Aug 30 2015

Ray Donovan – “Tulip” Retrospective. Anatomy of a Cover Up.


Ray Donovan S3 logoSeason 3, Episode 8

Airdate: Sunday, August 30, 2015 at 9:00 pm ET/PT on Showtime



Ex-communication is not a punishment. It’s an invitation to change—repent and return to full communion when you’re ready. You’ve suffered enough.” — Father Romero

If Paige Finney (special guest star Katie Holmes) thought her so-called husband Varick (Jason Butler Harner) was going to quietly disappear into that good night after serving him with divorce papers in last week’s episode, “All Must Be Loved,” she should think again—especially after Varick receives a pink slip from her father Albert (special guest star Ian McShane). On the homefront, Mickey (Jon Voight) meets Bunchy’s (Dash Mihok) fiancé Teresa (Alyssa Diaz) at the Fite Club for the first time, while Abby (Paula Malcomson) does her best to convince Terry (Eddie Marsan) to live with her and Ray (the recently Emmy®-nominated Liev Schreiber). Speaking of Ray, he has two problems to deal with in “Tulip”—forcing a Finney rival to sell his land to the Finneys, thereby securing Paige’s deal, and handling Father Romero (guest star Leland Orser) after last week’s confrontation. Oh, but wait, there’s a third problem Ray knows nothing about until halfway through “Tulip.” It’s another great episode of Ray Donovan.

It's a dirty job but someone has to do it.

It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it.

As “Tulip” opens, we see Ray and Avi (Steven Bauer) digging a grave in some unknown, God forsaken place. What we don’t know is whose grave it is. This scene is revisited several times throughout the episode, ultimately revealing who the unlucky person is inside the body bag. At first, I thought the running scene was indicative of how Ray handles the problem with Father Romero, who wants nothing more than for Ray to “repent.” Oh, how wrong I was.

Will Mickey become a C.I. for the cops?

Looks like Mickey’s going to be a C.I. again.

Mickey’s role in the beginning of the season was largely comedic with the way he tried to handle the prostitutes at the North Hollywood motel. The last few episodes, however, have seen him take a huge turn, reverting to the conman ways that always get him and his sons Daryll (Pooch Hall) and Bunchy in trouble. Last week, Mickey made a colossal mistake in dealing with Mrs. Minassian (guest star Grace Zabriskie) and her crew; I knew they would want their ounce of blood. Mickey is fooling with the wrong people with no visible way out that ensures everyone keeps their arms and legs intact; unless, of course, you consider the offer extended by Detective Sheila Muncie (guest star Michael Hyatt). “I understand you have a history of being helpful to law enforcement. I’d like you to start helping again.” I don’t think Mickey has much of a choice considering what he faces with the Armenians. This plot point has trouble written all over it. Someone is going to get hurt; I can only hope it won’t be Daryll, Bunchy, or any of the prostitutes. Anyone could have been in Mickey’s car when it went boom! On a side note, I completely enjoyed the banter between Mickey and Detective Muncie. As usual, Voight does a great job playing the ladies’ man to perfection, while Hyatt more than holds her own opposite him. I love a good, strong, female character.

In order to secure the land for Paige’s pet project, Ray comes up with a brilliant plan that involves Wildlife Commissioner Helen Miller (guest star Stephanie Erb)—at least according to Lena (Katherine Moennig). Guess the Birkin bag filled with cash Ray gave Helen last week really does buy her cooperation—well, until she sees the “snakes,” that is. Not being a fan of serpents, I was somewhat grossed out by the “Central American eyelash vipers…[that] are packed with condoms filled with black tar heroin.” But they do serve a purpose. I was thoroughly enchanted by Erb’s performance. She is at once comedic as well as dramatic in her delivery after her character is bitten by one of the snakes. Too bad Ray’s plan takes a 360 after that.

For a change, Ray is the one issuing orders.

For a change, Ray is the one issuing orders.

Needless to say, the inevitable confrontation between Varick and Finney gets heated. Varick says the wrong thing to Finney, causing him to go off the rails in a major way. What a powerful scene that proves, without a doubt, why McShane is such a beloved actor. What happens is shocking and leads to that third problem I mentioned previously. Writers David Hollander and William Wheeler provide brilliant dialogue as Ray instructs Lena and Avi how to clean up after Finney. It’s the perfect way to drag Ray back into the lives of the Finney family.

Other Observations

I smell trouble ahead.

I smell trouble ahead.

Finally, Bridget’s (Kerris Dorsey) teacher Mr. Donellen (guest star Aaron Staton) comes to his senses and stops treating her like something she can never be—his girlfriend. But Bridget doesn’t take his brushoff lightly. She is too obsessed with him, which he correctly diagnoses as loneliness. Bridget is making a huge mistake, thinking she can cure what ails her by having a fling with him. Her fixation can lead to nowhere good. Dorsey proves what a professional she is in this scene as she perfectly portrays a young girl who is in desperate need of attention, especially from her father.

I just love when Teresa corrects Mickey, telling him she calls Bunchy by his real name, “Brendan.” She is one (future) Donovan Mickey won’t be able to get over on.


“Tulip” contains some of the best dialogue to date, especially when Avi pours his heart out to Ray, and when Abby confides her worst fears to Terry. Both scenes evoked so much emotion, I nearly shed a tear. We’re more than halfway through the third season of Ray Donovan, and it is turning out to be one of the series best. It’s difficult to shine the light on the acting of any one particular star as they all shine in their own right. Now, with the Father Romero story arc seemingly over, I am anxious to see what else the Finneys have in store for Ray.


What did you think of “Tulip?” 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, Steven Bauer (Avi) @thestevenbauer, and Eddie Marsan (Terry) @eddiemarsan.

Photos courtesy of Patrick Wymore and 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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