Ray Donovan Recap of “Abby” (Season 5 Premiere)
This year, we had to wait two extra months for Ray Donovan, our favorite Hollywood fixer, to return to our TV set on Showtime, and here we are at last, about to watch “Abby,” the first episode of Season 5.
In case you need a refresher, here’s a link to the final episode of Season 4: Rattus, Rattus (9-18-2016) Now let’s catch up on the Donovans.
The episode opened with Mickey stopping by the florist with Abby’s dog, Big Boy, to pick up 10 boutonnieres for his son’s wedding, which we naturally assume means Terry. He also picked up a dozen yellow roses and stopped by the cemetery to lay them on a grave.
In the next scene, Ray Donovan was at an anger management session. Dr. Brogan wanted Ray to explain what brought him to this pass. The ever laconic Ray replies: “it’s in the file,” but Brogan wants to hear about it in Ray’s own words. Ray’s father and brother ended up in the hospital, Bridget called the police. Ray explains it was a family fight and things got out of hand. He has a flashback showing him beating the hell out of Mickey while Bridget screams her head off. Brogan handed Ray a questionnaire to fill out and bring back in 2 days. Ray wanted to make some kind of deal to presumably get out of even going there but Brogan says the deal is 12 sessions in 90 days. That will satisfy the terms of his probation.
Yes, it is Terry who is about to be married. He was at a shop with Damon getting his suit. The salesgirl asked him to take off his cap. He did, exposing fresh scars on his head and she asked what happened. Terry had surgery for his Parkinson’s. Damon explained that they drilled holes in Terry’s head and gave him a pacemaker. “Want to see something cool?” Damon asked and Terry turned off the pacemaker and started shaking uncontrollably. Turning it back on, he said he had to go, leaving Damon to get a suit, too: “Make sure you look good for Maureen.”
At a gym, Bunchy and his wife, Teresa, are with some luchadors. They are both involved in the action in the ring, only Bunchy screws up when he is supposed to catch someone. The man choreographing the action tells Bunchy to come back at 8 for the audition and try not to screw it up. Bunchy goes to his job at Ray’s and gets mad when Lena complains about the coffee and paper he bought. He overhears Daryll only counting 3 people working there and tells Ray he is quitting to be a luchador. El Trebol (“The Shamrock”): “3 weeks, 10 cities. Lucha on tour,” he says and storms out. Later, at the audition, Bunchy catches his wife but swings her around and knocks El Tigre down with her legs. Bunchy tells Teresa to go on tour with the luchadors without him. He will stay home and take care of their baby Maria.
Ray takes his questionnaire to a bar named “Abby’s.” Inside, Mick is at a booth, writing a screenplay with Big Boy on the floor next to him. Ray complains about the dog. Ray’s bookkeeper, Harriet, arrives and says they got a B in the health inspection but they’ve got to let the manager go. He’s serving sandwiches on moldy bread. “Abby hired him,” Ray says and the manager says he told them he was a front-of-the-house guy but they wanted him to cook: “Action… meet consequences.” Harriet says Ray is losing $20K a month on this venture. He should sell and look into some self-storage units she has a lead on. Ray flatly states that he isn’t selling so Harriet talks to Mick about his screenplay. Ray looks over the questionnaire with yes or no choices for a series of questions about childhood sexual abuse.
In New York, Bridget dropped by Villains Tavern. A kid named Smitty comes in and tells her they aren’t open yet, then he realizes that he knows her from somewhere. “Sloan-Kettering,” Bridget replies. He asks her how her mother is and she got so choked up, she couldn’t speak. And that’s how we learned that Abby is dead. It was her grave that Mick brought the yellow roses to. So now for the rest of the episode, you’re sitting there waiting to find out:
HOW AND WHEN DID ABBY DIE?
But the answer never comes. Bridget went back to Smitty’s place and got stoned with him. He has cancer but did not get the operation he needs because he got an infection (he told her it was meningitis). So now he is back in the lottery and may or may not get this operation. Bridget is agreeable to hanging out with Smitty. When he goes to get a bottle of wine, she calls her father and says “I met the kid.”
Ray is apparently now working for Doug Landry. When he calls, Ray thinks it’s about an actress named Natalie James. He has just seen a news story about someone leaking nude photos from her Jamaican vacation. But Landry says it’s about Samantha Winslow, chairman of Pacific Pictures and its parent company. She cut ties with Tom and Vicky, two fixers who worked for her for years. They took some of her files and Ray’s job is to get them back by paying them off after making them agree to a ton of non-disclosure terms. Ray makes the exchange with Tom and Vicky who both warn him not to deal with Winslow.
Ray brings the boxes to Winslow’s home at Landry’s urgent instruction. Her stepson, George, answers the door and thinks Ray is an actor. Landry goes to the car to get the boxes and Ray encounters Samatha Winslow for the first time. Noticing Ray looking at a stuffed lion, she tells him a tale that her hunter husband used to tell, about a lion that killed and ate 25 villagers. That happened because the villagers took their goats inside and pushed all the elderly people outside. The moral of the story, she said, is “don’t get pushed out.” Then she asked him if he would mind giving George a ride.
Wherever George was going, he talked Ray’s ear off about the Culver City hotel where the munchkins from the Wizard of Oz stayed. He says that one of the munchkins killed himself on set. As he goes on about that, Ray flashes back to driving home with Abby, presumably after the party at the end of Season 4. They are listening to “Fade Into You” and having a conversation about buying a bar when suddenly a woman in either her underwear or a bathing suit appears in the road and Ray swerves to avoid hitting her. He crashes the car. They are all right but Abby has a little bump on her head. Ray gets out of the car and the woman runs off. Back in the present, George is telling Ray that he saw his sister die. “Home is where the heart is. That’s what Dorothy said,” George says. Ray answers him back with the right line: “There’s no place like home.”
When Terry brought Maureen her lunch, her police officer brother, Todd, hit Terry with some stuff that turned up on a background check that Maureen doesn’t know about. Terry called Ray and said he had to talk. When Ray arrives at the Fite Club, he had another flashback to the party. Only Terry is really there and he wants to give Ray back a necklace that Abby gave him to give Maureen. He tells Ray that Abby was right. He shouldn’t have lied. Now it’s over between him and Maureen after Todd found out about Nevada. (Does this have anything to do with the heist in Primm?) Ray says so? Terry made a mistake. Terry insists that Ray take back the necklace.
Ray goes home and just stands there watching Mickey act out his screenplay to Big Boy. Mick turns around and is startled by Ray’s presence. He tells Ray the boutonnieres are in the fridge. Ray just walks away. He hears Bridget sobbing and follows the sound up the stairs where he sees her crying in the hall in front of the bedroom he shared with Abby. He opens the door and comes back to the reality of an empty room. Ray falls asleep in Bridget’s room and Mickey comes in and takes his bottle away. “She was the brightest star in the sky,” Mickey says, “You sleep, kid.”
TVLine has an interview with series creator, David Hollander, who says that killing Abby off was a painful decision but she is still going to very much be a part of this season. Anyone can see that means there are going to be a lot of flashbacks with Abby but we sure hope it doesn’t mean this will be the last season for “Ray Donovan.” We say that because the tactic reminds of us the last season of “Boardwalk Empire” where all of a sudden they decided we needed to know the backstory of Nucky and Gillian via flashbacks. Ultimately, it didn’t really matter how well done that was, it took a lot away from the main story.