Monday, November 20, 2017

TV Show Review: Ray Donovan (Season 5)

Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber) returns for a mournful fifth season as the death of his wife Abby (Paula Malcomson) has caused him an immense amount of grief. It is not immediately revealed how Abby died the season is split between present-day drama and flashbacks of Abby's last days. Ray is in a drunken daze for most of the season as he copes with his grief. He is forced to attend anger management class after an incident involved his brothers and father and his daughter calling the cops. As the story plays through multiple times, Ray has problems in the present even if he isn't totally there to deal with them. HIs family is still up to no good and finding themselves in over their head with a ton of intense trouble. Abby was a sobering force for the Donovan family so leaving them behind with a bar leads naturally to chaos.

Ray's daughter Bridget Donovan (Kerris Dorsey) seeks out a young man Smitty (Graham Rogers) who was denied treatment because Ray arranged it that Abby would receive the treatment. Something went wrong with Abby receiving the treatment but Smitty was pushed out so he is steadily dying. Terry Donovan (Eddie Marsan) has had his Parkinson assisted by a device that stops his shaking as he struggles with his own guilt over Abby's death. Bunchy Donovan (Dash Mihok) tries to make an investment with his settlement cash but ends up being robbed at a subway shop. Mickey Donovan (Jon Voight) is being harassed by FBI agent Frank Barnes (Michael McGrady) to kill Avi (Steven Bauer) who is smuggling drugs. He also helps Daryll (Pooch Hall) when one of his clients Jay White (Brian White) accidentally kills his sensai.

Ray strikes up a relationship with the famous movie star Natalie James (Lili Simmons) who he may have started an affair with even before Abby died. Natalie has become pregnant after a separate affair with a producer Doug Landry (Michel Gill) who works with the ruthless mogul Samantha Winslow (Susan Sarandon). Samantha employs Ray to handle things but there is a competing fixer Vicky (Adina Porter) who tries to steal important information from him. Bunchy takes matters into his own hands since he can't find anyone to help him get his cash back so he goes to jail and meets one of the robbers, earning his trust. Mickey tries to take advantage of holding the clean up of a dead body over Jay White by getting his screenplay produced but White is hesitant to cooperate trying to change the movie into something Mickey doesn't like.

As the flashback slowly catches up, viewers learn that Abby decided she was going to kill herself just as Ray had arranged it for her to get the experimental treatment. Bridget threatens the doctor who performs the treatment to allow Smitty to receive treatment but ends up in jail. Ray has to step in and fix all the problems, faking Avi's death, helping Bridget out of jail, and helping Bunchy kill his robber and get his money. He eventually has to turn Mickey in to stop the FBI from pursuing his career but the spotlight is shined on Ray when Natalie James ends up dead. Ray helps Samantha undercut Doug Landry and kills the producer. The show ends with Ray finally returning to life still coping with the loss of Abby but able to handle his job.

Ray Donovan isn't a top show of the year but I always find myself enjoying the various stories of the Donovan family. It has confronted some tough issues and it is amazing to see how Ray gets out of seemingly impossible situations. The show looks like it is moving toward an end and I can't imagine that the show will go on for many more seasons after this one. Liev Schreiber is entertaining as the main character and his subtle performance as the fixer carries the show forward while a strong supporting cast keeps the story interesting. Without Paula Malcomson, the show will be missing a huge presence but this season was a solid send off for a great character. 

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