Ray Donovan Season 2 Review “Rodef”

The parade of terrible decisions continued on last night’s episode of Ray Donovan. The situation was further complicated by a lot of bad timing, which left one dead and two Donovans in jail by the episode’s end – neither of whom were Mickey, by the way.

The episode started off with a sad, traumatized Bridget watching Marvin Gaye Washington’s memorial service on television. The home going services for Marvin and Rekon looked more like a Hollywood red carpet event, instead of a funeral service. Ray had far too many fires to put out to offer more than a few comforting words to his daughter. Abby and Ray are unquestionably loving parents. However, between Ray’s career and Abby’s extracurricular activities, the two have not been as attentive to their kids as they should be. As a result, Abby and Conor have found themselves in dangerous situations, keeping company with people who have not demonstrated the strongest judgment.

Last night, it was Conor’s turn to stray. After overhearing Ray tell Abby that he might be going to jail, Conor wanted answers. When he didn’t get satisfactory responses from his father, Conor decided to pay Mickey a surprise visit. I don’t quite follow Conor’s obsession with and trust in his grandfather. I thought that Mickey’s callous decision to give Conor the Cadillac and Daryl’s very palpable anger and hurt over Mickey’s slight would have finally opened Conor’s eyes to his grandfather’s shortcomings. I’m unclear as to whether Conor is genuinely interested in Mickey or if he’s just being a typical teenager and reaching out to him to spite Ray. The sight of Conor being left behind with Mickey as Ray was taken away by the police was quite disconcerting. I guess we’ll have to wait until next week to find out if anyone bothered calling Abby.

I don’t know if Abby would have been much help to Conor. Like her son, she too has a bit of a misguided trust in Mickey. And while she might not be happy with Ray’s performance as a husband, she certainly doesn’t want to see him in jail. It was really interesting to hear her ask Ray if there was something that could be done about Kate before her new article landed Ray in jail. Once again, we see Abby rebuking Ray’s ways, yet completely wiling to resort to them when it suits her interests. Clearly, there’s a reason Abby ended up with someone like Ray, instead of someone like Jim. Poor Jim. I’m glad he had a change of heart and decided not to go through with the Abby-ordered hit on the Cookie Monster. As much as I’d like to see Cookie go down for good before the season ends, I would not want to be at the expense of Jim’s integrity. Ray Donovan has fast become a show where I find myself struggling to root for any of the characters, which is what makes it entertaining. However, it is nice to see a few decent people in a universe overwhelmed by the morally “flexible.”

Mickey’s pot store heist went down last night and it was as disastrous as expected. I have no idea what Mickey was thinking when he decided that physically removing a safe was a better option than simply waiting for Shorty to get his oxygen and come along for the ride. It was disappointing to see that Daryl had joined the “crew” as the procurer of a truck and the getaway driver. Despite what happened in Mexico and the car incident, Daryl still felt obligated to be there because “Mickey needed him.” I understand that the characters, like real people, have a blind spot for family, but the allegiance towards Mickey is bordering on unrealistic. Shorty’s delayed oxygen delivery wasn’t the only unanticipated wrench in the heist plan, the shop started using a different armored car service, which meant that the gang wasted all that time struggling with a safe that had no money in it. Or if there is money, it is a pittance compared to what the team was expecting. I hope the security guard was right, as I cannot wait to see the look on Mickey’s face as he cracks open the safe and discovers that it is empty.

The prospect of an empty safe was enough to lead Ronald to call an audible, which was supposed to make him $100,000 richer and land Mickey in jail for what would have likely been the rest of his life. You know what they say about the best laid plans, indeed they truly went awry when Terry – instead of Mickey – decided to go back and find out what was holding up Ronald. Perhaps I’m as foolish as Conor, Abby and Daryl, because for a slight second, I thought Mickey was going to stay behind at the store and take the fall for the robbery. They could have said that Terry was there under duress or that Terry stumbled upon the crime scene because he was worried about Mickey and followed him there. That could have explained Terry ending up in a lock room. But no, at Terry’s behest, Mickey hauled ass and then picked the worst time ever to break the news of Terry’s predicament to Ray. Indeed, Terry’s situation is urgent, but maybe you let Ray wrap his head around Conor nearly dying in an explosion first. Understandably angry about his son and his brother, Ray lost it and found himself in police custody while Mickey continued to play the role of the cat that ate the canary.

