Post Mortems
Ray Donovan Finale

Ray Donovan Finale: EP on [Spoiler]-ish Ending, 'Grand' Season 5

Ray Donovan wiped the slate clean in Sunday’s Season 4 finale, wrapping up several major plot threads (most notably the Russian mob plot) while also seemingly turning the page on one of the series’ most enduring themes (Ray vs. Religion). As a result, the episode — written and directed by showrunner David Hollander — concluded on an uncharacteristically hopeful, dare we say even sanguine, note.

That said, questions remain as the Showtime drama heads into Season 5. Is Abby really remission-bound? Has Ray truly called a truce with God? Is Bridget actually going away to college (and subsequently off the show)? And lastly (and most importantly), what the heck will Season 5 look like? Read on as Hollander tackles these unsolved mysteries and more.

TVLINE | What was your thinking behind ending the season on such a calm, peaceful note? 
I felt like it was time for Ray and his family to come to a place of acceptance. And, whatever happens next, it gives us a relatively blank page to go to a new place with them.

TVLINE | It definitely felt like a chapter had closed with this finale. Was that always the intention going into this season?
I never really know exactly what the feeling is going to be at the end of a season. I knew that when the season began the momentum from how we ended Season 3 needed to be investigated. There was no way to ignore the end of Season 3. It was a complex emotional and spiritual situation that Ray was in; there was a lot on the line. And I knew Season 4 would be about Ray’s exploration of his faith and God and family. And himself. It felt like it was time to answer, “Who is Ray Donovan?” to Ray Donovan. Ultimately, it felt like where the story wanted to go is Ray and his family being in a new [more close-knit] place. So, as we move forward, the [series’] dynamic is about a strong, complicated, dangerous, loving, slightly criminal family from Boston living in Los Angeles, who are now working more closely together.

TVLINE | Has Ray made peace with his religious demons?
He’s made peace with who he is. He’s jettisoned the idea that God is going to solve his problems. His new God is his family.

TVLINE | Can we take Abby at her word that her cancer is going away?
I don’t know. Whether she is a reliable narrator or not, what Ray needed to hear at that moment was that she was safe. And that nothing can touch them. Whether it’s true or not, we’ll look into that as we go forward.

TVLINE | Was the point of the cancer storyline to shine a light on how much everyone was taking Abby for granted?
Yes. She was a character who had been taken for granted and put in a less powerful position as the years went on. And the combination of having this strong, matriarchal figure, and a great actor in Paula Malcomson, pushed me into wanting to create a dynamic that would shift the way people saw her. [Abby’s cancer diagnosis] allowed her to behave with a little more freedom and a little more power, like shooting an intruder, making out with her doctor, taking Conor to the shooting range. She’s suddenly a character who has a lot more agency and a lot more power within the story. I was also drawn to the ambiguities of Stage Zero cancer, which is a very new construct, and a complicated one. My wife has been diagnosed with Stage Zero cancer, so we’ve been going through it and looking at how unusual it is.

TVLINE | The romantic connection that Abby and Terry forged in Season 3 was not really touched on this season. How come?
Once [their flirtation] was outed and triangulated with Ray, there was nowhere else to take it. To [revisit it] would’ve meant it had a deeper more complex hook to it [than it did]. They can still have a feeling of love for one another, but to act on it would be too dangerous for either one of them.

TVLINE | Bridget going off to NYU threw me a bit. I don’t really remember her speaking much of college before the finale. Was there more to that story that we didn’t see?
She’s going to visit [NYU], she’s not actually leaving for college. But, to me, dramatizing the college question seemed like quotidian stuff. And everything else seemed so crazy, that to let that happen on its own felt slightly organic. We didn’t really need to [spend time watching her] filling out applications or looking at schools. The heft of it really comes next season.

TVLINE | Will we follow her off to school next season? Will the character have more of an off screen presence?
The first question is whether or not she’ll even go to NYU. I can’t imagine a season of Ray Donovan without the relationship between Bridget and Ray being dramatized in some way. It’s a deeply heartfelt part of the Ray character. But the idea of a highly dramatized [college storyline] doesn’t feel particularly intriguing to me either. What she’s doing and how she’s doing and how it falls into Ray’s world is intriguing to me.

TVLINE | Any hints about the direction of Season 5?
I am very interested to see what happens when the Donovan family actually attempts to work together in more unison in the world of Hollywood. I would love to do a very grand Hollywood story.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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27 Comments
  1. James S. Rouse says:

    I was really hoping for more of a gangster ending i.e,; noir, battle royal, dark, bigger twist ending.

    It just seemed like the writers ran dry and came up with a “and everybody was hit by a truck” ending. Although, I really do like Ray Donovan and can’t wait for the next season

  2. Sharon gardner says:

    This was the best finale ever!!!!!! The family came together to solve the problem!!!! Unreal but made a good tv showI 💘 IT THANKS SHOWTIME

  3. What was the music playing as Buchy and Mickey were driving up to kill the Russians?

    • Walter Freeman says:

      I was wondering the same thing! Quite beautiful, I thought. Made me wish the scene was a bit longer and slower. Anyways, I googled around and discovered it’s “Insight XVIII” by Julien Marchal. Available at the usual online music stores.

