The Memento-ing of Ray Donovan continues this week as the second episode of the fifth season follows the pattern of the premiere, jumping back and forth in time between the days leading up to Abby's death and the present-day aftermath. Perhaps recognizing that the premiere might have been a little confusing to some viewers, the writers of "Las Vegas" keep it remarkably simple, dividing their narrative into two alternating plotlines, one in each timeframe: a Las Vegas trip for the Donovan's anniversary and the wedding of Terry and Maureen. There's a sense of birth and loss, of beginning and end in the two narratives, as we watch Abby's story with the specter of death looming above it and watch Terry starting his own family, knowing everyone is still grieving. "Las Vegas" doesn't quite match the breakthrough season premiere, and I question some of the rose-colored writing in the flashbacks, but the focus allows for what's always been the strength of this show: Liev Schreiber. He does phenomenal work here, enough to likely lock a fourth Emmy nomination. Ray's response when he finds his wife near death on a Vegas floor is emotional and raw.
Long before then, Ray is remembering his 21st anniversary. The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and everything seems fantastic. Ray and Abby kiss lovingly, and then get hot and heated. There's an interesting beat here when Ray playfully tells Abby that "I got you nothing 'cause you been so bad." He's just playing around a bit like couples do, but is that why Abby picks the Dominatrix package in the whorehouse later in the episode? Because she thinks that kind of roleplaying is what Ray really wants? A girl he can punish and who will punish him?
After learning that Abby hired an exterminator to get rid of something she thinks may be living in their walls, the pair is off to the city of sin. They listen to "I Only Want to Be with You" (all of the music cues are oldies this week, adding to the nostalgia of better times when Abby was alive) and alternate sharing positive things about one another. She tells him he's a loving father. He says she gives a good blowjob. Ray, always the romantic.
They stop off at a place called Andy's Diner, which we know will become Abby's. It's here, when Abby calls Ray her best friend, that I started to wonder if the season's flashback structure wasn't a bit too manipulative. We never saw Ray and Abby this happy together when she was alive over the first four seasons. Could they have reached "Peak Marriage" just before she died? Possibly. Plus, there's an even better argument to be made that we remember the dead through rose-colored glasses. Luckily, the sense that the writing in these scenes doesn't ring true won't last because the Donovan marriage is about to face its toughest and final challenge.
We learn that Ray and Abby were going to Vegas to see one of Damon's fights, but they'll need to take a detour to bail Terry out of jail in Pahrump. We also quickly discern that Abby is having visual and auditory hallucination. She sees racoons near a dumpster that aren't really there. Uh oh. That probably means whatever she's been hearing in the wall isn't real either, and whoever had "Brain Tumor" in the "How Abby Died" pool is that much closer to winning.
But before Abby and Ray realize as much, they get to take a trip to a whorehouse! Terry claims he was framed inside — drugged, overcharged, and a hooker stole his mother's wedding ring. They have to get it back. Abby and Ray go in and pretend to want a ménage a trois for their anniversary. They get Terry's escort, pick the Dominatrix package, and then get really rough. Ray pushes down on the girl's ball gag, forcing her to give up the location of the ring. Abby even gets involved, threatening to use depilatory to take off all of the hooker's hair, before she tells them the ring is in the Midol. It's a decent scene, but goes on a bit too long before making its point, which is to give Abby doubts about Terry's fidelity, and by extension, Ray's.
The detour also casts a pall over their anniversary trip, which is intensified when Terry asks Maureen to marry him in front of Ray and Abby. Terry may claim he didn't visit an escort for sex the night before and that he was just framed, but Abby doubts his story, and she doesn't like that Terry's marriage is starting off on that note. It also reminds her of Ray's regular infidelity. She's conflicted because she knows something that Maureen does not, but she can't tell her. She also might be annoyed that Terry is stealing some of their anniversary dinner thunder. And she thinks she might have a fever. Uh oh.
Back in the present day, the Donovan boys are getting ready for Terry's marriage, while Ray has to deal with a new client named Natalie James (played by Lili Simmons). She's a young actress caught in tabloid hell when naked pictures are leaked online by her asshole husband. They're getting divorced and he leaked the pics to get back at her. There's also a sense that Ray and Natalie have a bit of history, which will likely be fleshed out in flashbacks in coming episodes. He goes with Natalie to get her things back and meets the hubby, played with sleazy obnoxiousness by Rhys Coiro. They fight over a dog, but everyone leaves in one piece.
