Ray Donovan: Season 1, Episode 3; Twerk

Elliott Gould as Ezra Goldman and Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan.
Elliott Gould as Ezra Goldman and Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan.

“It’s motherfucking Ray Donovan in my motherfucking house. Hell ya!”
“Hell ya, you the man!”
The first two episodes of Ray Donovan were mostly about introducing the main characters and their conflicts. With this third episode the characters are being fleshed out more, so the drama becomes more compelling. The bad influence of Mickey, Ray’s dad, is starting to spread through the show now like a cancer. He seemed kind of likeable and charismatic the first two episodes. He is funny and able to charm everyone around him, except for of course, Ray. But in Twerk his jokes become offensive and obscene. It is also more evident the effect of being in jail for twenty years has had on Mickey. He is from the old school, with a very backwards mentality. Now the audience, and some of the characters, can see a little glimpse of why Ray hates Mickey so much. Mickey is loud and offensive, has to be the center of attention. Ray is quiet, respectful, and prefers to stay in the background.

Dash Mihok as Bunchy Donovan.
Dash Mihok as Bunchy Donovan.

The most interesting scene in the episode, at least to me, may seem like a relatively minor one at first. But I think it speaks volumes about Ray and Mickey. It starts with Ray walking into the fight club to get Bunchy as they have a meeting with a lawyer. Mickey is there watching Terry and Daryll box. #1: Mickey’s negative influence on Bunchy is taking hold here. Bunchy is trying to avoid Ray because Mickey is poisoning their relationship. #2 The second Mickey sees Ray enter the club he immediately jumps up and becomes coaching Daryll on, although before he had been sitting around eating Chinese food. Mickey wants Ray to notice him and to specifically notice him being a father to Daryll. But Mickey fucks up. He eggs on Daryll too much, to the point of Daryll injuring Terry. This shows that Mickey is stuck in the past (before Terry got Parkinsons) and also that Mickey doesn’t know HOW to be a father. #3 This is when Ray steps in and intervenes, telling Daryll to stop fighting. This scenes shows how Ray is the responsible, mature one and that he has been more of a father to his brothers than Mickey ever has. By the end of the scene Mickey has only accomplished looking like a complete jack ass. It’s a small, beautiful moment.
One thing I wanted to mention about Ray Donovan last time, but forgot is the great music. Often times near the end music plays to a montage of where the characters are now. It’s always one of my favorite parts. The music is classic 60s/70s music. I love it because the songs always seem like something Ray would listen to or that he grew up with. This week’s montage was all about sex: Ray and Abby fiercely getting it on, Bunchy and Mickey hanging out with hookers, and Bridget and her new ‘friend’ Marvin sending each other pictures. The song is “No One’s Gonna Love You” by Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators.
• Ray finally returns home after five days. Only to pack his bags and immediately leave.
• Abby is understandable pissed by this and by Ray trying to buy her off. She epically throws her shoe at him screeching, “You’re gonna treat me like a whore?! I’m your fucking WIFE!”

• Noisy neighbors are still noisy.
• Bridget got a B- on her family tree project because it was ‘vague.’ Of course, she’s Ray Donovan’s daughter!
• The shoe thing has pissed Ray off, so he’s gonna take out his anger on the noisy neighbors. He kicks in the door, unplugs the speakers. But he’s motherfucking Ray Donovan so it’s all good.
• Turns out that conveniently the neighbor has a problem. You see, he’s a rapper named Re-Kon who wants to adopt young Marvin, a kid around Bridget’s age. Marvin is a talented singer, but he needs to be emancipated from his crack head mother. Ray is enlisted to help Re-Kon out.

