Ray Donovan has largely been aimless. Sure, it has put up various hints at some sort of main narrative thread: FBI guy trying to take down Ray and his bosses, but like everything else in this show it’s ineffective. More of a nuisance, like a fly buzzing just far enough away that you can’t get it but you know it’s there. There is nothing wrong having a “character piece”, Ray Donovans problem is none of them (except for maybe Abby kind of) are really characters.
Seeing big bad Mickey shut down and shown to be the Emperor in New Clothes that he is was gratifying after seeing Mickey be "Crazy Grandpa" for free. With his two sons, from two different women in tow, Mickey journey to Palm Springs in order to claim what is his. Taking him to a place that could have been his or something like it. Claudette would have aged beautifully, they’d have a pool, expensive cognac in the bar. Even Bunchy and Daryll seem to regress to school boys bickering all the time in search of their fathers favor. One big happy (dysfunctional) family.
Unfortunately for Mickey, he’s the man in “Bohemian Rhapsody” there is “no escape from reality” for him. Not even his titular Black Cadillac, a symbol of a his drug dealing affluent past, can get him back to his glory days. Mickey is shut down at every corner. Either from Claudette’s movie producer husband. To Claudette herself. Even his FBI handler, who is not happy about Mickey leaving town without telling him, beats him down. Much as Mickey tries to fight against these forces he stands no chance. Sternly rolling over for his handler and demanding more money. In the end Mickey walks into a gay bar and is dancing around like a crazy person totally out of place and in place at the sametime.
Ray also takes a trip down a possible road less traveled. As he and the family head up to the private Bel Air Academy to see about enrolling Bridget and Connor. It’s the kind of place that Abby, with her Southie guilt and need to appear more affluent than she really is would love. Ray doesn't seem to care all that much, he’s a salt of the earth type. Bridget also fits in quite well. Connor not so much, eventually being labeled a "try hard" and "gay". Resulting in a fight that ends Abby and Bridget’s hopes of getting into Bel Air. The Donovan family brushing up against the class above them and being soundly rejected because Ray is the “errand boy” for Ezra and Stu and not some hotshot executive type was on the nose but well executed.
I’m still not in love or really even liking Ray Donovan. It’s in that passable entertainment area at the moment. It's just kind of a thing I watch. Some bright spots but largely soulless despite all the prestige trimmings. It just doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do. Is it about a Hollywood fixer who fixes other peoples problems while neglecting his family? Or is it about letting go of past sins and guilt. Not saying it has to be one or the other, just that one of those things at least need to entertain me. Or Ray Donovan could slowly morph into Terry Donovan as he tries to court his nurse friend. Those scenes feel like they are out of another show entirely and they are great.
The Bits At The End
Where we supposed to know/care/recognize the girl that scratches up Ray? Pretty sure that’s the first time we met her.
For four weeks I’ve wondered why is Potato Pie called that. Well, now we know.
- Mickey dancing in the gay bar was supposed to be commical but it was slo the first time he was in his 80’s heyday element all episode. He was at home dancing to Now That We’ve Found Love
- I wonder if the desk with Will Smith's name on it is still there. Just imagine how awesome a Fresh Prince crossover would be