‘Ray Donovan’ Season Finale: Exsuscito (Recap and Review)

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The season three finale of Ray Donovan starts with Avi bringing Paige to Ray’s apartment and Donovan telling Finney’s daughter that he will drop back by “tomorrow.” Paige responds by saying that her father has more helicopters around his house than OJ had covering his 405 white Bronco run.

As Ray goes to leave Paige asks him if he is sure he cannot stay. Donovan says nothing and leaves. Bridget pulls out all stops to get Donellen. Abby goes to the teacher’s house looking for her daughter but no one is home. She is terrified that Ray will kill the math teacher when he finds out about Bridget’s obsession.

Theresa and Bunchy have a midnight treat and go out and Terry tells Ray about Bridget while Abby looks for her.  The brothers get into an argument with Terry accusing Ray of acting like Mickey. Abby comes back, without Bridget and the three of them have a blazing row.

Abby gets a text saying that their daughter is with Mickey and Terry goes to collect her while Ray heads to Donellen’s house. Mrs. Minassian learns of Mickey’s deal with the police. Bridget calls Mickey, who is playing a coke game with the hookers and while she is talking with her grandfather, Donellen shows up at the hotel room.

She tries to get her math teacher to run away with her or to at least stay in the room with her. Theresa takes Bunchy out to the woods to give him some news and the couple have the only real comedic moment in this heavy duty finale.

“This is where I lost my virginity,” she tells Bunchy. There is a slight pause and he replies, “I didn’t know Mexican’s hiked.” With a look that could be instantly lethal, Theresa says:

“I’m gonna pretend you didn’t just f**king say that.”

Terry shows up at Mick’s and asks about Bridget. Mick reveals that she called asking him to cover for her. As he tries to call her back, Ray pulls up outside the El Dorado apartments.  As Mick hangs up, telling Terry that “she’s not answering,” two of Minassian’s thugs begin shooting through the windows with automatic weapons.

Apparently the agreement made by Hasmig in One Night in Yerevan was not enough to save Mick from retaliation.  After the men shoot Terry and Daryll’s “girlfriend,” they leave ducking bullets from Ray, the episode turns into a smaller version of The Wild Bunch. While not quite as  vastly outnumbered as Pike’s gang in the Peckinpah classic, Ray and Avi set out to take on Minassian’s thugs.

Mickey has the same idea and shows up as well. Avi is not pleased.

“Always in the middle of everything this f**king guy!”

Ray’s father goes in gun blazing and the two men join him. There is an intense firefight and on the Armenian side, Mrs. Minassian (Grace Zabriskie) is the last “man” standing. She pours out threats saying that they will eradicate the entire Donovan bloodline. She finishes with curses:

“F**k you, and f**k you and f**k…”

Her rant is cut short by Mick who grabs the mafia leader and slits her throat. As Minassian’s body hits the floor, Mick mutters, “And f**k you.”

During the shootout Ray is shot.  Ray and Mick drive off together. Lena tracks down Bridget and her teacher.  Ray and Mick arrive and after telling Lena to take Mickey to the hospital, Ray heads to the room where Bridget is with Donellen. Ray beats the teacher and tells him if he goes near Bridget again he will cut off his “f**king hands.”

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Ray goes off to room 215.

Terry is in hospital and Ray goes to see him after Bridget tells him he is suffocating her. Ray tells his brother that he was right about the way he treats the family. Fearful that Terry is dying, Ray goes to see Father Romero.

Abby sits with Terry in the hospital singing  to the unconscious man as Mickey drives to Reno and Bridget packs her guitar and a few clothes and leaves the house. She walks out leaving the door open behind her.

After telling the priest that he thinks Terry is dying, Romero heads to the confessional. Back at the hospital Terry goes into cardiac arrest as Ray confesses to the priest.  Ray tells Romero that he killed Father O’Connor. After an emotional catharsis where Donovan tells all, the priest drives him back to Los Angeles.

As Ray reclines in the car, The Vampyre of Time and Memory by Queens of Stone Age plays. As the credit’s roll, the city looms in the windscreen of the car.

