Ray Donovan Review: Vulnerabilities

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Every week things get crazier on Ray Donovan.

I'm not just talking about Ezra Goodman, either, although I think Elliot Gould's performance as the man who is slowly taking the crazy train down to the nuthouse has been overlooked by powerhouses Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight. When the mud covered man came out into the street, I screamed out loud. 

Immediately in my head replayed his mantra about atonement and I wondered how quickly he would be calling on Ray to cover his mistake. If ever running someone over in the street was an accident, that was the time. 

Ray at Work

Amazingly, when Mickey and Ezra finally sat down, all evidence of Ezra's instability was forgotten. He seemed sane and his conversation with Mickey made all sense in the world as they talked about the love of their lives and sex with black women. It kind of made me wonder how much of what we've seen of Ezra has been grief at the love of Ruth. And then..."The Golem" happened, shortly followed by the realization that the "body" Ezra hit was actually a tree. So much for my insight. 

I have to wonder how far Ray will go to protect Ezra from Lee. Ray's relationship with Lee is...odd. Lee's an odd little man with money on his mind first at all times. We can only suppose there was a time when Ezra started the fixer business because he felt for people in tough situations. Perhaps because of his dire need to atone for sins of the past? 

What was it about Ezra, Lee and Ray that Van was hoping to find by wiring Mickey? Van may think he's a tough agent, but he sure hasn't been keeping up with the happenings lately. All he needed to do was attend one public event Ezra hosted to discover things were falling apart from the inside. His job is fairly easy. He can practically sit back and let them self destruct. Adding Mickey to the mix will probably make his life more difficult. I suppose that's the beauty of adding a "tough guy" like Van to the picture. 

The two things that hurt Ray the most were the discoveries of Marvin Gaye Washington's mother shot to death in her house after he received a tip she hadn't signed over Marvin Gaye's charge to Re-Kon and the discovery that Ezra had a prognosis for his downward spiral - a brain tumor. For the first time since Ray Donovan began, he took the time to crack, holding the bloodied court documents in his hand that were to be signed for Marvin Gaye and Ezra's watch and wedding ring from the hospital. As he erupted into tears, Abby turned the bend in his apartment to ask him who the hell he was.

In all fairness to Ray, he is one frakked up individual, but he does what he does usually with the best intentions. Was going to Ashley's house at the end of the day to screw the thoughts of the day away the best move? No. But, only the two of them knew about it. What Abby witnessed at the apartment was, it turns out, innocent on the part of Ray. At that point, he was in control.

He learned of Mickey's deception with the FBI, and that has to be enough to scare the hell out of him. With as tightly as his family has brought him into his inner circle, and as neatly as Mickey is able to con his way into anyone's house (even the frightened Ezra ended up calling him a good man after a simple chat), Ray has to know trouble is on the horizon.

Ray's faced with talking to Marvin Gaye, who was already willing to walk away from him mother, who was really nothing but a crack whore, but no kid that age wants to face facts about their mother, let alone their death. And Ray had to stop denying the urgency with which he had to pay attention to Ezra and his issues. Is it really a brain tumor, or did Ezra make that up? Either way, something is horribly wrong with Ezra and he puts their entire business into danger because he cannot remember from one moment to the next what he has said. His lucidity is constantly in question.

Ray's hands are full, and by episode's end he didn't even know about his brother's actions of the day.

Mickey took Bunchy to deposit his million dollar plus check into a checking only account. Kudos to the cashier for making an attempt to get him to perhaps put some of it into an annuity or money market account so it wasn't sitting there rotting. Instead, Bunchy bought a rotting house strickly based upon how he looked standing in the foyer, paint peeling and likely full of mold and other structural problems. Thanks, Mickey, for letting your son, who had already been through so much, turn down the help he so desperately needed from his brother Ray. Looks like he's on a great path.

As for Terry, I don't know what game Frances is playing, but she seems to have a family - husband and son - while she diddles with Terry on the side. The lack of due diligence these people do is astounding. She couldn't have looked up Ray Donovan or Mickey Donovan to see exactly who she was dealing with by getting involved with their kin? 

