An extra-long “previously on” sequence is the first sign that we’re going to cover a lot of ground in this episode of RAY DONOVAN. With Ray in need of money to get Sonia Kovitsky off his back and Mickey in possession of a scheme that could lead to a 4 million dollar payday, “the stakes are high” is an understatement. But Ray quickly discovers that he’s joined forces with the worst possible ally, whose unpredictability may take them both down.
Ray and Mickey’s contentious relationship has been the source of much drama in this series. Tonight it was also a source of humor, as the father and son duo heads to Nevada to case the Primm casino. Ray notes the large reward that Bill Primm has advertised for his missing 4-million dollar horseshoe, which Mickey stole from Bill and which Ed stole from Mickey. Ray forms a plan, but his steps are haunted by Sonia Kovitsky, who sends a minion to make sure Ray hasn’t left Los Angeles for good. He’s ordered to come back to California, tonight, just to ease her suspicions.
At the house, Abby ponders the next steps in her breast cancer treatment. Avi challenges Conor to a video game match. If he wins, Conor has to read a book. If Conor wins, Avi has to teach him to use a gun.
At the boxing gym, Bunchie discusses his marital problems with Darryl and Terry; Teresa has gone to stay with her cousin and left him with the baby. Terry urges Bunchie to keep his fledgling family together, then breaks off to sort out his own surrogate children: Bridget who has just broken up with Craig, and Damon who shows up late for his weekly boxing lesson. The gym proves to be a hotspot as Hector Campos arrives later, looking for Ray. Darryl is so starstruck he doesn’t notice that Campos is clearly going through withdrawal symptoms.
Bunchie goes to persuade Teresa to come back home. She refuses, but Bunchie leaves her with baby Maria thinking a few hours of maternal bliss may do the trick. Teresa isn’t so sure. “I never wanted you Brendan.” Well…ouch.
Meanwhile, Avi loses the bet but is still reluctant to show Conor the ropes of using a gun. A special but sinister delivery of flowers from Kovitsky changes his mind. At this point, they need every possible hand on deck.
Ray and Mickey kidnap Ed and torture him until he reveals the location of the horseshoe money. Following the trail leads to Ed’s partner Pinkie, which leads to a standoff. Ray tries to reason with Pinkie, who threatens to torch the money, but Mickey intervenes. Pinkie goes up in flames and Ray leaves Ed alive.
On the way home, Mickey and Ray argue about going back for Sylvie or running away with the money. Turns out the choice is made for them, when Bill Primm’s henchman forces Sylvie to rat on Mickey. Stranded when a casino truck gives them a flat tire, Ray and Mickey discover the full extent of Bill Primm’s power over his territory. Highway patrol swoops in to arrest them, but stands down when Bill arrives in a black stretch limo, recovers his cash, photographs the two culprits and leaves them with a warning.
For once, Mickey is deflated when he realizes that he’s ruined Ray’s last hope to free Belikov and protect the Donovan’s from Kovitsky. In a twist, Mickey offers to take the rap for the shootout, which would allow Belikov to go free. It would be bittersweet except that Mickey has put Ray through so much grief over the past three seasons, that by now it only seems fair.
Although the end of the Primm heist plotline seemed a bit anticlimactic and the trajectory of Abby’s breast cancer storyline is still unclear, Ray Donovan delivered with a solid episode 5. Hopefully the days of long setups are over and the nights of gripping TV are here to stay.
Season 4, Episode 5 (S04E05)
Ray Donovan airs Sundays at 9PM on Showtime
Heather makes things for TV by day and writes by night (also sometimes by day). She is a fan of all stories that reflect life, but it doesn’t hurt if they’re set on another planet or in another time.
Heather West | Contributor