Ray Donovan recap Season 3 Episode 11 “Poker” (original air date Sept. 20, 2015): While the season is sadly nearing its close, this episode definitely ranks as a favorite, thanks to the amusing Cochran (Hank Azaria) and Mickey (Jon Voight). The episode starts with Cochran at Ray’s apartment making himself at home with some Jiffy Pop and beer, whistling “This Little Light Of Mine (I’m Going To Make It Shine).” He’s shoveling popcorn in that big yapper of his, while reviewing a topographic map of a desert region (you know it’s Varick’s final resting place). He takes that information and forwards it to the LAPD tipline. Avi and Lena are monitoring Cochran, they don’t like what just went down. Cochran pours beer over Ray’s floor and places a call to Finney (Ian McShane).
“Your good to go,” Cochran tells Finney, while unscrewing the bolts to a heating vent in Ray’s bedroom.
“There’s another way we can handle this, Mr. Cochran,” Finney tells him. “Everyone forgets about Varick Strauss and you end up a multimillionaire.”
Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen — Cochran wants to hang Ray. “I already told you what I want Mr. Finney. Unless you want to go to jail you’re going to do exactly what we agreed to.”
At the Donovan house, Ray (Liev Schreiber) wakes up (from the couch) to a bang at his patio door — it’s a blackbird and it died on impact (foreshadowing? Listen to the closing song). Avi (Steven Bauer) calls Ray and gives him the update; Cochran knows where the body is and he’s got it nailed down to a two-mile radius. Ray instructs Avi to move the body, and for Lena to get that “thing” (the fireplace poker) out of the storage unit. But that’s not Ray’s only problem this morning. Abby (Paula Malcomson) wants to talk to Ray about Bridget (Kerris Dorsey) getting into a fight at school.
Finney’s at the LAPD, he’s framing Ray. Finney explains how his daughter’s marriage was falling apart and that his son-in-law, Varick, was making threats against their family. “He was raving and wouldn’t leave the house so I called Ray and got him to come over and talk to him. He was just doing security for me at the time.” Finney tells them that he instructed Ray to negotiate a generous settlement with Varick but instead he heard an enormous crash and ran into the room to find Ray standing over Varick’s body with “a poker in his hand.” That rat!!! He’s not done though, he also explains that the reason he didn’t go to the police immediately was because Ray had threatened to kill him. “I believed him. He’s a very capable man.”
The investigators aren’t stupid, they know Finney is no innocent. To them, Ray’s a “knuckle-dragging thug” but Finney is a friend to the community and the department. They will follow Finney’s lead and pin this on Ray.
Back at the Donovans Abby diverts Ray’s questioning on what Bridget’s fight was about (remember, he’ll kill poor Mr. Donellen if he thinks he’s sleeping with his daughter). The doorbell ringing offers a much-needed interruption. At the door is Ray Barker from the LAPD; he wants to discuss Varick Strauss. Ray’s not about to let him in his house; he agrees to stop by the station later. Abby overhears the conversation and has her own questions for Ray, remarking that his girlfriend didn’t seem too upset about her missing boyfriend the night before.
“She’s not my fucking girlfriend Abs,” Ray tells her.
“You honestly expect me to believe you haven’t fucked her?” she laughs. She knows her man.
Adding to the absurdities of the day is Conor’s (Devon Bagby) request for a ride to “grandpa’s going-away party.” Apparently Uncle Terry (Eddie Marsan) doesn’t want to drive so he’s thinking maybe Bridget could take him. That’s a no go so Abby agrees to take him, but she’s not staying.
Mickey is packing up his gear. He’s desperate for his family to join him in Reno, which includes Ginger and Audrey. Mickey actually thinks he’ll give the Bunny Ranch a run for its money. Got to credit the guy for always dreaming. Ginger has reservations now that Audrey’s career is getting started. Ray calls and wants to know what the party is all about. “I’m firing up the grill, having a few beers. Want to come over, say goodbye?” Mick asks.
“I don’t want to fucking say goodbye. I want you out.”
Mickey says he’ll be gone that afternoon. Ray remembers them agreeing on morning. “I’m leaving and I want to say goodbye to my family,” Mick counters. Ray tells him he has until that night.
At a truck-side motel, Michelle gathers her belongings from what looks like one of her jobs, stealing some of the guys cash too, but it’s actually Daryl (Pooch Hall) in the bed. She takes his car too.
The honeymoon is over for Brendan (Dash Mihok) and Teresa (Alyssa Diaz), who show up at Mickey’s place. Mickey tells Bunch Brendan that he needs some more glitz so that’s why he is moving on to Reno.
Abby and Terry get a little too intimate while talking about Paige and Ray. Terry thinks Ray’s just like his old man, who was too caught up in his own bullshit that he never realized how beautiful his mother actually was. Abby is touched by his flattery and gives him a kiss on the cheek, but when Terry turns in to reciprocate it appears Abby is longing for something more and they share a more passionate kiss on the lips. Yuck!!!! Terry pushes her away. “That didn’t happen,” he tells her. Ray better wake up!