As finale’s go, this one was not only action packed, it was blood soaked and full of enough angst to sink a battleship.  If Liev Schreiber does not get a gong come Emmy time, something is wrong with the voting system. His performance in the confessional was award winning.  Schreiber manages to evoke emotions so raw and powerful that viewers needed a box of tissue just to get through the scene. 

Eddie Marsan is another who should be getting a nod as well as Kerris Dorsey. Jon Voight manages to impress and proves that he is not getting older but better, if that can be imagined, since the Oscar winning performer is always on top form.

Grace Zabriskie’s Armenian mafia mother was truly out of this world and her “going out” performance was thrillingly done. One could quite imagine Grace’s Mrs. Minassian carrying out her threats from beyond the grave.

Ray Donovan finishes season three with Andrew Finney being turned in by daughter Paige, who is feeling a bit guilty for backing Ray. Bridget has departed for parts unknown and Mickey leaves for Reno after an angry Daryll severs ties with his father. Terry is still alive and it looks like Abby is more than a bit attached to Ray’s brother. Bunchy is going to be a father and Ray is still carrying a bullet.

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Daryll breaks ties with Mickey.

Exsuscito,  which translates to awake or awaken, ends a season where it seemed that Ray was about to become very wealthy after the deal he made with Paige Finney. As the third season ends,  it appears that all bets are off.  Ray Donovan  in its third outing was a brilliant roller coaster ride that should satisfy fans until season four starts in 2016.

What a ride.

Gotham: Prepping for Season Two

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As September 21 rapidly approaches and the season two premiere of Gotham waits to air, it seemed prudent to revisit the back end of season one. Prepping, if you will, for the start of  the second installment of “Rise of the Villains.” Rather interestingly, it seems that the removal of Falcone as the King of Gotham, leaving Penguin to stand on the edge of the pier loudly shouting that “I am the King of Gotham” while surrounded by a thunderstorm, has indeed left the city wide open for this season two of the “big bad” rise.

Looking back at the final few episodes of season one, it is amazing just how much was crammed into the last few episodes.  One serial killer called The Ogre, played with stunning menace and disturbing charm by Milo Ventimiglia, The Dollmaker aka, Dr. Dulmacher, Barbara Kean turning into a homicidal maniac, the return of Fish Mooney, Nygma’s move toward becoming the Riddler and Loeb’s little secret. Of course the big power play for the crown of Gotham underworld ruler changes heads as well.

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Dr. Thompkins and Barbara Kean, when trauma counseling sessions go bad…

Crime runs so rampant in the first season of Gotham that even the big guy overseeing all the action in the town, Falcone, tires of the day-to-day struggle and decides to step down.  The return of Jim Gordon, back from his security detail at the Arkham Asylum, saw many things escalate and most of these came to a head in the last five episodes of the season.

Guest stars included Ventimiglia and Jeffrey Combs (who played Dr. Dulmacher’s office manager) and Dash Mihok (who as Detective Arnold Flass gets his comeuppance) but sadly did not have any Diz and the Fam tracks to drop for the show’s soundtrack. The appearance of horror genre favorite Combs was just brilliant.

At one point, the girl/woman Selina Kyle (played by Camren Bicondova) got to “grow up” twice. (Three times if one counts her decision to kill Reggie by pushing Alfred’s old Army chum and attacker out of the shooting gallery window for Bruce.) Once at the Wayne Charity Ball and again after Fish Mooney got hold of her. The latter was quite shocking as suddenly this little vixen was really grown up and carrying a shotgun.

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Selina Kyle ALL grown up…

Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) is driven over the edge after the woman he adores is mistreated by her new beau. The future Riddler takes things into his own hands and disposes  of her brutal new boyfriend and as she begins to piece things together Nygma loses his cool.

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Cory Michael Smith as Nygma

On top of the side stories; The Ogre, Ed Nygma’s move toward becoming the Riddler and the death of Reggie, as well as Fish Mooney’s escape back to Gotham, there was Bruce Wayne caring for Alfred (Sean Pertwee) and trying to get the goods on Sid Bunderslaw. When young Wayne is caught in Sid’s office, with the empty safe, Bunderslaw has a chat with Bruce and offers him a cookie.

