Mark Clark reviews the ninth episode of Ray Donovan season 4…
If this was a movie Ray would be deep in the mire of Act 2 – where everything has gone to hell. As it happens that’s pretty much where he’s going, and he’s not going alone. And apologies to Ray et al, but I’m enjoying every minute of it. Well, most of it.
One group that definitely is not enjoying the opening of this week’s episode is the Russians, led by Sonia Kovitzky’s Uncle Dmitri (Raymond J. Barry continuing his line of vicious old men, last seen in ‘Justified‘). They receive a very special delivery in Moscow of Belikov’s rat munched corpse and it isn’t long before he’s letting Sonia know all about it with a tasteful picture txt. She then gets on to Vlad and Waller; if there’s trouble they’re all in it.
Currently clueless Ray meanwhile gets pulled over by old ‘pal’/contact agent Barnes. Seems a customs officer has been murdered and Barnes wants to know if Ray has gotten himself tangled up with the Russkies. Even official channels apparently hear that Belikov is no more so Barnes suggests he ‘fesses up and asks for protection. Which naturally is met with silence and a closing window. Do these people even know Ray D?
Ray may not want official help but he’s not one for sitting around so it’s off to SafeStor with Avi and some destruction of evidence and artifacts from old cases and more. Including personal possessions of Father O’Connor, Ray’s childhood abusing priest (handily shot dead by Ray back in season 1). Avi tells him that as a soldier in Israel he was taught to never look back. Ray doesn’t see himself as the soldier type, but as far as Avi is concerned, ‘Don’t kid yourself Ray. You are a soldier.’
Still on the road trip to Primm and Mickey’s singer gal Sylvie, Mickey stops off at a pawn shop and looks over trays of rings, or as he succinctly puts it, a little cemetery of broken hearts. Who knew he was so poetic. As it happens romance is not really on Mickey’s mind, well not in the ring buying sense anyway, his interest focusing on a 9mm with a silencer.
Gun in a brown paper bag, he rejoins Bunchy and Theresa in the car. Rings were no good he says, but he does have a guitar – for Bridget.
At the gallery Sonia, Vlad and Waller watch CCTV of Ray and Belikov taking the dead girl into the port customs warehouse, and Ray leaving with the dead girl. Vlad knows the upshot – Dmitri will kill them all. Family not meaning a hell of a whole lot seeing as he bumped off Sonia’s father. She says she’ll take care of it but Vlad and Waller don’t look overly convinced.
Away from everything all being very Russian, Daryl takes Marisol a cheque from Hector and a suggestion that she splits. Marisol dutifully packs a case, but with mementos and the cheque as opposed to going somewhere clothes. True to form she interrupts a photo shoot with Hector at Fite Club, including new team member Terry, by setting fire to the case on the Fite Club steps. Still, at least it causes the return of Terry’s admiring cop, and this time he actually asks her out. That’s one Donovan having a not overly bad day.
Sonia’s bad day turns to one of taking no chances with her uncle as she empties a safe of cash, collects her daughter from school and makes a dash for the relative safety of the Donovan household. Abby, still taking care of baby Maria, is not keen on letting her in but Ray says it’s ok – he’s on his way.
Outside Bill Primm’s hacienda mansion Mickey texts Sylvie. She’s ensconced in Bill’s bed while he lays snoozing under an oxygen mask, and that’s not his only quirk. Based on the house decor and artwork Bill really is the full Western delusional romantic, right down to a bedroom picture of Custer’s Last Stand.
Mickey’s not just there for Sylvie of course, he’s still after the $4million horseshoe cash, and a dream of spending his last days back in Boston. He ropes poor ol’ Bunchy into the scam as second gunman with the pawn shop 9mm but Bunchy can’t believe he’s doing all this with Theresa in the car. Mickey says it’s ok, ‘this is a safe neighbourhood.’
Inside the mansion Sylvie directs Mickey and Bunchy to the safe, hidden behind a stuffed buffalo head. I mean, where else could it possibly be. They’ve got 15 mins, which is fine as Mickey has a plasma cutter.
