Ray Donovan Season 3, Episode 1 “The Kalamazoo” (original air date July 12, 2015): “You don’t know who you are anymore,” Ezra told Ray at the end of Season 2, and he was right. The season 3 premiere of Ray Donovan begins with a barely distinguishable Ezra (Elliott Gould) bedridden, clinging to life via the oxygen supply feeding him when a man in collar comes into focus. The man claims to be a minister to broken priests — Father Thomas Romero (Leland Orser) — who needs to know who placed the call from Ezra’s office that notified them of the whereabouts of a murdered priest. That was Ray (Liev Schreiber) after learning Ezra ordered the hit on his love interest, journalist Kate McPherson (Vinessa Shaw), but even in his sedated state, Ezra wasn’t about to turn on Ray.
Deb (Denise Crosby) comes to Ezra’s side demanding the priest leaves. Distressed by the visit, Ezra tells Deb he is responsible for killing the girl. Of course, Deb thinks it’s a symptom of his brain tumor and reassures Ezra that he didn’t kill anyone. But Ezra knows he needs to talk to Ray and he needs him now. “Call Ray. Call Ray,” Ezra pleads. Deb reminds him that Ray hasn’t spoke to him in months. Ezra gives final confirmation on whose side he’s always been on giving a heartbreaking plea, screaming “RAAAAAAAAAY.” Deb calms him and then tells the hospice staff that they aren’t interested in seeing clergy, but the staffer shares that there are no clergy on staff.
Enter Ray walking the seedier side of Los Angeles alone. He dismisses a call from Ezra, as well as a call from Deb. He takes care of some small time business at Hollywood Lanes and then heads straight to a bar uncaring of anything. His phone rings again. This time he answers. It’s Abby (Paula Malcomson) she tells him that Ezra is dead.
“What the fuck are you talking about,” Ray asks.
“Come home Ray,” Abby pleads.
Ray won’t. “Go back to sleep,” he tells her and hangs up. It’s devastating to see the fabulous Gould end his run on the series.
Ray swirls his drink and remembers a young Ezra telling him that he knows people and that Raymond is someone special. He takes a girl home from the bar and empties his darkness into her, as only he knows how.
Cameras gives us an aerial view of Los Angeles as we cross town to someone singing Shirley Temple’s “On the Good Ship Lollipop” as we zoom down to a pool where Mickey (Jon Voight) is leisurely floating listening to the 7- or 8-year-old Audrey perform the show tune. Looks like Mickey’s been holding residence with some fellow low-class losers, which includes Audrey’s mother Ginger (Fairuza Balk) and her abusive pimp Gary. Mickey’s been serving as a somewhat attentive babysitter/father figure to Audrey.
Bunchy (Dash Mihok) is looking and acting pretty slick these days. His hair is styled, he’s got new duds and is managing the gym now as Brandon Donovan, gym manager. He’s also on match.com as “Bunchyman.”
Bridget (Kerris Dorsey) greets Ray at Ezra’s funeral and begs him to come home. “Even if you are angry with mom, even if you are sad, we can handle it,” Bridget tells him. But Ray knows he can’t go home. As Ray enters the funeral he walks past Avi (Steven Bauer) who insists they need to discuss things but doesn’t say a word. His silence is killing Avi.
Deb sees Ray and charges at him. “He needed you! He was screaming your name at his deathbed and you abandoned him,” she rages. “He treated you like a son … I don’t want you here. Leave. Leave!”
Pained, Ray turns and leaves the funeral of his one true father figure. Abbey, Conor and Bridget run after him pleading for him to come home. He keeps walking.
It’s good to see Ray return to the office, with Lena (Katherine Moenning) and Avi there as well, but things aren’t the same. They’re all grieving. “They had no right treating you like that,” Avi tells him. Avi’s filled with guilt. He’s never been more loyal to Ray, yet Ray can’t see through it. “I have nightmares. I hate this … I hate that we don’t even talk,” Avi tells him.
Ray tells him to get the fuck out of his office. Avi (Steven Bauer) tries to explain that Kate McPherson (the reporter Ray was screwing and who Ezra order Avi to kill) had everything on him and he would have gone to jail. Avi leaves Ray with Kate’s briefcase, which had all the incriminating evidence to prove Ezra and Avi always had his best interest at heart.
