“Twerk” according to my DirectV guide features “Mickey spends time with Bunchy and Terry; Ray obtains a hip hop artist for his rapping neighbor; Ezra holds a fundraiser; Mickey’s approached by an FBI agent”(emboldened for affect). If anything Ray Donovan at least has some funny blurbs about what the episode features.
Perhaps having a such a unconnected plot is part of the overall theme of isolation present in Ray Donovan. Everyone is off doing something while trying to have a semblance of family but no one is ever there for eachother. Maybe that’s why Ray’s neighbor. rapper Re-Kon is so intent on buying a family. If you buy something you own it. That means they have to be there right? For his part Re-Kon he seems totally oblivious to the broader implications of saying he wants to buy/own someone. That someone being Marvin Gaye Washington, or as he is referred to multiple times the “Black Justin Bieber”. This bit of human trafficking dosen’t appear to be out of totally ill intent. Marvin’s mother lives in a crack house and isn’t there for him. Re-Kon wants to see the boy taken care of and if he does turn into the “Black Justin Bieber”, well they are both going to be one rich happy family.
Ray’s family isn’t doing any better. Paula Malcomson’s Abby stands out as she goes from being angry at her husband to reconciling with him all on her own. Abby is totally in the dark, like the rest of us, about the apparent great evil Mickey posses. After being “treated like a whore” Abby gets her revenge by donating all of Ray’s suits to a church. Which she doesn't go to, she has yoga. Once she is at her spiritual house of choice all of that anger goes away and she quietly weeps over what she has done. It’s one of the best scenes so far and brilliantly handled just letting the camera tightly frame her as she as a moment. Eddie Marsan as Terry also continues to stand out as the real heart of the show. His one scene in the diner with nurse as he stubbornly asks her out on a date “You like spaghetti? Good.” is quietly heartwarming. This moment feel and look completely different from the majority of Ray Donovan’s cold and calculated aesthetic. The cold and calculated is gone for soft focus, lighting, colors everything. These moments feel alive compared to everything else.
Maybe Mickey Donovan is series creator Ann Biderman’s attempt at a revisionist crime boss. The crime boss, a often glamorized character across all media especially in television with characters like Tony Soprano, is shown to be charismatic, funny, maybe a bit mean and ruthless. With the former making up for the latter. Mickey is neither charismatic or funny but he is mean and ruthless. He still isn’t really a character. Right now he is just Jon Voigh acting off color. If you thought spending time with him in public making off color comments as “Crazy Grandpa” was groan inducing, just wait till he goes to Bunchy’s support group. Even Bunchy, a character who has been shown to be largely subservient to others despite attempts to be his own man, is disgusted at his father's attempts at humor. When Mickey goes to the library and watches videos of women “twerking” there at least seems to be the hint that we should be disgusted by this. Plenty of reaction shots of fellow library goers looking in shock and awe.
Lots of stuff with vague themes of family and isolation going on. Just another week of Ray fixing things and his family falling apart. “Twerk” does have Mickey meet with an FBI agent, who claims he is the reason why Mickey is on the outside. It appears Mickey turned state's witness on various criminal entities on the inside. Now this mystery man wants him to turn over Ezra, Lee, and Ray. That seems like a thread to tie everything together. What if all along the marketing material was all part of a long con to make assume Ray was the good guy/anti-hero and Mickey was the big bad. When in fact they are reversed? That seems too smart for this show.
The Bits At The End
This show seems to have a low view of African Americans: Re-Kon and Marvin appear to be stereotypical hip hop artists, Marvin’s mother is in a crack house and Mickey brings home two black hookers because he is “an ass man.” The later of which is more a commentary on Mickey’s racism and misogyny than anything.
What is with each episode ending on people making IM/text messages to people they shouldn’t be?
Michael Mazzacane can be found many places on the internet mainly on Twitter @MaZZM and at mazzz.net . In both places he wonders; how long he needs to recover from watching Evo 2013 and what he needs to do to get back in the swing of things of Super Street Fighter IV in preparation for ULTRA Street Fighter IV