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.

The Golem Review

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Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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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.