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Jul 12 2015

Ray Donovan Season Premiere – “The Kalamazoo” Review. Forgiveness Doesn’t Come Easy.

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Season 3, Episode 1

Airdate: Sunday, July 12, 2015 at 9:00 pm ET/PT on Showtime

Rating:

 

You don’t want me here, I can go…you’re just wasting my time. You got a job for me; tell me what it is. If not, thanks for the pen. You got a nice house.” – Ray Donovan

In my review of last season’s finale, “The Captain,” I asked several questions—Where is Mickey (Jon Voight) headed with that briefcase full of money? Will Terry (Eddie Marsan) go to jail or will Ray (Liev Schreiber) somehow ‘fix’ it so he doesn’t? I also wondered whether Conor (Devon Bagby), who was nursing a broken arm, would develop a drug addiction. Finally, I questioned whether Ray and Abby (Paula Malcomson) would patch things up.

Katie Holmes as Paige and Ian McShane as Finney in Ray Donovan (Season 3, Episode 01). - Photo: Michael Desmond/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: RayDonovan_301_1379.R

Something tells me Paige is used to getting what she wants from old daddy dearest.

Not only are these questions answered in the season three premiere, “The Kalamazoo,” several new characters are introduced, not the least of which are Andrew Finney, played by the supremely talented Ian McShane, Finney’s daughter Paige (special guest star Katie Holmes), and Father Romero (guest star Leland Orser), a priest with an usual purpose. “The Kalamazoo” opens mere months after the season two finale, with a nearly unrecognizable Ezra Goldman (Elliott Gould) lying in a hospital bed. Father Romero stands over his practically lifeless body, asking Ezra who made the call to the police last season telling them where to find the body of a dead priest. Initially, I thought Ezra was hallucinating; instead, the scene serves as the impetus for Ray’s depressing behavior in “The Kalamazoo.” Ray and Ezra have been estranged from each other since “The Captain,” so it’s no surprise when Ray doesn’t answer the very important call from Ezra’s lover/companion Deb (guest star Denise Crosby), instead learning the heartbreaking news from Abby.

Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan and Jason Butler Harner as Varick in Ray Donovan (Season 3, Episode 01). - Photo: Michael Desmond/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: RayDonovan_301_579.R

Looks like Ray (L) has to go through Varick (R) before seeing Finney.

With a season-long guest starring arc, McShane presents the most interesting story line of the various guest stars in “The Kalamazoo.” Finney is an über rich man who sends his limo driver (guest star Price Carson) to pick up Ray for a meeting concerning Finney’s kidnapped son Casey (Guy Burnet). While this plot point is one we’ve seen before in other TV shows and movies, it serves to set up Ray’s relationship with Finney. Despite being extremely depressed, Ray isn’t the kind of guy who lets his personal life affect his business so he’s still the fixer we’ve all come to know and love despite his imperfections. The chemistry between Schreiber and McShane is electric throughout the season premiere; it is obvious the two men are used to getting their own way although despite their differences, there is a great deal of mutual respect. Holmes doesn’t have much to do in “The Kalamazoo,” although she certainly knows how to rock a very sexy walk when leaving a room. It’s not hard to predict a love affair between Paige and Ray, although I assume that won’t sit very well with Finney. “The Kalamazoo” also introduces us to Finney’s wife Charlotte (Brynn Thayer), as well as his right-hand man, Varick Strauss (Jason Butler Harner). Something tells me Varick is going to become a very important player in Ray’s dealings with the Finneys going forward.

On the other side of town, we meet another new character, Ray’s new, rather crude client, Flip Brightman, played to perfection by Bronson Pinchot. Ray does what he does best when he is called to fix a potential blackmail situation for Flip. This scene is definitely a first for me; I don’t think I’ve ever screwed up my face while simultaneously covering my genitals, mentally screaming “Ow!” while watching an episode of Ray Donovan. I guarantee any man watching this scene will have the same reaction. Pinchot should be an interesting addition to the cast, especially if Flip continues to get himself into more tacky scenarios like this.