• Ray asks Marvin, “Where’s your father?”
“Dead, homes.”
“Lucky you.” Ahahaha.
• Apparently Marvin “don’t need no school, I’m gonna be a fucking millionaire.” Your bad grammar says otherwise, Marvin.
• Just as Ray is finally driving away, Abby comes back out screaming about the laundry. Oh shit… Ray just drives off.
• According to Mickey Bunchy has “no real porn” and this is a serious problem.
• I like the small touch of Bunchy stirring his coffee with a fork handle.
• Avi is in Boston investigating that priest Mickey murdered back in episode 1.
• Lena’s girl fling calls her, “I’m lonely.”
• Abby is so pissed she donates Ray’s suits to a church. Well, that solves the laundry problem!
• Mickey to Daryll: “Your mother hits harder than that!”
Mickey-ism #1: “I could cry thinking about that sweet black ass of hers.”
• Abby “goes to yoga, not church.”
• Avi pays off Mickey’s driver to go to the police and identify Mickey as the priest murderer.
Mickey-ism #2: Parkinsons “makes jerking off easier.”
• Terry’s nurse: “You know, I used to be a hooker before I was a nurse.” The joke goes way over Terry’s head as most jokes do.
• Mickey’s Father Nelson joke really is terrible.
Mickey-ism #3 “Smile and the world smiles with ya. Cry and you cry alone.”
• Remember when Ray was smiling at the end of last episode? It’s because Mickey fucked up and killed the wrong priest. He wanted to kill the guy that molested Bunchy, but got his brother instead. Mickey is shocked but recovers with, “So what? Didn’t fuck my boy, fucked someone else’s.”
• Mickey is going with Bunchy to his support group because “that’s what fathers are for.”
• Lee is thrilled to sign Re-Kon. Apparently the guy is always in trouble with the police, so easy to make money defending him. Apparently it even warrants “the best hand job” of Ray’s life.
• Ray: “We’re buying kids now, Lee?”
Lee: “We’ve done worse.”
• Ok, Mickey’s pedophile joke is bad, but funny.
• Ray pays for Terry’s nurse visit. Instead of paying him back, Ray wants Terry to ask her out.
• Abby breaks down during her yoga session, “I’m a terrible person.”
• Mickey’s visit to the support group is a disaster. Case in point: “I could use some oral rape right now.”

Octavius J. Johnson as Marvin Gaye (pause) Washington.
Octavius J. Johnson as Marvin Gaye (pause) Washington.

• Bridget meets Marvin Gaye (pause) Washington (aka the neighbor).
• Ray offers Marvin’s mom money for her to let him go. It’s a hard decision for her, but she knows she can’t raise a child.
• Abby takes back Ray’s suits. The priest is very nice, but the bitchy old lady who won’t let them go is hilarious. Abby donates the money Ray had given her.
• Mickey goes to the library…. To look up twerking, “I’m an ass man.”
• Bunchy receives his settlement of $1.4 million. Ray wants to have control of his money, in order to protect Bunchy from himself (and Mickey). But Bunchy refuses the help.
• Mickey reads Moby Dick lol.

Frank Whaley as Van Miller aka FBI Guy.
Frank Whaley as Van Miller aka FBI Guy.

• An FBI agents visits Mickey at the library. Apparently Mickey got out of jail early because he ratted out a bunch of guys (but not this mysterious Sully…). FBI guy also knows about the priest murder. He does nothing, just gives Mickey money and says he’ll be in touch. ????
• Ezra has a big party for his new foundation. Ray sends a limo for Abby, again, impressing her with money. This time she falls for it.
• Ezra’s mistress gets hilariously drunk, bad mouthing Ezra’s widow in front of everyone.
• Ezra freaks out and starts speaking Yiddish when he sees Mickey in the crowd.

Brooke Smith as Frances and Eddie Marsan as Terry Donovan.
Brooke Smith as Frances and Eddie Marsan as Terry Donovan.

• Terry and the nurse have the most awkward meeting at a diner. It is filled with lines like, “I’m a clean man.” And, “You like spaghetti?” That’s how he asks her out. It’s hilarious and Terry’s grin is so sweet.
• So Mickey should be going back to prison soon…
• Mickey got hookers for him and Bunchy.
• Abby: “I’m still fucking mad at you, Ray.” *proceeds to have hot, steamy sex with him* (can’t blame her).
• FBI guy is shown in his Spartan office. He must have OCD. He has a wall full of pictures, some crossed off. There’s Ezra, Lee, Mickey and of course…. Ray.


