‘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.

Ray Donovan: One Night in Yerevan (Review)

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You have to love a Ray Donovan episode that opens with a performer that looks as if she were based upon Hilary Duff’s character in the John Cusack film War Inc. The song that Hasmig (played by Sarah Shahi) starts to sing in the opening sequence is “When Thighs go Boom” surely a huge nod and wink to Duff’s Yonica Babyyeah’s song “Boom Boom, Bang Bang.”  Of course this whole thing could be a coincidence but…Really?? 

Of course all this is in prelude to Ray’s fixing Mickey’s problems with the Minassian’s and the Armenian mob. Donovan turns to Hasmig for help with Grace Zabriskie’s scary mob leader Mrs. Minassian. This quest to have Hasmig save his father leads to another cameo by the delightful Bronson Pinchot (who got noticed in a big way back in 1984 in his standout  role in the Eddie Murphy vehicle Beverly Hill’s Cop – “Hello, my name is Serge, how may I holp you?) as the misbehaving former weatherman Flip Brightman.

The payoff, to get Mickey free from the evil Armenian mob, is to let the singer perform her “One Night in Yerevan” song. Telling the story of her ancestors who were murdered in their villages by the Turks , or as she says, “It’s about the genocide,” no one will play her song, which is sung in Armenian. The price to save Mick is getting her song aired, hence the arrival of Brightman as plot device and cute cameo.

Eddie Marsan gets the line of the night with his character’s  response to Conor’s question about  Terry’s  improved gaming skills on Assassin’s Creed.

“Damn Uncle Terry! Have you been practicing while I’m at school”

“It’s the new medication kid…Moves the blood from my d*ck to my hands.”

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Terry to Conor: “It’s the new medication…”

Hank Azaria as the former FBI leader Ed Cochran gets the runners up prize for lines of the night. He gets not one but several.  After being told that his boss will flag his employee evaluation, Cochran mutters, “Then flag me…you f***ing b*tch.” The vitriol dripping from every word is priceless. That line is almost as good as Cochran’s trying to get Paige to stumble with his “Bermuda” reference in their little exchange.

“Boy, I bet your ex-husband’s gonna kick himself when word of your team reaches Bermuda, huh?”

“Belize.”

“Belize, right. Yeah.”

“Always get my “B” countries mixed up.”

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Ed Cochran questioning many things, mostly about Ray Donovan…

Ray actually follows through with a vengeance on his promise to help his father out. Coming to Mick’s apartment, he flushes Daryll’s remaining coke and takes Mickey to see his lawyer.  Getting Mick declared “non compos mentis” and having Ray put “in charge” of his father, gets Mickey out of the enforced deal with the police. It also puts him completely at the mercy of Ray.

Later, the Armenian singing star stops Mrs. Minassian’s thugs from putting Mick in the hospital and/or killing Ray. But it is close. Grace Zabriskie rocks it as the old battle axe mob leader. Ray’s explanation of his father’s disability falls on deaf ears.

“He belongs to me.”

“Mrs. Minassian, I’m sure you can understand my father’s an older man.”

“Let him eat dog food. Let him sh*t his pants. I don’t care.”

“I own him”

“You want out? There is no out. ”

“This is so disappointing.”

All this while Mickey is being beaten and Ray has a stand off with another of Minassian’s men. Hasmig delivers, however, and Ray is identified as a “friend to the Armenians.” Mrs. Minassian orders pictures to be taken with scarcely a pause between emotions.

Cochran continues to find things in the NFL Finney file that adds up to something being wrong about Varick Strauss. For instance, the border photo of Avi as Strauss. As a stroke of genius, Ed fakes out the storage company clerk and gets a copy of the key  to Avi’s store room. Taking pictures of all the items in the lock up results in Cochran finding the poker, later in the episode that Andrew used to kill Varick.

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Andrew Finney chooses to be awkward about the NFL questioning…

On top of all the things going on over at the Finney place, and Mickey’s issues with the police and the Armenian mob,  Bridget gets into hot water at school for breaking a classmates nose. Her budding romance with Donellen has caused problems. Abby finds the Oxy and confronts the teacher at his house. After heated words are exchanged, she tells the widower to leave her daughter alone.

