Ray Donovan: Lake Hollywood – Hector’s Lament (Review)

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The body count continues to rise this week and it seems likely that Avi has joined the number of deceased that are dotted across Ray Donovan’s landscape. The bloodbath in Nevada last week has not been matched in “Lake Hollywood,” but things have gotten seriously out of hand in Los Angeles.  Is Ray smart enough to defeat the Russian mob?

Donovan makes the first move, a pre-emptive strike as it were, by taking the art. He tells Waller that if Avi is hurt, Dmitri will never see his art again. Terry wakes up with the cop the morning after and Marisol continues to bother Hector.

Ray circles the wagons, getting everyone, bar Terry, at the house.  Daryll helps out as does Lena, they steal the art, and only Bridget seems to be left out of the loop. Ray gets Bunchy to move Teresa to the house.

Bunchy tells Ray about Mick’s homicidal rampage in Nevada.  Mickey talks to Ray who is not happy about his killing Little Bill. Mick is still upset about the death of Silvie and Ray is unmoved. Mickey tags along with Bunchy and Teresa in the move  to Calabasas.

Sonia has gone off the grid and despite Ray having all his art, Dimitri has Donovan running around in circles. He insists that the action star Butch Kramer be brought to him.  Dimitri ignores Ray’s requests to see Avi.

At the gym, Hector’s wife  Jessica (Audra Griffisand daughter show up.  Jessica  tells him that she and  Stella  (Mattea Quinare going to Montreal. Hector is beyond distraught. He tells Terry that he will back in an hour.

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Terry attempts to distract Stella

Ray gives Waller the receipts for all the art Sonia’s gallery sold. He tells the lawyer he knows about the forgeries. Waller promises to work on Dimitri although, he says,  it will do no good.

Hector goes to see Marisol and tells her about Jessica and Stella.  She is not impressed. He tells her she smells of jail and Marisol goes to run a bath.  At the Donovan house, Mickey and Abby share a moment as one of Dimitri’s men watches the house.

As Terry leaves the gym to get Hector from Marisol’s house, the boxer drowns  his half-sister in the bathtub. When Terry arrives, Campos tells him she died by overdosing in the tub.

The murder of Marisol is sudden, shocking and disturbing.  It is not, however, overly surprising. Marisol knew which buttons to push and her self destructive streak caused her to destroy her half-brother.

Terry calls Ray.

Ray tells Terry to leave Hector at Marisol’s house. Campos admits he killed his sister and Ray says, “I know.” Donovan leaves.  Terry is shaken by the death and returns to the gym.

Donovan gets Butch to see Dimitri. Ray attends the mobster’s party and Kramer is already there. The Russian mob  boss asks Butch to go outside and he has a bodyguard beat the star up. (Dmitri is upset at Kramer’s latest film, “The Kremlin Bleeds” where his character killed 111 Russians.)

Dimitri may be a little bit insane.

After his bodyguard beats Kramer to the ground Dimitri takes Ray to a room where they are keeping an injured Waller.  The mobster tells Ray that the lawyer tried to intercede on his behalf and then shoots him in the forehead. Dimitri then thanks Donovan for bringing Butch to the party.

Ray heads back to help Hector. First, he takes Marisol’s phone and takes a picture of Hector sitting in front of his dead sister’s body. Donovan does this for insurance. He then takes Marisol’s body and dumps it in Lake Hollywood. Just prior to this, he sends Hector a text from her phone; a suicide text.

Ray calls Dimitri and tells him that he has what he owes the Russian mobster.

It seems pretty obvious that Avi is dead. Despite Ray asking repeatedly,  Dimitri has not produced him alive or dead.  After watching the mobster in action it fits that he killed Avi right after the phone call where he told Ray to deliver Sonia.

There are two episodes left in this season and it seems that Donovan is outnumbered and outflanked by Dimitri.  Previews of the next episode makes things seem quite fraught. Donovan seems to be on top of it, but can he really beat the mobster and save his entire family?

