The season finale of Ray Donovan did not disappoint. The title, "Same Exactly," didn't mean what one would have thought, but rather was Mickey's opinion of how similar he and his favorite son, Ray, were to each other.
The hour was filled with powerful scenes. Paula Malcolmson did her best work to date, Jon Voight was outstanding, Liev Schrieber struggled to show emotion while remaining stoic in character and Eddie Marsan (Terry) was given a script that allowed his talents to take center stage.
Terry and Bunchy were each dealing with Ray's murder of Father Danny in different ways. For Bunchy, there was a weight lifted from his life. He no longer had to look over his shoulder and wonder whether the Father might be there, nor did he have to suffer knowing he could be doing the same thing to other young boys. Bunch was feeling free for the first time since he was small boy. This newfound strength gave him the guts to kick Mickey out on his ass.
Terry, on the other hand, didn't condone murder even when he learned that Ray, too, was abused at the hands of Father Danny. Part of that was directly connected with how close he had come to finding a woman with whom he thought he could share his life. A woman to whom he had to lie. In the end, he came about as close to the truth as he could with Frances.
Frances has the information in her hands. Father Danny died before they took him to the hospital. It was complicated. They got rid of the body. The Donovans look out for their own. Frances isn't a stupid woman, and if she's capable of looking past the immediacy of the event and what occurred and allows herself to analyze it, it's my hope that she puts the violence of the crime, the love of the brothers and the Catholic Church together to finish the puzzle. She needs to do that so that she doesn't put herself into the same path the Father was in... one that makes her a liability to the future of the Donovan family.
While I think Terry would do his damndest to keep her safe, it might not be his decision. Family first.
What Abby witnessed and learned about her husband changed her. She stopped pretending with herself. She finally understood why Ray hated his father so, and her conversation with Mickey was full of strength and love. Abby exuded guilt at having gone behind Ray's back by sharing her children with Mickey after learning that what Ray had alluded to was true. Mickey hadn't cared for his own children when they needed him the most. When she told him to leave, she meant it. If a door opens up again, it will be difficult for her to allow him back in.
The most striking moment of the evening in Malcolmson's portrayal of Abby was when she made the call to Ray, asking him to come home. Before she even spoke, she evoked enough emotion in me that tears welled up in my eyes. I could feel her love for him and her need to have him near.
Ray was finally dealing with his own Mickey issues in another scene that nearly brought the house down. Jon Voight telling Ray he was always his favorite was painful to watch, in that a man could be so clouded with his own concerns that he never thought of his child's. He just knew Ray was his favorite and that favored son wanted to kill him. Mickey had earlier told Abby that kids were molested all the time back then, as if that was an excuse to ignore the pleas of your child as they are screaming for help. Ray remembered what it was like to be Mickey's favorite:
Ray: I told you. I told you what happened with that man. O'Connor. Remember what you did, Mick? Huh? You called me a liar and you beat the s**t out of me. Remember that? You didn't stop him. And he kept after me, and he kept after me. And then he went after Bunch. Our sweet Bunchy. That's when I decided to kill you, Mick. You've been dead to me since that day. You've been dead to me since I was ten years old. | permalink
The finale tidied up the Sully storyline quite nicely and with quite a bit of flare. The conversation between Ray and Mickey was important to the cause. Ray, Avi and Lena spent most of the hour tracking down Sully through his various cohorts to made a deal that would get him out of town once and for all. Of course, his arrogance didn't allow for the acceptance of any such deal, and Ray had that covered with a couple of passports and FBI Frank on a boat to catch the old scoundrel.
After Mickey was tossed to the curb by all of his family members, he decided to tag along with Sully and showed up at the meet. In a matter of moments, it was hitting the fan. Sully shot Avi, Ray had a gun to his head and once they were at the boat, Sully wanted Mickey to grab Frank's gun. Armed with new knowledge about his father, Ray nodded to Frank and Frank tossed Mickey the gun.
This time when Ray was in trouble, Mickey shot Sully between the eyes. He had the foresight to realize he couldn't afford to screw up again. His big mistake was immediately calling things square between he and his son. He should have stopped with the bragging, the need for approval and allowed Ray time to come to terms with what Mickey had done. Maybe that would have meant something to Ray.
Mickey isn't capable of subtlety. He pushed and pushed and pushed Ray away - again. At least he pushed Ray into the loving arms of his family.
Mickey asked Terry if he could sleep on the cot formerly used by Bunchy and joined his other three sons at Fite Club with some booze and TV.
There's plenty of story left for next season, but this could have easily served as a finale had Showtime not picked it up for a second season. Ray's not your average anti-hero. He's not difficult to love, and I don't find myself making excuses for his behavior. I'll definitely be back next year for more. How about you?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.