Mark Clark reviews the fourth episode of Ray Donovan season 4…
Week 4 and the intelligent directing choices continued as Phil Abraham (The Sopranos cinematographer and directing veteran) took control of yet another well-paced, well written, perfectly performed and just downright entertaining episode. I mean any show that starts with Avi declaring his love for ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ has to be doing something right.
Still trying to keep crime kingpin Sonia Kovitzky from the family door Ray has Lena and Avi spying on, via video feed, DA Jackson Holt – trying to find something blackmailable to get Belikov out of jail. Unfortunately that includes watching Holt getting friendly with a bidet. It’s a glam job being a fixer.
Meanwhile Ray and Abby are at the Fite Club to meet newest Donovan, Maria, and before you can say coochie-coo, Bunch asks Ray to be the Godfather. There’s a hilarious look of consternation on little Maria’s face which matches put out Terry and Daryl, and a patently non-consulted Theresa. Still, at least Mickey isn’t around to make things even more uncomfortable.
Which brings us nicely to old Mick himself, trying to get himself back to LA and a meet with his granddaughter. He’s not a man who can seem to catch a break these days though, even when he’s offered a ride all the way there. One look at his driving good samaritan (Diane Ladd re-visiting some of her Marietta crazy from David Lynch’s Wild At Heart) and you actually start to feel sorry for the guy.
Hitting a brick wall with DA Holt, Ray takes a drive into the past and pays a visit to the widow of his deceased partner Ezra (Elliot Gould). Ezra had a hidden safe you see and Ray knows there’s dirt to be found; murder cover up kind of dirt. It seems a member of old Hollywood royalty, Mr Price (a poignant and haggard Dabney Coleman), has been carrying the long, dark secret that he killed his wife – something that was neatly handled/airbrushed away by good old Ezra.
Price has a relationship with Holt so it’s persuade him to release Belikov, or it’s pay the piper time. The trouble is you can never underestimate years of guilt and sitting across from Holt (and under the beady, surveillance eyes of Ray and Avi), Price unburdens himself and confesses to everything – plan blown. Suddenly the whole Mickey spun story of the casino robbery takes on a new shine. If there really are $4million dollars out there in the desert, Ray needs Avi to do some digging.
As with most things in Donovan world it’s not all crime, extortion and imminent death (well, some of the time anyway). In the world of relative normalcy, Terry (the more Bostonian than an actual Bostonian Eddie Marsan) is still determined to get Damon the bag snatcher into the Fite Club as a raw, slam-bang boxing talent. Even if he has never heard of Marvin Hagler. Abby meanwhile gets cornered by Lena and her oncologist Ex at the behest of Ray. Maybe they can persuade her that doing nothing about probable breast cancer is not the best option, and a few drinks later in a dingy bar the oncologist seems to get through. She’s been there after all, and it comes down to a simple plea; ‘Stay alive Abby. I mean, why not?’
Needing to get some thinking time in, Ray spends some time at the batting cages, and there’s a neat moment just beforehand where he pulls his bat from the car and you automatically assume he’s going to bust heads, not baseballs. Hey, it is Ray you know.
After smashing leather hither and thither Ray decides that taking out Kovitzky is the only option left; but then a skater girl catches his eye, wearing a ‘Federal Boobie Inspector’ t-shirt, which the more astute will clock as ‘FBI’. Suddenly Ray has an idea.
In a karaoke bar on a dingy par with Abby’s watering hole, Ray finds disgraced, former FBI hotshot, Cochrane (Hank Azaria). Ray is back to looking for leverage on Holt, but Cochrane has another idea. He’ll give him a career making case that’ll make Belikov a forgotten prosecution. Holt may not have dirty laundry but he sure has an ego. Of course Cochrane isn’t going to do this for free, seeing as he’s broke, and pretty much hates Ray’s guts. He’ll settle for $2million. And making Ray sing some Bob Seger karaoke.
Ray haltingly starting, but then getting into crooning Seger’s ‘We’ve Got Tonight’ has to end up in the top 5 moments of season 4, whivh is neatly dovetailed with some montage moments and Seger’s original vocals.
Back at the Fite Club Ray talks turkey with Mick about the casino heist and his double-crossing partners, Indian Ed and Pinky. Ray needs that 2 mil, and at 5 in the morning Ray and Mick are going after them. Mick’s happy naturally, which always seems like the precursor to a shitload of problems.
In the episode’s final scenes, in what is becoming the classiest show this TV season, we’re in the rare domesticity of Ray and Abby’s kitchen. Both a little aglow from booze and from decisions made. It’s cosy and touching, in a Donovan way, both of them re-singing Ray’s karaoke turn, while a thunder and rain storm rumbles in the background and on the windows. As Seger’s ‘We’ve Got Tonight’ asks, who needs tomorrow?