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Raymond J. Barry as Dmitri

Ray manages to maintain that look of tired confidence  that shows he believes  he will outwit the Russian.  On a sidenote,  one wonders if Lena will make good her threat  and kill Dimitri if Avi really is dead.  The body count in this episode was two, Waller and Marisol. A bit of a comedown after last week’s murderous activities.

There is a lot up in the air in this episode. So far the only thing that has been solved is Hector’s lament. She has been put in the lake, a not-so “lady of the lake,” as it were.

Ray Donovan airs Sundays on Showtime. There are two episodes left, do not miss them as this season looks to be even more intense than season three.

CAST:

Guest starring Raymond J. Barry as Dimitri,  Jack Kesy as Butch and Ismael Cruz Cordova as Hector. 

Ray Donovan: Goodbye Beautiful – Bloodbath (Recap & Review)

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Ray Donovan “Goodbye Beautiful” racks up a huge body count. Before the end of the episode there are four corpses littering the landscape, turing this installment into a bloodbath.  There are Six if one counts Little Bill, who we do not see die and Avi who  is a good as dead since Ray cannot deliver what is needed to save him.

In Russia, they receive the crate with Belikov’s body.  Understandably upset, the Russian mobster sends a picture to Sonia and tells her he is on his way.  Sonia speaks with Waller (Gabriel Mann), her lawyer, and Vlad  (Richard Brake). 

The two men have footage showing Ray, carrying the dead girl, and  Belikov entering the port facility and Ray leaving, carrying the dead girl.  Vlad explains that he had to kill  a customs official to get the footage.

Body Number One. 

Sonia tells  the men to leave things with her. She begins gathering her things to run. She gets money from her safe and collects her daughter from school. Kovitzky then heads to Ray’s house.

Abby answer the doorbell and discovers the art dealer outside with Katya (Mila Brener).  Ray tells Abby when she calls that he is on his way.  On the way home he spies Vlad watching the house.  Once Ray  arrives, he tells Sonia he will help her to get out. 

Avi and Lena turn up to help. Avi insists that Kovitzky should be killed. He then  agrees to take care of Waller. Lena realizes that she looks a lot like Sonia. She dresses in the other woman’s clothes and will lead Vlad away.  Lena tells Ray she will find a secluded spot and kill Sonia’s driver.

Body Number Two.

In Nevada Mickey shops for a ring for Silvie in a pawnshop. He buys a nine millimeter with a silence and an electric guitar.  He, Bunchy and Teresa head to Little Bill’s house where Silvie is in bed with Primm.

They arrive with a plasma cutter and the gun. Teresa stays in the car and Silvie shows the two men were the safe is. Mickey starts to cut open the safe with the plasma cutter.

It stops before the job is finished.  Mick sends Bunchy to watch Algoma (Emma Vicera) while he grabs Little Bill. Primm refuses to give up the combination to the safe. As Mick starts slapping Bill around, Larry (Chris Coppola) arrives and Bill tells him to shoot Silvie. 

He does. Mickey is shocked and Teresa comes with the Bridget’s guitar and hits Larry in the head knocking him out. Mick shoots Larry several times and Bill gives up the combination to the safe.

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Ted Levine as Little Bill and Paula Jai Parker as Sylvie Starr

Later, Primm begs Mickey not to kill Algoma. It is safe to assume that Mick does kill Little Bill.

Bodies three, four and five. 

Ray agrees to help get Sonia and Katya out of the country as Avi goes to kill Waller. Kovitzky asks Donovan, as she boards the private jet, why he did not kill her, it would have been easier, she says.

Avi goes to kill the lawyer and is surrounded by Dimitri and his Russian mobsters. As Waller watches, Avi is beaten bloody.  Ray gets a call from the gangster and he can hear Avi saying he screwed up. Dimitri (Raymond J. Barry) tells Ray to bring him Sonia or Avi will die.  Ray cannot deliver Kovitzky as she has left the country.

