Showtime’s Ray Donovan The Captain TV Show Review. Ray Donovan: Season 2, Episode 12: The Captain ended almost every new storyline begun at the outset of this season if not in satisfactory ways, in entertaining ones.
Kate McPherson (Vinessa Shaw) was never going to publish her story. If she had, Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber) would have to go on the run to stay out of prison, like Sully Sullivan (though he hide in semi-plain sight), or go to prison. The show needed Ray Donovan on the streets solving other people’s problems so McPherson publishing her story could never happen and was never going to happen. It was a good storyline though but to the observant viewer looking outside the box, it could have only ended in two ways: they discredit her or her story in multiple ways (boring) or they kill her (much more narratively satisfying, not to mention dramatic).
Two points of contention regarding Kate McPherson’s death: 1.) she had given her boss the basics of her story over the phone. In addition, good reporters take fastidious notes to refer to when typing up their stories, to make sure they have all of their facts straight. Could McPherson’s editor get a hold of her notebook and piece the story back together?
Remember: after Avi (Steven Bauer) shot Kate, he didn’t take her purse, her cell phone (that the assassin, Former FBI agent spoke into after being forced to retire) or the notebook that was probably inside of her purse. Avi left it all and walked out the apartment door. Like I mentioned before, a good reporter takes notes, and Kate’s editor will know that. The question is whether or not he will make a bee-line for those aforementioned materials or not.
That brings us to point of contention 2.): Kate McPherson came back to Boston victorious. She had gotten her story. She confirmed that with Sully’s girlfriend’s mother (“I wanted you to hear it from me instead of reading about it”, to paraphrase). She had detailed to her editor who the story now involved, all the key players, over the phone. Then she got executed in her apartment the same day she got back (nothing in her apartment was stolen. nothing overturned. The assailant was there for one purpose: eliminating Kate McPherson). That is a giant red flag to any news reporter or police detective. McPherson had been onto something, had rattled the wrong cage, and it got her killed. The police will see that immediately and so will her former colleagues.
Will her editor or another reporter be brave enough to pick up the torch and begin researching the story that got Kate McPherson killed or will they leave sleeping dogs where they are? I am guessing the later, only because I do not feel that the writers of Ray Donovan want another reporter storyline next season. I personally believe that it would be appropriate. It would make Kate’s arc more significant if they did so.
Watching Ray make the vengeance rounds after Kate McPherson was killed was entertaining (with one’s brain tuned off). How does a obviously upset man waltz into FBI headquarters, no visitor’s pass visible anywhere (which is protocol), and get to the top floor where the head of the organization is? Ray’s FBI buddy was forced to retire so who let him in? How does a civilian get that deep into a FBI building unmolested? Where are the locks, the security measures? Why would FBI Special Agent Ed Cochran (Hank Azaria) let Ray into the building (did he threaten to release the tape if he didn’t)? None of these questions were answered. The viewer was obliged to “go with it” and to treat this moment and others that followed it as if they were watching a Michael Bay film and visually devouring “popcorn.”
Another such “popcorn” moment was the impetus of The Captain‘s horse race track scene. Probation Officer Ronald Keith (Wendell Pierce) running away from a convict in public and broad daylight was a cartoon. If Mickey Donovan (Jon Voight) was brazen and stupid enough to attack an officer of the court in public while on parole, Keith could have had him arrested on the spot (by calling the police on his cell phone or by alerting the security guards in the race track), and get the one-hundred thousand dollars from Ray. So the obvious question is: why did he run? Why did a Probation Officer run from an ex-con in front of two hundred witnesses? It made no sense. I get it, he was scared and surprised. So why not run to the nearest security guard, show him your badge, and tell him you are in need of his (or her) assistance? Why didn’t reality creep into this scene? The writers needed Keith for the final track scene and they needed Mickey out of prison (just like Ray).
Terry Donovan (Eddie Marsan) is never going to Ireland (and he never was, just like Kate McPherson was never publishing her story). Terry is essential to the show and to Ray. Terry is Ray’s moral opposite, a foil to many aspects of his personality. Besides that substrata point, Ireland will not let someone that has just committed armed robbery become a citizen. Terry might be able to move there, after he gets out of prison, and live there but there is now a taint on him that will linger for the rest of his life.
Terry’s fall should have had collateral damage but Ray Donovan‘s writers did not want that.
Here is the dubious part of the Weed Shop robbery storyline, the part the writers hope that you did not notice: Terry calls Mickey by his first name during the robbery. The security guard heard him. The security guard would have told that name to the police. Once the police ran Terry Donovan’s name through the system for known associates, Mickey Donovan’s name would have come up and wouldn’t you know it, he is a known stick up man and bank robber who happens to live in the area and who has been seen in the Weed Store previously. He talked to the security guard at the Weed Shop. Once the police showed the security guard Mickey’s mugshot, he would have told them that he had been around and recently. The police would then immediately seek Mickey out for questioning.
None of this basic police work happened. It was Ray Donovan‘s Dexter and The Strain moment i.e. convenient logic and procedure oversights to advance a plotline in a certain direction, regardless of real world logic, norms, and professional protocols. The writers believed that the viewer would not be paying attention or that they were so ignorant, that they would not recognize a glaring hole regarding what the police do after a robbery when one of robbers says one of the other perpetrators’ names out loud in front of a living witness. Reservoir Dogs anyone? Heat? NYPD Blue? Guess not.
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