Aug 09 2015

Ray Donovan – “Handshake Deal” Review. A Dose of Reality.


Season 3, Episode 5

Airdate: Sunday, August 9, 2015 at 9:00 pm ET/PT on Showtime



Don’t do this. Don’t get our hopes up and then just go blow us off. We been killing ourselves for years with dad, the bar, while you’re out there in Hollywood, gettin’ your fuckin’ hair highlighted and following Ray around like a dog!” – Margaret

Mickey can only dream of having a life like this.

Mickey can only dream of having a life like this.

The minute I saw Ray (Liev Schreiber) and Mickey (Jon Voight) in the opening minutes of “Handshake Deal” dressed exactly alike, smiling at each other like damn fools, I knew one of them was dreaming…or day dreaming, as the case may be. While Mickey thinks he’s living the good life, it’s anything but. Ray isn’t faring much better considering the problems he has with estranged wife Abby (Paula Malcomson) and their two kids, Bridget (Kerris Dorsey) and Conor (Devon Bagby). Add to that his new career serving Andrew Finney’s (special guest star Ian McShane) every little whim, and let’s just say, life isn’t looking all that peachy for Ray either. After reuniting with her brother Dave (guest star Aaron Hendrey) and sister Margaret (guest star Karina Logue) in last week’s episode, “Breakfast of Champions,” Abby gets a dose of reality from her estranged father (guest star Paul Vincent O’Connor).

The bar’s called Kelley’s Place. You’re a fuckin’ Donovan.” Abby’s father doesn’t mince words when it comes to his feelings about her choice of husband. I guess Margaret isn’t the only family member who doesn’t like Ray. While I understand why Abby’s father and sister feel the way they do, I also get the sense there is more to the story than meets the eye. I’m hoping the writers let us in on more of the family’s backstory soon. I am enjoying the dose of reality Abby gets from her relatives. Her self-pity of late has been positively pathetic. Abby has been so needy for so long, it’s about time someone opens her eyes about the choices she’s made in life.

Mrs. Minassian may be a senior citizen but she sure doesn't act like one. This woman means business!

Mrs. Minassian may be a senior citizen but she sure doesn’t act like one. This woman means business!

There isn’t much I like about Mickey these days, although I’ll say one thing— Voight is one hell of an actor. He makes Mickey believable; so much so, I believe he could sell ice to Eskimos. No one knows how to get a party started like Mickey, particularly the one he and Daryll (Pooch Hall) set up for PJ (guest star Bryce McBratnie) and his Silicon Valley start-up business cohorts. The way these dudes carry on, it’s obvious they’ve been stuck behind their desks for far too long. I know Mickey doesn’t mean for Conor to get involved the way he does, but man, is Ray going to be pissed! Too bad Daryll carries things a bit too far, forcing Mickey to go back to Mrs. Minassian (guest star Grace Zabriskie) and her “organization” for a loan. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that amount of fear on Mickey’s face before when she mentions his “grandson.” I guess Mickey never learned the lesson, ‘Be careful what you ask for.’ Being mixed up with these people is surely going to cost him dearly, probably more than Mickey ever thought possible.

Lena pulls a fast one on an unsuspecting Blackwood.

Lena pulls a fast one on an unsuspecting Blackwood.

Finney calls in his chip for helping Ray last week when he sends Ray to retrieve a “burner” phone containing incriminating evidence about Governor Tom Verona (guest star Skip Sudduth) that could sack the deal for the NFL franchise Paige (special guest star Katie Holmes) wants. I was absolutely thrilled when Ray calls Lena (Katherine Moennig) to help him out. I know it’s only been one episode, but I was already missing her. As usual, Moennig absolutely shines in the episode, especially in her scenes with law professor Sheldon Blackwood (guest star Nestor Carbonell). As an aside, I got a real kick out of the exchange of words between Blackwood and Ray regarding the phone.

