Credit: Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME

At the end of last week’s season premiere, Mickey Donovan’s life came to an end. A massive explosion sent him into the afterlife along with the rest of his fellow inmates as they were being transported upstate. Going out in a burst of flames maybe isn’t what Mickey expected, but it might be what he deserved.

As Ray tells his therapist, Mickey has never been a good guy. One lasting memory of him involves a 10-year-old Ray taking care of his dying mother. He’s lying in bed with her when she pees in bed, her ovarian cancer wreaking havoc on her body. Mickey hasn’t been seen for a month or so. Ray heads downstairs to get towels to clean her up, and he finds Mickey going through a coffee tin, stealing whatever savings his wife had left. That’s who Mickey Donovan was, and that’s why Ray isn’t all that upset that he’s gone.

Still, Ray is dealing with grief in some ways. He may not have loved his father, but the fact that he’s dead means he can’t fully deal with everything he’s been working on in therapy. This sends him spiraling. He spends the episode in a haze and starts drinking again. A lot. He signs for Mickey’s stuff, throws the box out, and then begins to concoct a plan to take care of this business with the dead police officers.

He tells Lena to get some money together for Mac’s widow. He then uses that money to bribe her. He tells her that when the cops come around and start asking about the severed head, she should spill some information about Mac knowing about corruption and say things ended up going too far. “He was in over his head,” he says as he drops off the money and prepares her to deal with the detectives.

Meanwhile, Bunchy and Daryll are preparing to mourn Mickey once and for all. They purchase an urn and something called an “eternal flame” in his honor, and then Daryll heads to Terry’s place. Terry hasn’t heard about Mickey yet because of his weird milk thistle tea trip, but when Darryl tells him he’s taken aback, mostly because of his vision during his trip, when he saw Mickey dead. That freaks him out.

Everyone agrees to meet later that night at Ray’s place to tell stories about Mickey, but Ray’s day is a long one. He’s struggling to cope with his father’s death and everything else on his plate. He meets with Kevin Sullivan, the man Feratti wanted to blackmail, and Sullivan tries to buy back the pictures. Ray refuses, unable to negotiate for the Mayor, but this is far from over. Sullivan seems to be pretty powerful, so who knows what kind of trouble he could cause.

Ray’s also dealing with the detective looking into the dead cops. He concocts a pretty tight alibi, getting his producer friend to give him ticket stubs from a Jonathan Walker Hanson concert on the date Mac killed himself, but it might not be enough. The detective is suspicious, and she tails Ray throughout the day. He’s too drunk to notice. He’s off his game. His therapist tries to get him to talk about losing his father, but Ray just walks out of the session. He’s spinning out of control.

Things are about to get worse for him though. While Lena does some good work and scrubs the security footage from the motel where Mac shot himself, Mac’s widow refuses to use Ray’s story. She says she can’t make her husband into a murderer, even after everything he put her through. In some ways, Ray respects that. He tells her to keep the money, but now he’s stuck with a loose end.

Then, there’s the ultimate loose end. Back at his place, Ray puts on a drunken show. He bums everyone out with his story about Mickey and the coffee can, turning things serious when everyone is trying to remember the good stories about Mickey. Eventually, everyone starts to delight in piling on Mickey, getting real about who he was. They toast to their father, and then there’s a knock on the door.

It’s Mickey, alive and well — I have no idea how that’s possible, and I think the show is losing out on a lot of potential from killing the character off, but I guess we’ll see where it goes. Ray punches him in the face, completely frustrated by the fact that there’s seemingly no way to get rid of this man’s presence in his life, and the episode cuts to black. A disappointing and gutless end to an episode that actually looked like it was going to force Ray Donovan into a different pattern.

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