Ray Donovan: Season 1, Episode 1; The Bag or the Bat


This is my 100th post!!! Somehow it feels very appropriate. I’m switching up my Deadwood viewing with a little of Showtime’s motherfucking Ray Donovan! The two shows have a little more in common than you might initially think. Deadwood focuses heavily on the formation of civilizations and societies. Ray critiques the society of Hollywood, its superficiality and its hypocrisy. But that isn’t the main thrust of the show. It’s real focus is on the concept of masculinity, what it means to be a ‘good’ man. It’s something the protagonist, none other than Ray Donovan (as played by the luscious Liev Schreiber) struggles with constantly as well as with some other demons. It really is similar to Seth Bullock on Deadwood. Both characters are quiet, lone wolfs. They have an inherent sense of what is right and a strong desire to do justice and to protect others. Both men also have a deep seated anger within them that they sometimes fail at controlling. The big difference between Ray and Seth is that they operate on opposite sides of the law.
Two other things the shows have in common are 1) Paula Malcomson (Trixie on Deadwood, Abby on Ray). Paula is much much better on Deadwood, but that is more so because of the writing on the show and Trixie is a much more sympathetic character. Abby with her Boston accent and Carmela-lite attitude (Sopranos reference) really makes the audience want to strangle her sometimes. But Paula as an actress is always great. And #2 is…. MOTHERFUCKING IAN MCSHANE!!!! YES!! The third season of Ray Donovan airs this summer and Ian will be joining the cast!!! I am so excited!! But then Katie Holmes is going to be too which is very disappointing. So my feelings are pretty level at the moment.
So the fact that the third season is coming near is why I have decided to re-watch Ray Donovan. The show is about Ray, a Hollywood fixer who takes care of celebrities and their (usually illegal) problems. But when Ray’s father, Mickey (Jon Voight), gets released from jail early Ray has some of his own problems to fix.

This show has been flying under the radar a bit which I think is a real shame as it is genuinely good. The first episode is a little unoriginal though to be honest. It has A LOT to cover. But as the show continues it just gets better and better. It’s an intelligent show that covers a variety of topics, some more originally than others, but it’s a fun watch. The acting is all around amazing, it’s a great cast. Liev is of course amazing, but Jon Voight steals nearly every scene he is in. He has a lot of fun playing Mickey and that definitely comes across effectively.
• The episode starts with Mickey being released from jail. And what’s the first thing he does? Murder a priest!
• This week’s problem situation involves a basketball player waking up next to a dead girl he had been partying with the night before. Understandably the guy is freaked out.
• But Ray’s reaction is: “Do you think you’re the first person I’ve dealt with woke up with a dead body…”
• Lena (played by the lovely Katherine Moennig), Ray’s assistant, reacts with “I hate it when that happens.”
• Ray is married to Abby (Paula Malcomson) and has two teenage kids, Conor and Bridget.
• Ray also has two brothers, Terry (Eddie Marsan) and Bunchy (Dash Mihok). As Bridget bluntly puts it, Terry has Parkinson’s and Bunchy was molested by a priest. This show isn’t always subtle.
• Abby has something up her ass (as she perpetually does) this episode it is her need to have Bridget go to a private school. So you betta get on it Raaaaay!! (That’s Abby’s nagging voice)
• Ray’s other Hollywood problem is Tommy Wheeler, a famous actor who was caught with a transvestite. This is a no no in Hollywood. Get caught doing drugs, waking up with a dead girl, and going to rehab are okay though, so Ray kills two birds with one stone by swapping Tommy with the basketball player.
• I want Lena’s style.
• Oh no wait, Ray has another problem, remember Abby and that private school? Well Ray has to do a favor for this movie producer guy, Stu Feldman, in order to get in a good word at a desirable school. The mission: stalk Stu’s girlfriend and find out if she is cheating on him. Even though Stu is married to someone else anyways. Good old Hollywood.
• The scene with Stu really highlights what sets Ray apart from other men. His silence, but also his inherent confidence in himself.
• Terry owns a boxing club.
• Man, there is A LOT going on this episode.
• Bunchy is an alcoholic. He also happens to be coming into his settlement from the Catholic Church to the tune of $1.4 million. Ray is obviously concerned.
• While Ray is on his stalking mission he discovers that the girl has ANOTHER stalker, a really creepy one. Ray’s instinct is to protect the girl, Ashley, thus blowing Stu’s cover.
• Long story short Ray and Ashley start making out and it’s sexy and all until OUT OF NOWHERE she has a FREAKING SEIZURE. WAY TO KILL THE MOOD. Apparently she has epilepsy.
• At least this freak occurrence prevents Ray from doing something he might have regretted. This continue to get weird as Ashley tells him “I love you” and calls him “Daddy.” Get out of there Ray!!!!!!!!
• Terry and Bunchy got in a fight, so protector Ray bails them out.
• Oh turns out Ray has a black half-brother!!! Ray is less than thrilled (Ugh, someone else to protect!)
• Meanwhile Mickey is having a good time, smoking a joint and dancing around with a prostitute.

