As has been Ray Donovan‘s trajectory all season, Ray’s attempts to manage his family — even under the guise of protecting them — have finally unravelled completely. Though he spent much of “Rodef” covering his bases with Ezra, Abby, Avi, Lena, Cochran and others (should he end up in jail), in his final scene of anguish, he was unable to protect the two most important people in his life: Conor and Bridget. Yet, as always, it wasn’t chance or fate that led to that outcome, but Ray’s own choices. Hit the jump to find out how many Vietnam vets it takes to screw in a lightbulb (“You weren’t there, man!”)
One thing Ray Donovan doesn’t usually have a lot of is suspense. “Rodef” was an excellent exception to that. Shorty and his oxygen tank have been a disaster waiting to happen all season, and in a very Checkovian way, the proverbial gun did indeed go off. But there was also Halloran and his attempt to pull Cookie over, as well as Kate’s return, not to mention the robbery. Each narrative was very effective regarding suspense: though Ray Donovan‘s world isn’t typically punitive to its major characters, Shorty, Marvin and Recon’s deaths have proved that anyone could go at any time (as long as they aren’t a main character).
As mentioned in the intro, though, Ray was mainly concerned with settling his affairs in case Kate brought his transgressions to light, leading to his arrest. For some reason, Ray acquiesces to her “just doing her job,” and not only rejects the idea of killing her, but threatens to bring down anyone else who might. Is it that Ray is just tired, ready to face the reality of his past and what it means for his future? It was something touched on, though not deeply explored in the last episode, where of course Ray also almost strangled Kate to death.
Despite the question of his motivation, though, Ray seems ready to face the music, as it were. He has a trust created for his family, and gives Abby the paperwork (which she rejects). He gives stacks of cash to Lena and Avi, who also both reject it. What Abby and the others want is the truth, and to be let in on what Ray is facing, but he won’t give that to them. Instead of emotional honesty and intimacy he does (again) exactly what Abby called him out for: he tries to buy everyone off, even though he does so for what he considers to be the right reasons.
What he is unable to control is, as always, Mickey. The robbery is smooth sailing until the security guard tells Ronald that the safe was emptied the day before. Seeing the job collapsing in front of him, he makes a decision to appease Ray while also getting himself out of danger by calling the police to arrest Mickey on felony theft. The issue is, it’s Terry (poor soul), who gets locked in with the guard and left behind. Meanwhile, Conor, who considers Mickey a hero, had gone to seen his grandpa, and is quarantined until after the job. After some tense moments around the oxygen tank and various forms of flame, Conor is told to go back across the hall, which eventually saves his life.
But Conor being in that danger rattles Ray, who lunges at Mickey publicly enough times that he’s taken away, unable to be there for Conor in his hour of need. And despite Ray’s attempts to keep Bridget’s witnessing of Marvin and Recon’s murders away from Cookie, he misses his meet with Cookie because he was arrested. The repetition of Ray asking whether the video guy had made copies makes it seem unlikely that will go away easily. Also, the Stalkerazzi guy said he also watched the video, meaning that there are now at least two people who saw a white girl get out of the car, bloodied, and call for her dad, which should be easy enough for Cookie to find out.
Abby, realizing the danger has never been more present than after Halloran confirms he couldn’t go through with arresting Cookie, stays with Bridget, gun next to her, waiting for blowback. The other person Ray had wanted to save, Kate, is also likely to become a casualty of Cochran’s rise to power, after he convinces Ezra she must he stopped. Using the Jewish concept of the rodef, he appeals to a disillusioned Avi, who seems to agree. This, of course, is all on top of the fact that Terry — who Ray still feels guilty about using in his accounting scheme without Terry’s consent — has been put away for robbery just at the moment he was hoping to escape. Ray has one more episode this season to fix everything. But first, he needs to face himself.
Episode Rating: B+
Musings and Miscellanea:
— I’m interested to see what the fallout is going to be with Cochran’s wife regarding Volcheck’s death. Her outburst at the press conference was pretty uncharacteristic. Volcheck’s wife doesn’t seem the most stable, either.
— Will Kate survive the season? And how can she still want to caress Ray after he tried to choke and kill her?
— Ezra didn’t seem nearly upset enough that Ray “cursed him” by burying the priest under the RGCC.
— “I might have bedbugs, and I don’t want to get in trouble” – Shorty, saving Conor’s life.
— I like how Frank just never gives a shit. If someone even lightly presses him, he just tells them whatever they want to know. I like that he kept the dog, though.
— The heist sequence was a lot of fun, until it all got messed up.
— I find it hard to believe that the audio could have picked up Bridget saying “Daddy” from that far away, but whatever.
— R.I.P. Shorty.