Ray Donovan Recap

Ray Donovan Recap: Bad Luck Be a Lady

What happened in “Las Vegas” was a total freakin’ bummer.

The second episode of Ray Donovan‘s time-tripping fifth season flashed back to Ray and Abby’s year-ago 21st anniversary-themed road trip to Sin City, which ended with Abby suffering a seizure in a hotel room. She and Ray would soon learn what we’ve known since last week’s season premiere: Her cancer has (presumably) not only returned, but has metastasized the brain and is now terminal.  (Abby’s seizure was foreshadowed at the beginning of the hour when she brought in a handyman to help troubleshoot the mysterious noises she’d been hearing around the house, including behind the wall in the foyer, where that piece of the wall had been mysteriously busted in.)

Despite the depressing conclusion, the episode was uncharacteristically light and romantic, as it provided the most intimate window yet into Ray and Abby’s marriage. And, tragically, they never seemed happier or more in sync. In fact, I’m fairly certain Liev Schreiber cracked more smiles in this outing than he has in the 49 that preceded it combined. Paula Malcomson’s Abby was also at her most relaxed and angst-free.

A portion of the episode was set in the present day, with the family gathering for Terry and Maureen’s wedding (and Ray getting thrust further into this season’s central case involving Hollywood starlet-turned-possible killer Natalie James). But for all intents and purposes, “Las Vegas” was Ray and Abby’s hour. Heretofore are six standout moments from the couple’s quasi-last hurrah.

* A tickled Ray quietly watching/listening to Abby sing along to “I Only Wanna Be With You” at the start of their road trip, before playfully telling her that two of her best qualities/characteristics involve her prowess at pleasuring his penis.

* The look of pure joy on Abby’s face when Ray handed her the keys to Andy’s Diner before informing her that her dream of opening a bar could now be realized. “Oh my God are you f–king kidding me?” she shouted as she began wrapping her head around the insanely sweet and extravagant gesture.

* The sweet, subtle look of adoration the couple exchanged just moments after receiving Terry’s SOS call from jail. It was as if they were assuring each other, “We got this.”

* A hilariously “on fire” Abby assisting Ray on what would be their first joint caper. The mission: infiltrate a brothel — while posing as a randy, ménage à trois-seeking couple — and rescue Maureen’s would-be engagement ring from the clutches of Terry’s for-hire side piece. “You’re gonna talk to a hooker in a brothel on our anniversary?” a stupefied Abby dinged Ray, before mischievously adding, “I wanna watch.” She did more than watch. Much to Ray’s astonishment, Abby played a leading role in the entire jewelry extraction. It was her quick-thinking threat to Nair off the hooker’s precious mane that led to the ring’s safe return.

* Abby revealing to Ray how Terry’s dismissive attitude towards his one-night-stand — and Ray’s acceptance of his brother’s indiscretion (“I don’t think he was thinking,” he shrugged) — served as a painful reminder of their own past marital struggles. “Is that how you rationalized it all those years,” Abby asked Ray, prompting him to assure her, “That’s not us anymore… I’m not that anymore.” To which Abby tearfully, resolutely whispered, “I know.” (That noise you hear is Malcomson making a serious case for her first Emmy nomination.)

* Ray’s panicked reaction to finding Abby lying on their hotel room floor in mid-seizure. “Please stop,” he cried out while cradling her, his love for her never more palpable. “Please stop.”

What did you think the Showtime drama’s love letter to Ray and Abby? Are you still in denial about the latter’s death (and Malcolson’s impending departure from the show)? Weigh in below!

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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116 Comments
  1. Brian says:

    Still hate the fact that we lost Abby as a character. She was the glue that really held that family together.

    • db says:

      Her character is very much alive. She is in it more than ever, despite being dead.

    • Sandy says:

      Ok did anyone miss this? The person that Ray is going to have as a client now (time frame Abby has passed) is the same person he had to get in a car accident and almost die – where Abby hit her head? then in the hospital this last episode he asked the Doctor does this have anything to do with Abby getting hit on the head and the Doctor said nothing……..I think Abby did die because of the cancer AND because of the car accident. Do you think Ray will get even? Or am I just thinking way out there?

      • Kathie says:

        I think you may be out there….lol. However, you are correct. She caused the accident. I wonder if we’ll get more detail on Abby’s death…

        • Alixandra Allen says:

          Depending on one’ imagination and perspective, you can see the period when Abby’s spirit left of started leaving her body. The car accident definitely has some significance, & maybe the overall cause of her death.