Another Wayne employee,  Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) comes to escort Bruce back to his tour guide and Fox drops a hint to the young man about his late father, Lucius calls Wayne Sr. a stoic.  This prompts Bruce to search his father’s office at Wayne Manor where he finds, at the very last of the final episode, the entrance to the “bat cave.”

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Bruce Wayne and Alfred searching the office…

The biggest moment in season one was the final struggle for control of Gotham’s underworld. A triumphant Fish Mooney springs a trap on Falcone and as she keeps Jim Gordon, Harvey Bullock, Oswald Cobblepot and Falcone captive, Don Marconi comes in to talk sh*t and claim the crown.

Just before Marconi comes in, Fish tells each of her prisoners what their fate will be. Amusingly, Bullock is given a pass. Gordon tries to talk the “new” and grownup Selina into helping them. When Marconi arrives and starts trying to put Mooney into her “rightful” place, it does not take long for her to respond in a very final way.

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Fish about to put Marconi in his place…

Once Mooney puts a shot into Marconi’s forehead, things heat up and apparently Selena passed that knife of Falcone’s on to Bullock. He helps everyone get loose and as the two factions, Fish’s troops and Marconi’s, brace each other, Oswald makes his move.

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Oswald Cobblepot taking out the competition.

As the first season ends, Penguin roars his triumph (while sending Fish Mooney to an apparent watery grave) and Bruce finds his destiny. Things are now ready for act two of Gotham. The second season airs Monday, September 21. Fans who want to catch up, or prepare for the next offering from FOX should head over to Hulu now before the last five episodes go away.

Ray Donovan: All Must Be Loved (Review)

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Last week on Ray Donovan Abby asked what he was doing with “these people.” This week, in All Must Be Loved Paige answers that question “Because you’re addicted to the fight,” she tells Donovan and she is partially right, it is not necessarily the fight but the challenge, the game, that draws Ray in.

Although it could be said that the entire Donovan clan is addicted to the fight. Punches and lead pipes are thrown in this episode. It is easy to see where the “boys” get their aggression from. Mickey takes after the Armenian’s who grab Daryll’s caddy in lieu of the $30K that the two men owe Mrs. Minassian who now owns 50 percent of their new business.

While this week’s title may be “all must be loved” there is quite a bit of violence throughout. Bunchy punches Terry in the mouth after saying he cannot marry his luchadora, Mickey, Bunchy and Daryll beat the Armenians down, but not until Mickey gets bloodied up pretty good and Ray beats Father Romero to the ground.

Before the end credits roll Ray finally looks to be hooked by Paige, Bunchy’s new fiancee sticks up for her man, Terry turns down the offer to move in with Abby and Ray, Mickey stands up to Mrs. Minassian and her brother Davros and Ray learns what Bunchy told Father Romero. The priest then reveals to Ray what he really wants. All the Donovan brothers are excommunicated from the Church and Bridget begins her campaign to catch her widowed teacher.

Romero, it turns out, wants to forgive Ray for killing the priest who abused him and his brother. Ray almost goes for it and then stops. Enraged he beats the priest who then excommunicates Ray and his “accomplices.” Terry stops Ray from doing more damage to Romero but he is upset as he thinks the priest kicked him out of the Church as well.

Bunchy tells Ray and Terry about Teresa and Terry tells his brother that he cannot marry “that Mexican.” This earns him a punch in the mouth and Ray tells Bunchy that he cannot do that. Teresa comes in later and tells the two Donovan brothers to stop treating Brendan like a kid. She also tells them that they had better get used her being around.

Paige serves divorce papers to her husband Varick and when Ray asks if this will cause problems she replies, “All kinds.” Donovan has not given up on the NFL deal. He tells Paige to collect $200K which he takes to the Wild Life Commissioner. He sets Lena up to work on the next obstacle, Napier, when Romero calls him. Ray immediately asks Lena to find out who the priest is.

The largest part of this episode was devoted to the Father Romero reveal. It did seem like the priest was going to blackmail the family but the truth was much more bizarre. Romero runs a halfway house for pedophile priests and he too was abused by a priest. He wants Ray to confess so that God can forgive him his sin. While Romero seems sincere, he threatens Ray with excommunication if he does not confess.