Abby now has one over the teacher just as Ray has one over his father. He tells Mickey to leave L.A. or he will have him committed. Paige drops by to give presents to the Donovan family and Abby flips out. She knows something happened between Ray and Paige and she tells Donovan that Finney is not to come to their house.

The Armenians are busted down at the docks with the sex slaves, Cochran pays Andrew Finney an impromptu visit, poker in hand, and Flip Brightman introduces Hasmig to the audience on his show and she prepares to sing her Armenian genocide song.

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Flip Brightman introducing Hasmig.

By the end of the episode, Ray may have saved Mickey and the Finney’s may have gotten past the NFL questionnaire, but Donovan has Cochran on his and Andrew’s trail. The find of the poker and the mistake of Avi being seen crossing on Strauss’s passport, has left Ray open to problems with the former FBI man.

It now appears that Ray has it made. His three percent will make him and his family very rich. However, Paige hits the nail on the head when she asks Ray if he is now happy that he has everything he wanted. Donovan answers, after a short pause, that no he is not. Andrew Finney’s daughter pegged Ray correctly, he is addicted to the fight and does not care about the things that most men do.

It looks like Ed Cochran has foolishly decided to either blackmail Andrew Finney or to take on Ray Donovan for a round two battle. Hank Azaria rocks it as the former FBI agent and it is hoped that this character sticks around for a while. Grace Zabriskie is another guest star that one hopes is around a bit longer.

Ray Donovan airs Sundays on Showtime. Brilliantly done crime/drama’s are hard to come by, don’t miss this one. It is worth the time taken to watch it if for no other reason than for the show’s music. Playing out this week’s episode was Patrick Wilson’s Good Morning Mr. Wolf and really, it does  not get much better than this.

Ray Donovan: Octopus (Review) [UPDATE]

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[UPDATE] The hip-hop song that plays out the show, credited to “Diz and the Fam” is actually “Bunchy” aka Dash Mihok and his band. The song can be picked up at iTunes for the staggering low price of .99 cents and YouTube also has the song available to listen to. Seriously? Is there anything this chap cannot do?

Last week Ray Donovan was all about the Finney family’s little peccadilloes, one of which comes back to  roost this week along with the return of Ed “F**k her harder Eddie” Cochran (Hank Azaria). It seems fitting that after all that sweat and digging from last week, the NFL deal has hit a snag because of a minority shareholder, the late Varick Strauss.

Things have changed for Cochran. From highflying FBI agent to faceless, despised (“He smells like Lubriderm.”) investigator trapped in a petition filled office.  Presumably the FBI was not overly thrilled with Cochran’s viral video, not to mention his wife swapping activities, and cut short Ed’s status as fair-haired boy in the bureau.

Bunchy is getting married, Terry is fitting in at Ray’s place and with his family, Mickey is in over his head and apart from Varick causing problems from beyond the grave, the Finney’s this week are absent from Donovan’s life this week.  Abby proves that she is not adverse to using the “F**king”  ‘C’ word in a public place and Ray lets his little brother go.

Just after Abby lets rip at a  judgmental and bigmouthed old lady in the supermarket, Terry shows that he can lighten up, singing and dancing, with Abs, to KC and the Sunshine Band.  Mickey is initially a no show at the cops sting operation and as a result Bunch is arrested in his father’s place.

By the end of the episode Theresa makes a beautiful bride, Ray makes a pretty good best man speech and Mickey asks Ray for help. This week was almost all about family Donovan, despite the teaser plot thread dealing with Varick Strauss and the re-emergence of Ed Cochran.

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Ray’s best man toast…

*Sidenote*Sad/amusing moment of the show has to be the little scene where Ed pulls out his sealed sandwich, with the note “Affirmation” attached to it, and looking into his small mirror, Cochran chants a little mantra. “Affirmation” is obviously all about self and  reminding the former FBI agent that he is “worthwhile human being” with a “healthy attitude towards sex.”  

