Ray Donovan Review: Father Down!

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This was probably the least action-oriented episode of the season, but a whopper of a secret was revealed that gave us a lot of insight into the character of Ray Donovan. His motivations could be much different than I imagined, although given his nature, I'm surprised I never thought about the idea of the reveal before.

Almost the whole episode played out inside Fite Club, other than an initial scene where we learned Ezra was the legal guardian of Sean Walker's baby, with Mickey struggling to cover his ass in the murder of Sean Walker by using his love Claudette and Avi protecting Ray's family as he and Ray fully expected an onslaught of terror to reign upon them from Sully and friends.

Abby and Avi

As it turned out, Sully wasn't around and Abby was more concerned with Ray's lies to her than anything else. The one irksome part of Ray Donovan is Abby's supposed ignorance about the violent nature of Ray's job. She has been with him far too long to think that he is running a clean life, and her indignation at the idea she might need to stay inside her home and require protection rings false. Over and over she plays that same card and each time her hand comes up empty. It's time to give her character a clue because she's not been written to be a stupid woman.

The crux of the episode came down to Bunchy and his need to deal with the inner demons that have been haunting him since childhood - and even more since he discovered Father Danny in L.A. running around with children. Apparently he wasn't considering a jump off the roof last week, but how he would confront the good Father.

Bunchy just wanted an apology so he could move on with his life and get some closure. Father Danny refused to give it to him. Some sort of struggle ensued and Bunchy shot him. What wasn't clear was how Bunchy got Father Danny to Fite Club, since he rode his BMX bicycle to the confrontation. But he managed to get him there, blood all over the place, and Terry called in his brother the fixer to try to clean up the mess.

Ray was pretty cool during the whole encounter, but we learned he had been blaming himself for Bunchy's rape for years. "Bucky F**kn' Dent" was the reason. Mickey had promised to take Ray to a ball game to see Bucky Dent and Ray waited and waited but Mickey never showed. When he got home, he found Bunchy and knew immediately what had happened. It's interesting to note that I didn't pick up on his knowledge of that happening, as a kid, with such expediency. Why would a young boy suspect that of a priest during those years? You can rest assured that single day also planted a lot of the baggage Ray carries around with him about Mickey, as well.

As Father Danny was begging for mercy and lying about who he was, Ray asked Terry which finger he broke when the Father was trying to rape him. Even after clearly being caught red handed (quite literally), the Father continued to lie and beg. What was so upsetting about the whole thing was Bunch worrying about the Father's fate. After everything he had been through, he still felt badly about doing something to the man who had made his life hell.

Abby defied Ray and Avi and went to Fite Club to confront Ray, seeing Father Danny. When she saw him, she turned around and returned home. No questions asked. Father Danny put up a fight when Ray said he would take him to the hospital, and we learned the only Donovan brother who was left unharmed by Father Danny was Daryll because he wasn't raised with the brothers.

When Father Danny declared that he had loved Ray, Ray shot him in the forehead. There was no way in hell he was going to let that man say out loud something that he had kept inside for 30 years. Ray did, finally, admit Bunchy wasn't the only one abused by Father Danny. He told Abby.

So we'll go into the finale understanding just a bit more about what makes Ray tick. We can understand why he is so protective of his brothers, and why he hates his father. More evidence piles up every week. It also explains his hot and cold relationship with Abby, and why he hasn't been able to give her the one thing she craves - emotional intimacy. With this revelation, she may finally have a chance to get it, but there will likely be a price involved.

It's not going to take long for Ray to realize that Mickey killed Van Miller, and Frank already told him he's coming after Ray for the murder. Will the latest brushes with Mickey - Sean Walker's murder and the dredged up memory of what Father Danny did to his family - be enough for Ray to get the old man out of his life? Will Abby feel differently about Mickey when she realizes that Ray suffered abuse because of his neglect of the same nature as Bunchy?

What's going to happen with Frances? Terry has a decision to make. He's been the softest brother to date, but will he put his brothers' lives on the line by allowing her to search for Father Danny in the hospitals? He can either take her into his confidence (after all, she is an abused woman), or he'll have to take her out. Does he have the balls for that?

Furthermore, will Ray tell his brothers or Abby what happened with Sean Walker and Mickey's FBI handler - all of it - to get them all on the same page? How long can he keep things inside and try to play superhero while Mickey worms his way back into the lives of those Ray holds so dear? Mickey's tearing them apart from within, just like Father Danny did. Something has to give. Perhaps it's no coincidence that both Mickey and Father Danny showed up in the Donovan boys' lives at the same time after so many years.

