Ray Donovan Review: For Love or For Money?

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To be true, I saw a lot of what occurred on "Road Trip" coming well before it happened, but that didn't make the impacts of the moves or the motivations behind them any less jolting as the episode played out.

This week Ray Donovan essentially focused upon three stories. Up first was the titular road trip Avi was making across the country from Boston to California with Sully and his gal pal, Katherine. The second plot line was Ray dealing with a day in the life of Tommy Wheeler as he promised Conor he would attend the Kid's Choice Awards as Tommy's guest. That turned out to me a much bigger obligation than Ray realized at first blush.

Last up was a collaborated event that shuffled through Mickey, Sean, Van and Ray as Van tried to make his move on Ray through Mickey and Ray tried to stop him through his FBi pal Frank. 

Abby and Ray

Katherine, we hardly knew you. Not that we wanted to know you, given your choice in men, your annoying whine and the thought that your wise-cracking would actually work outside of the apartment you had been shut up in with said FBI's most wanted for who knows how many years.

Did anyone ever catch her name, or the fact she wasn't married to Sully prior to Ray asking Avi about it on the phone after Sully had (praise the Lord!) killed her with her dog's leash? Poor Avi. Making that trip across the country is hell on wheels without two elderly, snarky and constantly arguing passengers who have to pee every five minutes. I'm surprised he didn't shoot one of them before they reached Arizona.

As soon as Katherine made the phone call, it was obvious she was dead. You could tell she felt it as the words tumbled out of her mouth, and yet somehow it was almost as if she would rather die than spend another minute in the car with that jackass and another moment praising the likes of Patrick "Sully" Sullivan. Leaving that apartment in Boston, and then making the phone call to her parents. was a goodbye to her life; admitting she made the call was the sealant.

Sully's arrival wasn't what Ray imagined, either. Sully is a curmudgeonly old fart and if Ray wasn't so desperate he would never have called upon him. Part of Ray has to realize that he may have pushed the envelope just a bit too far with his promises to Sully because Sully is a wild card who will do whatever he wants. Now that he's out of the bag and smells glorious freedom, there might not be anything to keep him straight long enough not to f*ck it up. Acting like he knows the ins and outs of LA is merely a small symptom of what Ray will be dealing with over the coming days. As screwed up as Katherine was, she was the yin to Sully's yang. He's going to be a bigger nightmare without her harping on his every move.

Considering the day Ray had, you'd think he'd be pretty well prepared for anything. When Conor reminded him of a conversation they must have had about the Teen Choice awards, Ray promised he'd go - on the arm of Tommy Wheeler. My favorite Tommy bit of the night was when he was laying about in front of the hotel with what appeared to be some sort of gas mask on his head, and passers by were posing next to him for photo ops. And he thought marrying a transvestite and having the photos sent out to the press after she left him was a bad way to start his day. 

It was a lot of fun seeing Tommy again, and seeing Ray in action as a fixer. We haven't seen nearly as much of that for the stars as we have for his family, and knowing there are still Tommys out there needing Ray is good to remember, especially when Ray will go through hell and back just to make sure the guy looks good for the Kid's Choice Awards so his own kid can attend. Ray's a lot of things, but he tries to be a good father. Not every father can make that dream come true; Ray can and he did. The smile on Conor's face was worth it.

Van Miller decided it was time for Mickey to stop messing about and to put his plan to get Ray, through Sean Walker's confession, into action. Squirreling Mickey out of Fite Club in front of the boys set off a signal to Ray that something was up, so at the same time Van was working Mickey and Sean, Ray was blackmailing Frank to toss the incriminating photos of Van onto their bosses desk to get him knocked out of the game before it began.

Van had Mickey wired for Mickey's big script meeting with Sean. Those two really think they're making a movie about the damned murder from 20 years previous. Could there be two bigger idiots? Sean just wants to open up about what he did to anyone. He named a charity in a third world country after the woman he shot, by accident apparently, to try to heal his wounds, but they're obviously flaming bright if he's as easily brought to tears and confession as he was with the man who served time for the crime in his place. It's as if he doesn't even know who he's talking to when he starts to verbally vomit about what he did all that time ago. The details he gave were startling.

The whole time, Mickey is lost. He knows damned well he's wired, but he's so engrossed in the idea he's going to be a movie producer that he's absolutely star-struck at listening to his own story, even with embellishments. There is so much of Mickey we still don't know. Is he the man who innocently asked Sean if it was right that a son framed his own father for a murder or the guy who wants to be a Hollywood big shot - or maybe he's a bit of both? 

Just like I knew Katherine was a goner when she made her phone call, Van confiding in Mickey was his fatal mistake. He was so cock sure that Mickey was on the same side and wanted revenge for his 20 years in prison that he never thought twice about telling him nobody in the bureau knew about his quest to put Ray and friends away. 

Van: F*ck the bureau. Lazy people are always sticking their names on good work. Not this time. Who's got the stick now, hmmm? Who's got the stick now? | permalink


Goodbye, Van Miller. Mickey capped his ass, blood spattering on the photos of his son on the wall. But did he do it for love of his son and to protect his family, or for the idea of fame that Van would kill by taking down Sean, and Mickey's big Hollywood career, right along with his son? 