At the Donovan’s Abby and Sonia have a full frontal conversation about mutual cancer, and Sonia and Ray’s little tryst at the gallery, before Ray turns up and tells Sonia that Vlad is parked outside. That’s nothing to do with her, but she does tell him that she’s seen the CCTV footage and that she is truly screwed – by Ray basically. She wants him to get rid of Vlad and Waller and help her and her daughter disappear.
Things heat up at Bill Primm’s as Sylvie occupies Bill by doing his hair extensions and moustache grooming, while Mickey melts through the safe’s hinges. Or he does until the plasma cutter gives out, and then it’s back to basics and pointing a gun, including having Bunchy ‘threaten’ Bill’s wheelchair bound Ma outside, which is what Bill thinks he sees from the window. Bunchy is actually regaling the apparently deaf and mute old lady Primm with tales of childhood swimming lessons, which may or may not be deadly depending on your boredom threshold.
Inside Mickey drags Bill to the safe. Bill threatens Mickey. Mickey smacks Bill around. Bill tells him the combination is ‘1, 2, fuck you’. The 15 minute heist is not going so well.
Lena and Avi have pitched up at Ray’s and they discuss what to do about Sonia. Lena says passports are no problem but Avi just wants to knock her off, then Vlad, then Waller. Ray’s not doing that with a kid in the picture, but Vlad does need ‘removing’. Lena comes up with an impersonation plan – she looks a bit like Sonia after all – tricking Vlad into following, and then you know what. Ray doesn’t like it. Frankly I don’t either.
Back at Bill P’s things get a bit Tarantino as Theresa watches one of Bill’s heavies, Larry, go into the house. It’s a two gun stand off with Mickey’s gun at Bill’s head and Larry’s gun on Mickey. That is until Bill tells Larry to shoot Sylvie, and before Mickey can take a breath his girl is dead on the floor. Then out of nowhere Theresa brains Larry with, you guessed it, the guitar.
Shocked Mickey ends Larry for good with a few bullets in the back. He knows his greed for the cash has killed Sylvie, but it’s still placed in their hands as Bill cracks and gives up the safe combination. It’s the date of the Battle of The Little Bighorn.
Boston is the destination of choice again as Ray tries to get Abby to take herself and the kids off to her sister’s. She won’t go though. She’s tired of not being able to control the cancer, the family, or anything. She’s staying, the kids can go. (Maybe we’ll get some more East Coast action with the Donovans back in their old stomping grounds.)
Lena does her best Sonia makeover, but Ray is still concerned. Avi tells him she can do it; he doesn’t know her like he does.
In the aftermath of the Primm mansion shootout, Bunchy has the cash while Mickey kneels by Sylvie’s body. Mickey asks him and Theresa to wait outside, and Bill knows he’s in trouble, previous mercies or not. It’s the shadow of an old, very bad Mickey, plain to see. Not killing for gain, but for anger and retribution.
On cue Lena lures Vlad to the airport car park and without a moment’s hesitation takes the unsuspecting Vlad out with a single head shot. If only Avi’s trip to Waller’s office was so simple (damn you Donovan Writer’s Room). He’s the one who ends up in brutalised trouble at the hands of Dmitri’s goons. It’s shockingly painful to watch. Not Avi surely…
Ray sees Sonia and her daughter on to a private jet, but before she leaves she wants to know why he’s helping – it would have just been easier to kill her. No it wouldn’t, he replies. She warns him not to try and deal with Dmitri; it would be better to skedaddle. Ray is typically inured to advice however. I think. Ol’ stoneface is kind of hard to read sometimes.
In the car Mickey doesn’t want any of the money anymore. Bunchy and Theresa should have it. He thought he was going to have a new life, but there’s no escape for Mickey D. Theresa lays a comforting hand on his shoulder, which I’m guessing is not what Mickey gave Bill Primm.
At the airport Ray watches Sonia’s plane leave. Then the worst call of all comes in. Dmitri has Avi – poor battered, bloody Avi. He wants Sonia, or he’s dead.
Ray has had some problems before, but if he doesn’t put on his soldier hat and save Avi, I’m coming to Hollywood myself.
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