Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ray Donovan 2.7: The Party from Hell

We already knew that Ray's family was a dysfunctional family par excellence.  But in episode 2.7, probably the best episode so far in the series, as far as family is concerned, we see the dysfunction in high, brilliant relief at Conor's 14th birthday party, where everything that can go wrong with jaggedly broken family short of murder does do wrong, and worse.

The episode, by the way, was directed by Liev Schreiber, who put in even more than his customarily outstanding performance along with Jon Voight, who has been tour de force in this series every time he's on screen.   Mickey gives the car that Daryll loves to Conor, and the result practically breaks up Mickey and his often professed love of his life.   What was Mickey thinking?  Was this just an absent-minded oversight, or was Mickey trying to punish Daryll because of Daryll's anger about not wanting to get literally beaten in the boxing matches Mickey was setting up for Daryll in Mexico?  What makes this so memorable is that you never quite know, and, in Mickey's case, it's at least a little of both.

Ray and Terry nearly come to blows over Terry's need to sell the gym and move to Ireland.  Mickey makes things worse in this exchange, too, by pointing out that Ray has been using Terry's gym to launder money.   Bunchy feels poorly treated by Ray, too.   Abby is finally driven to the arms of the cop - likely this time to be consummated - and Bridget is furious with Ray, too, after he forbids her to see Marvin Gaye Washington.   So furious, indeed, that she alerts Ray that something suspicious is going on with Abby.

In the end, the only one still on good terms with Ray is Conor.   In a great closing scene, the two dance to Aerosmith's "Walk this Way".   This is highly significant, too.  With all the rampant breakdown around them, there is still a profound tie between father and son, Ray and Conor.   In that sense, at least so far, Ray has improved the relationship that he as a son had and had with Mickey.

No FBI in this show.   No Ezra and no Avi or Lena.  Just family - for at least 90% of the episode - which is what Ray Donovan excels in showing in all its magnificent dysfunction.  Just about everyone at the party did something wrong, or something to aggravate the situation.  Everyone except Conor - but he contributed, too, by having a birthday.

See also Ray Donovan 2.1: Back in Business ... Ray Donovan 2.4: The Bad Guy ... Ray Donovan 2.5: Wool Over Eyes

And see also Ray Donovan Debuts with Originality and Flair ... Ray Donovan 1.2: His Assistants and his Family ... Ray Donovan 1.3: Mickey ... Ray Donovan 1.7 and Whitey Bulger ... Ray Donovan 1.8: Poetry and Death ... Ray Donovan Season 1 Finale: The Beginning of Redemption

 does have some FBI agents

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