Why, "Ray Donovan?" Why? Why do you do this to us?
Why do you trudge through seven episodes of ineffectual sludge, only for now- in "Sunny," the eighth episode of the season- to actually give us an undeniably terrific villain.
It's the same thing the show did last year. There was a bunch of jibber-jabber that didn't amount to much, and then in the latter half of the season- whoooooosh. Here's James Woods, to swoop in and terrorize the last couple episodes; a Big Bad that appeared out of nowhere and suffered greatly for the lack of introduction.
Now, Cookie Brown is doing the same. Had Cookie Brown been introduced earlier, and brought back with some regularity, his shooting of Marvin in the face (a probably-purely-intentional "Pulp Fiction" reference) would have been so much more earth-shattering.
Not that it wasn't earth-shattering in its own right. Oh, also, Marvin Gaye Washington is dead. Kind of a shock, huh?
Sorta. Not when you consider that his hit single would certainly lead to crossover success, and from there an overall perfectness of life. And in a TV show, that's the equivalent of "I HAVE MERE MINUTES TO LIVE" emblazoned on a neon sign that's bolted to one's shoulders.
Also, there's Lee Drexler claiming "I understand black people" as he assured Ray the deal for Marvin's soul would go just fine. And no one, on TV or in real life, would be advised to hitch themselves to a guy who proudly proclaims "I understand black people."
Marvin's death is the bitter end of the legal dispute, between Drexler, Cookie and Marvin's current guardian, Re-Kon. Cookie invested 30 grand into young Marvin back before Cookie was sent to jail. Now, he wants his stake in the "black Justin Bieber" (note: why anyone would want that to exist is a little baffling).
But according to Cookie, hist stake is more or less outright ownership of Marvin.
Ray is hired to come in and say "no." Ray says "yes" (that way, Bridget and Marvin just have to break up- unless, of course, they date long-distance, which is a perfectly reasonable thing people do all the time that Ray has conveniently forgotten about). Re-Kon and Drexler fire back with their original plan: "no."
So Cookie shoots Re-Kon and Marvin; a proud declaration to all the word that if Cookie can't have [person, object, or general state of being], NO ONE can.
Now, according to the "Next Time on 'Ray Donovan,'" Cookie will continue to terrify the Donovans, and every single authority figure in Bridget's life will urge her to go a different way as a witness to Marvin and Re-Kon's murder. And that's a marvelous thing, because Cookie Brown is the best thing to happen to "Ray Donovan" in a long while.
He's a credible threat (a literal loose cannon, so long as you count a handgun as a cannon), the show shows him off with considerable style (that shot of Drexler looking up to receive Cookie's boot in his face? Magnificent), and Omar J. Dorsey plays the character with panache- just the right balance of over-the-top ham and subdued "fear me because I will murder you."
It's just a shame that Cookie wasn't a bigger part of, oh... let's say the entirety of Season Two up to this point.
And all this comes with a disclaimer- hopefully, Cookie is really the Big Bad for the remainder of the season. If he gets offed next week and we go back to plain Jane Ed Cochran or Kate McPherson: Single Female Journalist, expect the last few recaps for the season to be nothing but swear words.