Mickey, retired now, is living the not-so-good life in Hollywood with son Daryll (Pooch Hall) at a rather seamy motel. With almost all their cash gone, Daryll and Mickey must do something drastic in order to pay the back taxes they owe to the IRS. Needless to say, Mickey comes up with a scheme the motel owner, Mrs. Rosenblatt (guest star Jeanette O’Connor), isn’t too pleased with. She does, however, seem to have a crush on him. Somehow, I don’t see these two together. I remember O’Connor from her days on the 1969 series The Beverly Hillbillies; she is every bit as good now as she was back then.

Shree Crooks as Audrey in Ray Donovan (Season 3, Episode 01). - Photo: Michael Desmond/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: RayDonovan_301_4299.R

Audrey can really belt out a tune.

Enter Gary Royal (guest star Chris Browning), your typical pimp, who abuses the prostitutes who call the motel home every chance he gets, treating them like yesterday’s trash, and acting like an all-around prick. Mickey takes a liking to one of the prostitutes, Ginger (guest star Fairuza Balk), mother to a very sweet and talented little girl, Audrey (guest star Shree Crooks). Audrey does a wonderful imitation of Shirley Temple singing “The Good Ship Lollipop,” although she looks nothing like the star. Crooks is blonde and blue-eyed, with the sweetest little face, and does an excellent job portraying the little girl who has seen too much of her mother’s tawdry life and is wise beyond her years. Despite Mickey being such a crappy father and grandfather in past seasons, he seems intent on taking care of Ginger and Audrey, much to Gary’s annoyance. How Mickey handles the matter is quintessential Mickey, and quite brilliant, courtesy of writer David Hollander.

Bunchy (Dash Mihok) is a new man this season, best illustrated with the way director Colin Bucksey introduces him in “The Kalamazoo.” I thought I was seeing another new character—a very suave and sophisticated sexual man whose face isn’t seen in his initial scenes as he combs his hair and puts his clothes on. I was reminded of Patti LaBelle’s song, “A New Attitude.” It’s obvious Bunchy is the man in charge—at the Fite Club, that is. With Terry in jail, Bunchy is responsible for running the gym and collecting the dues, but he’s having problems with the Luchadores, a group of wrestlers looking to perfect their act at the gym. Bunchy obviously has a crush on Teresa (guest star Alyssa Diaz) but I don’t see a future for them any time soon. I don’t know what Diaz is like IRL but she flawlessly executes Teresa’s bitchy resting face.

Ray is a broken man, still grieving over last season’s death of reporter Kate McPherson (Vinessa Shaw). He doesn’t want to talk to Avi (Steven Bauer) for obvious reasons, and refuses to forgive Abby for her affair with Detective Jim Halloran (Brian Gerarghty). Abby apologizes over and over but Ray isn’t interested in what she has to say. As a matter of fact, Ray isn’t interested in much these days, other than his clients. Their daughter Bridget (Kerris Dorsey) isn’t talking to Abby either but at least Conor comes to Ray’s defense when the two teenagers discuss the state of their parents’ marriage. Speaking of forgiveness, or lack thereof, Terry refuses to see anyone who visits him in jail, including both Mickey and Daryll.

Overall

“The Kalamazoo” does an excellent job of setting up the third season of Ray Donovan. Hollander’s dialogue is spot on and Colin Bucksey’s direction is as perfect as can be. As for the answers to the questions I posed at the beginning of this review, they are all answered. In addition, Ray barely speaks to Lena (Katherine Moennig), making me wonder how long she’ll continue working for him. Where McShane’s story line goes and what other people Ray will meet through his association with Finney should be interesting, to say nothing of the situations Flip will get himself in this season.

 

What did you think of “The Kalamazoo?” What do you want to see this season on Ray Donovan? Do you think Ray will get it together? 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: http://www.sho.com/raydonovan.

LIKE Ray Donovan on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RayDonovanOnShowtime.

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, Steven Bauer (Avi) @thestevenbauer, 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.

Linda

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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About the author

Linda

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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