Body number six?

Leaving aside a body count that almost equals the Minassian massacre, Marisol (Lisa Bonet) flips out when Daryll shows up with a check from Hector (Ismael Cruz Cordova). Daryll passes on the message that her brother wants her to leave. 

Grabbing some keepsakes and pictures, Marisol puts them in a carryon bag. She take this and sets fire to the thing at the gym.  Terry, who just posed with Hector for photographs puts out the fire. Marisol is arrested and Terry gets a date with the female cop he met earlier.

In this episode Abby refuses to  scurry off and hide now that danger is at the front door. Ray agrees to let her stay. Teresa comes out of her depression enough to help Mickey, although not quickly enough to save Silvie. Later Mick thanks Teresa for her help.

After all the trouble Mick went through to get the $4 million, he no longer wants it. He has been destroyed by Silvie’s death. Mickey tells Bunchy that he and Teresa can have it all.

This episode of Ray Donovan plunges Ray right up to his neck with Russian gangsters after him and his family. Things have gotten very violent very fast. “Goodbye Beautiful” is the bloodiest (in terms of body count) and darkest of season four so far.

With Mickey broken and Avi as good as dead, Ray will have to rely on Lena, Terry, Bunchy and Abby to help fight off the Russian mob.

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Jon Voight as Mickey Donovan

Speaking of Lena; how cold and deadly is this woman. One shot; pow, right between the eyes and Vlad was already taking aim. Impressive to the nth degree. Avi is right, she is tougher than either he or Ray.

Sonia has escaped Dimitri’s wrath and Waller obviously sold his boss out, which may not help him now that she is out of reach.  Ray will have to dig deep to fight off this latest threat.

Ray Donovan airs Sundays on Showtime.  Do not miss this cracking drama as the body count rises and Ray gets tougher.

CAST:

Guest starring Embeth Davidtz  –  Sonia Kovitzky, Paula Jai Parker as Silvie and Ted Levine as Little Bill Primm

Ray Donovan: The Texan – Xbox and Hector (Recap and Review)

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Ray Donovan “The Texan” picks up where last week’s episode ended. Cochran and The Texan are in the same hospital. Ray  pays Ed off and then visits with The Texan.  Mickey is out of County, Marisol is out of control and Hector starts losing it.

The Texan asks Ray to keep his daughter from learning just how “bleak” his work for Ezra was.  Ray meets Mickey at the jail and treats him to breakfast.  Teresa’s brother Marco has her committed and after Donovan plays an Xbox “Just Dance”  game with Conor, the neighbor comes to complain about Ray’s son shooting his bouncy castle.

Abby actually joins in as well before Marcioni stops by. Things get a bit physical between Conor and Ray before the teen gives up the gun. Mickey stops by the Fite Club and Terry expresses his admiration for Mickey’s actions.

Mick learns from Bunchy that Teresa left him and is now is in the asylum at Bakersfield. Initially Bunch feels that she is beyond saving. His father helps him to change his mind.  Ray takes Conor for a drive and talks to him about the gun.

At the Fite Club, Terry is not overly impressed with Hector’s sparring match. On the television in the gym, Hector, and the entire gym, see Marisol reveal that she and her brother are having sex. Campos leaves the ring and Terry is upset.

Ray and Conor drive to “skid row.”  Avi meets them there and brings a file full of pictures. They are of young men who died from gunshot wounds. Conor is not impressed and after talking back to Ray, he is ordered out of the car.

Donovan drives off leaving Conor with his gun in the middle of the street. He is surrounded by homeless people and hard-cases. Ray stops the car and Conor runs to get in. The teen is clearly terrified.

Terry calls Ray about Hector and Marisol.  Mickey  meets a patient at the Bakersfield facility and Bunchy explains that Teresa’s brother thought she was suicide risk. He goes to speak to his wife and she refuses to leave with him.