It has to be said that this episode was a little lackluster compared to last week’s tour-de-force of Tulip. Still, the focus on Mickey, Terry, and Brendan with his issues was a nice change of pace from the usual murder and mayhem that runs through the Donovan verse. Still, after Mickey reluctantly helps the local police detective Sheila Muncie (Michael Hyatt) he may well wind up in a desert hole, placed there by the Armenian mafia. 

Octopus proves that in Ray Donovan’s world there is no such thing as an easy day. Even little brother Bunchy’s wedding turns into a problem. When Mickey gives Muncie the slip, she arrests Bunchy in place of his father. Daryll is given a break as he was not in the apartment when the cops came knocking. Ray was there and he sorts things out after talking to  the detective and promising to bring Mick in.

On top of Ray being busier than a one-armed piccolo player, Mickey tries to do a runner after getting Ginger (Fairuza Balk) to drop off his money.  After Ray drops by, the Donovan patriarch then goes to  the police. He agrees to see Mrs. Minassian (Grace Zabriskie) who not only offers up the kidnapped girls for sale, but lets Mick take the pictures (with their price tags across the bottom) out of the meeting. 

Bridget finally gets Mr. Donellen to admit he has feelings for her and Abby realizes her daughter is high on Oxy. Terry offers to keep an eye on her. Mickey manages to make it to the “after party” (as Daryll puts it) and he tries to congratulate Brendan.  Later he tries to get Ray’s help.  Mickey leaves, alone and seemingly dejected at the end of the evening..

Ray Donovan is all about dysfunctional family. It is fitting that when Muncie’s men come and arrest Bunchy that he and Ray are in the middle of a shouting match.  The Donovan’s, like the absent Finney’s, are a flawed bunch.

Mickey, who is a lifetime criminal, has managed to mess up his kid’s lives and Ray is the only one who was/is tough enough and skilled enough to keep out of his father’s shadow.  This episode showed us the hard facts about a number of things. Hookers, in the Donovan verse ,do not have a “heart of gold” they have a heart bent on making money.

Terry’s Parkinson’s is getting worse and underneath all that tough guy bluster, he is frightened. Daryll is a romantic and Abby has enough heart for everyone. Abs nabbed the moment of the episode award twice.  One moment hugging Terry and telling him to breathe after his panic attack and shortly after verbally castigating the idiot woman in the supermarket. As followup to her previous actions, at the wedding, she then gets the usually grumpy Terry to dance with her.

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Terry and Abby prepare to dance…

Bunchy looks to have found the perfect mate and Mickey has let himself down badly. His decision to fight Mrs. Minassian’s goons has put him in place to become a pawn for the police. It is oddly fitting that as the wedding ceremony takes place  Mickey’s incriminating footage is being looked at by the police  while Ave Maria airs in the background. Considering that this song is  associated with the video game franchise of Hitman this appears to be a foreshadowing of sorts for Mickey.

After Mick asks Ray for help, he asks Lena to look into Minassian, which may just be a good sign. Just as, to Ed Cochran, Ray being a minority share holder in the Strauss case must be a sign as well. But is it a sign of redemption or something else? “F**k me,” says Ed when he sees Ray’s name and the copy of his drivers license.  The episode is played out with Diz and the Fam’s The Evil That Men Do, which seems to signpost  that things are about to get a lot darker for the Donovan’s.

Ray Donovan airs Sundays on Showtime and is addictive drama for the discerning viewer.

 

Ray Donovan: Swing Vote (recap and review)

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Ray Donovan last week had some stand out moments. One of which was Grace Zabriskie’s Mrs. Minassian’s power play on Mickey. She wound up owning 50 percent of his new business and this week, the show begins with Mrs. Minassian showing the elder Donovan what will happen if he is not a “good boy.” Bunchy mourns the loss of his Mexican wrestler and Father Romero plays matchmaker, while he continues to “work” the Donovan brother.

Everything falls apart for Ray this week after everything looked so promising. Donovan tells Abby that he does not want a divorce, that he sold his business and about the football deal. Terry looks to be marked for death and Bunchy spills the beans on what happened to his abuser to Father Romero. By the end of the show, Ray winds up with 3 percent of nothing when Governor Vernon loses the gubernatorial race after making disparaging remarks about immigrants.