Mickey takes Aubrey to prison to visit Terry, Daryl’s (Pooch Hall) along too. Terry’s not taking visitors.
Abby stops at the gym after a blowout with Bridget and finds Bunchy trying to find an online date. She coaches him on what to say to get girls interested and helps secure payment from a group of Mexicans who are refusing to pay their gym. Abby’s no match for them and she gives the leader a good tongue-lashing and the man easily turns over his credit card.
Ray takes a meeting with Andrew Finney (Ian McShane — as a welcome addition to the cast) whose son Casey (Guy Burnett) has been kidnapped and a five million dollar ransom is in play. Ray doesn’t have “experience” in kidnapping. Finney doesn’t like Ray’s vague answers. Ray asks him if he has a job for him, if not Finney’s wasting his time and he turns to exit (well, he thanks him for the pen and acknowledges he’s got a nice house in true Donovan style), but Finney calls him back. He introduces his family to Ray – his daughter Paige (Katie Homes) and wife Charlotte (Brynn Thayer). Looking forward to what’s sure to be a later hook up with the arrogant and sexy Paige.
“This is so ridiculous. He’s fine,” Paige tells her father. But Finney wants his son home and the whole business to go away. He gives Ray the 5 million and tells him to work it out with no bloodshed and no press. “Do as you see fit.”
Back at Mickey’s paradise motel, Daryl storms into Mickey’s room convinced they are fucked for not paying the IRS 40% of there million plus in gambling winnings. Mickey picks up the phone and calls Conor, but Conor reminds him that they aren’t allowed to talk to him not even on the phone and promptly ends the call. But then it arrives — the big, shiny, 50k BTU grill for the commune that Mickey popped for. Looks like Mickey’s trying to clean the condom-invested, whore pad up and talks to the Gary the kingpin about turning the place around. His advice falls to deaf ears. The residents, however, are stoked about the new grill. Mickey promises burgers and steaks to all. “BYO – bring salads and shit,” Mickey yells. Hilarious, just can’t get enough of Voight. Mickey laces Gary’s burger with some of Ginger’s Xanax.
Mickey has a sit-down conversation with Gary. He doesn’t like how Gary is pushing Ginger around, and doesn’t think it’s an appropriate place for Audrey. Gary doesn’t give a shit; he see’s a woman’s role as “swallowing cock.” Yeah, we all want Gary to die now. As the Xanax slowly kicks in, Mickey has had enough time to decide this guy isn’t worth keeping around. As soon as Gary passes out, Mickey gives him a swift push off his chair and into the pool. As Mickey watches him drown, Gary’s phone rings and suddenly Mickey takes on a new occupation as head pimp. How perfect!
Ray visits Ezra’s grave, where he remembers Ezra telling him this is going to be one great adventure. Father Romero is watching. We later see him picking up a box of evidence on Father O’Connor’s murder, with materials that link back to Bunchy.
Bridget can tell Abby’s been drinking when she picks her up from school. She tries to take her car keys, but Abby slaps her hand, which prompts Bridget to take the bus instead. As Abby heads home she comes close to hitting a dog on the loose with its leash dragging behind. She sets off on foot trying to chase down the pooch. She succeeds and later claims the dog as her own.
Ray goes to meet the kidnappers. Two guys in masks, empty warehouse. Casey Finney is bound and gagged; another guy is lying in front of him in a pool of blood. Looks like a fake set up. Ray uses an Uber driver as a decoy and is able to foil their half-ass plan, one of the kidnappers is shot, and the other Ray tells to run. Casey tells Ray that the kidnappers were fellow addicts (he’s one too) looking for their next source of income. Finney is happy with Ray’s work and hands him a check, it looks like a new partnership will form. Finney tells Ray that his father was a criminal and ensured that he didn’t have to be one.
The episode closes with the Eagles’ “Hotel California” playing. Abbey is in bed with the cow-sized pooch she tracked down, Father Romero is reviewing the files, Gary is floating dead in the pool, and Ray is staring off numb-like at the LA nightscape.
Images: Credit: Michael Desmond/SHOWTIME