Ray talks to Hector who talks of killing himself. Campos has lost his rematch and Joxy Maguire (Cathal Pendred) will fight instead.  Terry asks his brother to fix things and Ray agrees. He tasks Daryll to help.

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Lena has to “ghost” the computer of  Stu Feldman (Josh Pais). Ray tells her to keep an eye out for porn. Abby and Conor talk and the teen  reveals that he feels like “a little prick from Calabasas.”

Lena  catches Stu watching “tranny porn” and masturbating.  She slaps a FBI hold on his computer and Stu bellows for someone to call Ray. Abby takes Conor to the shooting range. He apologizes for taking the gun and she tells Conor that she has cancer.

Ray forces Stu to play golf with Randall Dyckman. Daryll goes to Joxy’s bar and meets the Irish  replacement fighter.  While he is there Daryll  punches the Irishman in the face with the  brass knuckles.

Bunchy goes to Teresa’s  brother’s house to pick up part of her wrestling uniform. He learns that Teresa has been committed several times, her first time was at age 11.

Stu records his conversation with Randall. Ray then uses the footage to blackmail Dycker into replacing Joxy with Hector for the fight. He then stops by the gym to tell Hector the news.  Ray explains that Terry set the whole thing up and that Hector needs to make him a trainer.

Bunchy rescues Teresa from the mental hospital and then takes Mickey to Nevada to pick up his “woman.” Ray clears out Ezra’s safe and The Texan dies.

This episode saw Mickey welcomed back into the fold.  All his sons, except for Daryll,  are accepting him after he volunteered to do jail time to save the family.  Teresa actually looks like she can be saved from her postnatal depression.

“The Texan” has a good bit of humor. Ray’s smirking at Randall’s comment about his wife’s “p***y” and the Xbox dance game were both quite funny.

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Daryll’s punching Joxy to put him out of the fight could well rise up and bite him in the nether’s later on. The episode ended on a bit of a down note for  Ray. He  tells The Texan’s daughter (played by Eve Harlow) everything that her dad did was for her. 

Mickey got the line of the episode when he tells Bunchy about a poem by “easy comings.”  The show ends with Ray apologizing for being too hard on Conor. He explains that he and Conor’s mother are different from his son and Bridget. He finishes by saying that they are both trying hard to keep it that way.

A bit slow in terms of action, “The Texan” does move the Hector Campos story forward. Previews of next week’s episode show the Russians and the art dealer have not gone away and that things could turn really ugly for Ray and his family.

Ray Donovan airs Sundays on Showtime.  This is the best drama series on offer right now, do not miss it.

CAST:

Guest starring Stacey Keach as The Texan,  Alyssa Diaz as Teresa and Ismael Cruz Cordova as Hector Campos. 

Ray Donovan: Norman Saves the World – Murder (Review)

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Last week Ray Donovan murdered the man who was going to protect Mickey in jail. With Belikov gone Ray turns to Ed Cochran (Hank Azaria) to get his father out of County. In the meantime the plan is to have MIckey placed in the gay protection wing.  

Cochran has evidence on the star of “Norman Saves the World” Sherman Radley  (Reginald VelJohnson) who stabbed a co-star to death. Ed took care of the murder weapon and someone else disposed of the girl’s body.  Radley’s agent, Nick Lowell (Balfour) was in charge of the body detail.

A surviving Minassian (Terry Moore) puts a contract on Mick and the hitman has himself arrested. Inside County, the man is instantly spotted by Mickey. Later the killer poison’s Mick’s soup. His cellmate eats it instead and later dies.

Sidenote: In a blackly comic scene, Mick pretends to be having sex with his dying cellmate as Brent Mancini (Thomas Crawford) comes to see him. Conor, not being part of the scam, tells Mancini that his grandfather is straight. The official goes to see Mick and deny him access to the wing. Mick’s “sex” ruse works and he is transferred just as the hitman becomes his new roomie.

