Ray Donovan recap: The Texan
While Bunchy and Mickey set out to reunite with their loves, Ray comes to Hector's aid (again)
If you only watched the opening scenes of “The Texan,” you’d be forgiven for assuming this would be a mostly lighthearted episode. Sure, Cochran and The Texan are shot and laying in a hospital, but other than that, everything seems good. And I mean really good: When Ray picks up Mickey from prison, he’s even smiling! It’s a bizarre version of Ray Donovan, to be sure, but it’s also kind of nice to see the man happy, even for a moment.
As if that wasn’t enough, Ray takes Mickey for breakfast, offering him money and a place to stay until he gets back on his feet. While you can tell Mickey’s touched by the gesture, he refuses, saying Ray’s family doesn’t need a roommate like him right now. Back at home, Ray continues his hot streak of loving, vulnerable behavior by playing “Just Dance” with Conor and Abby, the whole family gettin’ jiggy wit it around the living room. The Donovans, happy! What a sight!
Of course, their joy can only last so long. While they’re playing the game, Ray’s neighbor comes to the door and, as Conor runs up the stairs, tells Ray how his son had a gun and shot his bouncy castle the other night. That sends Ray flying into Conor’s room, where the two nearly have a physical confrontation when Conor pushes him. Ray takes the gun from his son’s bed and orders him to put on his shoes and get in the car with him.
Ray takes him to a particularly rough neighborhood downtown and meets up with Avi, who gives him a file folder. He hands it to Conor and tells him to look through it. It’s filled with pictures of kids around his age who died from gunshot wounds. They’re gruesome, shocking photos meant to scare Conor. He says he gets it, but Ray doesn’t seem to believe the lesson has fully sunk in — he kicks Conor out of the car, with his gun, and tells him to “go be a tough guy.” As Ray pulls away, Conor gets a look at just how not street-ready he is. Luckily, Ray stops short and opens the door, and Conor runs to the safety of his dad’s car.
Meanwhile, there’s a lot more drama back at the Fite Club. First, Mickey returns to a friendly greeting from Terry, who sees what Mick did for the family as a noble act. Alas, the welcome-back tour runs its course when Mickey runs into Bunchy. He visits him in the back room, hoping to use Bunchy’s car to drive to Primm and find Shirley, when he finds out Teresa’s brother put her in a psychiatric hospital to treat her postpartum depression. For real, Bunchy can’t catch a break.
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Then, as Hector Campos is training in the ring, he catches a glimpse of the TV and sees Marisol. He gets Terry to turn the volume up and, sure enough, she’s telling everyone who’s watching that she and Hector have had a romantic, sexual relationship for years. Just as Hector was starting to maybe get his life back on track, his sister comes back to once again throw it all into chaos.
NEXT: The Donovans never abandon their family
With Marisol’s scandalous story hitting the news, Randall Dykeman, the man in charge of the fight, has no choice but to pull Hector and replace him with a new fighter, a young Irish guy rising through the ranks. As distraught as Hector is, Ray has no sympathy for him. He figures Hector made this mess, so now he has to live with it. Terry, though, he has other ideas: He begs Ray to help Hector get the fight back, because it’s important for the Fite Club.
So, Ray comes up with a plan, because the Donovans never abandon their family. Just ask Bunchy, who confronts Teresa’s brother about putting her in a hospital. What Bunchy doesn’t know is Teresa has a history of self-harm and depression, and her family believes the hospital is truly the best place for her — Bunchy’s not having it, though. After a little influence from Mickey, who sees the hospital patients as victims of a system that doesn’t care about them, he takes Teresa out of the hospital to care for her on his own. This will surely end well, right?
With Bunchy, Mickey, and Teresa starting out on their own little adventure — as Bunchy agrees to drive to Primm to get Shirley — Ray enacts his plan to get back Hector’s spot in the fight. He has Lena ghost Stu Feldman’s computer and, sure enough, his predilection for porn plays right into Lena’s hands. She makes it look like the FBI is coming after him for watching child pornography, so he runs straight to Ray for help. The smile on Ray’s face as he answers the phone is delightful.
Basically, the plan is this: Stu Feldman will go golfing with Randall, and he’ll wear glasses equipped with a secret video recorder (I’m completely serious). Stu’s job is to get Randall saying something inflammatory on tape — it’s not so hard to do with powerful white men who think they’re invincible — and then bring it to Ray. Unbelievably, Ray’s strategy works. Randall says something crude about his wife’s anatomy, Mexicans, and building a wall, and Ray brings the video to his office to blackmail him.
But Randall refuses to change the fight. Fortunately, Ray Donovan always has a backup plan. He enlists Darryl to go to a pub where the fill-in fighter is having celebratory drinks with his pals (a little reckless right before a big fight, don’t you think?) and hurt the fighter with a pair of brass knuckles. Darryl never gets any good story lines, but at least he gets to punch people, I guess.
With the fill-in fighter down, Randall has no choice but to put Hector Campos back in. Ray shares the good news after Hector gets drunk with Terry. But more than that, the news comes with some instructions. He tells Hector to hire Terry as one of his trainers, and to make sure Darryl gets some action, too. After all, Ray wasn’t going to bother helping Hector, but Terry convinced him. It’s time for Hector to pay his debts to the Donovan family.
“The Texan” ends on a somber note, as Ray realizes that not only did he go too far with Conor earlier in the day, but he’s also not doing the best job of keeping Conor away from a life of crime. Conor, who expresses his frustrations about his privileged lifestyle to his mom — in turn, she shares the news about her cancer while the two bond at a gun range — is just trying to live up to the “tough guy” aura that is his Boston-bred, Irish family.
However, Ray wants more for his kids, and maybe for himself. After he visits the hospital and learns The Texan has died, witnessing firsthand how the guy’s life as a criminal truly affected his daughter (played by Eve Harlow of The 100!), Ray realizes he’s trapped himself in something toxic. He goes home and has a heart-to-heart with Conor, saying he’s trying to keep him safe and lead him down a path that’s different from the one he took. Right now, it doesn’t seem to be working, but Ray Donovan will keep trying. It’s what he does.