The timing of Ray’s arrest, of course, couldn’t have been worse. He finally got his hands on the video of the Cookie Monster killing Marvin and Rekon and told the impatient gangster that he was on his way to turn over the incriminating footage. As a viewer, I was frustrated that Ray didn’t make it over to Cookie’s with the video because I wanted to know if Ray was able to delete Bridget from the video or if he was going to try to appeal to the Cookie Monster’s non-existent rational side. I’ve got quite a few questions heading into the finale – is the phone with the incriminating video in Ray’s car or was it on Ray when he was arrested? I suppose it doesn’t matter because the police would have no reason to do anything more than put the phone away with the rest of Ray’s belongings.

Although the episode was largely spent on Ray’s continued spiral out of control, there were some very significant moments for some of the other characters that could have huge ramifications in next week’s finale. When this season ends, it will be interesting to see who ends up taking the title for the most vile character on Ray Donovan. This might be a shocker, but I think Cookie might actually be a distant third to Ezra and Cochran. Don’t get me wrong, Cookie is a horrible person and I’d be delighted if the writers wrapped up his storyline before the season ends. However, Cookie’s questionable character traits and penchant for violence are immediately apparent. It was clear who and what he was when he first appeared on the screen.

Ezra and Cochran, on the other hand, are just as evil and they’re also ruthless and manipulative when it comes to getting what they want. Unsurprisingly, Cochran came up with a narrative to explain Volcheck’s suicide and trotted out his wife and Volcheck’s widow to assist him with the lie he created. In an alternate universe show mash-up, I’d love to see Cochran plotting murders and creating truths with Gemma on Sons of Anarchy. This duo could be unstoppable – until they turn on each other. I was glad to have my belief confirmed that Cochran’s wife was not the vile, heartless person her husband was. I’d love to see the conversation between the two when they’re alone and he’s addressing her outburst at the press conference. Beware, Mrs. Cochran, I don’t think there’s anyone your husband wouldn’t kill if it meant saving face and advancing professionally. Luckily for Mrs. Cochran, her husband will be preoccupied with Kate and Frank. You’d think after Volcheck’s suicide that Cochran would have learned his lesson about putting his co-conspirators out to pasture. I guess he was slightly kinder to Frank, as he did promise him a hefty pension once he retired.

Cochran wasn’t the only one contemplating how to address the Kate problem. Where Cochran manipulates his title and the law to bend others to his will, Ezra is an expert at appealing to one’s sense of guilt and last night, he even brought religion into his appeal to Ray. I can’t say that I’m clear on where Ray’s head is when it comes to Kate. I don’t know that his need to protect her is as simple as him having feelings for her. I think that Kate, for now, might be the only one on the show benefiting from good timing, as she came into Ray’s life at a point where he appears to be weary and tired of spending his days putting out fires in his own life, as opposed to the lives of his clients. Of course, Kate’s good timing might just run out, as we saw Ezra sharing the tale of Rodef with Avi and challenging Avi to do what is best for Ray – even if it’s not what Ray wants. Avi and Lena are both very concerned about Ray and frustrated that he’s keeping them in the dark, even if it is to protect them. Lena’s reaction to Ray’s severance offer suggests that working with Ray provides her and Avi with a sense of security that they’re not ready to lose. Avi wants so very badly to help Ray with his problems, which does not bode well for Kate.

Until next week!

What did you think of this week’s episode of Ray Donovan? Who do you think makes it out alive? Will Abby finally get a chance to put all of those hours at the gun range to use? First the priest and now a weed shop robbery, what will Frances say about Terry’s current predicament? Are we ever going to check in with Bunchy again? Sound off below!