At the LAPD Ray gives his side of the story. Captain Barker doesn’t believe it and claims he has a statement from Mrs. Finney (forgot Finney even had a wife) that states Ray forced her to perform a sexual act at gunpoint. What???? OK, the guy’s just fucking with him and shows him an empty folder. Not funny. Instead the captain shows him a topography image that pinpoints Ray in the middle of the dessert the day Varick went missing. But Lee Drexler (Peter Jacobson) busts in and concludes the conversation. As they exit Drexler informs him that Finney went to the police three hours ago and confessed that Ray killed Varick. Ray stops one of the investigators: “You tell Finney he has one chance to stop this.”
Finney is doing damage control on his side, spinning a different story to Paige (Katie Holmes) about the LAPD and Ray. She’s concerned about the business and if that’s been damaged. “Nothing that can’t be fixed,” Finney says. “There’s a mountain of favors owed me in this town. If we do lose the team, since you are in charge, I’ll let you decide where to reinvest the money.” Only thing is, Finney needs her to go to the police and back up his story. Paige claims she doesn’t know anything. Finney believes she does, and starts spinning the story. “You knew what he was after,” Finney says.
“You’re the one who hired him,” she says.
“You’re the one who slept with him. You were training him to take Varick’s place,” Finney states.“You were building him up to something he wasn’t. Your fucking monster, not mine.” She’s not buying it.
Ray takes a call from Lena. “You’re not going to like this,” she starts. The poker is gone. That we knew. Cochran’s got it and that’s what he’s leveraging against Finney.
“You’re going to need a criminal lawyer,” Drexler advises. “Today.”
Abby drops off Conor at the party. Mick tries to get her to stay. She’s not in the mood. She gives him a smooch and says goodbye. Mick’s visibly having a hard time with leaving. Daryl returns and he’s hot; Michelle’s taken him for $600. Mickey starts selling him on coming to Reno with him positioning the move as them being a big fish in a small pond, between their LA girls and his East-coast sophistication they won’t know what hit them. Daryl, however, is not going. “I’ve been a fucking idiot. I spent my whole life waiting for you to get out of prison so you can be my father. I’ve done everything you asked me to do. Everything. And now messing with you I owe the IRS money and got the Armenian mafia coming after me.”
But Mickey doesn’t get it, so Daryl spells it out for him.
“You know what I want. I want a car, a job and a normal life,” Daryl tells. “And a woman who when she says she’s bringing me coffee, brings me coffee, instead of stealing my money and taking your car.”
Cochran’s teeny, cottage-cheese-ceiling apartment is ripped apart. Ray’s waiting for him gun locked and loaded as he walks in, still whistling. “Where’s the poker,” Ray demands.
“What you’re going to shoot me now? Fuck yourself, you Irish piece of shit,” Cochran retorts.
Ray shoots his leg. Down he goes.
“Where’s the poker,” he asks a bit more sternly this time.
Ray and Avi tie Cochran up to chair.
“You know I believe God brought me back to you, Ray, you know I do,” he tells them. “I mean look at you, you are going down for the one fucking murder you didn’t commit. I mean that’s divine retribution.”
Ray just wants to know where that poker is.
“Have you checked your ass, Ray?” Good one.
Cochran continues, questioning Ray on what he really thought was going to happen. Like did he think he would be sitting at the Super Bowl in a skybox sipping champagne with the Finneys while Beyoncé shakes her ass for him down on the field? Avi suggests he grabs his bolt cutters from his van and cuts off his balls.
“Please take my balls, all they ever cost me was trouble,” Cochran says. Hilarious. I’m hoping this won’t be the end to Cochran.
Ray grabs a bat instead.
“Fuck you Ray,” Cochran says.
Ray winds up ready to swing the bat into his head, but Cochran caves.
“It’s in the heating vent in your bathroom apartment, but I already called the cops so you are too fucking late.”
Even if he does get there in time, Cochran says no one will believe him — because he’s a nobody.
At his apartment, Ray races to open the vent to get rid of the poker. The cops are pounding on his door with a search warrant. With just seconds to spare, he gets the poker and drops it out the window, down several stories, to Lena who is waiting on her motorcycle. Lena grabs the poker, throws it in her backpack and takes off. The cops can’t it. Barker shows Ray a picture of someone who is supposed to be Varick at the Mexican border. He knows it’s Avi and that Avi works for him. This isn’t looking good for Ray.
Conor figures out the girl he hooked up with at Mickey’s Internet party was a hooker, he looks to Mickey for advice. Mickey’s happy to be needed, telling him “stay away from sex workers until you’re older.” Conor doesn’t want his grandpa to leave, “Dad doesn’t talk to me like you do.” Could you even imagine having a grandfather like Mickey?! Oh my.
“Go grab us a couple of beers, I’ll be right down,” Mickey tells him.
And on that note, Bunch drops off the final packed-up boxes, of course it’s Mickey’s porn.
“Those tapes have been through a lot,” Mickey tells Bunchy, and turns it into a teaching moment. “In marriage you need to be vigilant. Keep an upper hand. I’m serious, you let her boss you around too much and she’ll run off with Rico the mechanic or something.”
