Ray Donovan isn’t a happy show. Ray Donovan isn’t a happy man. In fact, just about everyone on this show is completely devoid of happiness. Even Mickey, perpetual dancer and off-color joke maker, doesn’t have a whole lot of happiness in his life outside of buying a new grill. The season 3 premiere, “The Kalamazoo,” wallows in sadness—just look at the way the Donovan home is shot, all shadows and barely any light coming in—letting us know that Ray’s life is in complete shambles, perhaps more than ever before.
Gone is the charismatic, albeit violent and emotionally distant, Ray Donovan. He’s a shell of his former self in the premiere, working lower-level jobs like freeing men from precarious situations involving glory holes (seriously) and having sex with vulnerable strangers he takes home from bowling alley bars.
Ray’s adrift after the death of Globe reporter Kate McPherson, but more than that he’s adrift because he believes his closest friends betrayed him. Ray believes that Avi and Ezra have gone against his best wishes in killing Kate, unable to see how she could have put him in prison for a long time.
Ray’s despondency only gets worse when he finds out that Ezra has died. When he shows up to the funeral, having not spoken to Ezra in months, Deb ridicules him for his absence. Ezra always treated Ray like his son, taking him under his wing and crafting him into the man he is. Ray abandoned him in his final moments and Deb won’t stand for that, so she asks him to leave the funeral.
Ray obliges, leaving the funeral with nowhere to go, despite Abby’s pleas for him to come home. Instead he goes to his office, lashes out at Avi and then goes back to wandering the streets. It’s there that he’s confronted by a driver working for a man named Andrew Finney (Ian McShane). Finney wants to meet with Donovan about a potential job.
It turns out that Finney is someone of notoriety and his son has been kidnapped. The kidnappers have asked for $5 million, which is fine for Finney but not so much for his daughter (Katie Holmes). She thinks her brother is in on this, looking to get the money for himself. It seems as if Finney thinks that too, but more than anything he wants his son back. Ray, after mumbling a few words, agrees to take on the job.
Ray isn’t the only one taking on new roles and meeting new people. Bunchy is running the Fite Club and dabbling in online dating. He may not get a lot of messages, but he’s trying, and that’s a step forward for Bunchy. Despite such renewed confidence, he’s scared to confront some Luchadores who haven’t been paying their membership to use the gym.
Luckily, Bunchy has a slightly-drunk Abby at his side. She confronts the Luchadores’ manager for him, getting a credit card from the man after employing some classic intimidation she probably picked up from her husband. Never mind that the card is later declined: For now, Abby is a badass and Bunchy is in charge. Let’s give them a win for the time being.
NEXT: Burgers and Xanax