This week’s episode of Ray Donovan begins with a rare flashback, as we’re transported back to the night earlier this season when Ray recalled in his therapist’s office. It’s the night he held his mother while she was dying and then got up to change the sheets after she wet the bed, her cervical cancer wreaking havoc on her body. When he goes to change the bedding, he finds Mickey stealing money from her coffee tin. He takes that money to the bar, where he owes a lot of people money. Nobody at the bar likes him. His criminal colleagues all pity him, but Mick just doesn’t see it. He doesn’t see that he’s never going to amount to much more.
Back in the present day, Mickey is still that guy, desperately trying to elevate his station in life but with no real way of knowing how to do it. He calls Jim Sullivan and tells him about the tapes, setting up a meeting to sell them so that Sullivan’s reputation stays clean.
We flash back again, and this time Mick is fully planning the gold coin heist, the one we know goes sideways and sends him to prison. He’s promising riches to Claudette, and bragging about the plan to the guys in the bar. The thing is, everyone else has Mickey pegged as the fall guy. He has no clue he’s being set up. He goes along with the plan, full of swagger and confidence as he approaches the armored truck, only to find himself abandoned by his friends and arrested by the cops. Mick’s always said this was a turning point in his life, the moment when things went off the rails, but it’s clear Mick was a floundering, desperate man long before.
Still, he wants his revenge, and he’s finally come face to face with Jim Sullivan all these years later. He tells him that the old Mickey is dead, and that this new Mickey is hardened. He wants what he’s owed, and he’s not backing down. Jim offers him $1 million, and while Daryll is ready to take that offer and go, Mickey laughs it off. He knows what Sullivan is worth. He wants $100 million. As usual, Mickey can’t just take a good deal. He has to keep pushing until everything turns against him.
Eventually, the two come to terms on an agreement: 20% of Jim’s worth. Sullivan calls his transfer agent, and Mickey tells him to put the money in Terry’s name. Daryll can’t believe it…but also, he can. This is Mick. He’s watched him truly unravel lately, and he’s leading everyone to ruin. It’s actually a pretty hilarious scene, just watching Daryll’s face as Mickey puts the money in Terry’s name. When will he learn?
Through all of this, Ray has been trying to track his father down and stop him from killing Sullivan, and the show intercuts the flashbacks to really drive home their fraught father-son relationship. It’s all a little too familiar and repetitive. We’ve been down this road numerous times before with Ray and Mickey, but nothing ever changes. It’s hard to feel invested in the stakes when there’s never any lasting consequences. This season has to be leading to Ray killing his father, or getting rid of him for good in some way. Otherwise, all of this is for nothing. It’s just psychological window dressing on a tired, played-out story.
Still, there’s some impact here and there. When Ray attacks the men guarding the transfer agent, violently stabbing one and almost killing the other, Molly sees it all go down and you can see how it changes her perception of Ray. She’s seen him as the cold, ruthless man he’s needed to be for decades, and there may be no coming back from that.
This whole season will come down to whether or not Ray kills his father in an effort to both clean up the mess with the murdered cops, and maybe remove the source of all that haunts the Donovan family. At the end of the episode, Ray stops his father from killing Sullivan, and Mick goes off into the night while Daryll makes off with the paperwork. Sullivan tells Ray he should have killed his father all those years ago, when he came to the bar brandishing a large kitchen knife. The question is…will Ray kill him now?