Romero follows Donovan out of the church and then tells him he knows how much the priest hurt Ray and how much Donovan loved him (the priest). Ray loses it. He knocks Romero to the ground shouting “I’ll f**king kill you! F**k you! I’ll kill all of you and every one of these f**king freaks you got hiding in here.” Terry grabs Ray and pulls him off of Romero who begins speaking in Latin and follows through with the excommunication threat.

Obviously the Romero issue is not over and one feels that he will continue to be a problem for Ray. Daryll is concerned that since they faced up to Davros that repercussions will be forthcoming. There is an air of expectancy from more than one Donovan by the time episode ends.

The Paige and Ray issue is not over either. He may have turned down Paige before when Abby returned but as Andrew Finney’s daughter has proven she does not stop until she has won. She rings Ray and tells him meet her at the house. Paige tells Ray she has figured out how to handle Napier.

Abby rings Ray as he drives to Paige’s. He tell her about Terry not wanting to live with them and when she asks where he is, Ray tells Abby he has work. “Okay Ray,” Abby says. At the house Paige reveals that she lied about Napier and it is here that she says what makes Ray tick. Ray tells her he has to go. “No you don’t,” Paige whispers and goes up the stairs to the bedroom expecting him to follow.

The dysfunctional Donovan family continues to lurch along from one crisis to the next. Ray is addicted to the fight, to a degree, but he responds aggressively to every challenge not just the fight, as Paige believes. To Ray, like the title of the episode says, all must be loved. Bunchy, Terry, Abby, Bridget and Conor, Ray loves each one and he may even have a little love for Mickey. This love means he has to rise to each familial challenge as well his personal and professional ones.

What remains to be seen is whether Ray will follow Paige up those stairs; all for the love of that NFL deal and his three percent or whether Abby will win this one. Kudos to Katie Holmes, Liev Schreiber, Dash Mihok, Eddie Marsan and Paula Malcomson for raising the bar. Kerris Dorsey knocked it out of the park tonight as Bridget, this performer has made her character a major player with her “To Sir with Love” story line.

Ray Donovan airs Sundays on Showtime. Do not miss this quality drama television show that has a powerhouse cast and entertains thoroughly.

Ray Donovan: Come Knock On Our Door (recap and review)

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Last week on Ray Donovan brother Terry fought the Aryan Brotherhood and won…twice, putting his life in jeopardy and in Come Knock On Our Door, it transpires that the man the “ding” beat with the barbell has died. Family comes first with Ray and his efforts to save his brother leads to a short painful downhill trip that ends with a deal with the devil.

At the start of the episode, Ray comes home to see his daughter. They have a short talk in her bedroom and Ray sees his dead sister Bridget in the room. Going downstairs, he watches an old episode of Three’s Company, or possibly The Ropers, and sees his dead sibling again. Later, Ray watches more old television, this time an old Bonanza episode and Little Joe is shooting out of a window while Lena packs her things to leave. She tells Ray that the spare key is in her desk and that the coffee machine is “bust.” “I got you a new one,” she says before walking out.

Mickey has a meeting with the hookers with donuts and cocaine. The girls want to leave but Ginger talks them into hearing him out. Mickey introduces his son “Daryl” and explains that he will be the muscle and their driver. He wants them to try his way out for just one day and Ginger is supportive.

Bunchy asks for $20,000 out of his fund to put on the Mexican wrestling match at the gym. Ray gets a call from the guard and he learns that Terry killed an Aryan. He tells his brother’s protector that he will be right there. Bunchy tells Ray before he leaves that the gym could make money for once and Donovan tells his brother “it’s a front, Bunch, it’s not supposed to make money.”

On the way out, Ray is approached by two of Finney’s lawyers, one; the family lawyer, makes a veiled threat when Donovan refuses, again, to sell his business to the man. Daryl is updating the website, and worried about the Armenians taking his Cadillac. Ginger drops Audrey off with Mickey again, seconds after the girl arrives, Mickey gets a call from the prison.

Abby learns that Ray dropped by the previous night and Bridget tells her mother that he had been in a fight. Abby is also learning that she has lost touch with her family. All she has left after trying to connect with her kids in the kitchen is Dog. “Who’s the best boy in the world,” she asks the animal, “You are.”

