One of the most anticipated drama series is back as Showtime kicks off Ray Donovan Season 5 with Abby. In this episode, Ray begins court-ordered anger management after a family tragedy sparks a bar fight. Mickey, Bunchy and Daryll prepare for Terry and Maureen's wedding. Bridget looks up a mysterious acquaintance in New York. Conor, away from home for the first time, grows accustomed to military school. Meanwhile, Sam Winslow, a powerful new employer, comes into Ray's life. And that's just all in this first episode of the new season.
Last season on Ray Donovan the show hit its peak of trouble with the family having to band together to help Ray (Liev Schreiber) take out a leader in the Russian mob. For the most part the show has always had its share of "situations" that Ray has had to deal with but last year he was really in over his head. But in the end they were victorious and we were left with everyone dancing and smiling at a party which on this show was definitely a rarity. Now it's been 10 months since the end of last season and while everything seems to have calmed down there is a big dark cloud over the family that seemed so joyous when we left them.
We open up Ray Donovan Season 5 with Mickey (Jon Voight) picking up boutonnieres for Terry (Eddie Marsan) and Maureen's (Tara Buck) wedding that is apparently being held the next day. Well at long last Terry finally got a relationship to stick. Pretty great for a character that has always had the shit end of the stick being dealt the Parkinson's card. But things are also looking up for him there as we learn that he had surgery to have a pacemaker implanted to keep his shakes from happening. As happy as you want to be for Terry getting married he unfortunately has to deal with Maureen's brother who is also a cop and has been digging through his file to find dirt on him. He presents Terry with his file about his trouble in Nevada and you can tell this guy is going to be a continued pain in the ass to come between him living happily ever after.
But let's get to the man of the hour Mr. Ray Donovan himself. He's having to meet with a court appointed therapist Dr. Brogan (C. Thomas Howell alert!) to begin his 12 sessions because of a fight he apparently got into with Mickey and one his brothers (?). In the scene the therapist brings up how Bridget (Kerris Dorsey) had to call the police on Ray because he beat them so bad they had to go to the hospital which led to Ray being arrested. Ray tried to pass it off like it was just "a family thing" but the therapist isn't buying his story.
After he leaves the therapist, Ray goes to a bar named "Abby's" where Mickey is hanging out working on a screenplay that of course he boasts is going to be a big hit. As Ray is sitting at the bar his accountant Harriet (Jayne Taini) comes in and tells him how he is losing 20K on the place every month and that he should sell. Ray pays her no mind and just daydreams off to the party from last season and seeing Abby (Paula Malcomson) there. This is the point where we know something is definitely not right. Ray getting into a fight with his family and being at a bar named for his wife that we haven't seen yet?
Over on the east coast we find Bridget isn't even in Los Angeles anymore as she gets off the subway in New York to track down some kid named Smitty (Graham Rogers) who works at a bar. She knew him at the hospital to which is unclear why she was there in the first place or why they met. The mystery grows deeper as he asks her how her Mom is and she starts crying. Now the curiosity factor is really kicking up! This episode isn't even half done and it's turned into the "What happened to Abby?" story.
Back in LA Ray is finally getting back to some "fixer" duties as he's called in to broker a deal between studio head Samantha Winslow (who we find out later is Susan Sarandon's character) and two of her former employees who have run off with a bunch of her personal files. After Ray meets with them and pays for the returned files he delivers them to Winslow's home. This scene was used so that we could get an introduction of Samantha Winslow and it's quite the weird one as she proceeds to tell Ray about some hunting mission that her husband Roger had gone on. Not sure the significance of the speech but even just the presence of Sarandon in any role brings gravitas to a character. Very curious to see what story she's going to bring this season.
But then the real kicker finally starts to happen when Samantha asks Ray to give her stepson George (Keir O' Donnell) a lift somewhere since he doesn't drive. As George rambles on in the backseat about a munchkin orgy Ray daydreams off again (this can't be safe) to back when him and Abby are driving back home in their car after the party. In the scene we're given key information as Abby talks of her dream to one day own a bar and that she thinks Mickey should move into the house with them since the kids will be leaving (which we had been shown earlier in the episode).
The pivotal part of the scene comes when a random girl walks into the middle of the road and causes Ray to swerve the car and it sends them down the hill into a tree. Now they both walk away from the accident but he does make a point to mention a bump on her head. Could this be nothing? After he drops George off we're led to two other scenes which shine more light on Abby's apparent death as grief stricken Terry gives Ray back a jeweled necklace that he says he can't have anymore even though apparently Abby wished him to give it to Maureen and Ray coming back to his house that night and as he goes upstairs to their bedroom he flashes back to another time of a crying Bridget in the hallway before he opens the door. But we never see what he sees. Safe to assume it must be Abby lying there but in what state is the question.
In the end the family is shown to be the exact opposite of where we had left them. They are a fractured group, even though most of them are still in the same vicinity of LA. The exception being Bridget and Connor, (Devon Bagby) who is off at some military camp talking about training for wrestling. Both the kids don't seem well at all with huge long faces as they are dealing with their mother's death. Bridget being the enigmatic one by calling Ray from Smitty's place and telling him "I met the kid" and when he questions her on who that is she tells him "you know what kid."
There's going to be SO much explaining to do with this season. Bunchy (Dash Mihok) is trying to become a Lucha wrestler with his wife Teresa (Alyssa Diaz) but fails the audition so decides to stay home with their daughter while she goes on the road. Daryll (Pooch Hall) and Lena (Katherine Moennig) are still working in Ray's office but Avi (Steven Bauer) is nowhere to be seen and apparently hasn't been around for some time.
With all the time jumps and flash backs, I only hope this season doesn't get too confusing or lost in its own concept. While the idea of doing something different with a show that has been on for four seasons is refreshing, this first episode has me just a little cautious about the execution of not only a new style, but the fact that they are using it to tell the death of a major character. What I don't want is 10 episodes of just sprinkling bread crumbs as to the big answer. Either way I'm very anxious to see what happens. How can you not be?