Mark Clark reviews the fifth episode of Ray Donovan season 4…
It’s taken almost three and a half series but finally we get the Ray and Mickey double-act we’ve been waiting for, as Ray finds himself tied to his old man by the necessity of cash, and survival. As for Mickey, after screwing over every chance to re-ignite any flickering flame of family unity, he couldn’t be happier to be spending some ‘quality’ time with his eldest boy.
Backed into a corner by Sonia Kovitzky and her Russian mafia, and the monetary demands of ex-FBI big-wig Cochrane, Ray needs to get his hands on the $4million pinched from Buffalo Bill’s Casino by Mickey D – and subsequently stolen by his partners. Should be easy seeing as Mick’s double-crossers are the less than genius Indian Ed and Pinky, but with a $250,000 award for the thieves whereabouts, and well, Mick being Mick, things might get tricky faster than you can say Little Bill Primm.
Stage one of the plan involves staking out Ed’s autoshop, with Ray subtly getting information on the heist aftermath at one of the casino’s blackjack tables, and Mickey brazenly buying coffee and donuts and admiring his own stakeout piss jar on the van’s dashboard. It’s a match made in heaven.
Back in LA the Avi and Conor show is in full swing as Avi continues to try and get him onto a less gangster obsessed path. In this case it’s by way of a video game challenge and if Avi wins it’s gonna be Conor enjoying the delights of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Of course there’s a flip side and that means Avi showing Conor how to use a gun, which with Donovan Jr being a leading numbskull, is not something Avi relishes even if the loses. Which he does, naturally.
Enter one Russkie hoodlum and some flowers for Abby however, and suddenly educating Conor is less intellect and more action with Conor taking in Avi’s scarily streamlined instruction of take off safety, point, and shoot. Still, thank goodness the house handgun is in a gun safe, which actually turns out to be a pretty useless gun safe in Conor’s hands as it happens. Conor, a gun and a vague idea of how to use it – what could possibly go wrong?
Almost everyone else is hanging at the Fite Club – Terry still coaxing boxing skills out of Damon, Bunchy left holding baby Maria due to an absent Theresa, and Bridget telling uncle T that her relationship with Donellen is over. Seems that teacher Donellen has history with his student body. Start placing bets now as to the likelihood of him getting some Donovan special attention.
Even Hector turns up. He’s a little worse for wear but Daryl is still star-struck, and eventually struck for real as Hector gets him in the ring for some sparring. He needs to get a sweat in, and work the shit out of his system. Good for him – broken Hector hasn’t been doing anyone any good (including the audience).
Getting shit out of systems seems to be a bit of a theme this week, with Abby still struggling with her cancer worries and the apparent brick wall recommendation of a double mastectomy. She still can’t bring herself to do it though so Dr Jeannie reluctantly suggests alternative therapy. If the writers put Abby any more through the ringer objects may start getting thrown at the TV.
Poor Bunchy makes the trek out to Bakersfield and Theresa’s cousin’s place, but what he finds is a genuine cause for concern. This isn’t just regret or disappointment, Theresa is apparently suffering postpartum depression, but Bunchy can’t, or won’t see it. Even as he’s telling her she just needs some sleep and to spend some time with Maria the dread is palpable. As he leaves the two of them alone, ‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this’ has rarely been more appropriate. Thankfully, violence isn’t odd on the agenda, but later that night, Bunchy heartbreakingly finds Maria left on the Fite Club steps. Seems it’s all up to him now.
At the main event Ray tricks Ed into helping him with a tow job down the highway and once at their van Mick does some threatening, but Ray just shoots him in the foot. You can’t fault Ray’s economy.
Ed directs them to Pinky’s salubrious trailer abode, and Ray calls him on Ed’s phone, which just winds up hyper-jittery Pinky to number 11. Dragging the bag of cash outside, he covers it in gasoline and threatens to light it up which prompts Ray to offer him $150,000 to just walk away. It actually seems to be working when Mickey takes a leaf out of Ray’s book and shoots him. One lighter, and the gasoline can later, and Pinky goes up in a fuel explosion. Luckily Ray manages to grab the cash and after kicking Ed to the curb the Donovan gang of two make their escape.
If only life was so easy. In an ironic accident a truck drops a casino fruit machine right in front of Ray and Mick’s van stopping them dead in their tracks, and while Ray gets busy trying to sort the van Mick can’t stop himself calling his casino, torch-singer squeeze, Sylvie. Sylvie though, ain’t alone. Little Bill Primm’s heavies are in on the call and now they know just where they are.
A short while later and Ray’s wheel changing is interrupted by cop cars and Bill Primm’s limo. Primm however, is just there for the money – taking it and a couple of mugshots of Ray and Mick. The Feds will just have to keep looking for the thieves, and the ‘missing’ cash.
Back at square one, Ray and Mick are left with nothing but driving and conversation. Ray tells him about Abby’s cancer; Mick empathises. He went through the same with Ray’s mother. Until he split of course. Ray admits he has no next move – the money was to get Belikov out of jail and the Russians finally off his back. Then the Mickey D family honour raises its head and he tells Ray to take him to the cops. He’ll take the murder wrap, springing Belikov.
At the police station, it’s the culmination of some oddly twisted father and son bonding that nevertheless packs a real emotional wallop. Parked up in the van Mick hands Ray over his personal possessions, including the watch Ray’s mother gave him. He tells Ray he was always his favourite – ‘The minute I first saw you, in your eyes I could tell you were gonna give life a fucking hard run for it’s money.’
As a show, and a character, I couldn’t have put it better myself.