Ginger has been reported to child services by Mrs. Rosenblatt and she starts to move to Vegas.  Ray signs the paperwork for his three percent of the NFL deal. Andrew Finney tells Ray that Paige is going for the deal with Zack Davis at noon and he needs to stop the billionaire competition from arriving.

Terry finds out that the Aryan’s have been in his office at the gym. Lena does her second job for Ray and Terry suffers a massive meltdown. He asks Pie to get him a gun. Romero, who has taken Bunchy to Bakersfield on a mission of love, tells the Donovan brother about blinding his abuser.

Paige forces Davis to sign the deal and he asks for a 10 percent break fee  after initially refusing, Andrew Finney agrees.  Paige reassures her father that “Verona’s a lock” and that this is the last thing she will ever ask him for. He tells her to “make the deal.”

Ginger has to have a real job and Daryll comes up with the perfect solution. Hire her to work at the gym, in name only, and she can stay. Bunchy asks Teresa to marry him and she angrily tells him to get up. She then tells him to get out and he tells Teresa he will wait for her at the Denny’s “down the street” for when she changes her mind.

Ray and Paige talk over drinks. “Money is a kind of poetry,” says Paige. She then tells Ray about the poet Wallace Stevens and she explains that it is her favorite line. “It doesn’t rhyme,” Ray tells her. Paige asks if he will be bringing Abby to the Century Plaza and then says she cannot wait to “meet the woman behind the man.” They both head off in different directions.

Terry is huddled in the office at the Fite Club and when Potato Pie brings the gun, Terry asks him to clear out the gym and lock it down. Abby goes to check on Bridget at the polling station. Paige and Ray talk outside and he asks her what was in the envelope she gave Andrew at the studio.

A love letter she says, from Andrew to her husband. She gave him the breakup letter for the team. Paige makes a move on Ray and he turns her down saying his wife is now back. Back at Denny’s Bunchy tells Romero who did what to his abuser. Bunchy explains that he partly killed his abuser, who also abused Ray, and that he shot the man in the stomach and Ray shot him in the head. After telling Romero, the man thanks Bunchy for doing so. Donovan still has not idea that this new friend is a priest.

Terry is huddled in the darkened gym shakily pointing the gun at the door. Ray explains to Abby that things are looking up. He explains about getting a small part of the NFL team and that it means a lot to him that she is  coming to the governor’s party.

Bridget gets stoned with her classmate. Teresa shows up at the Denny’s,  suitcase in hand. She accepts Bunchy’s proposal, “I got a few conditions,” She says. “You don’t lie to me. You don’t cheat on me. You don’t hit me.” “Never,” replies Bunchy.

Teresa continues, “I’m not running away with any gabacho named Bunchy. That’s a puppy’s name. Your name is Brendan. Okay Brendan?” Bunchy agrees and she finishes with, “I’m not running to f**king chapel with you. That’s a longer discussion.” “Okay,” Bunchy says, “That’s fair.” Teresa smiles.

At the Plaza, on the way up to the party, Abby asks Ray about buying the bar in Boston and Ray says “I don’t know why not.” She then meets the governor and Donovan’s new boss Andrew. Casey Finney also meets Abby and tells her that Ray saved his life. She meets Paige and the two women retire to the bar.

Donovan speaks to Varick about Paige and the team. Paige’s husband and then Casey predict that things will not go well for the governor in the election. Ray gets a call from Terry who tells his brother that the Aryan’s have found him and Donovan  has to leave the party. He arrives at the gym, along with Mickey, and Terry shoots at Mickey.

After a few tense moments, Terry gives the gun to Ray and they put the whole thing down to the Parkinson’s. The three men make a joke about the situation and Terry tells Ray to go back to the party. Mick says he will stay with Terry and after Ray leaves, Mickey asks Terry to put Ginger on the gym’s books.

The governor loses the election which means the NFL deal is off. Ray gets back to the now dead party and Andrew lets him know that he knew about the 3 percent deal and that now Ray  has “f**king nothing, or 3 percent of f**king nothing.” Finney is furious with Ray and asks what he gave his daughter for the 3 percent and Ray tells him about the cell phone.

