Ray Donovan premiere recap: The old and the new
Ray's path towards healing is threatened by past behaviors
Season 7 of Ray Donovan picks up right where last season left off. It’s the morning after Mickey agreed to turn himself in to the FBI, therefore taking the heat off Bunchy. Mickey is tiptoeing through the house, trying to quietly head for the front door without waking up Ray and Terry, who are sleeping in the living room. He takes some money from a jacket, and Ray wakes up. “If you run, they’ll go after Bunch,” he says. Mickey swears he was just going to get some donuts, but c’mon, we all know Mickey by now. Ray does too. He says they’re leaving for the FBI right this minute.
We flash back and forth between Ray dropping his father off at the FBI, and him sitting with his therapist, Arthur Amiot. Arthur wants to know how Ray felt about personally dropping his father off for incarceration. “Not the first time,” jokes Ray, but Arthur wants him to really think about it. He also wants him to think about this: simply forgiving his father, and letting all that anger go once and for all. That’s the kicker that sets in motion this season and this premiere, as Ray seemingly begins to try and change his life while also being haunted by his past.
Flash forward to 4 months later, and that past is being pulled out of the water. Some fishermen have snagged the bowling ball bag that contains one of the heads of the officers that the Donovans killed. It’s the head of Albert “Big Al” Clancy, and Detective Perry gets to work on trying to figure out what happened to him. She finds a slug in his head, and his phone calls show conversations with Mac. That leads Perry to Ray, and she asks him about Mac calling him on the day he committed suicide. Ray calmly answers the questions, but once Perry leaves, he’s on Lena to start figuring out what the police know.
Still, Ray is trying his best to change his ways. He’s not out of the “fixing” business or anything, but he’s trying to do better. When he punches a man in the face and warns him to stay away from some girl Stu knows, he walks back to the man and apologizes, saying that he could have handled things better and that the man should seek help for the issues he has.
Ray also does a job for Ferrati, who still has plenty of control over him. Ray and Lena catch a man, who has a wife and kids, receiving a blow job from a casual acquaintance at his posh golf club. They stage a photo to make it look like a little kid is watching this happen too, and use the photo to blackmail the man into keeping some deal with Ferrati involving a hospital being built.
In other words, Ray hasn’t exactly changed because of what he’s still involved in, but he is still going to therapy and attempting to deal with his issues. That also means trying to forgive his father. He visits him in prison — Mickey is sporting a brand new four-leaf clover tattoo — and hears about his transfer upstate. Then he tries to do the right thing. He thanks Mickey for taking responsibility and keeping Bunchy safe, and then forgives him for everything in the past. Mickey laughs, and then gets angry. He shouts at Ray for being the one to ruin his life, and says it’s him that should be begging for forgiveness. So much for the healthy way of doing things.
While Terry seeks out alternative medicinal options for his disease, engaging in a strange “tea ritual” that involves him puking his guts out and seeing a vision of Mickey, and while Bridget deals with not wanting to marry Smitty anymore because she met someone else, Ray deals with a truly unbearable teen star. He advises a 17-year-old celebrity about potentially damning pictures from an older woman he slept with, and how it would be statutory rape if she ever leaked them. The kid is obnoxious and aggravating and Ray does this simply as a favor because the kid’s producer is helping Bridget out.
The episode ends with a bang…a literal one. As Mickey and a handful of other convicts are transferred to maximum security upstate, they make a stop at a gas station when the back door flies open. The guards fix it, and they’re on their way, but Mickey sees a tanker truck with a four-leaf clover on it. He’s sure something is about to change his luck. Further down the road, the driver of that truck has a heart attack while the tanker is climbing a hill. The tanker flies back down the hill and directly into the bus carrying the convicts. There’s a massive explosion. Is Mickey dead? Is he alive and able to escape? Either way, Ray is going to have to see his therapist ASAP.