A death to rock a family and a shock to fans
John & I (myself in particular) have been super excited about the season 5 premiere of Ray Donovan. But this was so unexpected!
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The loss of a beloved wife, mother, and character, Abby’s death changes everything. But still, kind of nothing.
Life has gone on for the Donovan’s much in similar fashion. While Ray is still outwardly an emotional rock, we’re getting a glimpse of a deeply pained man. His children are on polar opposites of the emotional spectrum, Connor, stoic and Bridget somewhere in meltdown .
Terry is about to marry. Bunchy is disappointing his wife. And Mickey is talking to the damn dog, bouncing ideas around like it could fill the void Abby left behind.
A poignant start
The first scene introduces us to the idea that one of the boys is getting married. We can assume it’s Terry since the other two are already spoken for. You can’t miss the look of heartache on Mickey’s face as he picks a set of yellow roses from the florist. The initial confusion begins when he shows up to deliver them to a grave.
Initially, we considered that somehow this was Mick’s girl from Nevada. It didn’t take long to figure out it was in fact Abby’s place of rest.
The episode continues with time jumps as Ray is frequently lost in the memories of his dead wife. Once we added up that Abby actually was dead, we needed to go back a few episodes to see what we missed. What I remembered was happy times, minus all the murdering. But in reality, this episode was precisely planned to leave us full of these curiosities.
Well, Ray, he’s doing the same thing. Being a legendary Hollywood “fixer”. Still rock steady, same forceful presence. Only now he’s attending therapy sessions after a family brawl that left his father and brother hospitalized.
Connor has gone off to military school. Although Bridget is clearly still in New York, what she’s doing with her life at the moment isn’t so clear. We do know she’s getting stoned with “the kid” from Sloan Ketterling Cancer Center. Their connection is unclear, but our guess is that it relates back to Abby.
Terry is getting married.
Bunchy has been working for Ray. He’s auditioning for the Luchadors to tour with Teresa. It doesn’t go well and leads to disappointment for everyone involved. He agrees to stay with baby Maria and let Teresa tour without him.
Mickey is roughly the same as ever. Clowning about, yet there is a sadness over him. He’s busy writing a screenplay.
But there are so many questions on the table
Who is the mystery girl?
Ray’s done a job for a Sam Winslow, who we guess will be a focal character. And trailers have shown he will be working with a new client also, a young woman. We don’t know yet how these women will play into Ray’s world. But I’m taking bets that he fucks them both.
How did Abby die?
On the night of the party, that same young woman was standing in the middle of the road in her underwear. Ray swerved to avoid hitting her with Abby in the car. We do see Abby standing outside the car after the crash, letting us know, this is not how she died.
The car crash scene felt a lot like its insertion was to make us think that was her death, right up till we see it’s not.
Will Terry get married? What happened in Nevada?
Even though the episode began with the happy announcement of Terry’s upcoming wedding. We don’t know it it’s going to happen. His fiance’s brother has uncovered a dark secret of Terry’s recent past in Nevada. Terry believes it will be his undoing. There was a lot going on in Nevada in season 4, including a weed shop robbery. Was that in Nevada? I don’t know if any of that is big enough to shake him in his boots… or shake Maureen out of her dress. Was there something else?
Who is this Smitty kid?
Bridget has gone out of her way to find him and he knows about Abby. Some clues come out at the pair smoke a bong and talk about death. Just some light catching up is all.
There are some conversational cues between him and Bridge. Then there’s some indicative storyline in Mick’s screenplay. And Ray’s comment to Mickey “It was better when the girl died” and “stick to what you know”. Making our guess that Smitty was about to get Abby’s heart before he got an infection and denied the surgery. Can you donate your heart if you have breast cancer?
Overall opinions from the Randoms
The season’s opener was fairly slow paced, I’m sure some will say boring. But for the most part, the show always is. Its deep nature is much more the pull than is excitement factor.
I’m sad to see Abby go. Paula has done an exceptional job and I’m glad we’ll be able to see her continue the show through flashbacks. I’ve always felt like Abby and Ray got this thing that goes way down deep, despite the cheating… And this episode definitely gives surface viewers a more clear view into that depth. It appears that Abby’s death is going to help us see way deeper in Ray’s character than people imagined.