Friday, September 05, 2014

Review: Ray Donovan "Sunny" - Season 2, Episode 8

Ray Donovan, Showtime

Season 2, Episode #8


SHO 2 - Sat. Sep 06 12:35 AM 

Sat, Sep 06, 8:00 PM
Additional Airtimes for “Sunny” episode of  Ray Donovan


According to IMDB Ray Donovan, the character, is: "a professional "fixer" for the rich and famous in LA, can make anyone's problems disappear except
those created by his own family."    

Wikipedia notes:

The show takes place in Los Angeles, California, where Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber), originally from South Boston, is a "fixer" for the powerful law firm Goldman & Drexler, representing the rich and famous. Ray experiences his own problems when his father, Mickey Donovan (Jon Voight), is unexpectedly released from prison, and FBI agents try bringing down Ray and his associates.

Story follows these two links:

"Sunny" By Octavius J. Johnson not yet available. He has 2 songs on Amazon 

Righteous Love - 'oh Girl' - Single byOctavius J. Johnson Aka O'lord

Tunefind lists Octavius J. Johnson as Marvin Gaye Washington singing "Sunny" but the link doesn't work. You can hear Bobby Hebb and the Marvin Gaye version on this link

We got an internal alert at that "Sunny" would be utilized in the upcoming Jennifer Aniston/Tim Robbins/Mos Def film Life of Crime as well as on TV show Ray Donovan, but we kept it quiet until the release dates of August 29th (for the film) and August 31 (for tv.)
Who knew that the episode would also be titled "Sunny" ??? and would have elements which those who appreciate Bobby Hebb would be intrigued to view and consider after the program aired.

My phone and text lit up when the August 31 cablecast hit, which I found surprising as this almost-two year old novel series was foreign to me.  In order to help readers of this review get up to speed on the many characters in the Ray Donovan series there are two other descriptive reviews and their links at the bottom of the page.  
________________________________________ The series Ray Donovan is a real find with visual textures that take the Soprano's into 2014, and similarly-styled plot distancing that comes together in an effective and powerful way.

The theme of "Sunny" (the episode) is actually how the song brings some light to a very dark chunk of this series, but there are also parallels to the family structure  - sons and fathers - so it could also be called "Sonny" - which is the double entendre at play throughout.  

    Ray Donovan's dad is ex-con Mickey Donovan, actor Jon Voight looking more together than his haggard appearance as Jim Phelps in the 1996 film version of TV's Mission Impossible.  18 years later he looks just as old, but more effective here -- and he appears to model the image to what an older version of boxer Irish Mickey Ward might look like.   So there's the dynamic with "fixer" son Ray Donovan, played brilliantly by   and his low-life daddy played by Jon Voight as well as the Rap mogul mentor-father figure Re-Kon (Kwame Anderson) and his protege 15-year old surrogate "son" (played by 18 year old  Octavius J. Johnson) named Marvin Gaye Washington.   

In as blatant a fashion as you can get, the song "Sunny" is performed as a rap, not over Bobby Hebb's hit tune, but over a rare version by Marvin Gaye's which originally appeared on the Marvin Gaye boxed set, only the one used on Ray Donovan is in its "Mercury Mix" form - remixed by Mercury* (a duo) as the Mercury Mix II - hear it here:

Information on Mercury
Bern is a picturesque but marginal town in the center of Switzerland. However, the provincial town, by the way the legal capital of the country, has some serious assets – it is home to the likes of Deetron, the Round Table Knights and the up and coming Mercury.
Mercury is Mel, a former hip-hop DJ and shoemaker-to-be, and Simon, an educated children’s teacher and drummer to the francophone pop-star Stephan Eicher. The duo’s skills and frank approach to house music were first discovered by the world-acclaimed Dutch illustrator and Le Le member Parra, who invited the Swiss producing duo to create a remix of his band’s second single »Breakfast«. Frenetically supported by Pedro “Busy P” Winter, the remix ultimately became a true dance floor hit during 2009.



Mercury (Switzerland) would like to share their newest edit with you. A heart-warming track for welcoming the morning sun and collectively praising the joy of life. “Our man Rampa from Keinemusik dropped it when the first sun rays poured into the legendary window front of Berlin’s Watergate Club. A beautiful notion, no? We would have loved to be there”.
To reiterate, you have the "professionally(not legally) adopted son" of a rap mogul  utilizing Marvin Gaye's rare version of "Sunny" - the Mercury Mix,  to create a new rendition of the classic Bobby Hebb tune by actor Octavius J. Johnson.  Hopefully it will be on the market soon.

For those not familiar with the show, the twists and turns make a scorecard mandatory, quick cuts and multiple vignettes converging, long shots cradled in extensive pauses infiltrate episode 8, which one critic notes is chock full of telephone conversations between the protagonist and supporting well as the supporting cast with each other.   

Having Eliot Gould, Jon Voight, Peter Jacobson, Liev Shreiber, Kwame Anderson and Steven Bauer  and Richard Benjamin (as film producer Jerry) - all familiar faces - in one program means the acting is reliable and, like the Sopranos, very believable.   

