Ray Donovan Season 2 Review “Volcheck”


This week’s episode of Ray Donovan was a parade of bad decisions by various members of the Donovan family. Let’s recap/review:

Abby

Admittedly, I am often an Abby apologist. Up until now, I’ve been able to look past her outbursts and unpredictable ways, because I sympathized with the character’s longing for a truly intimate relationship with her husband in which he would be able to open up with her. I was even happy when Abby started her affair with Jim because, like Lena, it seemed long overdue after Ray’s numerous extra-marital relations with women who really weren’t worth his time. Abby’s impulsive actions last night, however, were the end of the line for me. It’s understandable that Abby is concerned for Bridget’s safety. And although Abby may not know all of Ray’s dirty little professional secrets, she knows that he’s a fixer by trade and considering the fact that he’s never looking for work, assuming he’s actually good at his job would be a pretty safe bet.

Assurances from Bridget and Ray were not enough for Abby, so she decides to ask her cop boyfriend, Jim, to murder Cookie. Not only was it frustrating to watch Abby make such a ridiculous demand of Jim, but the way in which she manipulated him by demanding that he do it because he loved her – ugh. In addition to being illegal, there was no consideration to the potential risk to Jim’s life. What if the murder attempt goes wrong and Jim finds himself in Cookie’s cross hairs? I am much more intrigued by the prospect of Abby going crazy and shooting Cookie herself than I am the idea of Jim venturing out alone to do it. Abby making such a request of Jim would never be right, but it’s even more ridiculous given how quickly this relationship went from flirting at the gun range to full blown declarations of love. It’s also curious to see Abby asking Jim to do something that she would have a much easier time getting Ray to do. It looks like Ray is still feeling Cookie out, but if he suspected for a second that Cookie was on to Bridget, Cookie would not be long for this world.

I think it’s safe to say that Jim is really in this for Abby and that he’s not running some sort of long con to get Ray in handcuffs. I can’t imagine that Ray would be motivated to put his freedom on the line for a wife who has taken up with another man, so I don’t see Jim using Abby as a means of leveraging Ray in a larger investigation. The close of the episode felt very ominous for several characters and I don’t feel good about the chances of both Jim and Abby returning to the show next season.

Cochran

I knew that Cochran was a classic rock covering, wife-swapping, ambitious to the point of ruthlessness jerk, but I was surprised at his callous handling of Volcheck. I was actually more surprised by the hubris underlying his reaction to Ray’s videotape. Cochran is poised to become the nation’s top attorney and how does he reward Volcheck, who submitted to Cochran’s inappropriate quid pro quo and kept all his dirty secrets? By telling him that he had some “extra” sessions with his wife and rewarding him with a transfer to the middle of nowhere. It was quite presumptuous of Cochran to assume that he could mistreat Volcheck and not offer anything in return. I doubt that we’ll ever see either of the Cochrans confront the consequences of their actions, which is somewhat disappointing. I like to think that Mrs. Cochran may have a little more soul left in her than her husband and that Volcheck’s suicide will weigh heavily on her.

As much as I dislike Kate, I’m actually rooting for her to take down Cochran, Ray, Mickey and everyone else involved with the Sully shenanigans – except Avi.

Mickey

It’s hard to decide who wins the award for worst decision ever between Mickey, Shorty, Ronald and Terry. It’s probably best to reserve judgment until we see who manages to avoid jail time and/or death. Terry’s pride in wanting to be self-sufficient is blinding him to all logic. He’s too prideful to accept Ray’s ill-gotten gains, but somehow it’s okay for him to sign up as “muscle” for Mickey’s pot store heist. Mickey is just foolish for a number of reasons, including his misguided belief that he can trust Ronald. Ronald has demonstrated that his services are always available to the highest bidder, so Mickey should be much more suspicious of Ronald going back to Ray for more money in exchange for a guarantee that he can get Mickey behind bars. And poor Shorty, who is just in it for some quick cash and a thrill. With his rapidly deteriorating health, I don’t know if Shorty will even make it to the pot store for the robbery.

Ray

And then there’s Ray Donovan. For the first time in two seasons, Ray appears to be spiraling a bit. He’s juggling a lot of issues and doesn’t quite have any of them under control. He can’t quite put the Kate issue to bed, mostly because he’s attracted to her. I think the final episodes of this season will be a race against time between Kate and Cochran – will she manage to get the real Sully story before Cochran has her killed? Although Volcheck’s videotape was good leverage, Ray should really be more cautious about threatening someone like Cochran who is willing to use both legal and illegal means of dealing with those who dare stand in his way.

In addition to his full slate of personal issues, Ray also has the weight of the past still haunting him. I’m glad the writers did not completely drop the issues with Ray’s sexual abuse that were initially touched on during the first few episodes of the season with Abby. I don’t know what to make of Ray and Steve’s bonding. It’s just so odd and feels out of place. Steve already has two huge red flags in my book – dating Ashley and abusing Ashley. The season has already been stressful and action-packed enough without the Steve/Ashley involvement in the storyline.

Other thoughts/observations:

– My heart continues to break for Bunchy, who has been neglected by the show during some episodes and always neglected by his family.

– I’m perfectly fine sounding like a broken record when I once again state my disappointment with the lack of Avi and Lena. To make matters worse, Ray is taking out his frustration on Avi, which is extremely difficult to watch. For what it’s worth, I’d put my money on Avi in a Ray/Avi showdown. Avi may be a sensitive soul, but he’s also a stone cold killer. I’d like to know why Avi has such blind devotion to Ray and what exactly would it take for him to tell Ray, “I’m sick of your shit and I’m out.” Perhaps that’s something for exploration in a future Ray Donovan season.

– The Bridget/Conor bonding was nice to watch. It was also interesting to here that Bridget was much less judgmental of Abby in her conversation to Conor about Jim. I enjoy Bridget much more in her interactions with her peers.

– Very curious to see if there actually is a videotape of Cookie killing Marvin. I wondered if that intersection might have had traffic cams, but Cookie seems a little too savvy of a killer not to confirm that no traffic cams were present at the intersection.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Sound off below!