Ray Donovan season 4 premiere recap: Girl With Guitar
Ray is on the road to recovery until a boxing champion pulls him back into the chaotic world of "fixing problems"
It feels like it’s been a long time since Ray Donovan collapsed in church after having a spiritual and physical breakdown. Shot in the gut and looking to open up about his abusive past, he sought solace in the church. Now, he’s recovered. Father Romero nursed him back to health and Ray is even getting some pieces of his life back on track, attending Bunchy’s group therapy session and seemingly patching things up with Abby.
A man named Hector Campos is largely responsible for bringing Ray back from the brink, at least spiritually. It turns out Father Romero helped Hector when he was younger, so now it’s Hector’s turn to help Ray. He brings him to his home in Big Bear for some healing, and even attends Ray’s first group therapy meeting.
Hector Campos has had quite the life of his own. He’s a current boxing champion, so he fits right in with Ray and his gang of gym rats and boxing fans. For a while it seems like Hector is a good influence on Ray, someone who put his life on the right path and found success. This is Ray Donovan, though, so all that sunshine and happiness can’t possibly last.
Things first take a turn when Detective Muncie brings Ray to her office. She asks him, for the sixth time apparently, where Mickey is. Dead girls are popping up everywhere, and as Muncie tells Ray, it’s because the two Donovans screwed up her sting. Now she’s looking to tie them to the deaths of the Minassians. Ray insists he has no idea where his father is and tells Muncie to just accept that he’s gone.
The moment gives us the episode’s best edit, as the show cuts to Mickey, fully adorned in a cheesy cowboy getup and hanging out on a rooftop overlooking the barren landscape of Primm, Nevada. If there’s a better shot this whole season than goddamn Jon Voight in a cowboy suit set against the backdrop of the desert, I don’t even want to see it. I want this image to last forever.
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Anyways, Mickey is living in Primm and doing typical Mickey things, which means he’s running an elaborate scam. It basically goes like this: He has two accomplices at a gas station who purposely sabotage the cars of rich folks stopping by for gas. When they offer to fix “the problem,” the rich guy heads into the casino bar to grab some drinks. They’re greeted by bartender Mickey, who gets them drunk (and puts substances other than alcohol in their drinks) and hooks them up with a woman who, once they’re back in her room, steals everything the man has.
It’s a low-level scheme, but it’s all Mickey’s got. Well, it’s all he had… As he’s pulling off the latest hustle, the casino guards (and head honcho Little Bill himself) figure out what Mickey’s been doing. Plus, they run Mickey’s SSN — Mickey is going by “Chip O’Malley” in Nevada — and find it’s attached to a 15-year-old kid who died in the ’60s. The jig is up, and Mickey is banished from the casino.
NEXT: Back from the dead
The rest of the Donovans are all in very different places. Bridget is living in Venice, and seems to be doing well on her own when Ray goes to visit and invites her for dinner. Terry is trying to get involved in the church, but his application to go on a mission to Brazil is denied. Then there’s Abby, whom we first see again at the hospital. It turns out she’s been diagnosed with breast cancer and nobody else knows, other than a stranger to whom she briefly opens up.
Meanwhile, Ray meets with an art-gallery owner named Ms. Kovitsky who’s looking to retain his services. She wants him to influence Muncie to let some paintings she tried to smuggle across the border out of holding, and has offered him $10,000 to start. Ray admires a painting in her gallery of a girl with a guitar, but he’s not interested in the work. Apparently, bribing cops isn’t his thing. Getting them drunk, on the other hand… Well, more on that later.
Back in Nevada, Mickey copes with his casino banishment in the best way he knows: by taking peyote and having a hallucination. He wanders around the casino thinking he sees his dead daughter, eventually punches a security guard and, as he’s trying to make his escape by running down the middle of the road, is arrested by the cops. That’s not even the worst of it, though. When he wakes up at the end of the episode, Muncie is staring him in the face. Cops, dead children, and a hospital visit — that’s the very definition of a bad trip.
Back at home, Ray is doing his best to be a new version of himself. He’s asking after Lena and getting excited about dinner with his family — that is, until he learns Hector skipped out on his training. He calls him and Hector is just sobbing, saying he’s in big trouble. Ray goes to find him, and based on the seedy motel setting, things don’t look good.
Sure enough, Ray sees a woman fleeing the scene. When he steps inside the hotel room, Hector’s holding a gun and there’s a cop tied up on the bathroom floor. The cop, responding to a noise complaint, found Hector surrounded by a ton of drugs. It’s devastating for Hector, but more so for Ray. This was the guy he looked up to and who helped him get clean, and it turns out he’s nothing but a hypocrite.
In essence, this leads Ray to abandon his progress and get back in the shady game by helping Hector. He sends Hector home — and after finding out the cop once got a suspension for a DUI, he gets him drunk, crashes his car, and implicates the cop in everything. He tells the policeman that after six weeks of rehab, someone will come to his home and give him $50,000. If he keeps his mouth shut about Hector for six months after that, he’ll get paid again. It sounds neat and tidy, but it isn’t. Ray ruins an innocent cop’s life, and in the process sabotages his sobriety and newfound sense of stability.
NEXT: Sister act
Ray packs up and goes to tell Hector that everything with the cop is taken care of, but there’s still one question he needs an answer to: Who’s the woman? The cop said he recognized her but couldn’t quite place her. When Ray confronts Hector about it, we get the shocking truth.
The woman, Marisol, is Hector’s half sister…and they’ve been together for a long time. She was the first woman to sexually “help” him after his abuse, and they’ve been engaged in some sort of relationship ever since. Of course, Hector didn’t want any of this to get out — and he was even trying to break it off, apparently — hence the need for Ray and his discerning services.
With this news out in the open, Ray heads home — it’s been a long day, to say the least. He’s late for dinner, but his family doesn’t seem to mind. On top of that, Ray’s grateful. He tells them all that he loves them, and Daryll, after awkwardly staring at Ray, says they all love him, too. Bridget is particularly happy with Ray, having received his gift: a painting of a girl with a guitar. Ms. Kovitsky isn’t done with Ray just yet, and Muncie is nowhere near done with the Donovans.
Welcome to season four of Ray Donovan.