• Ray threatens the creepy stalker by forcefully dying him green. I think it’s an old Boston mafia punishment. “If you come near her again, I’ll kill you.”
• Daaaaaaamn Liev can rock a suit.

• Ezra (Elliott Gould) is Ray’s mentor figure. But he is also another problem for Ray as he is beginning to suffer from dementia. Ezra even invites his mistress to his wife’s funeral!
• Meanwhile Mickey is on a plane leering and winking at a woman breastfeeding. The creepy bar has been raised.
• “No lie lives forever Raymond, it’s time to pay the piper!” This lie has something to do with why Mickey went to jail…
• Ashley becomes the stalker and stalks Abby. The creepy bar keeps going up.
• Ray’s reaction to the stalking? FUCKING ASHLEY. WHAT THE HELL RAY. If this was GTA Ray would have definitely failed his Stu mission and faded to black and white.
• Abby is suspicious of his cheating, tells Ray not to come home. It seems like this is a regular occurrence.
• Conor is getting into fights at school.
• Long story short, Ray and Abby attend a party that Stu also happens to be at. Stu informs Abby that Bridget will be banned from all private schools because “your husband fucked my girlfriend.”
• Ray doesn’t take this lightly and dramatically and awesomely breaks Stu’s wrist in a pool table.

• Ray reveals to Bridget that he had a sister, also named Bridget, who killed herself when she was a teenager. This still haunts Ray.
• Ray tells his daughter, “I’ll always protect you.” Their relationship is very important as the show goes on. Ray wants to be a better father than Mickey was.
• Ray explains his cheating ways to Abbey by saying “these women, I protect them and they get confused.” Sooooo that makes it okay?
• Ray warns Abby that Mickey is coming for them. “Don’t let the wolf in the gate.”
• Abby tells Ray, “You’re sick, Ray, you’ve got a hole in your heart.”
• Ray has a meeting with Mickey at the fight club. Threats are made. Ray leaves in anger.

• “If you can’t laugh, what are you going to do, cry all the time?” Mickey wants to forget the past, but the past was so traumatic for Ray he’ll never forgive or forget.
• Mickey does some cocaine with Bunchy, like any good father would.
• Creepy stalker still stalks Ashley. Ray beats him to pulp with a bat. “I warned you.” Ray seems sorry to have to inflict such violence on the guy.
• The episode ends with Abby letting the wolf in to meet the kids.

This episode gets 8/10. Give this show a chance if you haven’t already. It’s both fun and quite deep. Also Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight give some of their best performances.

Ray Donovan: Season 2, Episode 12; The Captain.


The season finale closes out not with a bang, but with a whimper. I love this show and I was really excited about this episode. But this had to be the most boring episode of the second season. Sure, there were a few deaths, but they were so inevitable that there was no surprise.
The highlight of this episode was not in the two major deaths (Kate and Cookie), but in the small moments with Ray (Liev Schreiber). This is some of the best acting I have ever seen from Liev (and I’ve seen most of his work). By the end of this season he has fully embraced Ray and is able to capture all the complexities of his personality. The way he sits there after hearing about Kate’s death. He doesn’t sob and go all melodramatic. The audience can just feel the pain radiating off him. And it’s the same during the closing scene as well. Ray has really lost something here, more than just a person or a lover. He’s lost the feeling of being truly known by another human being. The chance to start over again, to be open. And he realizes how much he has lost himself. He loved and connected with Kate in a way that he never will with Abby.

Ezra Goodman (Elliott Gould) and Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber) elevate any scene they're in.
Ezra Goodman (Elliott Gould) and Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber) elevate any scene they’re in.

