Ray Donovan’s latest Season 7 episode “A Good Man is Hard to Find” appeared as bleak as ever, Ray on the brink of collapse… Until one of TV’s great all-time surprises.
Warning: This review contains major spoilers for Ray Donovan Season 7 Episode 2.
In the ultimate bit of irony to Ray’s statement tonight, “There are no happy endings to a Mickey story,” there was one. We’ve become accustomed as TV viewers not just as Ray Donovan fans but for every series in the modern era to be pessimists. Thus, even though it seemed rational that Mickey Donovan would survive his brush with death, IMDB records listing future episodes for Jon Voight, promo photos, even a mention this episode of a missing body… It seemed less and less plausible as the episode went on that Mickey’s future appearances wouldn’t just be flashbacks/hallucinations. Abby Donovan style. Sure, the series has teased Mickey as a goner before. Last season with the faked heart attack in the Season 6 trailer but this time was different.
There was a gradual, sophisticated buildup with the clover leaf tattoo/gas tanker in the Season 7 premiere that made this occasion feel real. Especially, on the heels of losing massive co-lead Abby Donovan and Season 6 breakout star Mac, it seemed like everyone is fair game potentially.
Kudos to Writer/Director Joshua Marston for breaking away from the pack of TV grief givers. He had us all going, even the usually stone-faced Ray was shedding waterworks and showing raw emotion over his father’s “passing.” Then the door knock happened and despite being met with a customary Donovan family greeting, a punch to the face…. There was no Donovan fan or family member that wasn’t grinning from ear to ear. Marston has given TV audiences hope once again.
Nobody wants to see Mickey Donovan take that final bow, not now, not ever. For once, expecting the worst, hoping for the best came true. There will be no relishing and holding onto every flashback and hallucination as the cameos dwindle down this time around. Mickey is alive and in the flesh, taking actions in the present. Not a ghost, not living in someone’s mind when they’re on the floor, rock bottom. The Joker to Ray’s Batman, forever to continue this dance.
Amber’s internal debate and Ray’s best scene of the episode
Mac’s ex-wife Amber was offered money by Ray for the recently deceased to take the rap for several Donovan murders during Bridget’s kidnapping. Initially Amber accepted the offer reluctantly, a revised story for what would have been the equivalent of Mac’s pension. In the tale, Mac goes down heroically shooting after the crooked officers threatening his wife and child before taking his own life. Ray in turn, places Mac’s belongings/clothes and DNA at the scene of the crime. At the last second, however, Amber called Ray and decided she couldn’t do it. She offered the money bag back to Ray but he wanted her to keep it anyway.
Ray had been experiencing devastating guilt and emotion after seeing Mac’s son again. In an excellently acted scene by Liev Schreiber, he holds back tears as he tells Mac’s son that his “father loved him very much… He told him that.” There was something about this scene that really resonated as a change in Ray’s character after the therapy sessions on his own youth. Seeing Mac’s son as a younger Ray, feeling indirectly responsible for why his father wasn’t coming home anymore. Mac had told Ray to stay away last season after all.
Terry presumably drank Ayahuasca last episode, and both his body and mind don’t seem to have reacted well. Terry’s head was noticeably shaking as he left the ‘alternative medicine’ spot early in the episode. Later on, he was uncharacteristically verbally brutal toward Daryll, who just wanted a photo of Mickey with all the Donovans together for his urn. Terry also left his phone behind, which could provide major leftover evidence with all of Ray’s missed calls, voicemails and text messages. However, the brew did give Terry a vision of what would happen to his father… Will these visions continue as Season 7 progresses?