TV Show Review

TV Review: RAY DONOVAN: Season 3, Episode 11: Poker [Showtime]

Katie Holmes Ian McShane Ray Donovan Poker

Showtime’s Ray Donovan Poker TV Show Review. Ray Donovan: Season 3, Episode 11: Poker was an episode of twists and turns with two surprises at its conclusion.

Ed Cochran (Hank Azaria)’s plan was clever but why tell Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber) that the cops were on their way to his apartment? That made Ray come up with a completely different plan than he would have if he was ignorant of the police’s impending arrival. If Cochran had just held out, not told him about the police, or told Ray the poker was in a locker on the other side of the city, the police would have had time to get to Ray’s apartment.

Like I said before, Ray Donovan‘s writers will not allow Ray to go to jail. This was exemplified last season. They will take him and the viewer to the brink of that scenario as was shown in this episode then they will write him out of it. This is one of the main faults of Ray Donovan and it’s been repeated for two consecutive seasons now.

Paige Finney (Katie Holmes) marveling at Andrew Finney (Ian McShane)’s accomplishments, clandestinely saying goodbye to him, was both touching and cruel. Paige wanted her father out of the way so that she could run the Finney organization. By doing it the way she did it, she may have destroyed the NFL deal since he is listed as one of the owners. He’s trial will call his character into serious question and will shine a light on the NFL that they do not want. Since his arrest will come out before the NFL deal’s greenlight is publicly announced, my guess is that the greenlight will be retracted. Ray knew that as well. That is why he threw the football hat out the window. The football deal is gone. Setting up Andrew torpedoed it.

I’ve said this before previously as well: Ray Donovan‘s writers will never let Ray become so rich that he doesn’t have to fix other people’s problems. Ray fixing other people’s problems is the central premise of the show. That NFL deal was never going through, at least not with Ray attached to it. It was seasonal smoke (like the newspaper story that would have exposed Ray last season), a plot element that was never going anywhere. Ray becoming rich changes multiple dynamics on the show. Ray Donovan‘s writers will not let that happen. They won’t let the show evolve like that. It could be a narrative disaster. It was for Fringe.

If Real-World Paige was on Ray Donovan, she would have handled the NFL deal / Ray Donovan / Andrew Finney situation completely differently. Here’s how: Paige would have told the police exactly what she told them in Poker. After she got out of the police station, she would have bought a burner phone with cash and called her Dad. She would have told him that Ray had the body, the poker, and Cochran. She would have told him that he forced her to testify against him or he would have implicated her in the murder as well. She had no choice. She would tell him that the police were coming to arrest him and that he should leave the country immediately and transfer money off-shore while he did so.

Real-World Paige would have had her father sign one last business document before getting on the private jet: A letter saying that he no longer wanted to be a part of the NFL deal and that he was giving his percentage to Paige, effective immediately. She would have him date it and sign it with his lawyer present as a witness.

Paige could then resubmit the NFL deal paperwork with her father’s name no where to be found.

This would allow the deal to go through.

But like I said, Ray Donovan‘s writers don’t want Ray rich so Real-World Paige is not on the show. The necessarily dumbed-down version is, Bizarro Paige.

Mickey Donovan (Jon Voight)’s checkmate moment in Poker was brilliant (though Mickey not moving away was inevitable). The viewer was able to see Mickey’s heart at play when family members spoke about the warm feelings they have towards him and about circumstances in the future. The viewer also saw Mickey’s mind working behind his eyes as he figured a way out of the nursing home and the Reno, Nevada move. It was a marvelous play by Mickey. Where were those brains when it came to his crimes? Even Ray knew that he had been bested.

Mickey was never going to a nursing home or Reno, Nevada. He was never leaving Los Angles, California. Like Ray potentially going to prison last season, neither of the scenarios Mickey was faced with this season were going to happen. They couldn’t. Mickey is an intricate part of the show, like Ray, like Terry Donovan (Eddie Marsan). Remember Terry moving to Ireland? That was never going to happen. Both characters play off of Ray and either make him a better human being or a worse human being. That chemistry can’t be extracted from the show without something to replace it. It certainly isn’t Connor Donovan (Devon Bagby).