      • Janice says:

        So the woman they swerved to miss was the actress that shot her husband?

        • Froggy101 says:

          LOL. Who knows? It’s probably perfectly normal in LA for women to walk in the canyons at night in their underwear.

      • Froggy101 says:

        She didn’t die from cancer. She died as a result of brain damage from a closed head injury from the crash. Her brain was probably slowly filling up with blood and eventually caused a seizure and death.

        • Jcb2013 says:

          But Bridget’s in NYC and she called Ray about the kid with cancer. She also said something referring to Abby being at Sloan Kettering . We have to learn what’s up there, right?

          • Janice says:

            Yes and the boy knew about her mom, because he inquired how about your mom and she couldn’t get out the words”she didn’t make it”

        • Orangeannie1 says:

          No, I think its the cancer. She was very spacey from the beginning of the episode.Plus, very calm for her. I knew something was up. Any head trauma would have been detected when they went to the ER if they did. It could have exacerbated it though. His face when he went in to see why his daughter was crying in episode one was so heartbreaking. I assume she was at home to die. :(

      • Orangeannie1 says:

        I think its the same girl, you are right. Abby already had
        Cancer . She decided against treatment the full treatment. So it went to her brain.

  2. Imagecrafters says:

    Liked this episode better than the last one. Really enjoyed Ray’s and Abby’s intimacy.

    • Brenda says:

      I liked it as well, but too much too late. He suddenly adores her now that she’s dying.

      • Kathie says:

        He always adored her, but took her for granted…

      • Cherie Cole says:

        I’m sad to see her go. I enjoyed her character. She balanced him. I enjoyed the way the episode went because it made them more believable as a married couple and showed there really was love there as screwed up as it was.

        • Orangeannie1 says:

          The whole family is scarred and traumatized from their childhood. And as much as we like Terry, because we know he’s basically a good guy, the brother is not wrong to question his sister about why she is marrying into this crazy family. Who knows what her issues are. My family probably wouldn’t have even come to the wedding… I think this is all going to end badly. I have a sinking feeling of doom.

      • Jennifer Jones says:

        Yes I said the same thing

      • ItsJustMe says:

        Totally agree. I don’t remember Ray ever being that attentive or loving toward Abby. He seemed to care more about who he would screw next. It’s nice to see this side of him even it’s too little too late.

        • Orangeannie1 says:

          Well, 10 months have passed since the last episode at the party, and I got the feeling they put all their troubles to rest and she forgave him for his infidelity.

  3. SHWZ says:

    With Abbey gone does that mean the show will end as well? Or did Abbey want to leave?

    • Jen says:

      There was an interview with David Hollander (the big boss) he said they decided to kill Abby off between season 4-5. They didn’t want to do it but it was the best way to move the show forward.
      Abby didn’t want to go but said she understood the process and although sad was grateful to be in so much of this season.
      The show is not ending…thank goodness!!!!

      • Pam Cade says:

        What a stupid move. Dumb thinking.

      • Alixandra Allen says:

        The show should end. I am very disappointed. Abby was the “sane” glue that held the Donovan’s together as a family! There were other ways to “move the show forward” . Other character’s that would not leave such a big void. I will miss her and what she contributed to on the show. I will probably be cancelling Showtime now. Nothing else on the network kept my interest. 😣

    • Alison Ezell says:

      This is the last season

    • Brenda says:

      Apparently the show is ending, but Abby has more lines and scenes as a dead character, than anyone else – go figure.

  4. Ed says:

    In years passed, I did not like Abby. I found it hard to believe that she could be so crude, loudmouthed and ugly.
    But now…now that she’s leaving, she seems sweeter, and more attractive

    • Debra Chavez says:

      Sorry to see Abby die, she brought a lot to the show.

    • Debra Chavez says:

      What, Abby was a tough lady, but very sweet. She kept that family together. She was sensitive and kind.

    • BBMac says:

      ED-I felt the same way!! MUCH more likeable character now but maybe the cancer
      has been causing such extreme changes to her real multi-dimensional self!!

    • Brenda says:

      Yes, completely different personality.

