Ray Donovan recap Season 3, Episode 8 “Tulip” (original air date Aug. 30, 2015): Episode 8 of Ray Donovan “Tulip” finds the Donovan family on the defense as Father Romero (Leland Orser) comes to Fite Club and the Minassians seek revenge. The episode starts with Ray in the desert swinging a pickaxe, he’s digging someone’s grave — we just don’t know whose. The episode is told in flashback sequences that walk us through how he got there.
Earlier he wakes up suddenly from a nightmare, Paige (Katie Holmes) is in the bed next to him. Ugh! I was really hoping he wouldn’t follow her up those stairs and would have kept this one strictly business — so much for wanting to make his relationship with Abby work. It’s morning and Paige needs to talk business. She tells Ray that the owners’ committee needs proof that they secured the site by week’s end or their NFL deal dies. Paige knows her father won’t pony up the $900 million for Napier’s land. She needs Ray to be persuasive to get Napier to sell.
Abby (Paula Malcomson) shows up at Fite Club and wakes up Terry (Eddie Marsan) who is sleeping on a cot. Getting all motherly she lays into Terry for not wanting to live with them, and for not taking care of himself. “When’s the last time you got a haircut, you look like a fucking caveman.” They go to the barbershop together for a real shave and haircut.
It’s not just Paige who is officially breaking ties with Varick (Jason Butler Harner), but also Finney (Ian McShane). Varick is served with new papers that dissolve that relationship, too. As Varick leaves the Finney house he can see Finney watching from a room upstairs. Varick begs him to talk. “Andrew we need to discuss this. Finn. Finn,” but Finney just ignores him.
At Fite Club Teresa is rummaging through office paperwork when Mickey comes in and introduces himself as her new father. “You’re a beauty,” Mick says. “Bunchy won the fucking lottery,” and he gives Teresa a hug and a bouquet of tulips (tulips are special to Mickey, it reminds him of a woman he knew and lost to breast cancer).
“I like to call him Brendan,” Teresa informs.
“You can call him fucking Vladimir for all I care, as long as you treat him right,” Mick tells her. “He’s never loved. He’s pure, so you be gentle with my boy.”
In walks Brendan. Teresa tells Mick that Brendan has told her all about Mickey’s little project and that he is the one that needs to be gentle with her boy.
Bunch (Dash Mihok) and Mickey (Jon Voight) meet up with Daryll (Pooch Hall) who is upset over the hornet’s nest Mick opened with the Minassians. Mick tells him to look on the bright side, as maybe they learned a lesson not to mess with the Donovans. As Mickey toasts Bunch on his upcoming nuptials with his boys and girls (the hookers) they hear an explosion in the parking lot. There goes Daryll’s car. Looks like the Minassians aren’t real afraid of those Donovan boys afterall.
The explosion draws the police and fire departments, and the attention of a lead detective. Mickey tells the black female detective investigating that he suspects it is just kids. She’s no fool and tells Mickey she knows what he’s into — selling coke and running girls. “Do you have any idea who you are in with?” she asks.
“I’d like to be in with you, detective” Mick tries to make a move.
Best line of the episode: “I’m going to think about that attractive offer all night long. I just love old white men,” she mocks. Mick’s amused and definitely interested. What the detective really wants is an informant as the Minassians are part of the APS (some Armenian Power Syndicate).
“I wouldn’t know an Armenian from a Russian to a fucking German Shepard,” Mick tells her. She warns Mickey that the only way he’s going to be able to keep his family safe is with her protection. Mick turns her down claiming he hasn’t done anything wrong. But that doesn’t work. She tells him that effectively immediately she’ll be watching them and if she sees any illegal activity she’ll charge them with narcotics and drug trafficking. Mick orders Daryll to hide the drugs and get Ginger and the girls off the street. Looks like that show is over.
Ray enlists Lena (Katherine Moennig) for help with the Napier issue. As they walk into the Department of Fish and Gaming Lena gives him credit for his plan being possibly one of his best in years. Inside Helen Miller leads them to a side of the building she never visits. There she takes Ray’s money and introduces them to a snake tank of Central American Eyelash Vipers confiscated by customs for being filled with black tar heroin. Helen reminds them just how illegal and dangerous this plan actually is. Ray reminds her that all she needs to do is show up at the airport and flash her warden badge at Napier. Ray brings Helen and the snakes to an airport hangar where he outlines the plan again. “We’re going to meet Lena and put the snakes in his golf bag,” Ray tells. All she has to do is tell him he’s under arrest for smuggling snakes and threaten to call the DEA. But she freaks out at the last minute saying she can’t do it —afraid they will all get in trouble. Lena punches her in the face to shut her up, but the sack that the snakes are in drops and a snake gets out and bites Helen’s leg.