The best moment of the episode was the conversation between Ray and Ezra (Elliott Gould). The two best actors on the show are in conflict with each other. And for once, Ray can’t resort to violence. Even Ray wouldn’t beat up an old man. Ezra is Ray’s symbolic father, the father he wishes he had. But Ezra ordered Kate to be killed. Ezra knows Ray better than anyone else. I found Ezra’s speech to be powerful and everything Ray did not want to hear. Ezra tells Ray, “I’m sure you convinced yourself you were in love with [Kate]. It’s all gotten away from you.” Finally Ezra concludes with, “I love you. Avi loves you.” Ray’s face is priceless. I’m not sure if he can’t accept their love or if he can’t believe that such an act could be done out of love. Either way, it’s brilliant.
Overall I would say the second season of Ray Donovan was better than the first. The story telling just seemed a little sharper. Ray’s personality was explored in a deep, meaningful way. He wasn’t just the cool tough guy this time around. He was shown to be an authentic human being with inner struggles that cripple him emotionally. He wants to be a better man, but he has no idea how. He thought Kate could help him. Hopefully he’ll have better luck next season. I can’t wait to see what happens then. Over all rating for season 2: 9/10.

Ray and the best sidekick, Lena (Katherine Moennig).
Ray and the best sidekick, Lena (Katherine Moennig).

• What the heck happened with Terry(Eddie Marsan)? The first season he was so nice and loveable. Yeah, he was a creepy stalker sometimes, but hey, he still loved spaghetti! This season he is such a downer and thinks he is better than everyone else because he’s a Catholic. And he didn’t have a right to blame Mick for going to jail; Terry knew what he was doing, Mick didn’t force him to do the robbery. So annoying, Ray should’ve let Terry rot in jail.
• “Is this the guy Dad said you could fuck in your bed?” Conor’s reaction to seeing Jim. Maybe this kid is alright after all 😛
• Yes!!! The witch is dead!!! Thank you Avi!!! Bye bye annoying Kate, you will not be missed. (Well except for maybe by Ray).
• “Mickey, you don’t have anything ‘cause you’re a fucking asshole.” Finally, Daryl gets a backbone.
• I don’t really like Ashley, but I did feel sorry for her this episode. She looked so pathetic, I’m glad Ray got rid of Preachy Steve.
• Patty, Bunch’s almost girlfriend, tells him she can’t risk him being around her son. “If you’re that worried there must be a reason.” As much as I like Bunchy I’m with her on that. He’s never seemed right around kids, not even in the first season.
• “Shorty, did you see it?!” I loved Mickey’s reaction to winning the horse race.
• Aw, Ashley’s Protective Perv is dead. Kind of sad, but he was a stalker. Mixed emotions.
• Abby is a major problem for this show. For a while there I tried rooting for her, but now even I have to admit that she is pretty damn annoying. When Jim comes to the house to talk to her she says, “You don’t come here.” Wasn’t he at your house last episode? Why is there suddenly a problem with that, Ray doesn’t care. Abby is just a bitch to every man in her life and throws a total hissy fit when they don’t do what she wants. Like, did she really think Good Guy Jim was going to kill Cookie? She didn’t think for a second about how that would affect Jim. Why Jim is in love with her I have no idea.

Abby and the kids. How will the Donovan family change next season?
Abby and the kids. How will the Donovan family change next season?

Hopes for next season:
• If Terry doesn’t go to Ireland, hopefully they will make him likeable again. And maybe he can ditch his annoying girlfriend (although Brooke Smith is a good actress).
• There needs to be more Lena(Katherine Moennig)! She’s hilarious and just one of the best parts of the show. They need to use her more.
• I like Jim, but Abby should dump him and move on. She was never serious about him anyways.
• I want Claudette and Mick to be together again. I felt so sorry for Mick when she tells him she never wants to see him again.
• Are Ray and Abby going to break up? I kind of hope they do, I think it’s the only way for Ray to live more of an honest life.
• What will happen to Ezra and Ray? Is Ray out of a job now? And what about Ray and Avi? Avi’s pretty awesome and he only killed Kate to save Ray.
• Poor Bunchy. Will he ever be happy?