For all of its obvious flaws, Ray Donovan is a show that works best when it’s creating tension between what Ray does for a living and how it affects his family. This has been a messy season — and that may be putting it generously — filled with fits and starts and shoddy character motivations. The season finale though, while not necessarily much better than the episodes before it, at least signals a new direction for the show, which has been complacent all season long. “Rattus Rattus” sees the Donovan family coming out on top, and perhaps more in-tune and powerful than ever.
The road to that conclusion is by no means easy though. A dream sequence at the start of the episode essentially promises death and destruction. The whole Donovan family sits in a church at a funeral. While Sonia Kovitsky gets a little friendly with Ray’s, um, lower body, he watches as his wife appears in the casket in front of him. Is this a foreshadowing of things to come in the season finale? Is Ray doomed to be surrounded by death?
Things aren’t even looking good for Ray outside of the dream sequence. In the real world, the FBI has cleared out his office and obtained all of his files. Barnes calls it a “Lollapalooza” of celebrity scandals and cover-ups. Plus, you know, Ray’s facing a long time in prison. Of course there’s an out though. Barnes wants Sonia and Ray to work together to get back in Dmitri’s good graces. Once they do, Ray will bring Dmitri to the big title fight, wear a wire, and the FBI will arrest the Russian mob boss. At least that’s the idea.
Surprisingly, Dmitri is very open to Sonia coming back to work for him. Once Sonia offers to move a bunch of product while not taking a cut of the profits, Dmitri welcomes her back into the operation. But, we know he’s not a warm and forgiving man, and Ray knows this, too. As Ray is sent away, and Sonia is left alone with the Russians, the two share a knowing glance: This is likely the last time Ray will see Sonia alive.
Meanwhile, back at home, Ray learns from Abby that her cancer is disappearing. That’s great for Abby and Ray, but it’s a little bit of a phony, tossed-off resolution to Abby’s character arc this season. Her cancer diagnosis and subsequent refusal of treatment has been pushed to the forefront of many episodes, and yet the finale just tosses the character struggle aside. Anyway, because Abby is finally in a better place, Ray lies to Abby about his feud with the Russians being over.
That may be conflict on the horizon, but there’s also some good going around in “Rattus Rattus.” For one, Bridget finds out that she’s been accepted to NYU. A college education is great, but getting away from her disastrous, dysfunctional family is even better. Don’t waste this opportunity, Bridget! Then there’s Terry, who continues to be the only truly likable member of the Donovan family. Not only does he take in Damon and offer him a place to live and train, his relationship with Officer Daugherty is taking off.
That’s the good stuff, so you know the bad is right around the corner.
NEXT: Not God’s Problem