Back at the gym Hector (Ismael Cruz Cordova) decides to do all his training there. Marisol (Lisa Bonet) gets kicked out of rehab and Campos tells Daryll to take her home. Hector has turned into a douche since losing his big fight. 

Daryll picks up Marisol and she stops off for a fix. When they show up at the gym where Hector is giving a press conference, he is furious.

Cochran shows Ray the evidence against Radley. He then brokers the deal with  Holt (Derek Webster). Avi is upset when Holt agrees to the deal and he tells Ray that Cochran is trying to screw him. 

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Ray meets with Hollywood agent Lowell and offers him Tommy Wheeler as a potential client.  Lowell bites. Ray tells Nick to meet him at his apartment. Wheeler is there already and he tells Ray he does not need a new agent.

Lowell arrives and before he can get into  the “deal” Ray takes him into anther room where Ed Cochran is waiting.  Ed tells Lowell to give up Sherman Radley for the murder of Fiona Miller.  Cochran tries intimidating the agent who is not fazed by Ed’s gun. Ed headbutts Lowell and Ray follows up by knocking him out.

Nick ends up being waterboarded by Cochran. Initially the agent is defiant and refuses to talk. Mid way through the torture Tommy comes into the room. He takes a seat and watches the proceedings. Finally Lowell cracks and he reveals that the late Ezra Goldman arranged for the body to be disposed.

Ray immediately knows who did the deed for Ezra; The Texan (Keach). Avi is not happy. Later, Ed blackmails Radley into telling him where Miller’s body is hidden. The star tells Cochran it is at his old restaurant. Ray watches The Texan and sees Radley talk to the man. He follows The Texan to the restaurant.

Donovan tries to warn Cochran who lies to Ray about where he is. The Texan arrives and enters the building. As Ray approaches  he hears shots ring out. Entering the building he finds both The Texan and Cochran have been wounded.  He asks The Texan where the body is and he finds it.

Ray leaves The Texan in the closed restaurant as Ed goes to give Holt the location of the body. As Donovan goes to leave, he stops and looks at The Texan as The Upbeats sing “Friday On My Mind.”

It is interesting to see how Ezra Goldman keeps cropping up in season four. Ray seems to be inexorably linked to the dead man.  Cochran still has not learned that  Donovan will always get the better of him.

Terry’s protege Damon (Dominique Columbus) wins his first fight and Bunchy talks Abby into looking after baby Maria for a bit longer.

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Stacy Keach as The Texan

The guest stars this week rocked.  Stacey Keach still impresses as one bad customer. The look that he and Liev Schreiber exchange spoke volumes.  Keach’s chops are still massive and very strong.  Hank Azaria got a chance to show off his singing skills again and no one can play sleaze like Eric Balfour.

It will be interesting to see what happens next. Hector has changed and Mickey presumably still has a contract out on him.  And who was the Minassian woman in the electric wheelchair. She paid for Mick to be killed and will obviously continue to be a threat.

Ray Donovan airs Sundays on Showtime.  Do not miss this show. Great writing and great acting equals great television.

CAST:

Guest starring Stacey Keach as the Texan and Eric Balfour as Nick Lowell and Austin Nichols as Tommy Wheeler.

Ray Donovan: Fish and Bird – Execution (Review)

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After the comedy of errors last week that left Ray Donovan and Mickey empty handed, and Mick turning himself in for the Minassian’s, “Fish and Bird” turns very dark for Ray. It starts with his running errands for Kovitzky and ends with Ray getting drunk and two deaths.

Ray is having issues with Mickey taking the rap for the murders. As MIckey is processed into   County, Ray cleans the blood out of the van.  He tells Abby about Mick and she tells him about her treatment; medically induced menopause.

Taking off her top and bra, she tells Ray to “F**k me like you used to.” Upstairs, Conor gets sexually aroused by topless women shooting automatic weapons.

Bunchy and Maria at his brother’s house  and when Ray lets him in he sees Belikov’s driver, Vlad.  The man tries to intimidate Ray who punches him and takes his gun. Vlad leaves.

