Wednesday, November 1, 2017

What I’m Watching: Ray Donovan (Season Finale)

Ray Donovan: Season 5, Episode 12 “Time Takes a Cigarette” (B)

I didn’t even really realize that this season was coming to an end, and that’s mainly because it’s been relatively directionless. I’ve been an advocate of this show’s quality since the beginning, and I certainly don’t think it’s gotten to the point of being unwatchable or even all that bad. Abby’s death was a development that came somewhat without warning but then took a while to unspool and get unpacked, and I think the show might have done better to feature her decline as a powerful plot point rather than something to haunt Ray in flashbacks. Natalie was dead before we really saw much happen with her, and though Susan Sarandon can command the screen, all we really know is that Sam considers Ray a good friend. Even when his face is bruised and his energy level is way down, Ray will do anything for a member of his family, including giving Bunchy the bar without asking for anything in exchange and having Sam apply pressure so that a furious Dr. Bergstein would agree to operate on Smitty. After strangling Doug and making it look like a suicide, Ray jumping into the water would be a worrisome ending if he wasn’t the main character of this show and a sixth season featuring him moving to New York hadn’t been announced a week ago. Mickey is headed for life in prison if not the death penalty, Daryll is a producer with a big, empty office, and Terry is still working to train his protege. Bunchy seems ready to move on without Teresa after her confession of infidelity, and I’m not sure I see such a seamless transition to single father and businessman. Connor’s sudden return felt strange, as did a lot about this season. Let’s hope a change of scenery gives this show and its star just the jolt of energy it needs.

Season grade: B
Season MVP: Paula Malcomson as Abby

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