Just as Ray manages to pull himself away from Dmitri, Sonia Kovitsky returns to threaten him once again

Credit: Michael Desmond/Showtime
S4 E11
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  • Showtime

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.

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With Hector’s cover-up taken care of, Ray goes to meet with Dmitri to propose his plan for getting Avi back and settling his debt with the Russians. The plan is actually pretty simple, though the execution could be difficult. As Ray tells Dmitri, he’s bet his $2 million on Hector Campos losing his big fight via KO in the sixth round, which will bring in a total of $60 million in winnings, all of which will be Dmitri’s. That’s big money, so obviously Dmitri accepts. The only caveat? He wants to meet Hector to make sure he’s prepared to take the fall. Until then, Ray doesn’t get Avi.

A wrinkle develops in the plan pretty quickly though. When Ray heads to the airport to meet Mickey and grab the money, he’s followed by Frank Barnes. The agent closes in on him at the airport, forcing Ray to call Mickey and relay the plan to him. That sends Mickey to Vegas, on a plane full of strippers because of course, and Ray back to a room for questioning with Barnes.

Barnes shows Ray the video of him entering the port warehouse with Belikov. Interestingly enough, Barnes isn’t interested in busting Ray for murder. Rather, he wants Dmitri. He tells Ray that if he’s ready to talk about everything, from the forged art to the trafficking, Ray and his family can enjoy the comforts of Witness Protection. Ray’s no rat though, as he tells his father later, and declines the offer.


Mickey takes the receipts for the bets back home and delivers them to Ray, who then turns around and gives them to Dmitri after they have their meeting with Hector. Then, Ray takes Dmitri to the warehouse where his truck full of art is stored, and in return Dmitri releases a bloodied, bruised Avi into Ray’s care. For one single moment it looks like Ray’s done it again, managing to get out of an impossible spot with a group of very dangerous people.

Alas, Ray’s struggle with the Russians isn’t over just yet. There’s another Russian that he’s forgotten about, that he thought was dealt with already. The past comes back to haunt Ray, as it always does.

While driving Avi to the hospital, Ray gets pulled over by Barnes and a number of other agents. They arrest Ray and bring him in yet again. This time though, they don’t have any questions for him. Rather, Barnes brings him into a room and shows him someone on the opposite side of the glass: Sonia Kovitsky. They found her, and apparently she’s flipped. She’s told them everything they need to know about the art, the trafficking, and Belikov’s murder (we assume). Three words close out the episode, delivered with pure spite by Barnes:

“You’re f—ed, Ray.”

Episode Recaps

Ray Donovan

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