Ray Donovan: Season IV – Ep. 6 “Fish & Bird”: A Review

Posted: 08/03/2016 in Uncategorized

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Well, Jesus. That was depressing. I am reminded of a Denis Leary skit in which he likened “Irish Cuisine” to penance. The cuisine being served this season is just as odious. Honestly, I understand conflict, gravitas, harsh character arcs, but this run was just plain painful. Again, the acting is top tier as we have come to expect. The decline of the Donovans, however, is as one fan cited, “an hour in hell”. This needs to change. Gone is the fixer who manages to balance, albeit precariously, both this family and career. Instead, we get a beleaguered defeatist who still makes rash and plainly stupid decisions. My disenchantment pronounced, on to my review.

Defeatist might be too mild a term. This season is pushing Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber) into ‘nihilist’ status. His relationship with Sonia Novitzky (Embeth Davidtz) is meant to be heartfelt and poignant, it instead plays as empty. She, like Ray, and the many women he has connected with; is a broken person. With her criminal background, there is a commonality with Ray.  Her personal plight mirroring Abby’s (Paula Macolmson) was a good touch but the moments at her home that ensued were anything but beautiful. Abby’s later “keep it to yourself” when Ray drunkenly wants to be honest with her is understandable, particularly in the midst of an imminent christening.

Even Mickey’s (Jon Voigt) jokiness while taking full responsibility for the Minassian slaughter in order to free Belikov (Pascha Lychnikoff ) is at half mast. The inconsistency of his account easily absorbed by the DA should assure proceedings go no further, but somehow they do and Belikov is freed. Ray attempts to break off business with Novitzky, who tells him he is still short a payment. As expected, she demands sweat equity in the form of Ray running errands and accompanying her at a charity ball for breast cancer. Stu Feldman (Josh Pais) is in attendance and reminds us quickly why we haven’t missed his absence. His over the top clowning rankles up to and including his cheerily telling Ray “I’m a cuckold and I love it” as he brokers the release of a sex tape with his now wife and frequent sympathetic flyer with Ray, Ashley Rucker (Ambyr Childers).

C-Money/Connor (Devon Bagby) continues his puerile descent into imminent harm as he drunkenly shoots Abby’s gun at a neighbor’s property while attempting to corrupt/drag down Terry’s (Eddie Marsan) protégé, Damon (Dominique Columbus). Terry strives to keep the young at risk teen on the straight and narrow, including inviting him to his niece’s christening. This family is just such a sink hole, however, that any contact with them inevitably leads to trouble.

Bunchy (Dash Mihok) has some good moments with Abby. He knows something is wrong, yet still allows his sister in law to carry the load of looking after his daughter, Maria, while he crumbles and gets drunk. He does acknowledge that he isn’t stupid and when he understands what is actually medically wrong with Abby. Rather than rise up and support her, however, he recedes into his preTeresa (Alyssa Diaz) mode and becomes a bubbling mess. Abby apparently has to be strong for everybody. Malcomson again kills all her scenes.

Ray crumbles, making mistake after mistake. His drunken gift offering to Maria earns Bunchy’s justifiable anger and causes the viewer to question exactly how badly the fixer is damaged. His post-Novitzky meeting with Belikov is well done. Belikov is a greater monster than any Ray has faced so far and given the option of protecting his father and himself by enabling the horror that the Russian has committed, he risks losing far more than he already has. His decision though brutal is probably the most understandable action he undertakes in the episode. The consequences of said move will be catastrophic. I am hopeful after this half-way mark episode that there is again a restoral of trajectory and return to form for RD. This episode played like a low budget art film and not a good low budget art film. “Fish and Bird” was neither outstanding nor well worth one’s time.

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