Ezra was right, their problems didn't go away, they got worse. Ray already killed one Father, it might be time to think about killing another.


Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (67 Votes)

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


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So I've seen it all - now I've forgotten why Mickey went to jail for killing someone he swears he did not do - and he took the rap for his son. Who was killed that Mick took the rap for - - - it's driving me nuts.


What about the absolute implausibility of this priest turning
up in California? When he told Bunchy that they
didn't know each other, it seemed to make sense.
That really seemed to be a stretch.


Stan Rizzo


thought it odd that Micky killed Van Miller on learning no one else knew of his investigation, and yet left all the photos and documents in the room. hope we see more of Mad Men's Stan Rizzon (Jay R. Ferguson) as ASAC Volcheck!


Bunchy jumped into the priest's car demanding an apology and then shot him. He must have driven the priest's car to Fite club.


I have just one bone to pick, but once I've picked it, you'll understand even more about Ray's psyche. Sorry this is so long, but I think it's essential. Understanding Boston, and especially working-class Irish Boston, is essential for understanding "Ray Donovan.� Mickey didn't just promise to take Ray to any old baseball game. He especially didn't take him to see Bucky Dent - who played for the New York Yankees. Mickey promised to take Ray to a ballgame that is seared into the memory of any Boston Red Sox fan old enough to remember it. Like Terry said, "the one-game playoff? Who doesn't remember it?" It's important to understand how central the Red Sox are to being a Bostonian, and the perennial sense of let-down that came with being a Sox fan between 1918 and 2004. The Sox went to the World Series in 1975, losing to the Cincinnati Reds in seven games. Sports writers often refer to the 75 WS as "the greatest World Series ever played." It included the iconic, game-six-winning, 12th-inning home run where catcher Carlton Fisk "waved" the ball fair. Recall that this event was discussed during one of the therapy sessions in "Good Will Hunting." The Sox finished 1976 in third place and finished 1977 tied for second. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. At the end of the 1978 season, the Red Sox and arch-rival New York Yankees were tied for first place in the American League East, requiring a one-game playoff to decide who would face the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series. The game was played on Monday, October 2 at 2:30 in the afternoon. I was a 6th grader, and remember teachers setting up a TV in a classroom so they wouldn't miss a moment. Every kid in town was praying for the bus to get us home in time for the first pitch. Carl Yastrzemski, my all-time favorite Red Sox player, led off the bottom of the 2nd with a home run, giving Boston a 1-0 lead. The game remained extremely tight. In the bottom of the 6th, shortstop Rick Burleson doubled, and was moved to third by second baseman Jerry Remy's sacrifice bunt. Burleson scored on a single by right fielder Jim Rice, the 1978 AL MVP. 2-0 Boston after 6. Things were looking good. Pitcher Mike Torrez had allowed only two hits, with two walks and four strikeouts, through six innings. Then came the top of the 7th inning. Fly ball, one out. Single. Single. Fly ball, two outs. Shortstop Bucky Dent, batting 9th in the order, came to the plate. Dent had hit an essentially unimpressive .243 through the season, and had only four home runs in 122 games. Things were looking good for the Olde Towne Team. What happened next ensured he would forever be known in Red Sox Nation as "Buck Fu*****g Dent." The historically underpowered Dent hit a 3-run homer into the screen atop Fenway's left field wall to put the Yanks up 3-2, which let the wind out of the Fenway Faithful and the Red Sox, who eventually lost 5-4. Dent would become World Series MVP as the Yankees beat the L.A. Dodgers 4 games to 2. So... to have had the chance to be at that historic moment, only to have it snatched away by an aloof, abusive father, would alone be enough to scar Ray and kill whatever respect he might have had left for Mickey. To have been unable to protect his brother from a molesting priest - one who was opportunistically acting as a father to the Donovan boys - because he was experiencing what he thought would be the worst let-down he could imagine, is what planted the seed of the Ray we know.


this show is amazing the writers are brilliant ......all characters have been cast to fit every scene!!!!!! and the brother "Terry" whom I never new is a British actor wow keep up the fantastic story line!!!!


I was blown away by this episode. I didn't see that reveal coming, and even though I knew Ray wanted to kill the priest, I didn't expect it the way it was done. I never saw a priest who refused to say I'm sorry. He had a wicked and unrepentant heart and I could understand Ray's reaction. Abby needs to grow a pair. She knows she has a husband with secrets, but he loves his family. She needs to cut him some slack and stop nagging him. Geez!

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Ray Donovan Season 1 Episode 11 Quotes

Come in fellas. I'll make some Sanka.


Yeah, my client's dead, I'm in mourning, that's my statement.