Ray makes it to his brother's wedding, which appears to go well: He gives Maureen a necklace that Abby wanted her to have, and they dance to "I Only Have Eyes For You." The reception at Abby's doesn't go quite so well: Maureen's brother stands to give a drunken toast, which ends with Bunchy smashing the cop's head into the table. Good times.
The final scene in Vegas is the most terrifying of the episode. Ray goes to get some coffee, and comes back to their lavish suite to find Abby on the floor, mid-seizure. She's foaming. It's horrible. At the hospital, he tries to convince himself and the doctor that maybe it's from the car accident. We can tell by the look on the doctor's face that it's not. Ray and Abby come home from the hospital to see the hole in the wall from where the exterminator looked for animals that didn't exist. Mickey says, "They haven't found anything yet." Abby responds, "They'll never find anything."
Ray hears a knock at the door in the present day. It's Natalie. She's bloodied and scared. She fought with her husband over the dog. And then she shot him. She hands Ray a gun.
• The sound design this week is essential in bridging the flashbacks with the present day, such as when "I Only Have Eyes For You" lingers in the background as the scene transitions from the reception back to Vegas. The song choice is crucial too, as Abby is thinking about how the Donovans often "have eyes" for others.
• The editing this season has been stellar as well.
• This was the second episode in a row named after a place, an interesting trend for a season in which it can be hard to get one's bearings.
• Some of the flashback beats can be a little dramatically ironic. When Terry says he's thinking about getting brain implants to help with his Parkinson's, we know that he eventually does. This is an element that I hope the writers play with more: our awareness of what's going to happen to the characters that they don't yet know.
• John Dahl directed this episode, which allows me the opportunity to urge you to watch his '90s noirs Red Rock West and The Last Seduction. You won't regret it.
*Washington Township is a township in Burlington County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 687 reflecting an increase of 66 (+10.6%) from the 621 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 184 (-22.9%) from the 805 counted in the 1990 Census. Washington was incorporated as a township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on November 19, 1802, from portions of Evesham Township, Little Egg Harbor Township and Northampton Township (now known as Mount Holly Township, New Jersey). Portions of the township were taken to form Shamong Township (February 19, 1852), Bass River Township (March 30, 1864), Woodland Township (March 7, 1866) and Randolph Township (March 17, 1870, reannexed to Washington Township on March 28, 1893). The township was named for George Washington, one of more than ten communities statewide named for the first president. It is one of five municipalities in the state of New Jersey with the name "Washington Township". Another municipality, Washington Borough, is completely surrounded by Washington Township, Warren County. Contents 1 Geography 2 Demographics 2.1 Census 2010 2.2 Census 2000 3 Government 3.1 Local government 3.2 Federal, state and county representation 3.3 Politics 4 Education 5 Transportation 6 References 7 External links Geography According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 102.706 square miles (266.006 km2), including 99.522 square miles (257.761 km2) of land and 3.184 square miles (8.245 km2) of water (3.10%). The township borders Bass River Township, Shamong Township, Tabernacle Township and Woodland Township in Burlington County; and Egg Harbor City, Hammonton and Port Republic in Atlantic County. Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Batsto, Bear Swamp Hill, Bridgeport, Bulltown, Crowleytown, Friendship Bogs, Green Bank, Hermon, Hog Islands, Jemima Mount, Jenkins, Jenkins Neck, Lower Bank, Mount, Penn Place, Pleasant Mills, Quaker Bridge, Tylertown and Washington. The township is one of 56 South Jersey municipalities that are included within the New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve, a protected natural area of unique ecology covering 1,100,000 acres (450,000 ha), that has been classified as a United States Biosphere Reserve and established by Congress in 1978 as the nation's first National Reserve. All of the township is included in the state-designated Pinelands Area, which includes portions of Burlington County, along with areas in Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Ocean counties. Demographics Historical population Census Pop. %± 1810 1,273 — 1820 1,225 -3.8% 1830 1,315 7.3% 1840 1,630 24.0% 1850 2,010 23.3% 1860 1,723 * -14.3% 1870 609 * -64.7% 1880 389 * -36.1% 1890 310 -20.3% 1900 617 99.0% 1910 597 -3.2% 1920 500 -16.2% 1930 478 -4.4% 1940 518 8.4% 1950 566 9.3% 1960 541 -4.4% 1970 673 24.4% 1980 808 20.1% 1990 805 -0.4% 2000 621 -22.9% 2010 687 10.6% Est. 2014 673  -2.0% Population sources:1810-2000 1810-1920 1840 1850-1870 1850 1870 1880-1890 1890-1910 1910-1930 1930-1990 2000 2010 * = Lost territory in previous decade. Census 2010 At the 2010 United States Census, there were 687 people, 256 households, and 177.9 families residing in the township. The population density was 6.9 per square mile (2.7/km2). There were 284 housing units at an average density of 2.9 per square mile (1.1/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 93.89% (645) White, 1.89% (13) Black or African American, 0.00% (0) Native American, 0.15% (1) Asian, 0.00% (0) Pacific Islander, 3.64% (25) from other races, and 0.44% (3) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 9.02% (62) of the population. There were 256 households, of which 25.