Credit: Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME

We all knew it was only a matter of time before the mayor hit back at Winslow after she attacked his character during a televised debate. Plus, between the end of the garbage strike and Anita surging in the polls after “rescuing” a woman in danger, and the mayor had to have been on the ropes. Certainly, Winslow was expecting some retaliation, but she likely wasn’t anticipating what happens at the top of “A Girl Named Maria.” Winslow’s woken up in the middle of the night with a gun pointed in her face. The man tells her that she’s going to have Novak drop out of the race, and if that doesn’t happen, he’ll kill her. When he places a hand over her mouth to stop her from screaming, she bites him, and in return, he pistol whips her, knocking her out. When she wakes up the next morning, she immediately calls Ray.

Winslow is shaken, but not exactly panicking. “If I didn’t own the place, I’d sue,” she quips when Ray shows up. She’s dismayed that someone was able to break into her secure apartment, but she doesn’t want protection or medical attention. She just wants to know who was sent to intimidate her. Ray says he’ll take care of it, and he leaves Lena in charge of Winslow. The two even bond a little bit, with Lena talking about her past and her time in prison, which delights Winslow.

Before Ray gets down to the business of finding out who broke into Winslow’s place, he visits the mayor in the washroom of some fancy health club. The mayor has no idea who Ray is, but Ray tells him that he’s crossed a line and that no one will go near Winslow from now on. Just as the mayor is about to get all self-righteous, Ray punches him in the throat. Message sent.

“A Girl Named Maria” feels like the most significant episode of the season since the premiere. It’s an episode that brings a lot of the simmering storylines to a boil, and ties them together in some interesting ways, or at least in ways that promise a lot of tension and conflict. One of those storylines is Mickey, Bunchy, and Maria’s life on the run. Having dropped off Maria at Terry’s place, Bunchy is back with Mickey and ready to rob the Hampton Jitney. Decked out in their fake priest outfits, they get to work. Mickey holds the bus hostage, gets it to pull into a parking lot, and Bunchy climbs aboard to help out. Things go south quickly though, as a passenger pulls out a gun and points it at Mickey. The three of them all threaten to shoot each other before Bunchy convinces Mickey to leave everything behind. He doesn’t want to kill anybody, and somehow he manages to talk Mickey down.

That doesn’t solve their money problem though, so when Bunchy sees a cash and credit loan shop on their drive back, he pulls over and tells Mickey this is their hit. This one goes without a hitch, and the two make off with a bag full of cash. For all his reservations before, Bunchy clearly enjoys the moment, the feeling of getting a win with his father by his side.

The thing is, this isn’t a win for Bunchy without Maria. Bridget, having been asked by Terry to babysit Maria while he gets into yet another underground fight, calls Teresa to the club. When Bunchy shows up later, reveling in his moment, every good feeling vanishes. Teresa blames him for all of this, and he fires back that it was her cheating on him that ruined everything. There’s no compromise to be had; Bunchy is broken, and Teresa says she never really loved him. The kicker though is Teresa leaving with Maria, and there’s nothing Bunchy can do about it. He yells at Bridget and cuts ties with Mickey, refusing to go to Vietnam without Maria by his side, and then wanders off into the night.

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While Terry continues putting his life at risk fighting for money — he amps up the device that controls his Parkinson’s to do so, and that can’t be good — there’s also the story of Mac and his attempt to get out from under Internal Affairs. Things aren’t going so well. The stuff on the wire doesn’t impress the agent, though he does hear one thing that intrigues him: the mayor’s name is mentioned. He wants to know more about how the mayor may be involved in corruption, and Mac seems to have no choice but to oblige.

With that in mind, Mac lies to Ray. Ray calls in a favor, asking him to get NYPD security camera footage from outside Winslow’s building. Mac calls him back and says that unfortunately, the camera’s out of order. When Ray goes to his own security camera guy, who tells a great story about when he first met Abby, one which makes Ray smile for the first time in a while, he learns the truth. That camera is fully operational, and a cop by the name of Danny Bianchi is the one who broke into Winslow’s apartment. So what exactly is going on?

Well, when Ray confronts Mac about the lie, Mac freaks out. He tells Ray that this whole thing is bigger than he can imagine and that he should pack up and leave New York as soon as he can. Who knows what this all means, but it’s clear that the mayor has the cops in his pocket, which is undoubtedly bad news for Ray, Winslow, and Novak. The question is, how far will the mayor go to stay in power? How many lines is he willing to cross?

One thing’s for sure; this feud isn’t coming to an end any time soon. Learning that the mayor controls the cops doesn’t deter Winslow. “So, we’ll go after the cops,” she says. Ray seems hesitant, but he’s all in with Winslow and Novak at this point. That might not be in his best interest though. As the episode comes to an end and Ray’s driving home, he’s pulled over by the cops, smacked across the legs with a nightstick, handcuffed, and put in the back of a cruiser. Ray’s pretty good at getting out of jams, but this is a big one. We’ll have to wait to see if he can wriggle his way out and help Winslow and Novak take down the mayor.

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