Ray Donovan Review: Score One for The Father

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"Fite Nite" was another brilliantly subtle episode of Ray Donovan. I haven't been reading what other critics have been saying about the show, but some comments here lead me to believe that perhaps there is a feeling of disappointment in knowing what's going to happen on the show before it occurs.

That the emotions and absurdities of the story portray so much tension while deliberately dragging the viewer along a path scattered with hearty-sized bread crumbs is exactly why I find the writing so cunning. The writers, producers, directors and actors are all working together to bring life into a plot that isn't new, but seen through fresh eyes nonetheless.

It's Fite Nite

For example, Ray was being too ostentatious on the day he planned to kill Mickey. As a viewer, we were all screaming in our heads that he shouldn't be doing the things he was doing: going to Fite Nite when he hadn't done so even a handful of times in as many years; buying the girls in his life diamond earrings; carrying around in plain sight a bag that clearly screamed "hey, I'm a bag of money!" and generally celebrating as if on that day his life was about to change forever.

We knew he was giving up his secrets and were aware those close to him would catch on. Abby and Terry caught on quite easily, and it wasn't due to poor writing. Ray was living in a dream. He had imagined a time when his father would be out of his life for nearly all of it, and it was so close he could taste it. He lost himself, as humans tend to do. As Ray has shown he can do, time and again, when it comes to his family.

None of us actually expected Sully to kill Mickey. He couldn't do that. The show has been renewed for a second season and the primary conflict of Ray Donovan is the relationship between Ray and Mickey. Why spend an hour pretending that there's a possibility Sully might actually kill Mickey when what actually went down between them was so much more intriguing, and the result spun Ray's world off its axis?

There were some really well-played scenes by Jon Voight tonight, and his character became more disturbing and more of an enigma as a result. Let's tick them down:

  • The look in Mickey's eyes when he discovered Ray was behind the hit. It seemed as though he had no idea the lengths to which his return had disturbed his son.
  • Mickey turning the table on Ray by telling Sully that he was still working with the feds, and that's probably why Ray wasn't killing him on his own. Instead, he led Sully to believe Ray would have Mickey killed while bringing the feds down on Sully. Mickey can think on his feet.
  • Mickey's attempt to save Spa Lady was genuine, and for a minute she thought she was safe, as did Mickey. For that instant, the contrast of pure evil to bumbling bad guy seemed obvious given the way things went down. I was seeing Mickey as a crap father who paid no attention to the path of destruction he left in his wake. Standing side by side with Sully, he seemed like cotton candy next to a roaring fire.
  • No sooner had that thought gone through my mind than Mickey and Sully started a trip down memory lane, laughing about past kills they had done together and recollecting how a body had been torn apart by a dog. Again, I started to question Mickey on the scale of evil.
  • When the truth about Colleen came out, Mickey wrung out that Sully was only killing him because he truly believed he killed Colleen all those years ago. When Sully learned Mickey wasn't the killer, it was enough to turn the tides. That was surprising. The money, the vengeance;for putting his entire family into prison -- it wasn't enough for Sully to keep his word to Ray to kill Mickey. More shrewd planning on the part of Mickey with an extra iron in the fire...
  • Notions of Hollywood stardom be damned, Mickey rolled right up to Sean Walker's house and saved his own ass by offering him up as a sacrifice for Sully -- right in front of his own baby. If I had thought that perhaps Mickey had a soft spot in his heart for the true killer of Colleen in exchange for stardom, that was proven wrong in an instant.
  • Mickey's final understated play of the night was walking back into Fite Nite while everyone was watching the news of Sean Walker's death and blaming it all on Ray. He turned the entire affair back around onto his son, and in showing up as he did also set Ray and Abby against each other.

In my couch-psychoanalyst position, I'd have to say that Mickey suffers from a severe case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He has a grandiose sense of self importance, believes he is special, is preoccupied with fantasies of success, power and beauty, lacks empathy, is exploitative of others and requires excessive admiration. Mickey plays each person he meets like a fiddle, getting them to give him exactly what he needs from that list. Everyone but Ray.

That look in Mickey's eyes was recognition that Ray is onto him. Ray broke the rules of the game. He continually refuses to buy what Mickey is selling. That has to be the biggest challenge of Mickey's life. He'll never try to hurt Ray because he wants him to buy into Mickey far more than he wants to get rid of him. He'll use every resource in his grasp to try to get Ray to drink the Kool-Aid.

We'll find out next week if Bunchy jumped off the roof, where Abby and Ray are after she admitted to a years-long relationship with Mickey (sip, sip) and what steps Ezra will want to take after losing all of the money from Ruth's foundation without any reward. Also, check out the Ray Donovan quotes because they always have some interesting ones to tickle your fancy.

This week was a dance between father and son - and the son took a tumble off the dance floor. There's no doubt he'll pick himself up for the next rhumba, but he needs to get his head in the game. Taking gambles on wild cards like Sully are too risky. Ray needs to be all in against his father or come up with another plan for the future to live along side him. Something tells me he's not ready to do that yet.


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (57 Votes)

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


I love this show but if I have to hear the wife talk anymore I just might lose it. She is a terrible actor and her fake Boston accent is completely annoying!!! Get rid of her.