Connor Donovan not being able to talk to Ray showed how much he and Mickey are friends and how much Connor and his father are no more than acquaintances, ships passing in the night.

The Greg Donellen (Aaron Staton) / Bridget Donovan (Kerris Dorsey) situation is not going to go anywhere interesting judging by their interaction in Poker. Donellen is regaining his common sense and sees everything that he could lose if he pursued his feelings and hormones. He teaches at a prestigious prep school. Now that his wife is dead, his work is all he has left. Coming to the brink of losing that snapped him back to reality, the reality of an affair with a student not being worth the consequences.

Witnessing the Abby Donovan (Paula Malcomson) / Terry situation begin in the last episode, I didn’t think much would be made of it in Poker. I was wrong. A dangerous situation is brewing. Betrayal on an unforgivable scale may be coming. Terry is nicer and spends more time with Abbie Donovan than Ray does. Now that Terry has moved in, that will only continue as Ray is out solving everyone else’s problems except his own.

Abbie sees that the grass is greener on the other side of the hill. She might even see that she choose the wrong Donovan. The more Ray pushes her away (e.g. sleeping with Paige, Paige showing up unannounced, etc.), the more she will gravitate towards Terry, the Donovan that would never do that to her.

Leave your thoughts on this review and this episode of Ray Donovan below in the comments section. For more Ray Donovan reviews, photos, videos, and information, visit our Ray Donovan Page, our Ray Donovan Google+ Page, subscribe to us by Email, “follow” us on Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, or “like” us on Facebook for quick updates.

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About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started FilmBook during an eCommerce B-School course in 2008. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He has also created and Trending

  • shassan3

    The reason Ed Cochran didn’t lie about that situation is because he knew would be murked/(killed) if he did, not sure if you noticed but ray had him in his possession until shit got sorted with the feds and last season ray was willing to the pen but the case was such that Ezra Goldman couldn’t have it go down because his ass would have got locked up too so the narrative flows and makes sense it’s not forced at all if I was to compare to a Shakespeare format i’d say the shows still in the second act maybe entering third so there is a long way to go ray may go to prison or strike it rich or get killed or join wit pro or on and on but it’s still to early for that

  • “The reason Ed Cochran didn’t lie about that situation is because he knew
    would be murked/(killed) if he did, not sure if you noticed but ray
    had him in his possession until shit got sorted with the feds”

    I noticed him tied to the chair. I also noticed the baseball bat in Ray’s hands. Ray was going to beat the information out of Cochran, most-likely starting with the knees. Ray needed information i.e. the poker’s location more than he wanted Conchran dead. A dead person wouldn’t have helped Ray in his poker request. A dead person, in that instance, would have gotten him sent to prison.

    “Ezra Goldman couldn’t have it go down because his ass would have got locked up too”

    Understood. My point was that the reporter’s story was never going to get printed in the first place. Something was always going to get in the way of it being published.

    “the shows still in the second act maybe entering third so there is a
    long way to go ray may go to prison or strike it rich or get killed or
    join wit pro or on and on but it’s still to early for that”

    I completely agree with you. That is why, in these early seasons, in this second act, all the threats of Ray going to prison or getting rich are just that, threats. They will never happen. Not until the last season.

    That is why you know when Ray is threatened with one or the other, it wouldn’t happen.

    That is the main flaw of the show: nothing really good or bad (a life-changing event) can happen to Ray. Not until the final act, the final season.

  • shassan3

    I disagree with the notion that someone’s in Eds position would only care about revenge the instinct to save your life trumps all trust me on that one man and ray had life or death in his hands ed cooperated and lived he didn’t know he would but in the end he did what most would do cooperate and pray for mercy I do agree however that your right the narrative is protecting ray ultimately from harms way but that’s generally the formula for hit shows they can’t just fuck up their main character what would the show be about without ray front and centre the authenticity you want would destroy the show I think you know that already so your complaint Is moot either the show gets too realistic and sucks or they continue to straddle the line between probabilities and non probabilities resulting In an entertaining show if you want authenticity I suggest watching a documentary bro

  • “if you want
    authenticity I suggest watching a documentary bro”

    If I want authenticity, I will read a book spud.

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