Did Ray Donovan Just Kill [Spoiler]?

Ray Donovan Season 7 Premiere

Ray Donovan‘s Season 7 premiere on Sunday ended with a bang that possibly probably almost certainly resulted in the death of a pivotal character.

In the closing seconds of the David Hollander-penned episode, a prisoner transport vehicle carrying Donovan family patriarch Mickey (played by Jon Voight) collided with a tanker truck, setting off an explosion so massive that, by our estimation, no one within a mile of the blast perimeter could’ve survived.

But before we investigate Mickey’s maybe-meet cute with the Grim Reaper, let’s discuss the events that led up to the climactic fireball.

“Faith. Hope. Love. Luck.” picks up right where the series’ grisly Season 6 finale left off. Under the distrustful eye of Ray, fugitive Mickey turns himself in. We then jump ahead four months and see that Ray is making some headway in his weekly therapy sessions with Dr. Alan Alda. Yes, he’s still beating suspected bad guys to a pulp, but he now has the presence of mind to apologize to them afterwards. “I don’t think I handled that well,” he laments to a stalker post-pummeling, before urging him to “get some help.” Also, he’s getting his ever-present daddy issues under control, so much so that he visits Mickey in prison and forgives him for being the worst father this side of Darth Vader. Unfortunately, Mickey promptly snaps his son’s sorta-olive branch in two — “You forgive me?!” he hisses. “You should get down on your f–king knees and beg me to forgive you!” — but progress is progress is progress.

Meanwhile, Ray gets word that the sawed-off head belonging to one of the crooked cops he fatally shot to death last season has been reeled in by a fisherman, and detectives were able to determine the make and model of the gun used after performing a bulletectomy on the gnarly noggin. Ray decides to kill two birds with one stone and pin the murder on an already incarcerated Mickey. All he needs is a set of Mickey’s fingerprints to apply to the gun in question.

So, Ray makes a beeline to the upstate prison where Mick is being transferred and awaits his arrival. Only he’s never coming, and that’s because — as we noted above — the bus transporting him collided head-on with a tanker truck. (The explosion triggered a fireball the size of Staten Island.) Simultaneous to that, a doped-up Terry sees his dear old dad’s corpse in a vision, which seems to only confirm pop’s demise.

Of course, if the Donovans do one thing well it’s cheat death, so I suppose it’s entirely possible that in the span of a millisecond a handcuffed Mickey managed to escape the bus via the compromised rear exit door and clear the mile-wide blast zone on foot before the tanker made contact with the vehicle. [FYI: Official images from next week’s episode made their way online earlier this month, and they appear to spoil the outcome of the Mickey cliffhanger. TVLine had decided not to run these photos, and we kindly ask those readers who have seen the pics to exercise restrain in the comments section.]

Do you think Mickey will emerge from the fireball alive? Would you be OK if this was his last hurrah? Sounds off in the comments (and, while you’re at it, grade the episode in the poll below).