Ray Donovan Season IV Finale – ‘Rattus Rattus”: A Review

Posted: 09/22/2016 in Uncategorized


An earlier episode had Abby (Paula Malcomson) recounting a story about teenaged versions of she and Ray making love in his room, to one of his favorite songs, to her father in law, Mick (Jon Voigt). The story was simple and beautiful, ending with her sharing Ray’s (Liev Schreiber) declaration that she should “cut his throat now, because it would never be better than this.”  It was a beautiful statement, simple, pure and perfect.  The elder Donovan said as much when replying to her. This is how the series should end. It won’t get better than this. Season 4, ominously titled “Rattus Rattus,” caps off the season and series- in my mind –  perfectly. My opening volley offered, on to my review.

We open with Ray in the crosshairs of Agent Frank Barnes (Michael McGrady). We see the FBI taking away all of Ray’s files and giving him an ultimatum of complying or face jail time. We learned last ep that Sonia Novitsky (Embeth Davidtz) had betrayed Ray to cut her own deal and protect her daughter. Ray doesn’t blame her but councils her on the likelihood of Barnes keeping his word. He nonetheless understands her plight and her attempt at saving herself. The episode could easily have been titled “Sure, sure” as this becomes Ray’s rote response to pretty much everything, from assuring Abby that the problem with the Russians is solved to taking his daughter Bridget (Kerris Dorsey) to the airport. Ray is in a  demoralized state, seeing no real way out. A dream he has intimates a dire end to a loved one. There is very much a pervasive air of doom throughout the run.

Ray and Terry (Eddie Marsan) have it out over the truth about Hector Campos (Ismael Cruz-Cordova). Terry charges Ray with corrupting their family. Ray tells him matter- of -factly that Terry initially came to him when he was down and out. He further tells him “you know what’s going on” which is undeniable. Ray lies to Abby who in turn might be lying to him about her sudden remission. Bridget’s acceptance to NYU, Abby’s sudden recovery. As a viewer you start to question reality, namely is Ray’s breaking as he truly is in an unwinnable situation. Terry gains a bit of glory in this ep, both professionally and personally via his relationships with Maureen (Tara Buck) and his protege Damon (Dominique Columbus).

To say that the source of Ray’s salvation is “unexpected” is a gross understatement. Mick ask Abby for a loan to make a “shoah thing” bet. We know thus far that Mick’s sure things have often led to ruin. Mick alludes to this fact in the episode. Abby gives him the loan in a way, divesting herself of Sonia’s “gift” to Ray and Bridget “Girl with Guitar”. She understandably wants it out of her house. Mick going to a pawn broker to sell his vintage porn and subtly ply his art ware is a recipe for disaster. His late night rendezvous with an “art dealer” seems poised for more trouble. Many moments lead us to believe the end might be nigh including Abby’s confident proclamation that “nobody can touch us”…..

The writers of this show, however, are formidable. While we are in the post Biderman era, we are far from riding off into the sunset. Mick’s move leads to Ray’s own machinations with the FBI and a tour de force play against Dmitri (Raymond J. Barry) that is incandescent. The meeting with Avi which seemed a harbinger of Ray’s desperate return to the church is a feint. His meeting with Father Romero (Leland Orser) is downright biblical up to and including his telling the good padre plainly what Hector is and what he will do upon Ray’s “allowing” him to win his fight and return to God. The moments between the two are fantastic as both are men of belief; Romero in God and Ray in himself.

This season has very much been one of bridging the gap between Ray’s work family and home family. The coming together of both in a glorious amalgam is wondrous to behold. Ray for good or ill unites everyone. He also manages to give everyone, and I mean everyone, what they deserve. Avi’s (Steven Bauer’s) nigh resurrection and vengeance are outstanding. Ray’s elevation to general in the field of fixers is incontestable. His pulling himself out of the corner Barnes puts him in, especially after learning of Sonia’s fate, is brilliant. The end might be criticized for being too ideal but if this is how to end it and they probably should…what a hell of a fine way to go out. Ray Donovan Season 4 ends with a bang not a whimper, proving yet again to be simply outstanding and well worth your time.


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