    • Eman says:

      That’s what I used to love about her. She was such a badass. But in recent seasons, she’s just become blah. Not that I’m glad to see her go. But they turned her character into a damsel in distress and that was never her

    • Eman says:

      That’s what I used to love about her. She was such a badass. But in recent seasons, she’s just become blah. Not that I’m glad to see her go. But they turned her character into a damsel in distress and that was never her

    • Bronxboy says:

      That’s what did her in. The Boston accent proved terminal.

  5. Kim Walker says:

    CAN’T WAIT FOR SEASON 5!!☺️ Sad that Abby won’t be in the next series, she was/is a great character/actress. Looking forward to seeing how Susan sarrandon plays her character though.

  6. Sheri Lyn says:

    I am devastated that they killed off Abby. I am still in disbelief that the writers would do this to one of the most important characters in the show. So there are a bunch of men left? As a woman, I enjoyed watching her portray the strong woman. They finally decide to peer into their marriage now that they killed her off?? I don’t know if I’m going to continue to watch after her episodes are done. She was the glue that kept that family.. and the show.. together.

    • Renee says:

      I agree. In the season finale when she said, “nothing can stop us,” I thought she was finally going to get in on the action like Ray and all the other brothers. They did not HAVE to kill her off. It was their choice and a very bad one.

      • Jennifer says:

        I thought the same thing!! Like she embraced the family lifestyle and would be side by side with Ray. This beginning to season 5 is way out in left field. I don’t understand how killing off Abby is a good thing. My father, who also watches says he probably won’t continue watching now that she is gone. Her role in the show I believe a lot of women can relate to. Marital issues, sickness, raising children. It’s too bad they went this route.

    • Brenda says:

      I agree. Watching Ray sleep with every bimbo that crosses his path gets really old and is not entertaining. There are countless other ways to “move the show along” – it’s called creative writing.

    • Mike Beasley says:

      I. Abby was a good character and I think they should keep him married, but c’mon! NOBODY watches that show because of her. Its the fastest hour on television period. The show is great because its brilliantly written and Liev makes Ray so cool and strong you honestly believe he’s bulletproof and a good person. He’s NOT

  7. Debra Chavez says:

    Sorry to see Abby die, she brought a lot to the show.

  8. John says:

    She is an annoying character, but her departure from the show will change the shows direction. There will be no more balancing both of Rays lives. I feel he willl be an even darker character with no balance

    • Brenda says:

      Hard to be much darker without becoming 50 minutes of solid distasteful graphic violence – again, not entertaining. Now that the kids are grown, who’s left to care?
      They should have killed off the annoying son “Con”.

      • Pam Cade says:

        I feel the same. Susan Sarandon is not a good replacement. Just doesn’t fit.
        What was up with this decision?

  9. Lynda lindsey says:

    I detest the flipping around… TELL THE STORY. To me it seems like the writers ran out of ideas and got “creative” in the method delivery to cover.

    Love the show, but not the convoluted method.

    • Brenda says:

      You are absolutely right. It looks like they had no idea what to do next, so they opted for the flashback “Memento” approach. The hodgepodge is irritating enough, and then the previews show Abby with chemo hair, so (as always)thanks for ruining the next show. Abby (Paula) didn’t really get killed off the show – she seems to appear more this season than ever before.

    • Pam Cade says:

      Yepp, its become stupidly complicated

  10. John says:

    Ray Donnavan is the best TV show ever. My family and I plan our entire season around it. We watch it several times each episode as there is so much to it. It’s perfect TV for us.

  11. Nicole Renshaw says:

    Oh wow – Abby… the Donovan’s need you!

  12. Donna says:

    I wish the writer wouldn’t have
    have let Abby die, she was the heart of Ray Donavan, however I enjoyed last night’s episode much more than the first one.

  13. B Siler says:

    One of the best episodes in the series.

  14. Matty O says:

    From Liev Schreibers personal Instagram account.
    lievschreiber “Coming to the end of the road for Ray and Season 5. Big love and gratitude to this astonishing cast and crew.”

    Look it up yourselves!

  15. Sandy says:

    Our very favorite show on television! We love all the characters! We love the way the 3 brothers, as different as they all are, love each other, so unconditionally!
    Ray and Abby are the glue to the family! They have such great chemistry on screen! I don’t want her character written out. Abby is so loving! She’s a dream sister-in-law and daughter-in-law!

    • Carolyn Withers says:

      There is four brothers. The black brother. Yes they all are different but they love him just the same and accept him. He’s the daddy’s outside son. Really hate that Abby is gone. Don’t like that. She was a good actress she played her part. She’s the kind of woman that a man like Ray Donovan needs, a strong woman.

