Ray gets tricked into doing a favor for Paige while Terry finds that prison isn't so warm and fuzzy.
Credit: Michael Desmond/Showtime

The Donovans have a new big dog in their home, which is a not so subtle metaphor for the absence of Ray. That’s not a surprise though considering that Ray Donovan is a not so subtle show. It’s a show that trades in big emotions and big actions, making sure you don’t miss a thing on any level. “Ding” is filled with big exaggerated moments, for better or worse.

“Ding” spends a lot more time establishing where the non-Ray Donovan characters are at in their lives. That begins with Terry, who’s doing what he can to survive the day-to-day prison life. He’s receiving packages from Ray, but he definitely doesn’t want his brother’s help. After all, it’s basically Ray’s fault that he’s in the slammer in the first place.

If anything, Ray’s special treatment is just singling Terry out. A tough guy in the yard approaches him, but the confrontation doesn’t end well for him. It turns out that Terry still has a lot of the power that made him a great boxer back in the day. Despite his Parkinson’s getting worse, which is confirmed by a prison doctor, Terry drops the guy in a hurry.

It’s a solid win for Terry, who needs every little bit of positivity he can get, but it leaves the guy he dropped holding a grudge. He wants a rematch with Terry, so another huge inmate (Banshee‘s Joseph Gatt, who seems to always play a scary prison dude) pays off a guard to look the other way while the rematch takes place.

Not long into that fight, which Terry is once again winning, his opponent gets a knife from another inmate and stabs Terry in the side. That sets off the old Donovan temper and Terry goes to town on the guy, grabbing a weight from the workout area and bashing the inmate’s head in, landing Terry in solitary. Violence is integral to the Donovan family, just in case you were wondering.

Bunchy isn’t faring much better. He’s finally worked up the nerve to confront the Luchadores and kick them out of the gym for not paying their fees, but then backs out at the last minute. He says they can work out a payment plan, perhaps a crumbling of spirit brought on by his infatuation with Teresa, the lone Luchadora.

Ray Donovan specializes in strange relationships, but the one between Bunchy and Teresa might be the strangest. It’s partly a sub-dom kind of thing, but also kind of messed up because she pays to be at the gym and Bunchy likes to masturbate in the office while watching her work. Add to that the fact that she calls Bunchy a perv while getting him to clean the Fite Club’s bathroom, clearly hitting a nerve considering Bunchy’s abusive past, and we may have a twisted relationship that tops them all.

NEXT: It was the water that killed him

Mickey Donovan at least has a slightly better day, but it probably won’t be long before that all goes downhill. He’s now in charge of the sex workers at the building he calls home, and they teach him to use the internet because “nobody works on street corners anymore.”

Mickey sees another opportunity in this operation. He’s going to buy coke and then sell it to the clients and keep them hooked on his business. He’s even dragging Darryl into it, though he’s not exactly reluctant. The fact that they’ve blown their track winnings means that they’re both strapped for cash, so Darryl fronts his car as collateral for the coke. Nothing could possibly go wrong with that deal.

Mickey’s story line is a bit of an outlier in this season, nothing really interesting having been established yet. The majority of “Ding” sees Mickey and Darryl taking Audrey to her big Hollywood audition, where she’s quickly rejected. It’s a dead-end story, one that doesn’t tell us a lot about Mickey or his situation, or even Audrey and her mother. It feels shoehorned in, resulting in the episode’s dullest moments.

Then there’s Ray, who’s by no means immune to the bad day all the Donovans are having. Paige Finney (Katie Holmes) contacts him and asks him to run protection for a star quarterback who slept with a Navy SEAL’s wife. That Navy SEAL is now out for revenge, vowing to kill the QB.

Ray convinces the SEAL to take a check from the QB’s PR team and be done with the whole situation. Ray’s been set up by Paige though. When he drives the SEAL to the hotel for a meet-up, he unwittingly sends him into the room where the QB is once again having sex with his wife.

The SEAL ends up breaking the QB’s arm, which is exactly what Paige wanted because she represents the backup QB. If that’s not a convoluted and contrived story line, I don’t know what is, but it does let us know that Paige is more than just Finney’s spoiled daughter.

With all of that taken care of, or at least put on the backburner for a while, all Ray has left to do is attend dinner with his family. It’s the one thing Bridget has been asking for and Ray has assured her he’ll be there.

Of course, he doesn’t make it, even after he and Abby share a moment of parental laughter when she tells Ray that she walked in on Conor watching porn and humping his bed. Ray can’t seem to dedicate himself to anything these days. Even Lena, his longtime business partner, is considering quitting and going to work for Avi.

Ray’s close to losing everything, from his family to his reputation. Then there’s Thomas Romero, the “chaplain” who’s closing in on the Donovan family and sitting in on Bunchy’s SNAP meetings. It’s still unclear what he wants or what he knows, but he’s quietly menacing, which means it can’t be good.

There are threats all around Ray and the Donovans, but they’re all too stubborn to see them. They’re too set in their ways, or perhaps too conditioned to sadness and violence to change their circumstances. Things aren’t looking good for any of the Donovans right now.

Episode Recaps

Ray Donovan
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