Ray Donavan: Season IV – Ep. 3:Little Bill Prim’s Big Green Horshoe (A Review)

Posted: 07/17/2016 in Uncategorized


Well, that’s more like it. A return to form in what is easily the best episode of season IV so far.  Mickey is Mickey. The family comes together in a manner that removes all doubt as to their collective loyalty to one another. Ray is tasked ,  seemingly overwhelmed and meteoric traction is attained in one fell swoop. My florid intro offered, off to my review.

We open with Ray (Liev Schrieber) and Abby (Paula Malcolmson) actually behaving like a married couple. Regardless of the anarchy brought forth by  Hector Campos (Ismael Cruz Cordova) and his half sister Marisol, Ray has evolved to an extent, striving to be a better husband and father. Abby’s wish of Ray including her in his ‘work life’, a frequent complaint from her for numerous seasons, finally comes to bear and the results are not pretty. A home invasion by an unknown assailant leads to Abby interceding with grave consequences for all involved.

Abby’s own troubles, namely her diagnosis, causes her to escalate an incident with Bridget (Kerris Dorsey) after she and Ray convince her to move back into the family home. Now I have nothing against Ms. Dorsey as an actress but her character is so monumentally judgmental and high minded that it cause one’s stomach to turn. I really don’t care about her story, neither her ongoing affair with much older widowed teacher, Greg Donellen (Aaron Staton) nor her locking horns with her mother over questionable behaviors. Like Abby, she too “wants to know”. Like Abby, she is regretful when she does. Bridget’s berating her mother “Southie” style was kind of funny, in a tragi-comic way. Conor (Devon Bagby) is once again so ludicrously dumb that he plays strictly for laughs and cannot be taken the least bit seriously.

Despite my minor criticisms; this ep killed as the show runners returned to what worked, namely the dual family dynamics of Ray’s biological and “work” family. Make no mistake, the two worlds connect often enough, but in this case their interlocking is a necessity. Avi  (Steven Bauer) is so darn solid as Ray’s man at arms; as is Lena (Katherine Moennig). They are there when he needs them with no questions asked. Even Bridget who balks at anything and everything, complies to joining her mother and father when he shows up at her lover’s door.Her connection with Ray is strong and one of the better aspects of her character as no matter how often she rails against him, her loyalty to him in unquestionable. Watching his two worlds combine was a thing of beauty. Avi’s counsel to Conor is just plain hilarious.

Terry’s (Eddie Marsan) refusing to leave the gym and simply wait for what’s coming allows for the most golden moments of the episode. Ray finds out from Darryl (Pooch Hall) that Terry won’t join them at their safe house. Ray orders Darryl to fetch him at all costs. Terry then convinces Daryll to stay, which adds to Ray’s incessantly stressful plate. The moments between Daryll and Terry are beautiful. They begin with a discussion of family, race and brotherhood then  extend to the common ground of shared movie viewing. Honestly the two riffing on Mel Brooks’ classic “Blazing Saddles” sheriff self hold up sequence might be the best damn thing on tv at present. The moments are joyful, pure and funny as hell. So much good occurs in the quiet moments as much as the wild, action packed sequences.

Mickey (Jon Voigt) has his own “family” of sorts, namely his native friends who he shares an apartment with. Here too there are comedic golden moments, namely Mickey being chided by the elder man who calls him “crooked tree” which is an apt a description of Mickey as ever there was. A heist plan to steal the titular “green horseshoe” filled with money from his former employer Little Bill (Ted Levine) ends up exactly as we expect it to and including his Mick’s relationship with a lounge singer seems a distraction at best. The old man’s reaction to Bunchy’s (Dash Mihok) and Teresa’s (Alyssa Diaz) new arrival easily indicates his next move and return to anarchy for all involved. Mickey is such a beautiful disaster a very watchable disaster. Every time someone befriends him or falls under his sway, the outcome is predetermined but one cannot look away as it all plays out.

Ray’s actions after discovering Agent Muncie’s (Michael Hyatt) fate is disheartening but understandable. The discovery that this season’s big bad or at least part of it is such an unexpected source leads to a stronger connection between Ray and Abby which makes her proclamation to him as regards her health issue all the more unsettling. She tells him he will “take care” of their current issue with the Russians and she will “take care of her problem.” It makes for a heartbreaking movement as both are temporarily lost. At heart of Ray Donovan is the unshakable family connection that surrounds him. No matter how isolated or beset upon he may be, he is never alone. Ray’s attempt at reparation we know won’t cut it, but we pull for him and his hard edged crew to persevere. This, ladies and gentlemen, is stellar tv. Ray Donovan returns to its status as simply outstanding and well worth your time.



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