Then we flash forward to that desert scene. Avi (Steven Bauer) is back and he brought a shovel! Maybe it’s Helen’s grave they are digging?
Then it’s back to Helen. Her leg is swelling up. Lena rushes her to the hospital. Worst plan ever. Ray calls Paige and tells her: “that Napier thing’s not going to happen.”
Varick goes to Paige about Finney cutting him out completely. He wants Paige to speak to her father on his behalf about honoring the promises he gave him. “I’ve helped run this company for almost 20 years. I’m a member of this family, it’s the least you can do,” but Paige stops him. “See you’ve worn the clothes so fucking long you forget they don’t even belong to you,” she counters. “What you should do is say thank you and get out.”
As for Bridget she’s on hot pursuit of Mr. Donellen (Aaron Staton). After class she approaches him asking for his help. He tells her it was a mistake to text her back when she asked him to get coffee. “So why did you?” she asks. “Because I was being totally fucking inappropriate,” he shares, as well as the fact that he takes meds that impacts his judgment. “We have to keep it to school.” After he leaves, Bridget grabs a magazine that has his home address. Stalker alert.
Father Romero packs up his Donovan files and heads to Fite Club. Bunch is alone when he arrives. “I’m sorry I mislead you Brendan,” he says.
“You fucking lied to me,” Brendan yells back.
Romero explains that he had an obligation and he needed to know what happened to Father O’Connor. Brendan asks if he’s going to tell the cops. He doesn’t answer, instead he asks Brendan to contact his brother Ray to let him know he is there.
“We already killed one piece of shit priest in this place, won’t be such a chore to kill another,” Brendan tells him. He calls Ray. When Ray arrives at the club he grabs his gun.
Flash forward and Ray’s now shoulder deep in the grave he’s digging. Ray open’s the trunk of a car and they pull out a body bag and drop it into the hole. So maybe it’s Father Romero’s grave?
Flash back to Fite Club and Romero tells Ray that they have some unfinished business. Ray is ready to put this problem to bed. Father Romero asks Ray, and quite nicely, to come outside so he can show him something important. Ray tells Bunchy to clear out the gym and lock it up.
Flash forward again and Ray pulls out that box of files Father Romero had on the Donovans and throws it into the grave. Avi pours gasoline over the box — and the body bag — and they set it on fire.
Flash back again and Ray is following Romero out of the club to a side alley where his car is parked. Ray points a gun at Romero. Romero tells him how Father O’Connor had shared how Ray’s mother and sister had died, and how he knows that the only place Ray had to turn to for help was the church, and his priest. He takes out his Donovan files and sets the box in front of Ray. “Excommunication is not a punishment,” he tells Ray. “It’s an invitation to change, to repent — your return to full communion, when you are ready. You have suffered enough.” And he leaves Ray with the box and drives off. So it’s not Romero’s grave.
Inside Fite Club Ray watches Bunchy go through the box. “I never should have opened my mouth or trusted people. You talk about shit that should stay quiet and you pay a price,” an emotional Bunchy assesses. Ray tells him there is no price to pay and that Romero’s not going to the cops. Bunchy says he’s done with all of it.
Varick makes a surprise visit to Finney. When Finney calls him out for trespassing, Varick tells him to call the cops. “No better yet, call the press,” he says. Finney reminds him that he doesn’t respond well to threats. “You don’t want to do this,” Varick says.“Everything has changed now, Finn. Gay men marry and adopt children.”
“I’m not a gay man,” Finney says.
“Keep telling yourself that.” Varick goes on to tell Finn that it’s not about money but about his life and not letting other people dictate who he is allowed to love.
Finney tells him they have been over for a long time now, and grabs his face and plants a long kiss on him. “I didn’t feel a fucking thing,” he says. “It was a venture. I didn’t feel a fucking thing then and I don’t feel a fucking thing now.”
Varick refuses to believe him. He’s got something to say, but Finney doesn’t want to hear it. He threatens him by saying perhaps someone would be interested in hearing how Finney stole from his own charities, how he seduced his own daughter’s husband or how he was sexually satisfied in the back of a limo at his own father’s funeral. Oh Varick, not a good idea. An enraged Finney picks up his fireplace poker and brutally swings it into the side of Varick’s head. Blood splatters everywhere. He’s dead. He calls Ray and orders him to come over immediately. Finney tells Ray that Varick came at him first and that he didn’t mean it. He doesn’t buy it. Ray thinks it’s risky and doesn’t want the job. Finney reminds Ray how when he came to him broken and looking for help, he didn’t refuse him, he saved his brother’s life. “Repay the kindness.” Ray calls Lena and suggests she call Avi, too.
