The question on everyone’s mind following the previous episode of Ray Donovan was not whether or not Ray would be able to help Hector cover up the murder of his sister, but rather could Ray do that while also keeping himself focused on his beef with Dmitri? The violent Russian still had Avi while Ray was trying to figure out how to get out of the jam. “Chinese Algebra” shows that Ray is in an even more delicate balancing act than perhaps we thought, and it’s tearing his family apart. Maybe that’s a good thing though. Maybe this family is cursed and the only thing keeping that curse intact is the Donovans’ refusal to give up on family.
“Chinese Algebra” opens with the police discovering Marisol’s body in Lake Hollywood. Normally, under any other circumstances, that’d be a big moment, one that presents a conflict for the main character. Here though, it’s exactly what Ray wants. He wants Marisol’s death to look like a suicide, and that’s exactly how it looks. After all the time Ray Donovan spent building up Marisol as a threat to Hector Campos, she sure was disposed of rather easily.
But, that’s often how Ray Donovan operates. It’s not particularly adept at plotting, often cutting corners in order to once again have Ray get out of a jam unscathed (or nearly unscathed). Sure, most shows have untouchable protagonists, but Ray’s invincibility is particularly troubling this season because a lot of the tension is meant to come from the fact that Ray’s back is up against the wall. But we know the outcome, or at least have a sense of it, save for a Sonia Kovitsky twist or two.
Anyway, plotting issues and redundant storytelling aside, Ray has a plan for getting Avi back. He’s going to finally settle his debt to the Russians, the one incurred by killing Belikov and then stealing the gallery’s art. He tells Mickey to go get his share of the money he stole from Bill Primm — a total of $2 million for Ray alone — and meet him at the Burbank airport.
Meanwhile, at the Donovan house, Bunchy and Teresa are finally taking off. They realize they can’t stay with Abby and Ray anymore because it’s not safe. They’re headed up north, hoping to find a place they like along the way and settle down. Abby initially seems reluctant about them leaving, but that’s not exactly true. Rather, her look is one of resignation. She knows this is what needs to be done, so she has her own request: that Bunchy and Teresa take Conor and Bridget with them. Teresa doesn’t hesitate to accept, repaying Abby for the care she took with Maria.
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So, while Abby breaks the news to the kids and Mickey heads out to get the money he’s stashed away, Ray heads to the Fite Club to get Hector’s story straight. He meets him in the locker room and tells him that when the cops come to ask him about Marisol, Hector’s to tell them that he was at the gym training with Terry. Ray fills Terry in as well, but that doesn’t mean everything’s kosher now. It’s clear that Terry is uncomfortable with the whole thing — it seems like he’s connecting the dots, figuring out that Marisol didn’t die from an accidental overdose — and it’s a sign that perhaps Ray Donovan is planting seeds for a conflict between Ray and Terry sometime down the road.
NEXT: High Stakes Ping-Pong