  16. Sue says:

    Really don’t like Abby leaving. One of my favorite characters. Don’t think the show will be as good without her.

  17. Andy says:

    Is it true abby/ paula has left due to remake of deadwood type series on netflix?

  18. Sue says:

    Really don’t like Abby leaving the show. She was a great asset to the show. Won’t ever be the same without her. Very disappointing

  19. Patti says:

    Why you have to kill Abby, I really don’t want to watch it anymore,
    Abby was the glue to keep the family together, and now what…..

  20. Jon Freeman says:

    Still dont like the fact she is gone, I’m afraid that will hurt the shows chances of renewal.

  21. Jean Jordan says:

    Susan Saranwrap – really? No one wants to see that political, talentless nut job. Write her out of the script, please.

  22. Pepper says:

    Don’t believe this view of Ray. Cant stomach it and not buying it.

  23. Allan Lichter says:

    Depressing story line off to a poor start. We love Abby’s character and are surprised she’s being written out. Was looking for more action which has been the shows hallmark. Alas, if it continues along these lines and doesn’t pick up speed soon, my wife and I will be tuning out making last season the show’s fairwell for us.

  24. Janice says:

    Sorry I don’t feel like most and I don’t men to offend or be hateful but They should have killed Abby and moved forward, I don’t know why but I just don’t like to watch her, whether it is her fowl mouth since this is not uncommon to the Donovan family , I don’t know but this season is harder to watch her than before

  25. Deborah says:

    Abby will prolly be in the show as a lighter background Abby … suggested as a ghost.!! I can’t imagine the show without her. Writers already know that and don’t want their renewed popularity of the show suffer. It’s all about the ratings. Ray does look terrific smiling😃

  26. CaroC says:

    Maybe they’ll pull a Bobby Ewing😄!

  27. Brooklyn says:

    I can’t believe Abby is gone. Great character and will be sadly missed

  28. AladdinSane says:

    Is there no chance, or change of heart by the producers, to keep Ray Donovan going beyond the current season 5? I hope so! RD is a fave of ours, so much better than what’s out there in TV wasteland. ♐

  29. Carla says:

    I would love to see Abby (Paula) go into the hospital and receive a stem cell treatment from which she will recover, I would love to see Abby come back stronger than ever and have her and Ray become a team they worked well together as enforcers and make their love for one another all the more stronger for what they face together, please don’t kill Abby’s character I love their story line and the realness of them

  30. Nancy says:

    If Abby is still appearing in the show, I don’t understand why she had to die.

    • Pam Cade says:

      These are just flashbacks & memories. The Abby character is not actually alive anymore. I think all we’re watching is the final season of a really enjoyable show.

  31. Kathie says:

    I’m so sad we lost Abby, but it was clearly set up long ago, with her refusal of conventional treatment for breast cancer. I will miss her a lot. I dont know how those boys are going to survive without her.

  32. Pam Cade says:

    Bad move for the show. Abby was an integral character in the dynamics of the whole thing.
    I don’t know how it will have the quality that it’s had. She was like the only gold in the nasty toilet bowl. Balanced out Ray Donovan ‘s character
    Ick, now.

  33. Pia says:

    I was bummbed she died but u like how she Appears as well!!’

  34. Cheryl Tanner says:

    The wall was cut into by the exterminator.

  35. ANGELA NICHOLS says:

    Bring her back or get on with some action, the show has been boring

  36. Pamela Chitwood says:

    I was really pissed at Abby for cheating on Ray. Like two wrongs make a right. Ray needed to get his act together and treat her better so maybe losing her will make him a better man. I hope so.

  37. Matt says:

    She was so Whiney, maybe it’s just me but all I saw and see in Abs was a ripoff of Edie Falco playing of Carmella Soprano. Go binge watch the sopranos and you will see all the similarities small and large. The only difference is one plays an Italian and the other a tacky Irish woman. To end with the Russian mob last season and then start with this boring crap. It’s like They are taking away micks get rich quick persona so he doesn’t show up terry and bunch. Scandal murder drugs robbery extortion and Ray banging every female 18 to80 blind crippled or crazy, and getting blackout drunk is Ray Donovan. This dream sequence flashback present time back and forth gimmick is like putting $5,000 rims on a 1985 Honda Civic. The only good thing is it’s so low that it can only go up and get better. The Fonz has jumped the shark. Last season

  38. I will have to tell you my husband and I have never been so shocked and honestly depressed to see Abby is gone! My husband’s first words after the show were, “that’s pretty depressing and I’m not sure I want to watch it anymore.” That was after the entire hour as we watched talking back and forth in denial and then finally realizing Abby was really gone! She was such a HUGE part of the show! Her acting skills and chemistry with Liam were top notch and undeniably the best on TV and someone made the decision to take her off the show??! I hope whoever made that mistake gets fired and someone finds a way to bring her back ASAP!!!

