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'Ray Donovan' is an 'Uber' fixer for everyone but himself

Season 2 | Episode 2 | “Uber Ray” | Aired July 20, 2014

After a brief dalliance in Mexico, Mickey is officially on his way back to L.A. Ray has made sure of that, wrangling Mickey into his car and handcuffing him to the door for good measure. Ignoring the absurdity of their situation, Mickey waxes nostalgic about the only summer vacation the Donovans spent together. Ray is having none of it. Mickey, defensive, calls Ray his judge. He’s right—if Ray doesn’t judge Mickey (and vice versa), who will?

Cochran’s wife, Holly, played by Twin Peaks alum Sherilyn Fenn, calms a nervous Cochran before his press conference. They’re an über—not to be confused with Uber—political power couple. During the press conference, Cochran spins Sully’s death into a heroic FBI success story—after six to eight months in L.A., Sully was found. In a shootout, Frank fired the killing shot. Back in Boston, a Tenacious Female Reporter calls out Cochran on his bull$#@% (literally) and immediately wants to fly out to L.A. to investigate.

Before Ray can hand Mickey over to Cochran, Mickey threatens to tell them where Ray buried the priest he killed. Ray reminds him that if he falls, all the brothers Donovan fall for their involvement. What do we know? Mickey loves his boys. What do we also know? Mickey loves himself more than anyone else. Ray’s counter-threat may not be strong enough if Mickey gets himself really into a bind.

Ray finally presents Mickey to Cochran. Cochran’s meteoric rise in the Bureau relies on Mickey and Ray staying quiet. He gives Mickey an ultimatum: parole for five years, or prison … forever. Ray tries to warn Cochran about how loose a cannon Mickey really is, but Cochran doesn’t care. If Mickey messes up, Ray goes to prison with him. Then the show will be renamed Orange Is the New Ray Donovan. Ray (and the camera) focuses pointedly on Cochran’s framed photo of Holly. Ray is prepared to “fix” his situation with Cochran every way he knows how.

Ray drops Mickey off at the Fite Club. As they enter, Ray warns, “If you go back to Mexico, you’ll end up dead.”

“Dead?” Mickey replies. “You’re … paranoid, Ray.” Prediction: Mickey ends up dead or mortally wounded by the season finale. It may seem premature—as Voight’s performance in the show is a major highlight—but I sense dark wings, dark words.

Tenacious Female Reporter is, in fact, Kate McPherson from the Boston Globe, although I think I prefer calling her “Tenacious Female Reporter.” She visits Sully’s mom at her new nursing home, who proceeds to tirade against Mickey. Then she visits the mother of Catherine, Sully’s girlfriend, getting the full scoop about Catherine and Sully’s road trip to California.

Back home, Ray has Frank look up parole officers in the area—he has a plan. He greets Abbie the same way he did in the premiere, forcefully and with another sort of plan. She fights him off, slapping him in the face to wake him up.

She finally confronts him on his less-than-consensual sexual advances and how she’s discussed with Dr. Finkel that it may be related to the confession he has yet to address again. Ray remains silent in the shower.

Stressed, Abbie falls asleep in yoga class. The instructor wakes her up after everyone else has left. She jumps him, they make out, and she runs away. That mini-make-out session, a cigarette and new lingerie seem to be Abbie’s method of cheering herself up.

Ray finds Frances in his office. She asks him if he made Terry stalk her as an intimidation tactic so she wouldn’t say anything about the priest.

“Tell Terry to leave me alone,” she declares before walking out. Meanwhile, Terry is waiting for her outside. She screams, “Leave me the f*(& alone, Terry!” Oh, Terry, ya done goofed. Frustrated and ready to project his anger, he clocks Ray looking for a fight. Ray is not giving him one.

Sullied with parole, Mickey uses Conor as a prop to soften his parole officer. It also gives him the chance to teach his grandson a lesson on feeling bad when you’ve doing something wrong … but not telling anyone about it.

Oh hai, Bunk! Wendell Pierce is no longer good po-lice from Baltimore. On Ray Donovan, he’s an ornery L.A. parole officer with financial issues—perfect to be bought and controlled by Ray. It just takes a Daytona watch to make Ronald Keith Ray’s favorite parole officer.

Ray returns to the Fite Club and finds Mickey and Conor practicing in the ring. Conor refuses to leave with Ray, going into C-money mode. Then Abbie shows up—C-money is back to Conor mode. She grabs him by the neck like a mother cat carrying her rogue kitten by the scruff.

Tenacious Female Reporter brings her intel back to her Exasperated Male Editor. He’s unconvinced and exasperated by her tenacity. Of course, she’s intent on continuing her investigation in L.A.

“I’m going Bob,” Kate says with tenacity.

“Kate,” Bob calls out as she walks out of his office. “You’re fired,” he adds to no one in particular, exasperated.

Ronald puts Mickey in a hole-in-the-wall apartment in a God-knows-where section of L.A. County and gives him a job doing God knows what.

As Mickey moves on down, Ray and Abbie are movin’ on up. Ray agrees to buy Abbie’s dream home in Truesdale. Abbie couldn’t be more relieved at this sign to Ray’s commitment to their marriage. She reveals her new lingerie and initiates (finally) consensual interaction. Despite fixing everything (at least for right now), Ray is the only person he can’t fix. Irony.

Stray Bullets

  • Where is the plotline with Ezra and Tasha Yar Deb going? Ezra can spout “Tikkun olam!” as much as he’d like; I’m still ambivalent by that whole subplot. Will we finally see the fearsome power Ezra has been alluded to wield?
  • I have nothing wrong with tenacious reporters of any gender (trust me, I wish I were a more tenacious reporter!), but I’m so sick of the Lois Lane trope. She’s not even interesting enough to be an awful person, like Zoe Barnes was. Over it.
  • Frank may be a hapless FBI agent, but at least he has a companion (albeit of the canine variety) that enjoys booze just as much as he does.
  • Cochran’s cover-band outfit was less Bob Seger and more Bruce Springsteen circa Born in the USA.
  • Bunchy got the job at the bike shop! Bunchy got long pants!
  • Conor and Tommy Wheeler FaceTiming can’t end well.
  • Why does Conor smile when he talks about pushing that kid down the stairs?
  • Number of F-bombs dropped: 26.

Ray Donovan, rated TV-MA, airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime.

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