Ray Donovan recap: Norman Saves the World
While the Fite Club prepares for Hector Campos, Ray teams up with Ed Cochran to get Mickey out of prison
There’s a cycle that dominates Ray Donovan’s life. He helps someone get out of trouble, which leads to someone else getting in trouble, and then he has to get that person out of trouble, too. There’s never a moment where everything is good and Ray doesn’t have to worry about burying a body, getting someone out of prison, or cleaning up a PR mess. Thus, with Mickey going to prison to save the Donovan family, “Norman Saves the World” is all about getting him out…maybe.
With that in mind, Ray turns to perhaps the only man who can help him: Ed Cochran. Ray obviously doesn’t want to work with him, but he has no choice at this point. Ed has the file on TV star Sherman Radley that, if all goes well, should influence Holt to let Mickey out of prison.
So, Ray goes to Ed with $1 million and asks him to grab the file and get it to Holt. The proposition: Get Mickey into a protective wing for homosexual inmates so he’ll be safe from the Russians. See, the Russians are going to be pissed about Ray killing Belikov, and they’re going to target the most vulnerable member of the Donovan clan — for now that’s Mickey, all alone in prison.
With the plan underway, Ray goes to see his father. He fills him in on the details and Mickey is on board. He said he’s done 20 years of prison in the past, so playing up his nonexistent homosexuality is no problem for him. Sure enough, Mickey gives a pretty convincing interview to the prison official in charge of transfers. All that’s left is for Mickey’s family to confirm his statement.
After the prison visit, Ray calls on Ed. He’s got the file, and it’s pretty damning. Essentially, Sherman killed his young co-star Fiona Miller when she wouldn’t have sex with him, later paying Ed to get rid of the murder weapon. Ed still has it, sealed in an evidence bag and all, but Ray still needs a body to make the charges stick. The only problem? Someone else took care of the corpse.
The need to find the culprit is urgent, because the Russians are closing in on Mickey. In the opening montage, we saw a hulking man hired to go after the Donovan patriarch, getting himself arrested and committed to the same prison. In a close call, the hitman pours some poison into Mickey’s food while he’s not looking, but Mickey’s saved when his cellmate eats the food instead.
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Later that night, his cellmate keels over in pain. Mickey, realizing his cellmate is dying, calls for medical help, but when he sees the guard who’s evaluating his transfer paperwork coming, he decides to use his dying pal as evidence of his homosexuality. He pulls his pants down and pretends to have sex with him in plain sight of the guard, hoping that’ll bolster his chances of getting transferred. The Emmy-nominated drama Ray Donovan, everybody!
NEXT: The Future, The Texan
While Ray is once again trying to protect the father he formerly wanted dead, what’s the rest of the Donovan family up to? Well, Hector Campos has decided to use the Fite Club to train, which means the whole thing is being shut down so Hector’s people can secure the place and the press can visit. That happens after Damon’s first amateur fight, though, where he destroys his opponent despite being hungover. The kid’s still learning, but he’s got talent.
As good as Damon looks, Hector’s health — mentally and physically — is up in the air. He’s not looking great, and the presence of Marisol certainly won’t help. She’s been kicked out of rehab; when Darryl picks her up, he makes the mistake of letting her stop to get a hit on the way back to the gym. That causes a lot of tension back at the Fite Club between her and Hector, and these two are once again threatening to destroy each other.
Anyway, let’s get back to the plot to get Mickey out of prison. Ed offers up the evidence to Holt, who’s undeniably intrigued but says he can’t get Mickey out right away. Maybe in three months, he says. That might not be good enough, but it’s the deal for now.
With Holt in, Ray and Ed start to track down the guy who hid Fiona’s body. First, they waterboard a Hollywood agent named Nick in order to get the name. He says he handed the job over to Ezra Goldman, which brings an astonished look to Ray’s face. Luckily, Ray knows Ezra used a man (who goes by the nickname The Texan) for jobs he didn’t want Ray to do — so he calls Avi and tells him to find out The Texan’s real identity.
Of course, the plan is more complicated than that. Ray gets the sense Ed is playing him, so he sends Lena to the set of Sherman Radley’s show, Norman Saves the World, to keep an eye on things. This results in the episode’s best moment: Lena, looking completely dead behind the eyes, watching Sherman perform in front of a live studio audience. It’s the kind of dead-eyed stare that can only come from watching a network sitcom.
Sure enough, Ed shows up to Sherman’s trailer to try and get one over on Ray. He tells Sherman that Ray is close to finding the body, but he can make it all go away for $5 million. What Ed doesn’t anticipate is two things: 1) Sherman will just go straight to The Texan, and 2) Ray has already found him.
Everyone ends up at Sherman Radley’s Crab Grab, a crab joint in Inglewood that never worked out for the actor. Ray follows The Texan there, and Ed has already arrived having received the location of the body from Sherman. He inside looking for the body when he gets a call from Ray. He tells him he better get out now, because The Texan is about to walk in — but Ed is so stubborn, so convinced Ray doesn’t know about his plan, he plays dumb the whole time.
That leads to Ray “saving” him, heading inside after he hears gunshots. Both Cochran and The Texan are shot but alive, leaving Ray to find the body. The Texan tells him Fiona’s body is in the drywall in the back room, and after knocking out a few chunks, Ray finds it. He takes a look at The Texan — now an old man just living out his last days — before leaving the Crab Grab, and it’s clear he’s getting a peek into his future. It doesn’t look so good.
At least Mickey has a future…for now. With the location of the body and murder weapon delivered to Holt, Mickey’s transfer is approved just in time: His new cellmate is the man who tried to kill him. Surely the Russians won’t stop coming after the Donovans, though. Such is the cycle of Ray Donovan; solve one problem, create a few more.