RAY DONOVAN Review: “Norman Saves The World”

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After the bloody events of last week, tonight’s wasn’t the all-out-war episode some might have expected. Instead, it feels like a throwback to old-timey, Hollywood fixer Ray Donovan, you know, cool Ray Donovan who’s always one step ahead of everyone else in the game.

One obvious example of the new, improved Ray is his new partner, Ed Cochran. In the prior seasons, Cochran was the Big Bad, but now he’s just another card in Ray’s deck. Or is he? Previously, Cochran offered Ray a golden ticket to get the DA under his thumb and Belikov out of jail. Though the blackmailing attempt didn’t work, Ray is back on Cochran’s doorstep in the hope that he has something else up his sleeve, something that could help him free Mickey.

At the gym, Terry gets some good news, that may also be bad news, when Hector Campos decides he wants to train at Fite Club full-time. That means new equipment, press exposure, and probably even more drama for the family-owned operation. Daryll is excited at the prospect of a rematch with Hector, though the latter wastes no time in taking advantage of Daryll’s fanboyish admiration and sends him to pick up Marisol from rehab.

Episode 407

In the meantime, Mickey needs to be moved to protective custody now that the Russians are no longer protecting him, and that means convincing the warden to transfer him to a wing in the county jail reserved for gay men. He doesn’t have a moment to spare, it seems, as we see the Russians send a man inside to finish him off.

Cochran’s plan to free Mickey is expensive and elaborate. First, he clues Ray in on the type of questions that Mickey needs to answer in order to get moved, then convinces the DA to trade Mickey’s freedom for evidence that well-known actor Sherman Radley murdered his former co-star Fiona Miller, several decades prior. Cochran already has the murder weapon (he was paid to dispose of it, but never did), but he needs Ray’s help to find the body.

Elsewhere, Daryll gets a ringside seat to Marisol’s special brand of crazy, when she gets high on the way home from rehab. Lisa Bonet’s appearance in this season was pretty buzzy, but so far her storyline feels a little repetitive. At the gym, Terry is annoyed when Damon shows up hungover for his first amateur fight, but pleased when he knocks out his opponent in seconds. Abby stops by and reluctantly agrees to continue watching baby Maria until Bunchie can get his act together.

Ray uses former client Tommy Wheeler to lure in Nick, the suave Hollywood agent who allegedly disposed of Fiona’s body. Ray and Cochran corner Nick at Ray’s apartment, and after a bit of forceful persuasion, Nick spits out a familiar name – Ezra Goldman. Ray realizes that the person who hid Fiona’s body must have been “The Texan,” Ray’s counterpart from back in the good old days.

Episode 407

So far so good, but Avi and Lena both warn Ray that Cochran is not to be trusted. For his part, Cochran seems way too gleeful at the prospect of working with his former arch nemesis, even suggesting that he and Ray should make this a permanent thing.

Mickey’s part of the plan almost goes off without a hitch, as the warden calls each of the Donovan sons to verify that he is in fact, gay. He can’t reach Ray, of course, but Connor answers the landline at home. Sadly Connor is the only Donovan not in on the plan, and he tells the warden emphatically that Mickey is straight. The warden goes to deliver the bad news, but catches Mickey and his cellmate at an awkward moment, which leads to an even more awkward moment as the cellmate dies during their fake “hookup.” Turns out in an attempt to poison Mickey’s lunch, the Russian mole got the wrong guy.

Avi and Lena’s suspicions are confirmed, as Cochran confronts Sherman Radley alone, explains the blackmail plan and offers to kill Ray Donovan in order to keep Fiona’s murder a secret. But don’t worry, cool Ray’s got this. Tracking The Texan to an abandoned restaurant in Inglewood, Ray steps in just in time to save Cochran from falling into Sherman’s trap. Cochran is busted, but not broken, and Ray has a strange but respectful reunion with his former ally. They find Fiona’s body in the walls of the restaurant, sealing the deal on their nice little package for the DA.

In the end, Ray gets his scapegoat, Mickey gets his transfer and things are finally looking up for the Donovans. But the problem with the Russians remains unresolved, and it can’t be long before the family feels the full impact of Ray’s transgressions.

TB-TV-Grade-B+
Season 4, Episode 7 (S04E07)
Ray Donovan airs Sundays at 9PM on Showtime

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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.
Twitter: @Elianarra

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