We'll find out - something - as the next three episodes play out. And we'll see what happens with Sully now that the hit is on for Mickey. If Ray hears what Mickey did, would he be able to stop Sully even if he wanted to?


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


In a previous episode Ray told Bunchy, "I've always taken care of you and I always will." Now we see Sully carrying the red duffel bag filled with Bunchy's house money Ray got back from the Armenian. Ray may be a lot of things but he'd never be disloyal or turn on his brothers. This tells me if and when Sully does the job on Mickey (or even if he doesn't) there's no way he'll ever have the chance to enjoy the cash.


Jon Voight is amazing... He makes you feel uneasy just knowing that he's in the scene. He's completely unpredictable and care free. If he wasn't born a psychopath, then 20 years in prison and his up-bringing definitely turned him into a sociopath. Imagine having the balls to go into a public library, pay a guy to get up, ask someone how to look up something, and blast a youtube video of "Twerk" with absolutely no fear, anxiety, consideration, or morality. He makes no attempts to veil his racism and says the most hilariously offensive jokes at the worst, or most "Michael Scott" moments that you almost cringe with the characters listening to his jokes... not sure how to diagnose him except for narcissistic personality disorder with sociopathic tendencies.... not sure if he's completely devoid of empathy or sympathy yet... they're doing a great job developing Mickie that he's almost, if not already has, stolen the spotlight from the titular character Ray.


Great episode. Pretty bum we didnt get to see Bridget. That boy Conner is so annoyhing.


Wow, I will have to give Devil (which I always referred to as "that elevator movie" a chance. I always assumed it was directed by Shamalamadingdong (ha!). Your revelation that he did not direct the movie makes me look at it in a whole new (positive) light.


@Eustace Chapuys - Thanks about the opening line. Sometimes knowing what's coming isn't a bad thing if you're still shocked as it's happening. How they're carried out can make just as much of an impact as knowing they're on the way. Also funny - I was texting with my friend last night that the only movie I can stand with any (and I used the same word!) Shamalamadingdong influence is Devil - as I watched it for the umpteenth time. It was the only time I didn't see all the writing on the wall and was truly moved. I think it's because he let someone else direct.


... -- was Ray's Tommy Wheeler, Connor, and Avi bringing in Sully.


I kind of thought that something would happen to Van as soon as he stormed into the boxing gym, demanding Mickey to go after Sean Walker. You could see the stern glare in Mickey's eyes that "You don't F-- with me, boy!" Strange character, that's for sure, as an FBI agent. When he was tripping on LSD brought out some laughs. Lena's gaze after hearing how Tommy Wheeler ordered a $2 million check to pay off Marty was priceless. Insert any of your own dialogue at that moment of what was going through her head and it shows how good this drama really is. The road trip with Avi and Sully, and the lady ... I think at that point I would have had tied a dog leash around my neck to end the suffering. Poor Avi; he had Ray breathing down his neck and then having to deal with a nut case in sully ... burying a body in the desert ... Good episode. Classic example, if anyone has taken a screenwriting course, using the metaphor of "getting a cat up a tree and trying to get the cat down" -- was Ray's Tommy Wheeler, Connor, and Avi bringing in Sully.


Wardrobe wish list: Ray in a Hawaiian shirt laughing and dancing by the pool. I'm done with the black on black. Lighten up please. Even trainee chasing marriying druggie rock stars are big enough to wear a woman's shirt. Best line: Woods - "I'm too old for this!" as the best scene plays: Woods in a hotel room murdering his girlfriend. Simple and sinister. Second best scene: My new infatuation - Jon Voight finally getting rid of FBI nasty Van not the worm. I have been downloading Jon Voight's early movies, some were dated, but I enjoyed "Midnight Cowboy and "Coming Home," where the gorgeously ripped Voight with tossled blonde hair and beard wheels his way into Jane Fonda heart and they have an oh so sexy love scene. In Voight's expressions I see the face of Angelina and understand where she got her affinity for children and acting. From papa. Jon has never been better than in Ray Donovan. He encapsulates a season actor who has developed his craft. And then there's poor Ray continues to jump through hoops for family. Do you love me now that I got you to the opening with the bi-rock freshly transfused rock star? Even the wife gives him a smack before Rays departs saying: "I gotta take care of something."


Loved your opening line: "To be true, I saw a lot of what occurred on "Road Trip" coming well before it happened, but that didn't make the impacts of the moves or the motivations behind them any less jolting as the episode played out." Inferior TV review sites are whining that the deaths are predictable. What's wrong with predictable? I like when we can see where things are logically headed. If we needed a surprise twist just for the sake of a twist we would be watching the latest M. Night Shamalamadingdong movie. I really liked Jay Thomas as Marty Grossman. That guy is such a hoot. This show has a really great supporting cast especially Elliott Gould(Ezra), Katherine Moennig(Lena), Steven Bauer(Avi), and that guy that played Brett in Pulp Fiction(Van Miller).

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Ray Donovan Season 1 Episode 9 Quotes

Conor: Look, I know you think he's a perv. He's not. He likes trannies. And girls when he's drunk.
Ray: You seem to know him pretty well.
Conor: He's my friend. He's never done anything to me. And if he did, I know how to take care of myself.

F*ck the bureau. Lazy people are always sticking their names on good work. Not this time. Who's got the stick now, hmmm? Who's got the stick now?