Bunch tells him the reason they bought the truck was so they could fill it with kids. Mick’s thrilled. Bunch is too, but it’s scary at the same time. “That’s life,” Mick tells him.
Sadly they both realize he won’t be around for it. So Mick gets an idea. He grabs the court documents that deem Ray his legal guardian and calls for a family meeting with Bunch, Teresa, Daryl and Conor. Mick tells them that he has Alzheimer’s and that his decision to move was really to spare them from watching his health disintegrate. Unbelievable! They of course, buy it and rally around to support him. “I’m afraid that when it gets real bad that Ray will lock me up in a home somewhere. … I’m scared when I’m weak he’s going to take advantage of me. I’m afraid to even talk to him about it.”
What follows is amusing. Conor calls unable to believe they would let Mickey go. Bunch gets on the phone next and tells Ray that he won’t be a burden that Mick can live with Teresa and him. He tries to tell Bunch that Mickey is not sick. But they all saw the papers and continue to buy into Mickey’s bullshit. Ray wants Mick on the phone.
“Ray Ray. I couldn’t hide it from them, I felt like a liar,” Mickey says.
“Listen to me you piece of shit. I don’t give a fuck what you told them, you’re leaving tonight.”
“You don’t have to say that Ray,” Mickey pretends. “Are you sure?”
“Mick I’m not going to tell you again,” Ray says, and then Mick cuts him off with a “bye bye.”
He hangs up and addresses the family. “Thank you for making that call. He told me not to go.”
Bridget claims she is going to a friend’s house to study. Terry doesn’t buy it but she leaves anyways. He calls Abby to inform her of the problem. Bridget shows up at Mr. Donellen’s house convinced he wants her and professing her love. Whatever the situation, he can’t and won’t and tells her to leave. She’s going to be 18 in six months. He doesn’t care, she needs to go and closes the door. Abby picks her up. Back at their house, Terry looks to engage Bridge on what’s going on and how she’s hurting her mom. Bridget’s rude and disrespectful and warns him that if anything happens to Mr. Donellen they will never see her again.
Ray stops Paige (Katie Holmes) before she talks to the police. He tells her he didn’t kill Varick, but she knows that. He wants to know what her father has promised her – “put me away and you get everything?” She pauses, as that’s exactly what he did. “You can go up there and tell them anything you want, but your father is going down either way.”
She wants to know what he had on him.
“All of it. The body, weapon, Cochran.”
She smirks with those annoying braces and asks, “who do you think is more powerful in this town — you — or Andrew Finney?”
“I don’t know. Why don’t you go up there and find out,” Ray tells her. “Or tell the truth and get it all. Who knows, if you play your cards right you might even get to keep the team.”
But that’s not all she cares about.
Paige goes in and tells her story. It’s the truth. The investigators don’t believe her and think she’s being threatened by Ray. “What if I told you where the body is? The exact location. You would be legally obligated to investigate right?” Of course.
Paige returns to her father’s house where Finney’s relaxing poolside, she just wanted to stop by on her way home to tell him that she gave her statement. “Thank you. We did the right thing,” Finney says.
“Well, it will all be over soon,” she says. “I’ll take good care of the business.”
Finney thinks she’ll do a fine job when the time is right. He also thinks she’s getting a bit sentimental on him. Simultaneously, on the other side of his house, the doors bust open to the back of Avi’s van. Cochran’s dying over the stench of Varick’s rotting body that is next to them— it was a shared van ride. Ray and Avi drag Varick out and throw him in the dumpster at Finney’s house. They top him with gasoline (again), throw in that poker, and set it all on fire. Finney’s done.
But, they still have Cochran. Ray pulls over the van and tells Cochran it’s the end of the line.
“Just get it over with, mother fucker,” Cochran says.
Ray drags him out of the van and asks if he’s sure he wants those to be his last words. He unties him and says, “Don’t worry Cochran. You’ve got the rest of your life to look forward to.” He drives off leaving him in the parking garage at Dybek.
And then throws his football cap out of the car.
Ray’s final stop is Mickey’s place.
Of course Mickey hasn’t left. He’s sitting poolside waiting for Ray.
Ray orders him to get in the truck and leave or he’s going to take him in.
“Where?” Mickey asks.
“Sunny Creek Medical Center. Trust me. It’s a real shithole.”
“I’m afraid I don’t like either of those options Ray Ray,” and Mick takes his bottle and tries to swing it at Ray. Ray pops him in the face.
“They don’t want me to go Ray, you know why? Because I make them feel good,” Mickey explains. “You don’t make people feel good; you make them feel small and shitty. What are you going to say to the family? Either you tricked their beloved grandfather for signing away his rights or you’re the kind of son that dumps his demented old man in a nursing home. Either way they are going to hate you.” Mick raises his red solo cup and says, “Checkmate. Ralph. Ralph, no, Randy? I’m sorry I forgot your name. Don’t take it personal, that’s the Alzheimer’s.”
Brilliant! We all win with both Mickey and Cochran sticking around.