Ray Donovan: Season 1, Episode 4; Black Cadillac

Sheryl Lee Ralph as Claudette and Jon Voight as Mickey Donovan.
Sheryl Lee Ralph as Claudette and Jon Voight as Mickey Donovan.

This episode Ray decides to take a break from his job. Well, actually Abby forces him to go to family day at Bel-Air academy, a private school she wants their children to attend. Somewhat predictably the day ends up being a disaster and Ray can’t escape his work. But it isn’t Ray that spoils the day, it’s his son, Conner. Conner seems to have inherited his father’s violent streak.
The Black Cadillac of the title is actually Mickey’s old car. It’s symbolic of the past and his relationship with it. Mickey takes a trip to Palm Springs with Bunchy and Daryll. Mickey wants to catch up with Daryll’s mother, Claudette. Mickey thinks that he can just show up 20 years later and take Claudette back, even though she is now happily married to someone else. Claudette and Mickey have a special bond. Mickey stole half a million dollars for her back in the day from some gangsters. He got in trouble for it. Mickey loved Claudette fiercely and he still does. Claudette is grateful to Mickey, she saved his old Cadillac for him, and she still cares for him. But Mickey learns that “things have changed” and he can’t have his old life back. It’s a notion that the audience knows long before Mickey does, but it still has quite the emotional impact. Even though Mickey can be a total asshole he genuinely cares for Claudette and to see him rejected is truly heartbreaking.
• Ray has a very disturbing nightmare at the beginning of the episode. It involves Mickey fucking both Ray’s ex-girlfriend and Abby. It is jarring and will emotionally scar you for LIFE.
• Marvin still isn’t in school.
• Mickey is supposed to get arrested for the priest murder today. Ray has Avi stalk him to make sure it actually goes down.
• Palm Springs road trip!
• Ray is pressured by Abby to attend this family day crap because she is so set on being part of upper class society. I find it funny that Abby so fiercely desires this when most of the show is about critiquing the superficial upper class of Hollywood.
Mickey-ism #1: “Great kids come from great fucks.” i.e. Daryll. Bunchy, not so much, “Your mother was a great cook.”
• The sibling rivalry between Bunchy and Daryll is hilarious. It’s like they’re ten year olds, living out the childhood they didn’t have together. Teasing each other, making fun of each other, Bunchy throwing Daryll into a pool… It’s really touching as well because by the end of the episode they have bonded and come to like each other.
• Bunchy’s opinion on the song Daryll made when he was 16: “You dropped out of school for this shit?”’
• Marvin when he sees Ray: “Hey Mr. Donovan, you buy me yet?”
• Terry’s getting ready for spaghetti night with his nurse, Francis. His buddy, Potato Pie (seriously), gives him this golden advice: “You can’t get pussy from shit from a jar. You gotta make it from scratch.”
• Mickey brings Alan, Claudette’s husband, the gift of a small cactus. Alan already has a huge cactus. Symbolic phallic imagery? Alan is rich and has Claudette. Mickey is…. An ex-con who just got out of jail.

Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan and Josh Pais as Stu Feldman.
Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan and Josh Pais as Stu Feldman.

• Stu Feldman is at the family day gathering, wearing a wonderfully hideous shirt. His son attends the school and gives Conner a tour. Stu wants Ray to handle Ashley for him, but Ray gets to tell him he’s “not working today.”
• Alan is a dickhead.
• Mickey suddenly encourages Bunchy’s sobriety in order to get more cognac for himself.
• Daryll slings back his cognac. Alan forcefully admonishes him to “Sip it DOWN.”
• To try to look cool, Conner tells the kids at school that he’s friends with Tommy Wheeler, the action movie star. Stu’s kid shits all over this by saying Tommy “is a degenerate pervert” and “He only wants to suck your dick.” Conner is PISSED and everyone laughs at him. Thus later on, Conner whacks Stu’s kid in the head with a foot ball tee.
• Alan is willing to pay back to Mickey the money he stole for Claudette if he promises to stay away from her. But Mickey replies, “It isn’t the money I’m after…” [Enter Claudette]

• Lena’s job seems to be listening to people have sex all day. Except this time the people find one of the microphones. Ray has to sneak out of family day to handle it. But he ends up getting scratched on the face by a “Bel-Air cougar.”

• Stu awkwardly apologizes to Abby while Ray is off fighting cougars (the human kind). He says Ray and Ashley never fucked. Then they sit in awkward silence.
• Claudette gives Mickey back his “other beautiful black baby,” his black Cadillac. They dance and reminisce about old times. Then Mickey plants a kiss on her. But Claudette denies him.
• Mickey, Daryll, and Bunchy go out for dinner. They gleefully enjoy the cognac Bunchy stole from Alan. It’s a hilarious bonding moment.
• Van (FBI Guy) tells Mickey that in order for Mickey to stay out of jail he will have to turn in Ezra, Lee, and Ray to the FBI. This is Mickey’s big chance to get revenge on Ray for putting him jail.
• The spaghetti dinner is awkward because of course, its Terry we’re talking about here.

• Mickey is eager to go to the Buggy Whip bar, not knowing it’s a gay bar. And he doesn’t even care! Mick just wants to dance and snort some coke! He’s free, and happy.
• This episode’s song: “Now that we found love” by Third World.