Ray Donovan is starting to gain a footing as the next great family drama. With this episode, the LA “fixing” was better integrated into the Donovans chaotic life. The pacing is still a bit wonky, but I think they’re going to get there. The ratings also improved from the pilot episode – where the numbers were already high, so this is promising for more Liev Schreiber on my television.
After beating the stalker last week, Ray stayed in town – a mistake that allowed the wolf in the gate at his family home. He takes his brother to the doctor’s and watches the nurse flirt with him, before returning to the boxing gym with Terry. The facial expressions Liev Schreiber makes during the scene had me cracking up. It’s these family moments that are going to sell the show. At the gym, Ray’s upset because Bunchy’s on a downward spiral, faster now that their father is out of prison.
Speaking of their father, it’s revealed that Mickey stayed the night and Ray’s kids are desperate to spend some time with grandpa. At first, Abby says no, but when Ray ends up being waylaid by work matters, she takes them all to Malibu for some shopping and some family time with grandpa. Grandpa Mickey bonds with his grandson by asking him if he’s a fag. He says it’s totally cool if he is – and we get where the name of the episode comes from – because “a mouth’s a mouth,” but don’t do it in the ass because that’s how you get sick. The post-prison Mickey is a sight to behold. I’m not sure they’re capturing a freed man after twenty years very well, but his distaste for the uppity detox cleanse Hollywood trend of the week made me laugh.
The work distraction that Ray had to take care of was for a man named Sean. This man had something to do with Mickey going to prison because he tells Ray that he shot Ray’s girlfriend in the head and sent Mickey to prison for 20 years. And now Mickey’s out and has “breached” his security. Sean’s delightfully strange and has both Ray and Ezra smell his baby’s head. This is the first case Ray has to deal with – and the more personal one.
Tommy, the secretly gay Hollywood blockbuster big time movie star, is Ray’s second – and on-going – case of the episode. While in rehab, a male prostitute (transsexual maybe, I’m not completely up on the jargon these days for the LGBTQ community) sends Tommy a video of himself sucking the prostitute’s dick. The prostitute – whose legal name is Steven, but she goes by Chloe – wants a million dollars to have a sex change operation and is blackmailing Tommy to get it. Ray has a very cordial conversation with her and they seem to leave on good terms, with Ray agreeing to get her the money.
Immediately after meeting with Chloe, Lena – who works for Ray – calls him to confirm that there was a priest killed in Boston like his father said. She also clues him in on the fact that his kids didn’t go to school that day, which Ray was unaware of. He immediately calls Abby, who doesn’t pick up her phone. Then he calls his son, who does pick up the phone, only to have it taken by Mickey. Ray hangs up and goes to get a gun out of the trunk of his car. It’s only Avi, the Russian that works for him, who calms him down by disarming him and not allowing him to have a gun. We’re seeing more and more cracks in the quiet and somber Ray Donovan. He seems to have a history of overreacting to situations. Ultimately, he doesn’t go rushing off to his father and his family.
Instead, Avi and Ray go to Chloe’s house. They break in and take all of the electronics in the house, taking the tape they were using to blackmail Tommy in the process. Ray again goes above and beyond his job as a “fixer” to give Chloe a talk about cleaning up her life and getting where she wants to be. These are going to be Ray’s downfall moments in the future – where he’s getting too involved and cares too much about his clients. To get Chloe some money for her operation, he goes to Stu’s office – the man whose wrist he broke and who is extremely pissed at him at the moment – and blackmails him with the tape, as Tommy is the star of his big movie coming out! He has Lena deliver the money to Chloe.
Abby drops Mickey off at the boxing gym at the end of the day, but her kids insist on going inside to see their uncles and her daughter wants to take pictures for her family tree project for school. While they’re all making nice and being a happy family, Abby slips off to say hello to Daryll. She doesn’t want the kids to meet him yet, but she hugs him and says she’s happy to see him. They all leave before Ray shows up to confront his father again – the boxing gym is going to be a place of many showdowns I predict.
He threatens Mickey because he thinks Mickey is coming after his family and then leaves. Later, Ray finds out that it was Daryll who broke into Sean’s place, but that Mickey was driving the getaway car. Avi beats up Daryll and staples a picture of them breaking in to his chest, leaving him bloodied in the street. A concerned Terry finds him later and he doesn’t appear to be dead, just very near dead.
Mickey and Bunchy are seen getting high together. Tommy and Ray’s son are seen messaging each other. Ray’s seen putting some money in a safe and in the last, slightly haunting shot, Ray smiles when he sees the picture of the priest who was killed in Boston. Whether it’s a smile of “job well done, pops” or “you sonofabitch, I’ve got you now” only future episodes will tell. The story is tightening up after getting frayed and fanned out in the pilot. What did you guys think of episode two? Are you sold on the premise? Which Donovan is your favorite? If it’s not Liev Schreiber, you should re-think your favorite.