Photo: Patrick Wymore/SHOWTIME

Palm Springs Pack Attack!

Donovans explored some new corners of the Southland this week -- and...do we have a new pack leader? (Spoiler: yes.)

Wait. Is that a new set of dog balls swinging around at the head of the pack? ...Yes. Yes it is.

Mickey

Please do not mistake his new position at the head of the Donovan dog pack as an endorsement of anything Mickey (Jon Voight) does or says, because he's a monster. But he's a monster who's sitting pretty this week. His implication in the investigation of the priest's murder back in Boston? Scrubbed, thanks to FBI Agent Weirdo (Frank Whaley). A visit to Palm Springs to reconnect with Claudette (Sheryl Lee Ralph), mother to Daryll (Pooch Hall) gifted Mickey with his old grandpa car, a trunk full of bum porn, and the knowledge that despite her marriage to a rich movie producer (former Starsky Paul Michael Glaser), Claudette's still into Mickey. And he gets to suck down a couple of snifters of $2000 cognac and end the night kicking it in a Palm Springs nightclub with all the local gay geriatrics. Frankly, we should all dream of having a day that great.

Terry

All the Donovan men currently in consensual relationships with sweet, lovely, generous women, take one step forward. Not so fast, Ray! Terry (Eddie Marsan) has a nice dinner date with Frances (Brooke Smith) -- who claims not to be bothered by the sweaty man stank as he serves it to her on the floor of the gym. And because Potato Pie (William Stanford Davis) gave Terry an assist with the homemade sauce and loiters around to see how the dinner's going, Terry invites Pie to join them for some wine, and Frances seems genuinely fine with the addition, too. I'm torn: partly, I want Terry and Frances to end up together because he seems like a good soul and deserves to be happy. On the other, someone as accepting and warm as Frances, if she does end up joining the family, is destined to be wrung out and ruined by the experience.

Bunchy

Every week, Dash Mihok's performance as Bunchy fascinates me more and more, and it was a good move this week to have him join Mickey and Daryll on the Palm Springs road trip, so that we could see his pouty hurt at having been replaced by Daryll in Mickey's affections. And over the course of the day, we see what Bunchy is really about: he does ultimately win over Daryll with his horseplay in the pool -- and, more importantly, he lifts the expensive cognac from Daryll's snobby stepfather. Should Bunchy drink it, given his ongoing substance issues? No. But he did kind of earn it.

Daryll

He got all wet and his hair product got ruined, but otherwise, decent day for Daryll.

Bridget

This girl is her mother's daughter for sure: even if the Bel Air Academy dream isn't going to come true (of which more later), her reaction to the snobby rich girl saying that she could reinvent herself at a new school obviously struck a chord with Bridget (Kerris Dorsey). She's got plans.

Conor

In terms of outsider kids getting cool-tested by current students as to their suitability to hang at a chi-chi public school in recent TV history (follow those clauses, I dare you!), calling Tommy Wheeler (Austin Nichols) on speaker < sneaking a couple of dudes into a dorm room to deliver booze and weed -- particularly when it comes out that Tommy is a "pervert." However, who knew that little old Conor, who Mickey thought was probably gay two episodes ago, had it in him to sucker-punch a jerk-ass rich kid who totally had it coming? If Bridget is her mother's daughter, Conor is certainly more of his father's son than I would have guessed when the season started -- in terms of instantaneous physical response and in having to deal with the unforeseen consequences of impulsive action.

Abby

I guess I shouldn't gloat too much over the private school disaster because the kids, who seem to be decent enough (so far), are the ones who are really going to suffer from it. But because it's just the latest front for Abby (Paula Malcomson) in her battle for social supremacy, that it utterly failed delighted me. Abby is a screeching harpy and I just don't want her to get anything she wants. I know the dream sequence at the beginning, in which she was getting fucked by Mickey, was only a dream, but honestly, she and Mickey probably deserve each other.

Ray

Ray (Liev Schreiber) ends up lower than Abby because (a) he also got claw marks all over his eye from the angry, half-naked target of an investigation, (b) embarrassed by yet another past victim of his boss's machinations at the school, and (c) he's going to hear about the kids not getting into Bel Air Academy, from Abby, probably for the rest of his sorry-asslife.

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