The early predictions that Ray Donovan was going to somehow be Showtime's answer Scandal have fallen quite shy. It's a family drama with very deep entanglements from every direction and some of the best acting I've seen in years. Next year's Emmys should have an entirely different look with is gem on the ballot.


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (36 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


Why did Ray go back to have sex with Ashley...


Jon Voight and Liev Schreiber are outstanding in this show, I can't wait to see what happens every week. Though I know Mickey probably deserves whatever he gets from Ray, I hope he does not get killed as he is brilliant and you love to hate him.


o i agree with kyle about the wife and the Carmella want to be I wonder about these jersey shore / real house wives /mobb boss wives whom seem to never know what their husbands do until to late, in real life Ray's wife would be deep in the catholic church doing church functions and crap, but because of the catholic scandal the twist is she does yoga and nothing else, the kids are in high-school which in TV land and real life these women have a mid life crisis and what will i do with the rest of my soon to be empty nest house, see how you should have paid attention more in school and I don't know maybe went to college and stuff. The show is just conventional with some minor twists. I like Jon voight having an over the Top ball other wise this show might be too bloody depressing.


Jon Voght gets hammier and hammier with each week. He sure does chew up the scenery, and if that is what wins awards, so be it. This was the silliest and funniest show yet, and the dialogue can be ridiculous. "I know who you are. You have been tormenting me. Come in." HaHa. This show is going downhill fast as it tries to figure out what it wants to be, and the story lines get more out there every week. One brother goes to see a house for sale at night - at night? - and buys it. Gee, first it takes a few days for his check to clear, especially if it is over one million dollars, and you still have to go through escrow. This show is too much on the surface to work. Not much subtlety or depth. It's fun but not what I had expected. Maybe my hopes were up too high.


... We are led to believe that Mickey is the bad guy for Ray, but it's easy for him to where he is and easily confront him. Maybe I'm reaching a little, but just seems implausible. Otherwise, good show! Can't wait for Homeland, too!


Voight will win an Emmy. Guaranteed. He's a great actor that seems to be having quite a bit of fun playing this role. Thought I find it kind of hard to believe that he would delve into these dangerous liaisons after serving 20 years in prison, especially for an older man. But he has reasons, I guess. Real life, no chance. But it's TV, and it's fun and entertaining. As for the show, I like it a lot. The goal for any TV drama series is to keep the audience guessing and wanting to tune back in to see what happens with the characters. You definitely get that with RD. Only flaw that I can see in few episodes is how easy it is for Ray to approach Mickey, interact, and still keep him far away. One scene in episode three, I think, when Mickey and Ray are in the stairs talking. One of them could have killed the other right then and gotten away with it. The other: when Ray meets Mickey at the gym late at night, after he finds out that Mickey was with his family. We are lead to believe that Mickey is the bad guy for Ray, but it's easy for him to where he is and easily confront him. Maybe I'm reaching a little, but just seems implausible. Otherwise, good show! Can't wait for Homeland, too!


yeah lets give elliot gould an emmy for worst acting-stereotyping schmuck. and shreiver emmy for look how tough i am i never change my glare constipated frown and the wife for hapless weak female trying to be carmella with a forced-fake bahstin accent and voight for being dispicab;e jackoff of season. sit in more molestation abuse therapy sessions wanting oral sex u who cant getitup ugly old man and teach your grandson its ok to give bjs but not take it in hershey highway. whadda loser emmy winner. last episode i ever watch, gave it more than enough chances. itis going nowhere with nobody caring.


Boring episode.


A middling show riding the coat tails of Dexter.


A very great assessment of a very great show. Glad to find your website, the two sites I usually frequent just don't appreciate the greatness of Ray Donovan. They had better start shining Jon Voight's Emmy right now, he has been gold on this show.

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Ray Donovan Season 1 Episode 5 Quotes

Ray: Where's the car Ezra?
Ezra: What car?
Ray: Your car?
Ezra: Calm down Ray. You seem tense. You should get a massage.

Mickey: Tell me one true thing Ezra.
Ezra: We all die.
Mickey: Ain't that the truth.