At end of last week's Ray Donovan episode, we left off with two key moments, one being the marriage between Terry (Eddie Marsan) and Maureen (Tara Buck) that went from a wonderful celebratory moment to a hostile fist fight between the Donovans and the Doughertys. The second being later that night, and Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber) is at his house and actress Natalie James (Lili Simmons) is standing in his doorway because she had just shot her husband and was asking for Ray's help.
And that's where we pick up the story in Dogwalker, with Natalie sitting inside Ray's house explaining to him what had happened that led up to the shooting. She had gone over to see Rob (Rhys Coiro) because she wanted her dog back and they ended up getting in a fight, and during the scuffle, she grabbed his gun and shot him. Ray asked her if he was dead and she told him, "Yeah, I killed him." Now Ray has to leave to go take care of the mess, so he leaves her at the house with a freshly drunken Mickey (Jon Voight), who has just gotten home from the wedding. He asks Mickey to watch her while he's gone, but it sounds more like a scenario of who will be taking care of who?
Ray heads over to her house, and when he goes inside, he sees that it is quite a big mess from their fight earlier. But as he's carefully surveying the place Rob jumps out from behind a wall and stabs him with a pair of scissors. Not dead yet! He has been shot though as he has tried to patch the wound up himself with a sling over some towels. Not sure what internet site told him that was the way to go but in any event, Ray just gets irritated with Rob for attacking him and pushes him down some stairs knocking him unconscious.
Now that he realizes he has more work to do than he had anticipated he calls Lena (Katherine Moennig) to help be the cleaner for the house because he has to take Rob to a doctor. Well, not a legitimate one but a veterinarian which makes sense to keep the cops uninvolved. Stupid ass Rob just talks tons of shit and continually threatens Ray on how he's going to make him pay for this. Hey, moron, you're bleeding with a bullet in your body. How about you zip it and let him help you? After they give him a sedative and he knocks out, the doctor stitches Ray up from the scissor move that Rob did on him. While that's going on they have an interesting discussion after Ray's tells him his mother died of cancer, "When it comes to cancer, we treat dogs more mercifully than our fellow man," the doctor explains. Considering the theme of this season with Abby's (Paula Malcomson) sickness this brief discussion holds some serious weight for whatever lies ahead.
While Ray is doing his job Natalie settles herself at his home by taking a shower, going through Abby's clothes to find something to wear, and then falling asleep in his bed. All the while her guardian Mickey is passed out on the couch downstairs. I know she's just had pretty dramatic moment occur but sleeping in the man's bed is pushing it a little bit.
Now it's morning and as Ray is driving Rob back to his house and with him coming off the medication he turns into a "chatty-Cathy" and starts talking about how he met Natalie. He first met her mother when he was a stunt man on a movie and she nursed him after an accident he had on set. While he was dating her mother he eventually met Natalie and he totally fell for her. That is Natalie at the age of 16 he mentions. The beauty of this scene is that the expressions on Schreiber's face perfectly convey the gross feeling that we're all having while Rob tells this story.
When we get back to Rob's house he tries to tell Ray how much trouble he's in and that he's going to call the cops. Ray informs him on how there is no gun, no bullet, and no proof of anything that has happened (thanks to Lena cleaning up). As he leaves, Ray sternly tells Rob to stay away from Natalie. When he finally gets home he finds Natalie in his bed and has a moment of anger when he sees her wearing Abby's shirt. When she goes to take it off he somehow immediately calms down and tells her it's okay. He tells her that Rob is, in fact, alive, but that he won't be bothering her anymore. The strange part happens when he sits down and lets her know that his wife died a few months ago. Stunned by this news she offers her condolences but I'm more shocked that she played house guest in his bed NOT knowing his wife was dead!
Taking a break from our main character we check in on Terry who just when it looked like his life was maybe improving has taken a bad turn at Albuquerque. His new wife Maureen has left him to go stay at her brother's place because she's still quite upset about the hooker betrayal in Vegas. While he's alone in his house being depressed he gets a call from his nephew Conor (Devon Bagby) who is about to do his first wrestling match at the military academy he goes to. Probably in the interest of distraction Terry decides to go visit him and watch the match. What he ends up seeing is Conor not perform well and ends up head-butting his opponent in immature rage because he feels the guy was mocking him.
When they talk outside afterward Conor reveals to Terry that he is enlisting in the Marines after he graduates because he feels college is a waste of time. But even though he seems very confident in his decision he makes Terry promise to not tell his dad. I keep trying to find a way to like the character of Conor but every season he just irritates the crap out of me with his teen angst and arrogant attitude. When he returns to the city he stops by to visit Maureen at her brother's place and he tells her how much he needs her citing how he's already lost so many female loves of his life. While she hears him Maureen is hurt over the fact that not only did he cheat on her but his whole family knew about it. She wanted to feel a part of his family and it just made her feel like nothing but an outsider.
Moving on to the eldest Donovan, Mickey. His script that he has been laboring away on this season finally gets some feedback from a publisher but unfortunately, the news is all bad as they don't have anything nice to say about it. In his manner that is true to his roots, Mickey finds out the office number for where the guy who turned down his script is and after cold calling him says "I know where that cocksucker is."
But before he can go cracking some heads he gets a visit from their old FBI agent friend Frank Barnes (Michael McGrady). Apparently, after they busted the Russian mobster Sokolov, he and Avi started selling off the art they confiscated but now Frank is having problems dealing with him. So when Mickey asks him what he wants he says he's letting him know and to keep his mouth shut about it to Ray. I guess this is our transition from the script story to hopefully something more interesting.
Over in the world of Bunchy (Dash Mihok), he is dealing with seeing his wife Teresa (Alyssa Diaz) get on a bus for a wrestling tour that will have her gone for several weeks. So now that his goal of trying to do the same occupation as her is gone, he is left with needing to find a new to way to provide for his family. As it often works in television the opportunity arises when the family's accountant Harriet (Jayne Taini) brings him the suggestion of investing in a storage company warehouse. While he seems unsure of the idea at the end of the episode he appears to be all in on the idea which makes me just wonder on how an on the surface bland idea will bear some interesting storytelling fruit.
Continuing with our main story of Natalie and Ray we are given a flashback to him at his home when Abby was still alive and she is spending time with the kids. She notices him being distant and comes over to talk to him. She is very frail, her hair very thin and even her voice is weak from the sickness she has. When she tries to get Ray to come over and spend time with her, he resists and sensing his emotions she tells him "don't run away from this." He instead gets up and tells her he's going to go walk the dog.
As he's walking the neighborhood he comes upon Natalie James coming out of her home and she recognizes him from the car accident that she had caused. Somehow this leads them to go into her house to talk more and as to what happens with unhappy attractive people, they end up having sex. So now we are shown how they had a pre-existing relationship while Abby was still alive.
This was mainly the Natalie n' Ray story but gave some small progressions on where the supporting characters are at. I enjoyed this a lot because while I am liking the Abby flashback sequences there are so many characters on this show that there's a lot of ground to cover. We barely got any mention of the big fight that has Ray going to anger management therapy which is still one of the most anticipated scenes I want to see happen. And what has happened to Susan Sarandon's character? I know it's only episode three but we haven't even heard a mention of her since we first saw her. This has not been a typical season of Ray Donovan so far but we're all invested in this Showtime classic, aren't we?