Ray is in trouble. Teresa and Brendan go into the gym and on the counter is the weight that Terry saw earlier.  The Aryan’a have left a message for Terry again. Things are falling apart for the Donovan’s.

This show is once again all about dark drama and the two dysfunctional families, three if you count Abby’s. Andrew Finney proves that he is a grade ‘A’ douche who probably sabotaged the governor’s election just to punish Paige and Ray. Mickey is not in a good place with Mrs. Minassian who tipped off Mrs. Rosenblatt in an effort mess the senior Donavan up. Bunchy has related very incriminating information to the shady Father Romero and things do not look good for the Donovan clan at all right now.

Ray Donovan airs Sundays on Showtime. Crime and drama in Los Angeles never looked so interesting. Don’t miss this look at the underbelly of big business in Tinseltown.

Ray Donovan: Handshake Deal Review

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Ray Donovan proves that crime, regardless of its class structure, or family ties, is addictive. While Liev Schreiber’s character may be a sentimental slob underneath that rock hard exterior, he is surrounded by many who have no soft and gooey center. Handshake Deal continues this season’s theme of familial contrast; Ray’s, Abby’s and the Finney’s. It also looks at sex and the penalties it causes when people play away as well as how much fun it is to be naughty.

Mickey’s daydream, at the start of the episode, is revealing as it is humorous. The 1960s feel to his vision, down to the matching Hawaiian shirts, highlights Mick’s wish. He wants to have a relationship with Ray and mourns the time lost where he severed the bonds with his son as evidenced by the time period hinted at in the “dream.”

This week Paige finally makes her move on Ray, Terry steps in to protect Bunchy, Abby buys the bar, Bridget gets her father’s, awkward, help at the college counseling session, the Mexican wrestling team moves out of the gym and Daryl screws up. Before the end credits roll, Mickey has been put in a position very similar to the Gary one, “Father Romero makes his move” like Paige, he is also targeting a Donovan; Bunchy. Mickey and Daryl throw a 15K party for some computer geeks that turns into a headache for Mick.

Ray’s Finney mission this week is to get back a burner phone that has very incriminating information on it, the cell belongs to Governor Verona. Varick Strauss tells Ray the assignment, a young former aide, aka lover of Verona’s took the phone and refuses to return it. Paige’s husband tells Donovan that this should stay between them; Varick and Ray.

Moments of note:

1) Bunchy and his not so little Mexican wrestler in the office. She has taken her boobs out of her top and begins fondling them while Bunchy, as ordered, watches from the floor. Ordered to fondle himself, Bunchy begins only to be interrupted by Terry. Cue much fumbling of body parts and clothing.

2) Abby visiting her father. While the encounter itself is not too memorable, it feels too real to be classed as entertainment, however, her father’s line about his illness is priceless. Abby asks, “What’s wrong.” “F***ing heart disease. Fall over a few times, they strap you to the bed, bill you to death.” Not only is this a true picture of health care in the US, but it is an accurate picture of how those suffering from that ailment must really feel.

3) Terry smacking the wrestler’s brother after he witnesses what he believes to be a “shake down.”

4)The two “film student” types earnestly discussing Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) and Bodie (Patrick Swayze) and their respective themes from the 1991 film Point Break. “It’s an emotivist recantation of Kant, dude,” says one, “Bodie’s a bank robber but he’s also a cool surfer guy which short circuits Johnny Utah’s whole FBI agent deal.” The other student replies, “Morality’s slave to passion…Classic f***ing Hume.” “Yeah,” says the first student, “how did you not see that.” The two move off camera leaving Ray to look on, his expression says he feels just like we do about this discussion; huh?

5)That recording on Governor Verona’a phone of Paige, a snippet of faux passion that threatens to, “bite her in the a**.” Add to this surreal moment of a bit of “posh totty” aka high class female on the pull, talking “dirty” to a fat politico, Ray’s reaction, and this is a premium standout moment.

