Ray Donovan is on the opposite trajectory of Under the Dome. Every week improves, particularly as the show continues to focus more on the happenings of the Donovan family and less on Ray’s employment. Now that we have a sense of the principle characters (and there was a ton of character development this week), “Twerk” was also about moving pieces into place for something bigger. We were introduced to a new character this week who shows that Ray has more to worry about with Mickey than he even knows. Hit the jump for why, if you’re lonely, you should get a cat!
Lats week, the Mickey we got to see was ambiguous. Ray hated him, but to everyone else he seemed ok. He was funny and generous with the grandchildren, and familiar and grateful with Abby. He seemed to want to rectify things from the past with Terry and Bunchy, and Abby’s confusion about why Ray was so against him was our question as well. This week, we saw why.
Mickey is a piece of work, and a great character. His confidence in himself and his deluded arrogance about his popularity was fantastic to watch at work against the reality of how he’s really perceived. He attempts to kill his son’s attacker (though as we find out, he accidentally killed the brother instead — hence the reason for Ray’s smile to close the last episode), but he also feels it’s ok to make suggestive jokes to him about the incident. Later at therapy, he considers the room to be full of weak men, saying something to the effect of, “come on down to the gym, we’ll toughen you guys up.” It’s an old-world mentality, and Mickey is stuck in deep.
On the other hand, the library scene shows just how easily he can adjust to certain things. Public libraries haven’t changed much in 20 years, and Mickey knows that if he wants to look up some ladies twerking, he can do so. But the juxtaposition of this older guy jamming along to twerking and making prank phone calls is met with consternation and amusement by the young men nearby, and also by viewers. Mickey can be strangely lovable, which is why Terry and Bunchy and Abby are drawn to him. But as Ray knows, he can also be extremely dangerous.
The biggest reveal though was that not only that Mickey ratted out “Sully,” who the FBI wants, but the FBI is also interested in Ray and his bosses Ezra and Lee. At the groundbreaking for the cancer center named after his wife, Ezra interrupts his own speech to say some cryptic things about bad things and their consequences before going into prayer and being ushered off of the stage by Lee. Ezra has been cracking up since his first episode this season, and it seems that a lot of the “fixing” that they have done may be even worse than imagined. On the other hand, we haven’t seen much of that yet, other than Ray’s personal anger towards the stalker that resulted (one would imagine) in his death. As Ray says to Lee at one point, “what, we’re buying kids now?” “We’ve done worse,” Lee says flippantly, but Ezra’s breakdown and the FBI’s involvement suggest there really is more at play.
There were lots of other great moments too, like Abby’s own breakdown and reunion with Ray, showing the complications of their relationship. Also, Bridget is in the same boat are her brother, chatting up (potentially the wrong) people late into the night. TV shows have finally started incorporating realistic portrayals of teenagers and technology, and how closely connected they are — the pics Marvin Gaye (pause) Washington wants from her and gives her feels contemporary, even though kids have been doing it forever, but TV is only now addressing it. The same is true of Conor and his secret friendship with Tommy. The internet has given them access to people and situations their parents have no idea how to regulate.
Stories involving Terry, not to mention Lena and Avi, have barely begun to be explored, but they are promising. Despite a shaky start, Ray Donovan continues to improve each week, and for once, I’m very excited to see where next week takes us as Ray and Mickey struggle for dominance of the family.
Episode Rating: A-
Musings and Miscellanea:
— How bitchy was the lady at the church? It was a nice balance to have a good, understanding priest featured after all that’s been said and shown about bad priests.
— Having said that, could we get a black character who isn’t just a combination of negative stereotypes? (Accidentally) murderous sports stars who say “dawg” a lot, hyperactive rappers, crack moms … come on!
— Kwame Patterson who plays Recon (?) also played Monk Metcalf on The Wire (LT in the Barksdale organization).
— “I could use some oral rape right now …” – Mickey
— I liked the scene where Marvin is shown to just need a regular home, and I share Ray’s concerns about how Patterson’s character is going to raise this child, not just use him as a paycheck or creative accomplice.
— Ari lost his balls in a Lebanese prison?
— Moby Dick spoiler: “The whale wins” – FBI agent
— What is Bunchy going to do with $1.4 million?
— Terry and the nurse is my favorite subplot right now. Her training him on how to date was hilarious and sweet. “That’s a nice shirt for a business transaction.” “I’m a clean man.”
— Does anyone else find Ezra really annoying? I just have very little patience for the whiny and bewildered sometimes. I prefer Lee with his L.A. patter: “I’m literally moved to tears, so, what’s new with the crack mom?!”