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.”
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, right. Yeah.”
“Always get my “B” countries mixed up.”
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.
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.
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.