6)Mick’s reaction to Grace Zabriskie‘s Mrs. Minassian and her veiled threat towards young Conor Donovan. Jon Voight does it all through the eyes. His look is the same one he got before “taking care” of Gary, the douchebag pimp.

*Sidenote* On the commentary track of The Grudge (the American remake of Takashi Shimizu’s cult classic J-horror Juon), the beautiful and talented KaDee Strickland talks about her awe at getting to work with Zabriskie who, according to KaDee “has been in everything.” With 148 credits to her name, Grace may not have been in “everything” but she has worked a lot. Mainly in roles that might be comparatively small, but in Grace’s hands, become infinitely memorable.

Back to the episode’s main plot. Paige is furious that her handshake deal has been circumvented and she orders Ray to “get rid of the guy.” Andrew, father dearest, reminds Paige that Ray works for him. This segues off into Ray’s meeting with the young former aide and lover of the governor who took the phone and then gave it to a legal professor.

The professor, a lawyer, is Ray’s next port of call and the teacher quotes the possession is 9/10 of the law adage and Ray leaves without the cell phone. Since he has made plans to attend Bridget’s school meeting, Donovan enlists the aid of his former employee, Lena. She agrees to help for twice her normal fee and Ray replies that she will get three times her rate. “I know what you’re worth,” he says smiling.

Bridget learns the truth behind the urban myth of her instructor’s wife’s death, and apart from learning that she got an ‘A’ on her latest Calculus exam, she also finds that he has a sense of humor.

The poor kid who started the whole mess with the phone, Briana, learns that no one is trustworthy in the world of law and politics when Ray tells her that the professor has plans to take the phone, and its incriminating evidence, to a press conference. This, after telling her that he would give it back. Ray, Briana and Lena get the phone back and Donovan flings the quote back in the prone lawyer’s face.

Ray talks Lena into coming back. Ray listens to the phone’s saved messages. Terry hits the wrestler’s brother and Mickey, along with Daryl, meet Mrs. Minassian. The meeting does not go well as the “bank” tells Donovan that they will be partners.

Andrew Finney asks for the phone and Ray tells him that he “got rid of it.” Finney is furious, “What part of bring me the phone did you not understand.” On the way out of Andrews office, Varick, the cuckold, asks about the phone. As does his wife Paige later when she meets with Ray. He offers to give Paige the phone later for a piece of the NFL deal. “Five percent,” he says. After a very short negotiation, he accepts three.

“You get the phone when I see something in writing,” Ray says. Paige moves forward, “You need that? You don’t trust me,” she says smiling as she moves forward to kiss Ray. After another very short conversation, they kiss again and Paige grins like a little girl, she has gotten what she wants, which is, apparently, Ray Donovan as well has her NFL vision and the chance to defeat daddy.

Bunchy mourns the loss of his female wrestler “dominatrix” and snaps at Terry. “We don’t all have to spend our life f***ing miserable,” he says to his brother. Mickey stops by Ray’s house with Conor. The two grownups talk after Conor goes upstairs. Mick offers to listen if Ray wants to talk. As he starts to leave, Ray asks his father about North Hollywood. Mickey tells him about the two bedroom apartment and the top-of-the-line grill (the kalamazoo).

Father Romero (played with splendid foreboding by Leland Orser) says a prayer for Bunchy and Abby comes home to find Ray and Dog on the couch. She smiles.

Another layer of Ray Donovan has been exposed. Rather interestingly, he never responded to Paige’s “open invitation” or interest in him until he heard the message she left Verona. After their short conversation, where she wept crocodile tears and claimed that they “just got carried away,” and Ray sliced through her theatrics to reveal that she was in it for what she could get, Donovan’s response to her changed.

For all her power, money and highbrow lineage, Paige revealed herself to be a flawed and normal human being underneath that cold exterior. Added to this was the revelation that, like Ray and Mickey, Andrew and Paige were a relationship broken by unreal and poor expectation. “I wanted to be accepted and he wanted to be needed,” [sic] Paige reveals.

It is ironic that Abby has returned just after Ray allows both Lena, back, and Paige, in. Ray Donovan airs Sundays on Showtime. Splendidly dark and brilliantly noir television.

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