If there was one thing that this season of Ray Donovan was about, it’s the idea that it’s very, very difficult to escape your past. Ray moved to New York after Abby’s death, but that new start didn’t mean anything in the long run. He ended up back working with Winslow, once again killing people for the benefit of others, all while remaining isolated from his family. There seemed to be no way back for Ray, but when the corrupt cops within the NYPD kidnapped Bridget, something in him changed. Suddenly, he realized that escaping his family wasn’t the answer. Yeah, the Donovans are a complete mess, but they need Ray and Ray needs them. It’s a twisted relationship, but it works.
The season six finale, “The Dead,” is in many ways about the Donovans finding their way back to one another. Abby’s death left them splintered and wandering, Ray especially, but the events of this season brought them back into each other’s lives in a way that cemented their bond. At the top of the episode, Sandy sits on the front porch of her home, smoking a cigarette and covered in blood. Thus begins one long tracking shot, where we take in the aftermath of what these people have been through. While Mickey and Daryll dig graves for the three cops they killed, Smitty appears panicked. He’s not a Donovan, so he’s not used to this. He heads into the garage to try to lend a hand, but when he sees Sandy using a chainsaw to cut off Radulovic’s head, he vomits. So, Bridget has to step in, and I’m left trying not to ask why she’s suddenly okay with all of this after weeks of telling her father that she needed to escape this life. I mean, she’s making sandwiches for everybody!
Bridget’s shaky motivations aside, “The Dead” is a solid finale, one that takes the Donovan family and moves them into new, interesting spaces. It’s more emotional than most episodes, and that begins with Ray calling his father and asking him if he truly loved their mother. Mickey goes on and on about how much he loved her, and how he was nothing compared to her, but he balks at Ray’s insistence that he was never there for them. They have different perspectives, and that will influence so much of what happens in this episode.
With the bodies being buried, all that’s left for Ray to do is tidy up things with Winslow and Feratti. He heads to a visitation for Justine first, where nobody is in attendance other than Lena, who is waiting out in the car, not wanting to see Ray. Once he pays his respects, he heads to Winslow’s place. He’s welcomed in, but he’s not there for any cheery conversation. He knocks out Vinny in the elevator, and the black latex gloves he’s wearing suggests he’s here to kill Winslow. She tries to manipulate him, telling him she can get him anything his heart desires. He leaves the apartment and we’re left wondering what happened until the end of the episode reveals Winslow hanging from her ceiling, a bed sheet around her neck. Like I said, Ray can’t escape the violence.
While Terry shows up at Sandy’s to try to convince Mickey to turn himself into the FBI and save Bunchy, Ray proceeds to his last loose end. He makes his way into the bowling alley that Feratti uses as his home base, taking down the guards and drawing a gun on the mayor. Ray’s surrounded though, and there’s no way he’s killing Feratti and getting out alive. The mayor, truthfully for once, tells Ray he had nothing to do with Bridget being kidnapped, and that he’s more than happy to make a deal to let “bygones be bygones.” With few other options, Ray leaves the alley and goes to Novak’s office, where the media is gathered. He tells the truth about everything except the audio tape, that he was hired by Winslow to derail Feratti’s campaign and turn the election towards Novak. Seemingly, Ray is in the clear now, with Winslow dead and Feratti off his back. (Recap continues on next page)