Mickey arrives at the prison and is refused entry. Ray turns up and after learning that his father planned to bribe the guards with cocaine, the two argue. Ray tells Mickey to stay out of it and goes inside the prison. As Mickey leaves he calls Abby and asks her to meet him at the gym. Ray learns that Terry will be in danger no matter where he goes.

Ray visits Terry in isolation and they talk. Terry looks at Ray’s beaten visage and asks, “What the f**k happened to your face?” “What the f**k happened to yours,” Ray shoots back and the brothers laugh. Terry has given up and asks his brother not to help him.

Mickey gets Abby to look after Audrey and Ray goes to see Judge Wettick. He explains about what happened to Terry, how the Aryans went after him because of his Parkinson’s and he wants the judge to give Terry a compassionate release. The Judge refuses and when Ray offers him $100,000 to reconsider, Wettick pulls a gun from his desk and orders Ray to leave.

Ray heads back to his office to drop off the money and tells Abby about Terry. She offers to help and he blows her off. The next visit Ray will make is to see Frank Barnes and blackmail him onto Wettick with false charges to force his hand.

Daryl is overwhelmed with the demands of the hookers and Bunchy drops by to see Mickey. His brother talks him into helping out. The first task is to take topless pictures of Michele. Ginger drops in to ask for some breast milk and says that she needs it in a hurry. Mickey goes to see Ronald Keith to get the judge’s address so he can help Terry.

Bunch goes to get some milk and adult diapers. Ginger tells him that it has to be real breast milk. Bunchy has an epiphany when he sees a mother with twins.

Terry gets treated for the knife wound and when the doctor leaves the cell an Aryan kills the doctor. Guards grab the attacker and everything falls apart. Ray is called and Terry’s “protection” has been taken off his detail. His brother will be put back in the general population and Ray heads back to see Wettick.

Mickey goes to see the judge and inadvertently kills the man when he knocks his heart pills out of the judges hand. Ray arrives to find Mickey looking at Wettick’s body. Ray is furious, “You just killed another one of your kids Mick.” As Ray leaves he gives Barnes the blackmail evidence and Frank asks Ray if they are even, Ray does not respond.

Donovan goes to see Finney. He is offered coffee; Finney is keeping it friendly, and then he explains his dilemma. After Malcolm agrees to help, the two men go to see the governor Tom Vernon. The governor offers to help and says it will take a few weeks. “You need to pardon him tonight,” Finney says. The governor hesitates and Finney finishes with “This is taking far longer than I thought it would.” “I’ll get it done tonight,” Vernon says.

Back at the mansion, Finney says it was a pleasure to see Ray and the contract is put in front of him to sign. Ray is told to show up for work tomorrow and to see himself out. Before he leaves, Paige sees him and says, “I thought you were though with the Finney family Ray?”

Abby leaves, for a couple of days she says. Mickey learns that his idea for the girls worked well and the icing on the cake is Ray calling to say, “I got him out.” Mickey plans a party. Ray goes to pick Terry up. The two brother’s meet in the prison parking lot and Terry asks how much it cost Ray to get him out.

This week’s episode was pretty heavy going but once again Bunchy and Audrey provided some much needed comic relief. The breast milk scene was brilliant, Audrey and Abby watching as the mother pumps milk from her breast. Bunchy awkwardly taking Michele’s picture,”you cannot show my face,” she says. Audrey telling Mickey off for leaving her in the car, “It’s against the law to leave a kid in the back of a car, you know,” she says when he gets back in the vehicle. A few light-hearted moments to take away the sting of Ray’s deal.

It was almost a done deal that Donovan was going to end up selling himself to Finney after last week’s cold refusal. That Ray was worried about Terry was signposted with his continued sightings of Bridget and his overall preoccupation. It was apparent from the first frame that Ian McShane’s Finney appeared in that this man was the devil and that Ray would end up selling himself to him.

Once again Liev Schreiber knocked it out of the park. Dash Mihok keeps getting better each week. Jon Voight as Mickey provides Schreiber with some heavy duty support and the Oscar winning actor shows that a lifetime of experience makes everything shine.

Ray Donovan airs Sundays on Showtime and despite last night’s heavy going episode, is quality television with some of the best ensemble acting around.