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Episode 201

'Ray Donovan' season 2 premiere recap: Yo soy capitán

Season 2 | Episode 1 | “Yo Soy Capitán” | Aired July 13, 2014

Showtime’s “Entourage meets The Black Donnellys meets Scandal” drama is back. Ray Donovan returns for a second season of blood, Boston accents and buried childhood trauma. Let the fun begin!

We start right where we left off—Ray (Liev Schreiber) lounges on the beach, clad in a blood-soaked, bespoke suit. It may be a stark image, but damn, Schreiber certainly looks good in a suit. Suddenly, someone shovels dirt onto him. Ray is off the beach and into a grave, being buried alive. Who’s burying him? Mickey? His family? Himself?! It’s a metaphor!

Actually, it’s a dream. Ray wakes up, startled, but safe at home in bed next to his wife, Abby (Paula Malcomson). Shaken, he seems to reach out for his wife to cuddle. Just kidding—he roughly takes her from behind. There are more than a few blurred lines of consent going on here. I don’t think this is what she meant when she told Ray she wanted emotional honesty.

Speaking of dreams, Donovan patriarch Mickey (the recently Emmy-nominated Jon Voight) is living a debauched one. After a few swigs of tequila and hits of marijuana, Mickey leaves his beachfront cabana (and woman) for a morning swim. “Hola, Mickey!” calls out a friendly Mexican dolphin. Sure, why not? She urges him to swim deeper, but he soon grows tired. She tells him, “Ah, no, Mickey. You’re not a sailor. You’re a captain!” Um, OK.

The dolphin morphs into Linda (Rosanna Arquette), last seen slain at Sully Sullivan’s (James Wood) hand. “I’m in a very dark place, Mickey. And you put me here,” she accuses. Mickey is quick to blame Sully, which I guess is technically true. Does hallucinating/dreaming of Linda mean that somewhere deep down Mickey feels (rightfully) guilty about Linda’s death? Does it foreshadow Mickey’s impending demise? Hm …

Meanwhile, back at the Donovan mansion, Bridget (Kerris Dorsey) is officially over Marvin Gaye Washington (Octavius J. Johnson), and Conor (Devon Bagby) is still annoying. Before Bridget and C-money (Ha!) declare war, Ray and Abby defuse the situation. From TV coverage in the background, we learn that the Sully Sullivan incident occurred two weeks ago. On the surface, the family seems to have returned to normalcy in those few weeks. Can’t wait to see how that spectacularly shatters as the season progresses.

Last season’s bombshell was the revelation that Ray, as well as Bunchy, is a victim of Father Danny’s sexual abuse. As a result, Abby and Ray are now attending sessions with a therapist, played by Star Trek alum Brent Spiner. That means Katniss’ mom and Sabretooth are getting therapy sessions from Data. Awesome.

Ray makes a pact with Dr. Data to keep the violence away from the kids. He’s making progress, but leaves early due to a work emergency. That gives Dr. Data the opportunity to voice his concern with Abby over Ray’s sexual appetite and inability to address his abuse. Abby is defensive, and Dr. Data is mostly likely right. Yet I’m not particularly liking Dr. Data’s vibe.

The emergency Ray left therapy to “fix” is a doozy: The FBI is still on the Sully case. Frank, the crooked FBI agent reluctantly in Ray’s pocket, couldn’t cover it up after the ballistics report proved the Donovans are somehow involved. Ray chooses the best option he has left: the truth. He storms into the FBI office and confronts the ambitious Assistant Director Cochran (Hank Azaria).

In as matter-of-fact you can possibly tell someone who hired FBI’s Most Wanted to kill your father, Ray confesses that he paid Sully $2 million to kill Mickey. He also reveals that Mickey is the one who shot Sully. Cochran wants Mickey apprehended, and he wants Ray to deliver him—sooner rather than later.

Ray’s day is never done until a celebrity calls him in a panic. Pro athlete Deonte (Mo McRae) calls Ray, as he’s caught between a rock and a hard place. His wife is threatening to shoot and kill his latest mistress, an American Idol finalist. Ray is able to defuse the situation, but not before Deonte’s wife shoots the Idol hopeful in the arm. With the help of a mugging cover story and the always trusty Lena (Katherine Moennig), Ray fixes the situation. The Idol contestant even uses the incident to her advantage, milking it for an especially “heartwarming” rendition of “My Heart Will Go On.”

Still blabbing about Marvin Gaye Washington, Conor shows off to a girl at school. Jealous and fed up, a classmate accuses Conor of lying and slams his phone onto the ground. Conor slams his classmate down the nearby stairs. Don’t mess with C-money! Abby and Ray (in a new shirt not covered in American Idol blood) meet with the principal, who stresses how grave Conor’s action was, resulting in a five-day suspension. More time to chat with Tommy Wheeler? Uh-oh.

With family and work obligations, Ray still can’t quite shake Cochran and his hunt for Mickey. Cochran shows up at Ezra’s office and spooks him. He even threatens Bridget in a bogus traffic stop with marijuana possession. Ray gets the message: Find Mickey or else.

Down in Mexico, Daryll (Pooch Hall) catches up with Pop Donovan. Mickey has set up a fight for Daryll down there, billing him as “El Negro.” Mickey is so imaginative. The youngest Donovan brother still looks up to him, which means he’s still good for paying Mickey’s debts—oh, and for betting against in mismatched fights. Much to Daryll’s surprise, El Negro/Black Irish is up against La Fuerza, a giant boxing dynamo. He’s (mercifully) knocked out quickly, and Mickey cleans up handsomely, collecting cash as his son lies on the mat.

Mickey enjoys the spoils of his son’s work at Lucy’s Cantina with his new “friends” and paid-for paramour. Daryll learns the hard way what the other Donovan brothers know—Mickey loves Mickey more than anyone else. With Daryll’s help, Ray rolls into the bar to collect Mickey. Mickey refuses to leave—he’s a captain, not a sailor! As Mickey semi-learns from his “paid-for paramour,” “I’m not a sailor. I’m a captain,” are the English translations to lyrics in “La Bamba,” made famous by Ritchie Valens. A bambollero refers to someone boastful or pompous. Describe Mickey, much?

Composed, Ray leaves the bar and calls Cochran to tell him he’s got Mickey. He takes off his new (unbloodied) shirt, picks up a bat from the trunk and reenters the bar. You can guess what happens next.

As for the other Donovan brothers, Bunchy (Dash Mihok) is working hard to turn his life around. He’s quit drugs and alcohol (“and hookers”). He’s living on his own and actively applying for jobs. At his support group, a new attendee, Stan, even asks him out, kind of. Is a healthy romance on the horizon for Bunchy? Probably not, but I have hope that he will at least get some long pants. Terry (Eddie Marsan), my personal favorite Donovan, is not doing so well in the love department. He’s still hung up on Frances (Brooke Smith) and has stooped to calling and stalking her house. Oh, Terry, that can’t end well.

Stray Bullets

  • Am I the only one who was relieved to see that Mickey was fully clothed under that sarong?
  • Conor needs to take his dad’s advice and indefinitely “shut up.”
  • Tiffany’s “My Heart Will Go On” was pretty weak—definitely not worthy of Idol Top 3.
  • How adorable were Lena, Avi and Avi’s mom watching American Idol?
  • Number of f-bombs dropped: 40, plus or minus a few I may have missed in Spanish.

New episodes of Ray Donovan, rated TV-MA, air Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime.

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