[http://www.celebdirtylaundry.com/wp-content/uploads/Dexter-season-8-epi sode-9-spoilers.jpg]Message 1 of 1 , Aug 22View Source
It's fair to say that Ray Donovan has been a troubled TV show, often full of promise, but too frequently let down by the execution. However, last week's episode, Golem, was the strongest of the series so far and could well be the turning point for the season, and even the show itself.
We're now at the half-way stage, and several of the problems of the first half of the season have already been sloughed off. A central plot thread has emerged, sought dominance and is now fending off the distractions of the extraneous side stories pretty well. There's still some way to go, but there's enough here to suggest that Ray Donovan isn't quite the write-off it so nearly could have been.
Several of the details that made Golem work have persisted into Housewarming. Better yet, they've expanded as we learn more about the horrible corner into which Ray has backed himself. The delicate dance between him, his father and Agent Miller has trumped everything else as the dominant thread, and each of the other plot lines have been pared back (for the most part) so that they serve this central arc. It provides the show with a solid narrative spine and gives us something to follow. Details of the underworld to which Ray belongs are being teased out gently without the clumsy exposition that dominated the opening episodes.
We learn, for example, that Ray has strong connections to both the FBI and the police and that, in the former case at least, he is the dominant partner, able to bully and cajole his pet G-man into doing his bidding (up to a point, of course). His professional skills at problem solving, manipulation and seizing control of the situation are being deployed, thrillingly in the service of the plot. It's not all smooth sailing of course, and we had another one of the weekly detours into the day job, which are really getting in the way. The incident with DeAnte this week mirrored that with the cheating wife last week. It's a distraction because his MO is now fully understood and require simple honing or deployment for excitement. It serves no dramatic function other than as a means of explaining Ray's income, skills and cynical temperament. With all three of those well established, there is little point in showing him turn up at a hotel to strangle a paternity suit in the cradle, especially when we've just seen him and Avi have their little fun with Agent Miller.