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.5% were married couples living together, 7.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.5% were non-families. 25.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.16. In the township, 18.3% of the population were under the age of 18, 11.5% from 18 to 24, 21.7% from 25 to 44, 33.5% from 45 to 64, and 15.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.9 years. For every 100 females there were 106.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.5 males. The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $96,250 (with a margin of error of +/- $21,869) and the median family income was $108,239 (+/- $9,762). Males had a median income of $19,946 (+/- $15,879) versus $41,250 (+/- $4,961) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $24,808 (+/- $10,822). About 0.0% of families and 21.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.0% of those under age 18 and 0.0% of those age 65 or over. Census 2000 As of the 2000 United States Census there were 621 people, 160 households, and 112 families residing in the township. The population density was 6.2 people per square mile (2.4/km²). There were 171 housing units at an average density of 1.7 per square mile (0.7/km²). The racial makeup of the township was 83.57% White, 2.90% African American, 0.32% Asian, 12.08% from other races, and 1.13% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.07% of the population. There were 160 households out of which 35.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.3% were married couples living together, 6.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.4% were non-families. 24.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.76 and the average family size was 3.27. In the township the population was spread out with 29.3% under the age of 18, 3.5% from 18 to 24, 23.8% from 25 to 44, 19.0% from 45 to 64, and 24.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.8 males. The median income for a household in the township was $41,250, and the median income for a family was $42,188. Males had a median income of $32,000 versus $31,719 for females. The per capita income for the township was $13,977. About 8.0% of families and 16.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.4% of those under age 18 and 13.9% of those age 65 or over. Government Local government Washington Township is governed under the Township form of government. The governing body is a three-member Township Committee, whose members are elected directly by the voters at-large in partisan elections to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with one seat coming up for election each year as part of the November general election in a three-year cycle. At an annual reorganization meeting, the Township Committee selects one of its members to serve as Mayor. As of 2015, the members of the Washington Township Council are Mayor Dudley Lewis (R, term on committee ends December 31, 2016; term as mayor ends 2015), Barry F. Cavileer (R, 2015) and Daniel L. James (R, 2017). Federal, state and county representation Washington Township is located in the 2nd Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 9th state legislative district. New Jersey's Second Congressional District is represented by Frank LoBiondo (R, Ventnor City). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Cory Booker (D, Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (D, Paramus, 2019). For the 2014-15 Session, the 9th District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Christopher J. Connors (R, Lacey Township) and in the General Assembly by DiAnne Gove (R, Long Beach Township) and Brian E. Rumpf (R, Little Egg Harbor Township). The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach). Burlington County is governed by a Board of chosen freeholders, whose five members are elected at-large in partisan elections to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either one or two seats coming up for election each year. The board chooses a director and deputy director from among its members at an annual reorganization meeting held in January. As of 2015, Burlington County's Freeholders are Director Mary Ann O'Brien (R, Medford Township, 2017; Director of Administration and Human Services), Deputy Director Bruce Garganio (R, Florence Township, 2017; Director of Public Works and Health), Aimee Belgard (D, Edgewater Park Township, 2015; Director of Hospital, Medical Services and Education) Joseph Donnelly (R, Cinnaminson Township, 2016; Director of Public Safety, Natural Resources, and