RAY DONOVAN returns with a tension-filled episode as Ray’s dealings with the Russians finally catch up to him. A group of grim old men in Moscow kick off the bloody chain of events, alerting Sonia Kovitsky that someone has murdered Belikov and shipped him to Russia. Chief among these is Sonia’s uncle, who heads to the US for some swift, mobster justice. Meanwhile, FBI agent Frank Barnes tracks down Ray, well technically he pulls him over, asking if he knows anything about a murdered customs officer at the docks. Ray feigns innocence but tasks Lena with tracking down more info.
Following through on Ray’s promise to The Texan, Ray and Avi burn the evidence of the old fixer’s past life. Ray’s ongoing fascination with his distant partner continues as he finds a wallet in the pile of rubble.
The unlikely trio of Mickey, Bunchie, and a glossy-eyed Teresa head east to Nevada. Hiding his true intentions from Bunchie, Mickey picks up a gun with a silencer on the way. Mickey’s pursuit of Sylvie is consistent, and a little sad, since we have the vantage point of knowing that she betrayed him.
Speaking of betrayal, Sonia ponders her precarious situation when Vlad and Jacob Waller find surveillance footage of Ray killing Belikov. It’s clear that she cares about Ray, and clear that Vlad knows she cares.
And for our third and last romantic pairing of the week, Hector sends Daryll with a check to pay off Marisol and get her out of his life once and for all. Marisol seems furious but grimly determined as she packs the belongings Hector left in her house. There’s no way she’s going quietly. At the gym, Hector’s new friendship with Terry goes public when he invites the aging coach to join him for a photoshoot.
Interrupting our regularly scheduled programming for an announcement from the Terry Donovan fan club: Terry Donovan is everything this season. Terry is Hector’s BFF and boxing sage. Terry is Damon’s mentor. Terry asks a police officer out on a date, all while living with Parkinson’s and dealing with two brothers and a father on the brink of insanity. Ray Donovan may be the star, but Terry is the clear cut hero here.
An unwelcome visitor brings up fresh pain for Abby, when she finds Sonia and her daughter at the front door. Abby reluctantly gives the art dealer/criminal asylum, but it makes it perfectly clear that she knows about the affair, and she knows Sonia doesn’t mean a thing to Ray. As if it couldn’t get any more awkward, Ray arrives to find Vlad parked outside the house. Sonia is trapped, she has come to the moment that all Ray Donovan acquaintances do, the moment where they need his help, desperately.
Over in Primm, Sylvie has settled comfortably into her new life as Bill Primm’s mistress. But she seems friendly enough as she lets Mickey and Bunchie into Primm’s mansion to steal a $4 million dollar safe. Teresa waits in the car, blissfully oblivious to the operation. Like most of Mickey’s ill-laid plans, this one goes horribly wrong. First, Mickey realizes he can’t break open the safe. He gives up secrecy and threatens Bill Primm at gunpoint unless he reveals the combination. Primm is obstinate until he sees Bunchie down at the pool threatening the elder Mrs. Primm with a loaded gun. He seems about to give in when a faithful henchman arrives and shoots Sylvie. The game is almost up except for a last minute save by Teresa, who knocks out the henchman with a well-placed blow. In one moment, Mickey has gained everything, but he’s also lost everything.
Things aren’t much better in LA. Marisol starts a fire at the gym when she burns Hector’s belongings on the stairs. Ray has lost full control of the troops. Avi and Lena come up with a plan to draw out Vlad, using Lena as bait, disguised as Sonia. Avi sets off to take care of Jacob Waller, warning Ray that the only way to protect his family, and make sure the footage doesn’t reach the Russians, is to kill off Sonia Kovitsky as well. There’s just one problem, she has a daughter, and Ray doesn’t do kids. But with his own family’s life in the balance, it’s a tough choice to make.
At first, the plan seems to be working. Lena leads Vlad to an abandoned parking garage, where she quickly disposes of him. Ray gets Sonia to a private jet, she doesn’t betray him, and even gives him some advice about defeating her uncle. If one thing has been pretty obvious, though, it’s that this season it was Avi’s turn to get hurt. The consistent voice of reason, he’s given Ray far too much advice and is so concerned about others’ safety it was only a matter of time before the show put him in jeopardy. Avi walks straight into a trap at Jacob Waller’s office, and Ray gets a ransom call with an offer he can’t possibly fulfill: Sonia’s life for Avi’s.
This week’s episode brought the best cliffhanger yet, and with only three left to go, it seems like we’re in for an impressive, explosive finale.
Season 4, Episode 9 (S04E09)
Ray Donovan airs Sundays at 9PM on Showtime
Heather West | Contributor