tells Mickey that he has some stuff that “will make you harder than Chinese algebra.” The phrase can also be applied to Donovan’s quest to save his family and Avi from Dimitri. It has been particularly “harder than.”

Ray shows Hector that when it comes to negotiating he can be harder than Chinese algebra as well. After busting his hump to cover up the murder of Marisol,  he forces the boxer to take a fall in the upcoming fight.

The theme this season has been one of hustle and bustle. Donovan has been spinning a plethora of plates, keeping himself busier than a one-legged man in a can kicking contest. He has proven to be adept at thinking fast on his feet but it all comes tumbling down when Sonia makes a surprise appearance.

Donovan’s skill set includes fixing the “impossible” and initially his efforts seem to be paying off.  As usual Ray’s plans have  utilized every possible resource at his disposal. The $2 million from Mick’s heist in Nevada comes into play.

Despite Sonia’s warning; she tells Ray to run and not try to deal with Dimitri,  Donovan works to pay off the Russian mob boss with the proceeds of the bet. Hector thrown the fight will net $60 million.

Mickey heads to Vegas to place the bet for Ray. Unfortunately, Fat Eddie, the bookie Donovan set the deal up with, “does an Elvis” and dies. Mick asks his new friend; part-time stripper Sugar to help him out.

She introduces Mick to Raleigh. The high roller does not want to handle the bet and Mickey challenges him to a table tennis match. After years in prison, Mick is pro and he easily beats the disgruntled Raleigh.

Mick as “Paul Newman.”

Back in LA Donovan is picked up by FBI agent Frank Barnes. He wants Ray to give up Dimitri and Sonia. Donovan refuses. The agent reminds him that he is “no longer in your pocket” and that the next time they meet it will be on opposing sides.

Bunchy decides to leave with Teresa and the baby. Abby asks them to take the Bridget and Conor with them. Teresa, who has recovered from her episode in record breaking time, agrees.

Terry and Daryll come to an understanding after Hector offers him the same job as Damon (Dominique Columbus). At first Daryll is furious at what he perceives as a slight. Later he confronts his half-brother who smooths things over.

As they talk, Terry suddenly slumps over.

Ray is still working at a feverish pace to make everything come together. Dimitri demands that Hector be brought to him.  Lena, Ray and Campos show up and the boxer states that he will be throwing the fight.

Mick comes back to LA and drops off the betting slips to Ray. He warns his son that lying to Terry will not end well for either of them. There are echoes of discontent already. Terry does not know that Hector killed Marisol and believes that Ray has muddied things up. “Made it something dirty,” Terry says.

Dimitri gets the betting slips and his art returned.  Avi, beaten to a pulp, is brought back to Ray. As Donovan takes his friend and associate to the hospital, Barnes shows back up with the police and takes Ray in.

It seems that Donovan’s act of mercy has blown up in his face. Sonia, who everyone urged Ray to kill, has turned rat.  She has snitched on everyone after Waller gave her up.

Previews of the season finale look terse. Barnes is still pressing for Ray to cooperate and it seems that the FBI agent may be up to no good. Donovan is seen appealing to the entire family for help.

As an über villain, Dimitri may just be the scariest mob leader ever.  He is slightly insane and a micromanager to boot. This Russian crime czar is almost omnipresent.

While it seems that Ray just wants the man off his back, and off his family’s,  he could also be working to make Dimitri an ally.  This is, after all, how Donovan works. He will never rat the mobster out and his actions will give him an “in” with Dimitri.

The season finale should be real edge of the seat stuff. Hector’s fight could throw everything off. (Pun intended.)

Ray Donovan airs Sundays on Showtime and the finale is next week on September 18.


Guest starring Raymond J. Barry as Dimitri, Michael McGrady  as Frank Barnes and Ismael Cruz Cordova as Hector. 

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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