More than anything else, Ray Donovan just wants everyone to get along. He’d love for his family to be back together, even if he’s not sure how to make that happen. He’d love for the Finneys to stay loyal to one another, but he’s not sure they’re even capable of that.
Mickey wants his family back too. At the opening of “Handshake Deal,” Mickey’s off in a daydream, one where the Donovans are all gathered at his apartment for a barbecue. Terry and Bunchy are throwing a football around with Conor while Ray’s bringing his dad a beer and telling him what a great party he’s thrown.
That’s a pipe dream if I’ve ever heard one, and it isn’t long before Mickey is back to reality. He’s with Darryl, working on the details of a hookers-and-coke party to be thrown at the offices of Kwip, an app that sounds seriously dreadful. It’s all part of Mickey’s flourishing business plan though, even if it does involve meeting with insufferable app developers.
Meanwhile, Ray’s back at home making lunch for his kids. “Mom just gives us money,” Bridget says, somewhat dismissively, but she also recognizes that he’s trying his best. When she tells him about a meeting she has that afternoon to discuss her academics and college possibilities, he assures her that he’ll be there. For once, he’s not lying.
Before Ray can feel out of place in an academic setting though, he meets with Finney. He shows Ray the spot where Paige is hoping to build a stadium for the NFL team she wants to bring to the city. That’s not why Finney’s brought him here though.
Finney has another job for Ray. He wants him to track down a phone belonging to Governor Verona. The phone is in the hands of a student and former intern for Verona named Briana, and there’s some sort of incriminating evidence on it that Finney needs back. This is Finney, so the details are sparse.
Ray’s a little busy trying to be a family man though, so he calls Lena and asks her to get the phone for him. He tracked down Briana but she didn’t have the phone. She gave it to her a law professor, Sheldon Blackwood, who assured her it’d make its way into the right hands.
Ray needs Lena to get the phone from Blackwood. She agrees to the job, donning her best college hoodie and sneaking into his office to get some info. They find out what’s on the phone, including a salacious message from Briana. The big reveal: there’s one on there from Paige.
Thus, the question for Ray is whether Finney wants that phone to protect his daughter or to use it as leverage against her. After all, the whole Finney clan is at war with each other. Paige says that if Ray hands over the phone, her dad will force her out of the business. On the other hand, Ray is intensely loyal to Finney, especially since he saved Terry’s life.
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Ray eventually plays it right down the middle, telling Finney that he got rid of the phone. Finney is livid, in his low-key brooding kind of way, but accepts (for now) that this is the way Ray does business.
Then Ray goes to Paige and tells him he’s keeping the phone for now, just to be safe. He offers it back for a 3% stake in her NFL deal. She agrees, kisses him, and creates more tension in their already volatile situation.
Back in Boston, Abby is visiting with her father, who doesn’t seem excited to see her. She offers to buy the failing bar and he flips out, saying that he doesn’t want Ray’s money and that since she’s a Donovan she’s basically exiled from the family. So much for that vacation, Abby!
Still, she persists and brings the idea to her sister. She agrees to be a front for the purchase, but it’s not as rosy as it seems. When Bridget calls Abby and pleads with her to come home, Abby leaves her sister high and dry, telling her that she’ll send the money once Ray approves of the idea.
There’s the sense that Abby has done this before, just run away from her family and ignored them. She likes playing the savior, as she’s doing in this episode, but she’s never going to be there for the long haul. It’s something she and Ray have in common.
Back at the Kwip party, things eventually take off after some awkward introductions. When Mickey leaves to go get Conor from his apartment, Darryl orders more coke from the dealers. The problem is that the Kwip developers told Mickey to stop selling at $15,000, which means they won’t pay for Darryl’s mistake.
That means that Mickey’s operation is going off the rails. He’s in debt to his dealers and the Armenians he’s forced to make a 50/50 deal with. Bunchy doesn’t fare much better, losing the Luchadors only moments after he and Teresa begin their kinky relationship.
The episode ends with everyone making some sort of connection, even if the families aren’t totally back together yet. Abby is home, and Ray (for now) is there with her. Mickey reaches out to Ray and says that if he ever needs to talk, he’s there. “Food for thought,” he says, hoping he’s made some sort of breakthrough. Then there’s Bunchy, who finds comfort in praying with the chaplain. These might be temporary connections, but for the Donovans, that’s something.