At Kovitzky’s Donovan learns that until Belikov gets the charges dropped he is expected to keep paying his installments. Ray tells the art dealer that he cannot pay. She tells him that sweat will do. Donovan has to pick up a piece of art from the port for Kovitzky.

Ray  goes to the warehouse and meets the “string girl” (the one the security guard is masturbating to at the start of the episode). The girl is named Lilya (Alisa Vilenaand she is a gift for Belikov. Donovan picks up the Kovacs painting that will  be auctioned.

Bunchy reveals that Teresa has postpartum depression and that she has been gone a month.  As Abby starts her treatment Bunchy tells his support group that Ray has been drinking and is upset about Mickey going to jail.

Mickey confesses to Jackson Evans and Ray  escorts Kovitzky’s charity event. At the auction Ray bumps into  Ashley Rucker (Ambyr Childers) who is upset she has no sex pictures on the Internet. 

Ray works out that Sonia Kovitzky has cancer and that she is dying.  Donovan is tasked to take a forged version of  the painting to Stu Feldman. Belikov is released  from County.

While picking up the forgery, Ray bumps into Lilya again.  She is still playing with the string and her English has improved. Donovan plays Cat’s Cradle with the girl while waiting for the painting.

Bunchy asks if Abby is ill and she lies.  Donovan drops off the forgery to Stu Feldman (Josh Pais) who has just finished shooting a sex tape for Ashley his wife. He introduces Ray to her partner in the film, who is standing naked clutching a cell phone. 

Feldman wants Ray to leak the tape and he refuses.

Kovitzky tells Donovan to take money to Belikov and apologize to him.  Sonia then takes Ray into a room; a panoramic art viewing room. In what turns into a seduction, she reveals that she has already had a mastectomy.  Sonia then takes Ray hand and places it on her scarred breast. “Am I beautiful” she asks. Ray answers that she is.

Donovan  attends Maria’s christening and becomes his niece’s godfather. After the ceremony Ray gets drunk and upsets Bunchy.  Damon, who was invited by Terry, splits a bottle with Conor. Later the two take out the gun from Abby’s safe.

Ray delivers the money to Ivan. The Russian mobster tells Ray that he needs his help and that Donovan will be paid.  Belikov reveals that a sex party  with Lilya resulted in the girl having her neck broken. He asks Ray to help him ship the body to Moscow.

Conor shoots a neighbor’s bouncy castle as  Damon watches.  Ray drives the girl’s body and Belikov to the port.  The Russian tells Ray that he will protect Mickey in prison.  A drunken Bunchy tells Abby he knows about the cancer and he gets upset with her.

Belikov tells Ray to put Lilya’s body in a crate and seal it up.  He grabs Ivan by the throat and head butts him twice. Yelling at Ivan to look at him, he shoots Belikov with his own gun;  executing  him for Lilya’s murder.  He then seals the dead Russian in the crate.  Unfortunately Belikov’s death means no protection for Micky.

Kovitzky calls Ray as he drives the dead string girl to the local morgue.  He leaves the cross and rosary beads with her body.

Ray Donovan this season has been dark, action packed and full of death.  This episode was  very grim and the death of Belikov was brutal and sudden.  The splash of blood on Ray’s face was shocking, as was the death of the Russian girl.

The string playing girl seemed to be a nod to the village scene in The Wild Bunch, where the Gorch brothers play Cat’s Cradle with a local girl.  Sadly,  this young lady meets a horrible end unlike the one in Peckinpah’s film.

Earlier  in the episode, Ray’s Learning of Sonia’s cancer affects him deeply. The scene in the viewing room was intense and moving. This episode should garner a gong or two come Emmy time.

Ray Donovan airs Sundays on Showtime. Tune in and see how Mickey fairs in County with no protection.

CAST:

Guest starring Richard Brake as Vlad, Pasha D. Lychnikoff as Ivan Belikov and Dominique Columbus as Damon.