    • Paul says:

      Insight XVIII by Julien Marchal.

  4. flowerduh says:

    I’m glad that the family came together to solve the problem. They are always blaming Ray for things that he didn’t start and then wants him to clean it up.

    Great season finale!

  5. hkaufman says:

    End Game, a don’t mess with AVI, Boom boom.. Don’t mess with Bunchy and Mick after a quick snort, rat a tat tat, and Ray, well Ray did it his Way , its bottom of the 9th bases loaded, 3 balls 2 strikes and the Louisville Swing , ahh yes there is laughter and smiles in Mudville as the bat is and not BATMAN WIN.. And to take a bit out of a WWE tag team Enzo Amore “AND YA CANT BEAT THAT”

  6. Benzracer says:

    There was a rumor floating about that Ray got whacked at the very end just when the viewers were breathing sighs or relief. Season 5 was to be a series of disasters with the family in the Fed witness program hiding from old enemies getting killed off one by one. I kept waiting for Ray to get hit by a drive by on the steps of the fight club. Kudos to the staff for my favorite show. Can not wait for season 5

  7. Derek says:

    It’s all so silly. All the drama of showing Ray losing, at the mercy of the Russians and a dead man, he comes up with a plan that is so easily executed that I’m wondering what the fuss was all about. Seriously, bang bang everyone’s dead? That was it? Diimitri only had 4 people working for him and that’s what everyone was worried about? This could’ve been taken care of in the first episode of the season then we wouldn’t have had to sit through such a drawn out laborious storyline.

    And who else is completely done with that creepy priest? Get rid of him!

    Geesh!

    • Walter Freeman says:

      Like any good mob story, Dimitri was a boss who could have surely summoned a small army while alive, but now that he’s dead, everyone else turns a blind eye while they move up in rank and fill the vacuum he left behind. Possible a never before seen relative appears down the road to avenge his death though. Likely a brother or nephew ’cause a son would be too melodramatic.

    • My impression too about how small the group was that Ray was afraid of. It seems that he could have remedied that long ago. Oh well, that is the way it goes with story writing.
      Darn good show all the same.

    • LAwoman says:

      Yes, so done with the creepy priest!

  8. Walter Freeman says:

    Two plot devices left dangling in plain sight: 1. Ray didn’t wear gloves while beating beating Aleks to death with the baseball bat that he gave to Agent Barnes; 2. NYU acceptance was an obvious con, and Bridget will not arrive at the hotel as she’s running away again, but this time, somewhere she won’t be found by her family and father.

    • Adam says:

      1. I guess Barnes would make the bat go away or something but Daryl didn’t wear gloves either when getting all the drugs in the back of the their car so I don’t know what’s up with that…
      2. Is she? I didn’t even think about it when watching the episode but now it make sense she cried

  9. N!loofar says:

    Ugh, like the gorilla foreplay for MOS. with this boring mess I’m done.

  10. Terry says:

    I covered my eyes when Abby was telling Ray that nothing can touch them, as I expected a drive by shooter or something. Love this show so much and it’s a shame the Emmy voters have not rewarded Liev or Jon Voight, or for that matter any of the actors who play the Donovan family. Can’t wait until season five.

  11. Liz says:

    I LOVED it my brother sister and husbands family..we all watch it and we talk about the show..we all LOVE it fantastic happy finale..cant wait to see next season. I love that there is mob stuff but this touched on Family and that’s good to..now we can move with that

  12. Rex Metcalf says:

    I loved it. I think it brought the family full circle. And I love the Avi got his revenge and Hector fought his fight. Everything came together in a satisfying way.

  13. Joann Mauro says:

    I like the way they show family is everything! That’s who is always there for you dysfunctional or not!

  14. Loved the ending of season 4. Loved everyone’s part in the revenge. I can’t wait to season 5!

  15. Eric Donovan says:

    One thing that everyone is forgetting is the new blond “Sonia” is still alive and knows what was suppose to happen with Ray and the russians. She has to play a part in season 5.

  16. JC says:

    Huge R-D fan ! Probably my favorite show ever ! But, this season 4 only started at episode 7 or 8 :-/
    Problems were resolved too easily and quickly in the first episodes…

  17. Anita says:

    I loved season 4 finale. I am always on pins and needles during the finales and this was such a great episode. I love how Ray had to turn to the family and how they ALL came together and handled the business. This is by far one of the best shows ever and I can’t wait for season 5. I’m a big fan of Liev Schreiber, although he gets nominated for an Emmy every year, he should win!

  18. Kay says:

    Great! !!! Too long til next season! !!!!

  19. William Forst says:

    Is the show EVER going to make anything likable out of Abby’s character? There are times I just want to stop watching because I am SO sick of Abby. She’s a ridiculous, miserable caricature of every nagging, self-absorbed, stupid women that ever lived.