It's a good find tucked away on one of the cable networks, Showtime, and worth seeking out. There's a Kathy Bates-styled woman handing out checks and advice to Ray Donovan, all cheeky and fun in a dark way.  But the inclusion of Bobby Hebb's signature tune is a welcome addition to television, and a great song to build a theme around.

SPOILER ALERT: don't read what comes next unless you've seen the program already:

The producers/writers/director appear to have intentionally used Marvin Gaye's version of the song "Sunny" as the character was called "Marvin Gaye Washington" and they have the 2nd "surrogate" father, Cookie, shoot him, probably a reference to Marvin Gaye's death at his father's hand


Showtime's description for Jon Voight as Mickey Donovan

Released from prison after a 20-year stint, Ray's neglectful and abusive father Mickey arrived in LA to get what he felt is his rightful due. As an ill-tempered ex-con, Mickey is nevertheless charismatic and charming. Mickey's desire to reunite with his family, and his participation in scams and scores both old and new, threatens to destroy everything Ray has built for himself.


"SUNNY" Ray Donovan

  1. Octavius J. Johnson18, plays fictional entertainer Marvin Gaye Washington, 15, on Showtime's new drama “Ray Donovan.” Dubbed “The Black Justin Bieber” on the show, Washington finds himself immediately on the wrong side of Ray Donovan (played by Liev Schreiber).

Octavius J. Johnson

A decent review worth reading:

RAY DONOVAN Recap: “Sunny”

by     Posted 5 days ago


In the meantime, “Sunny” was an another emotionally-charged hour that delved into some hard truths for Ray.  The exchange between Abby and Ray — something that frightened Ari so much he was ready to kill Halloran rather than tell Ray about Abby’s infidelity — was a unique kind of exchange.  Abby laid in wait for him, and refused to kowtow to his demands, telling him instead that all she wanted was for him to look at her, and let her help share his pain.

Another review: 

Ray Donovan – Season 2 – Episode 8 – “Sunny”– A Review

Posted: September 2, 2014 in Uncategorized 
Lee Drexler (Peter Jacobson), Ezra’s partner (Elliot Gould), and Ray’s employer (sort of) returns in contemptuous fine form. Awash in his luxury, he is visited by a “ghost” of his past via “Cookie Brown” (Omar Dorsey), a thinly veiled homage to another Hip Hop management icon currently in the press, for his refusal to return his calls and make right a previous agreement between he and Re-Kon (Kwame Anderson), a rap mogul under Drexler’s management. Re-Kon is also Marvin’s mentor and father figure. Drexler calls Ray upon Cookie’s arrival with his crew. Ray due to his background knows who and what Cookie is and shows him an unusual level of respect. In fact, both men know the other’s nature and backgrounds and their interactions make for tense drama. Dorsey could just play “Cookie” as pure menace, but he does bring a measure of charisma to the role along with intimidation. The issue is that Cookie had given Re-Kon money as capital ($30,000) to start his label and now wants his protege Marvin under his own label and “direct management” as compensation. Ray mediates and again in unusual fashion advises Drexler to concede to the demand in a prompt and peaceful manner.

Marvin Gaye Washington


When it seems like Cookie’s going to take Marvin to South Beach, I had a hard time believing that Octavius J. Johnson would be leaving the show. I was hoping something would come up to keep him local and at least in Re-Kon’s life. Drexler thinks he handles the situation adequately by throwing money at the problem. But that is not how you deal with a man like Cookie Brown and we see the results of that disrespect when he kills Re-Kon. I thought for a moment that Marvin would make it, but in the end Cookie has to send a clear message so he kills Marvin as well.
I spoke with Octavius earlier this week about his untimely death and how much it affected me. He told me the producers called him “two weeks before they were gonna kill off Marvin.” They made him “feel good about what” he’d “done on the show,” but they wanted to put some extra “umph in the season.”


Tenacious Female Reporter Sully Sullivan’s piece is out! And, no one cares! Rather, no one named Ray Donovan from whom TFR wants validation for her work and other attributes. Mrs. Shaughnessy does have a few words for her front page story. It turns out Catherine may not be in Witness Protection, after all. (Duh.) With the seeds of doubt planted in TFR’s mind, she is on the brink of going on the warpath once again, this time with her journalistic reputation at risk.


In Showtime’sRAY DONOVAN, now in its second season Sundays at 9 PM and renewed for a third, Liev Schreiber stars as the title character. Ray is a Boston-born Hollywood “fixer” who is okay with using blackmail and violence on behalf of his clients. But the turmoil of Ray’s job is nothing compared with his family conflicts. He and wife Abby (Paula Malcomson) have both had affairs, their two teenaged children (Kerris Dorsey, Devon Bagby) are in rebellion and Ray’s brothers (played by Eddie Marsan, Dash Mihok and Pooch Hall) all alternately depend on and resent their oldest sibling’s take-charge tactics. As for Ray’s ex-con father Mickey (Jon Voight), Ray tried to have the old man killed last season, a move that backfired and put them both high on the radar of the FBI.

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