  39. Mike Beasley says:

    I’m enjoying how they’re doing the Ray and Abby flashbacks and think it’s a very tasteful way to slowly write a character off. I am ready for Ray to be Ray though and get on with the edge-of-your-seat content.

  40. christina sylvester says:

    I love the way it going so far just wish Abby didn’t have to die but I like her they keep her coming and going as his flashback makes ray so happy and gives me goose bumps lol

  41. Jennifer Jones says:

    Rays love her is beautiful he looks like a kid looking at his first girlfriend.

  42. Jojo says:

    The boy in NYC. The one that Bridget is visiting, Sloan Kettering was mentioned
    And Bridget called Ray and said she met ” the boy”
    There is a connection with that boy and Abby

  43. Linda says:

    I liked the second episode better than the first. In the first episode, it took them an hour to tell us Abby died of cancer. Feel like they are drawing out the season. Would have liked them to kill off Mic, the father instead.

    • Matt says:

      No way, Mick is a pimp who does lines off a hookers ass! See what I did there? Mick is happy go lucky and always comes so close to the big payoff and he can taste it, but it always gets taken away from him. And yet he just smiles and then moves on to the next get rich quick scheme. Ray is just like Mick but he just refuses to admit it to himself. And for the record, where the hell is Avi? Nowif they brought back tiny that would be freaking awesome!

  44. Sandy says:

    Yes – the actress that caused Ray and Abby the accident is the same girl Ray has for a client now and who killed her husband. I still think how twisted Ray Donovan is – this will play into the series. It has to because the Doctor said nothing when Ray asked him if the bump on her head caused her seizure; thus leaving that open for us I think to guess what he said. I think it plays a huge part in the upcoming series.

  45. Sandy says:

    Yes, the same woman that caused Ray and Abby the accident is the same woman now that Ray has for his new client that killed her husband. The way this series of Ray Donavan is going and has gone in the past and the fact that Ray asked the Doctor was the bump on her head from the accident a cause of the seizures at all and the Doctor did not say anything or at least it did not show us the Doctor said anything – I really think this will play into the series for sure. If you put everything together – who knows but I think it will.

  46. Pauly says:

    NO !!!! NOT ABBY

  47. Carylee says:

    How could they have killed off Abby? She was the heart and soul of the show that pulled everything together. I am totally heartbroken.
    Bring her back. Say it was a bad dream. Nobody can replace her. Nobody.
    Also after her death, Ray is treating her with respect and love. Give me a break, he cheated on her for yrs. Barely talked to her. Always disrespectful to her. Love Abby.
    Best part of the show.

  48. Sherri Green says:

    Cried my eyes out when I figured Abby was dead. What a great character she was and a favourite of the show. She is still very much alive. Great characters in great shows never really die, that is what makes her damn fabulous.

  49. Froggy101 says:

    Abby didn’t die from cancer! She died from a closed head injury sustained from the car crash. These types of brain injuries definitely can cause the brain to play tricks on you. She probably had a subdural hematoma from the brain slowly filling up with blood, I assume, causing the seizure and death.

  50. Randy says:

    The reviewer never mentioned one of the most degrading scenes I’ve ever witnessed on TV or the movies. Abby wants to play a game in the car with Ray where each says five things they like about each other. Abby is very enthusiastic and you can see she wants some affection and nice things said about her. Her shy enthusiasm is like a little girls. She starts off by saying Ray is strong. You can see he doesn’t want to play but finally he replies by saying she gives good head! Then he follows up by saying she gives good hand jobs. Wow. It shows just how hard and repressed he is. And Abbys reaction of just smiling while looking out the window shows how damaged she is. It was a terrifically revealing moment about a very sad and dysfunctional marriage. And it was so visceral and heart breaking for Abby even if she didn’t completely understand it fully. I almost never feel uncomfortable watching fiction, because you know it’s not real, but that scene made my skin crawl. So sad.