Bridget shows up at Mr. Donellen’s house. She knows she shouldn’t be there but she just can’t help what she’s feeling and explains so — thinking maybe he feels the same but is trying to keep some kind of “stupid boundary.” He tries to set her straight: “We have something in common — you miss your boyfriend and I miss my wife, that doesn’t mean we are connected.” But he took his meds again and isn’t quite his normal self. He retreats back into his house ready to hit twilight zone but leaves the door open. Of course Bridget sees it as an open invite to come in, use his bathroom, rummage through his meds and plant a soft kiss on him (she’s also calling him Greg now) when he’s almost passed out. He tells her he’s not the answer, as she’s just still going to be lonely even if she did stay with him. She’s OK with that and rests her head on his chest.
A gloomy and bruised Mickey sits by the pool contemplating his situation. A senior resident approaches him and suggests he join the rest of the elderly on some of their outings. Mickey doesn’t see himself as a senior, but the conversation prompts him to call the detective. He approaches their meeting more like a date, serving up genuine conversation, Easy Cheese and crackers and light music to set the mood. She wants to talk business: “Are you going to help us or not?” He doesn’t answer. Later we see him clearly in pain from the beating.
Avi, Lena and Ray do a thorough job cleaning up Finney’s mess. Ray uses this mess as an opportunity to solidify the NFL deal, he tells Finney to call Paige and tell her that he’s reconsidered the Napier deal. Paige thinks Ray’s priorities are mixed when he comes looking for Varick’s passport, unaware that Varick is dead. Ray tells her the passport is the plan to get the deal done.
Back at the grave site, Avi and Ray make amends. “I killed people before, Ray,” Avi tells him. “I never killed a woman. Ezra said the girl has to die. So I was on a plane to Boston, praying the whole way that it could be different. I’m in her home waiting for the door to open and the whole time my hand on the gun knowing it has to be me. You have to listen to me, I cannot talk to the rabbi. I cannot talk to anybody. The one person I can tell about this is you, and you shun me like a leper.”
“I would have rather gone to prison, Avi,” Ray tells. “I would have rather done my time.”
But Avi disagrees. “Somebody had to do it. If not for you, for your family,” Avi says. “You know that’s true. You know it.”
Ray looks at Avi, somewhat forgivingly, and tells him that he will meet him back at the office.
Ray’s cover-up plan involves transferring money to Varick’s account, as if he stole it from the trust fund Finney set up for Paige and Varick. Avi uses Varick’s passport to fly to Mexico City to impersonate someone who is fleeing. “I appreciate you doing this Avi,” Ray says. “When you get back give me a call.”
Ray updates Finney on the plan. He needs to call a private investigator in a few days – Ray’s got the name of some idiot who will eventually follow the fake trail he devised. Finney tells Paige that Varick stole eight million from a trust fund he had set up for them. He also announces that he’s going to pay Napier for the land and then step aside so she can run the show. Paige is shocked. “Thank you for this,” and she leaves to call Napier. Finney asks Ray where he buried Varick. Ray refuses, it’s better that way. He asks Ray to sit with him for a minute, it’s the only funeral they can offer him. “Thank you Ray.”
Paige stops Ray as he’s walking out accusing him of making a side deal with her father. “You got what you wanted,” Ray tells her. She knows their story isn’t legit, but she’s OK with it. “Congratulations partner,” Paige says, and the two shake hands.
Abby shows the cleanly shaven and barely recognizable Terry to his new room. “It would be nice to have someone around the house to talk with,” Abby says after Terry turns down the offer to stay.
“You’ve got Ray,” Terry says.
“No I don’t. You know that. None of us got Ray,” Abby admits. “He didn’t come home last night. I thought things were better. And now, again, he’s not coming home. I don’t know what to do Terry.” He tries to console her. “You’re not the one with the problem. It’s going to be alright.” He hugs her and agrees that it is indeed a nice room. When Abby returns to take Terry back to the club, he decides to say. He has something he wants to give Ray. It’s their mother’s bible.
The episode closes with Ray coming home. He sees Terry asleep and picks up the bible Terry was reading. On the back of his mother’s bible it reads: “Be a brave soldier, Ray,” and it’s signed from Father Danny. Abby tells Ray to come to bed.
Images: Credit: Patrick Wymore/SHOWTIME