Blackwood: “A phone; a cheap, black phone with no persona data, no receipt of purchase. Possession is nine-tenths of the law, Mr. Donovan. I might reasonably claim that phone is mine.”

Ray: “And I might reasonably not give a shit about that law, professor.”

Unfortunately, Blackwood’s words come back to haunt him. If Blackwood had any inkling of what Ray’s world involves, he probably wouldn’t be so damn cocky. I have been Carbonell’s fan since his comedic turn as Luis Rivera in Suddenly Susan. More recently, I have enjoyed him in such shows as Strong Medicine, Cane, Lost, Ringer, State of Affairs, and more recently, as the sheriff in Bates Motel. Those shows, along with Ray Donovan, illustrate the wide range of characters Carbonell is capable of portraying; he is a fine actor, plain and simple.

There is something going on between Finney and Paige that I can’t quite put my finger on. Theirs is not a typical father/daughter relationship. Too bad Ray is caught in the middle, as each Finney tries to play Ray against the other. Although, from the looks of it, Ray is the one doing the playing. I hope Paige provides the paperwork Ray wants because I sure as shit wouldn’t take her kiss word for it. Someone is going to get hurt here; I just hope this doesn’t come back to bite Ray in his perfectly rounded ass.

Other Observations

Even though Teresa and Bunchy don't have a typical relationship, somehow it works.

Even though Teresa and Bunchy don’t have a typical relationship, somehow it works.

I’ve been waiting for the Luchadores’ story line to take off since they were first introduced in “The Kalamazoo,” the season premiere. While Alyssa Diaz has played Teresa as a mean girl, a side to her that is in full display in “Handshake Deal,” she carries her relationship with Bunchy (Dash Mihok) a step too far, at least for me. I thought Teresa was taking advantage of Bunchy but apparently, that’s not the case. While Terry isn’t aware of the business dealings Bunchy has the Luchadores, he isn’t thrilled with the relationship Bunchy and Teresa have. Terry’s anger issues are on full display with the way he handles Pablo (guest star Martin Garcia), the Luchadores’ manager. Perhaps Terry should heed Bunchy’s words—“You know, we all don’t have to spend our life miserable.”

Where do you think the relationship between Bridget and Mr. Donellen (guest star Aaron Staton) is going? I hope the writers aren’t planning to use the tired old plot point of a student/teacher love affair.


“Handshake Deal” leads us further down the road Ray is traveling with the Finney family, while ramping up both Bunchy and Terry’s story lines this season. Writer Gina Welch intersperses some very witty dialogue with the quality dramatic dialogue we have come to expect from this season of Ray Donovan. What did you think of “Handshake Deal?” With Mickey’s visit to the Donovan household, is it possible he and Ray will be mending fences soon? And what exactly does Father Romero (guest star Leland Orser) want? What does he hope to achieve by befriending Bunchy and leading him down the path of prayer? Leave me a comment below or tweet me @SeasideTV. Let’s discuss!


Stay up-to-date with the series on the official Ray Donovan website:

LIKE Ray Donovan on Facebook at

Follow the series on Twitter @SHO_RayDonovan. And follow cast mates Liev Schreiber (Ray) @LievSchreiber, Pooch Hall (Daryll) @iam_POOCHHALL, Dash Mihok (Bunchy) @dizmihok, Devon Bagby (Conor) @DevonBagby, Kerris Dorsey (Bridget) @kerrisdorsey, Kate Moennig (Lena) @katemoennig, and Eddie Marsan (Terry) @eddiemarsan.

Photos courtesy of Michael Desmond © 2015 Showtime Network, a wholly owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


© 2015, Linda. All rights reserved.


Love TV, movies, and books--mostly mysteries, with a good love story thrown in every now and then. I have four adopted dogs who I adore. I love trying new recipes, and enjoy eating what I make. English language perfectionist. Reading in bed, Italian food, warm weather, the beach, all types of games = favs!

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