The fact that I think a lot of people are missing is that the ONLY reason Sully had to kill Mick at this point was revenge - evening a score. Now sure, that's still a motivation, but he doesn't stand to actually gain anything from Micky being dead. Also, think about the fact that Micky has just led him to the killer who he's been yearning to kill for decades. Either way you slice it, it's an emotional reaction on Sully's part. If he kills Mick, it's just to get the emotional gratification of killing some guy who (albeit, majorly) screwed him over 20 years ago. On the same token, it's not that hard for me to imagine that Sully, flooded with emotions, felt thankful towards Mick in a way. It's obvious that Sully REALLY cared for this girl, like on a first-love-never-had-that-feeling-again sort of level. That can be a powerful force. And Mick has just made it possible to avenge her death. In the moment, I can understand Sully feeling more grateful than vengeful and in turn, letting Mick live. Just maybe the "peace" he feels after avenging the only woman (besides his mother?) that he's ever loved is enough to trump his thirst for revenge towards Micky for sending him away...at least temporarily. Now once those emotions settle, I can also easily see Sully coming for Mick again if the opportunity presents itself. But to say that it's unreasonable that he would let him live is to, I think, oversimplify and/or underestimate the complexity and forcefulness of human emotion.


I was a fun of the series until "NOW". The plot was horrible! As I have read in other posts yes, Sully had a whole host of reasons to kill micky. Why would he just take the word of a man that he's about to shoot in the head. Also even if he believed him why wouldn't he shoot kim as well. Secondly I am sooo sick of his wife. SHUUUUT UUUUP! Either get with the program or leave!


OK only show that has the balls to kill off their main characters in seasons first was The walking dead on amc, revolution on NBC but the best of all time games of thrones the stark mom and son at the blood wedding is still shocking. also nypd blue jimmy smits character and rookie blue as well. Almost forget the soprano's every other month a beloved character got whacked. So Mickey could have been killed but it was more proper he was able to talk his way out and scully not killing him after killing the real killer is Poetic Justice.. The best line in this episode is Mickey saying I am Feminist.


ps: Skully didn't kill Mickey for the same reason Ray didn't kill Mickey... they love each other as sociopaths do. Skully and Mickey have the bond of miles together and that's love. Ray and Mickey are bonded by thier repulsion of each other. Ray didn't know it, but he doesn't want to kill his father, the bond is too deeply rooted. Maybe Ray and Mickey will go into couples therapy.


If Ray is the jewel, Jon Voight showed that papa is the crown. His survivor instinct and scheming mind saved his life and the episode. I'm so sick of Ray's wife ragging on Ray. The spa lady character played by Arquette showed how desperate and sick women are and how they pay with thier lives. The huge issue of Bunchy's sexual abuse anxiety is treated like a trinket. So many issues so little time. AVI went MIA. He would seen the murder of Mickey through. Predictions: Eliot Gould will get whacked. Ray will keep the baby.


Stephanie 59. Just because Micky said he was working for the FBI doesn't mean Sully would believe him. Sully would know not everything out of Mickys mouth would be true. Truth disguised as lies, lies as Truth. The leap was too big for an intelligent audience to take. The show has thrived on realistic portrayals of messed up situations. Sully had the girl killed for the simple fact she was a witness. HELLO - Mickys a witness to that murder & Sully being in town. As previously shown Sully had plenty of reasons to make Micky disappear for good as I'm sure Sully will himself now.
As Tbain pointed at Ray was so far of he's game this episode. He makes a living cleaning up people's messes. Surely he would have bad everything aligned to make sure the plan went through. Instead of just being at Donovans Fite Club with a giant sign over he's head saying "I killed Micky"


I've been watching the show from the beginning, and have completely enjoyed the show...until this last episode- "Fite Nite". So far, I've been alright with little lapses of continuity here and there. However, the blunder that took place in this episode, is so monumental, that it makes me wonder if the real writers went on a mini strike or a vacation as well as, the Director...Here it is, from my viewpoint, please correct me if I seem out-of-line with this observation. Wouldn't a person in Ray's position, being the consummate professional that he is, have HIS man, Avi, watching Sully to make sure things go down as planned? And also, Ray would have Sully call him to say that the job's done. Ray wouldn't just had over all that cash with no proof. C'mon, now. That's borderline insulting.


Just read the other comments by those who disagree with the plot. If Sully had killed Mickey, he also realised that he would have the FBI even more so on his case because Mickey had told him that he was working for the FBI. That could have been one reason why he spared Mickey. And as much as I despise Mickey, he really is crucial to the plot of the show. The tension leading up to his possible execution was brilliant.


Before reading anybody else's comments, I have to say this was such a well done commentary on the episode, Carissa. Love it. My two cents: I agree with everything you say. I only feel really sad for Spa Lady. An innocent who bit off more than she can chew by literally getting in bed with the likes of Mickey.

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Ray Donovan Season 1 Episode 10 Quotes

Yeah, well, I walked back from this Venice Beach -- I've never seen so many freaks in my whole f*ckin' life. I saw one guy shoutin' at his own f*ckin' shoe.


You know, you're the last male Donovan. You have to have some boys of your own; keep the family name alive.