Education) and Joanne Schwartz (D, Southampton Township, 2015; Director of Health and Corrections). Constitutional officers are County Clerk Tim Tyler, Sheriff Jean E. Stanfield and Surrogate George T. Kotch. Politics As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 536 registered voters in Washington Township, of which 85 (15.9% vs. 33.3% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 271 (50.6% vs. 23.9%) were registered as Republicans and 180 (33.6% vs. 42.8%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were no voters registered to other parties. Among the township's 2010 Census population, 78.0% (vs. 61.7% in Burlington County) were registered to vote, including 95.5% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 80.3% countywide). In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 221 votes (59.2% vs. 40.2% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 142 votes (38.1% vs. 58.1%) and other candidates with 7 votes (1.9% vs. 1.0%), among the 373 ballots cast by the township's 533 registered voters, for a turnout of 70.0% (vs. 74.5% in Burlington County). In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 250 votes (57.9% vs. 39.9% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 168 votes (38.9% vs. 58.4%) and other candidates with 11 votes (2.5% vs. 1.0%), among the 432 ballots cast by the township's 545 registered voters, for a turnout of 79.3% (vs. 80.0% in Burlington County). In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 272 votes (62.1% vs. 46.0% countywide), ahead of Democrat John Kerry with 160 votes (36.5% vs. 52.9%) and other candidates with 4 votes (0.9% vs. 0.8%), among the 438 ballots cast by the township's 558 registered voters, for a turnout of 78.5% (vs. 78.8% in the whole county). In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 156 votes (66.4% vs. 61.4% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 61 votes (26.0% vs. 35.8%) and other candidates with 10 votes (4.3% vs. 1.2%), among the 235 ballots cast by the township's 509 registered voters, yielding a 46.2% turnout (vs. 44.5% in the county). In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 186 votes (62.4% vs. 47.7% countywide), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 91 votes (30.5% vs. 44.5%), Independent Chris Daggett with 17 votes (5.7% vs. 4.8%) and other candidates with 2 votes (0.7% vs. 1.2%), among the 298 ballots cast by the township's 552 registered voters, yielding a 54.0% turnout (vs. 44.9% in the county). Education The Washington Township School District serves students in public school for pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade at Green Bank Elementary School. As of the 2012-13 school year, the district's one school had an enrollment of 37 students and 4.7 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 7.81:1. The school's $5.4 million building opened in September 2006. Since the 2007-08 school year, as part of an agreement with the Mullica Township Schools, Washington Township receives teaching support from the Mullica district and shares its superintendent, business administrator and other support staff. Washington Township students in grades five through eight attend Mullica Township Middle School as part of a program that has expanded since it was initiated in the 2007-08 school year. Students in ninth through twelfth grades attend Cedar Creek High School, which is located in the northern section of Egg Harbor City and opened to students in September 2010. The school is one of three high schools operated as part of the Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District, which also includes the constituent municipalities of Egg Harbor City, Galloway Township, Hamilton Township, and Mullica Township, and participates in sending/receiving relationships with Port Republic and Washington Township. Cedar Creek High School is zoned to serve students from Egg Harbor City, Mullica Township, Port Republic and Washington Township, while students in portions of Galloway and Hamilton townships have the can attend Cedar Creek as an option or to participate in magnet programs at the school. Prior to the opening of Cedar Creek, students from Washington Township had attended Oakcrest High School, together with students from Hamilton Township, Mullica Township and Port Republic. Students from Washington Township, and from all of Burlington County, are eligible to attend the Burlington County Institute of Technology, a countywide public school district that serves the vocational and technical education needs of students at the high school and post-secondary level at its campuses in Medford and Westampton Township. Transportation As of May 2010, the township had a total of 54.31 miles (87.40 km) of roadways, of which 29.32 miles (47.19 km) were maintained by the municipality and 24.99 miles (40.22 km) by Burlington County. The only major roads that pass through are County Road 542 and County Road 563. Limited access roads are accessible in neighboring communities, including the Atlantic City Expressway in Hammonton and the Garden State Parkway in Galloway Township, Port Republic and Bass River Township.
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