This Ray Donovan guy, he really can’t catch a break. Or at least that’s how he feels about it. As he’s pulled among Emerson, Ferrati, and Winslow, he thinks he’s just some dude caught in the middle of something out of his control. Of course, that’s not the truth at all. He moved to New York after Abby died to start over again, and all that led to was binge drinking and bar fights. Then, because that wasn’t working out so well, he was lured back into working for Winslow. Ray is a severely broken man, and that’s the whole point of an episode like “Who Was Once Dead.” For the first time in a while, and maybe ever, Ray has to reckon with both his own pain and the pain he’s caused others.
Pain opens up the episode, as Ray wakes up after being cold-cocked by that huge blonde dude at the end of the previous episode. Once again, Ray asks him who he is. His name’s Vinny (of course, the hired goon is named Vinny), and he works for Winslow. She wants to cut all ties with Ray. She wants her money back, and she wants him to lay off derailing Novak’s mayoral campaign. Ray pleads to talk with her, saying that he can explain and fix everything, to which Vinny responds by smashing a liquor bottle over his head. Not a nice dude, this Vinny.
After Ray wakes up from that, he does what he always does when he’s in a jam. He calls Lena for help. He tells her that they need to get Winslow’s money back and that it’s currently in Boston. Maybe it’s all the head shots he’s taken, or maybe it’s just his ego, but he seems to have forgotten that he went behind Lena’s back and forced Justine to reveal the staged sexual assault that was supposed to help get Novak into the mayor’s office. Lena not-so-politely tells him where to go, and says he can go find the money himself. So, Ray sets out on his own, only to run into Emerson. He wants Mayor Ferrati admitting to something on tape, and soon, or else he’s coming for Ray. “You’re running out of time,” he says.
Back in Boston, Bunchy actually catches up with Sandy’s car — near the end of last week’s episode, he was furiously chasing her down the road — and forces her to take him to the money. Daryll’s caught up in all this, and it’s pretty hilarious. He has no clue what’s going on, and all he sees is Bunchy forcing some old lady to drive them somewhere. Back at her motel, Sandy hands over the money, but not before apologizing for everything. When she hears that Bunchy lost Maria, she’s genuinely heartbroken. It turns out she only spent $20,000 of the money, all of it on a piece of jewelry for Maria. It’s sweet in its own way, and because of that Bunchy allows Sandy to catch a ride with them back to Long Island before he takes the rest of the money and gives it to Teresa and Maria. For once, Bunchy is looking to make good, to do something he believes is right. Of course, a simple plan like that never ends well on a show like Ray Donovan. )
Ray’s desperate. Without Lena, he’s scrambling. He ambushes Winslow and tells her that he can take down Ferrati, but he needs her trust and a little time. She laughs at that, unable to believe that Ray thinks she’ll trust him at this point after what he did to Novak. So, Ray tries to gather all the pieces together and figure something else out. He goes to Justine next, but as he arrives at her hotel, he sees Vinny getting into a car. He quietly walks into Justine’s hotel room to find her hanging, an extension cord around her neck, inside the shower. She’s dead, proving that Winslow isn’t afraid to rack up the body count to get what she wants.
As Bridget gets let go from her internship and drinks away her sorrows at the local bar, Ray heads back to his apartment to gather his thoughts. All he knows is that, at the very least, he needs to get the money back. Waiting for him at the apartment is Lena. She lays into him, cutting bone-deep with her insights. She tells him he’s always said he does this job for his family, but he’s surrounded by no one. “Where is everyone, Ray?” She reminds him that he’s not close to his brothers, that Bridget tried to move away from him, and that Conor joined the Marines just to escape being near him. “You’re going to die alone, and you deserve it,” she says as she leaves.
With that, Ray is truly spinning out of control. He tracks Bunchy back to Sandy’s house — where Mickey is waiting after a surprisingly peaceful reunion with Sandy and Daryll — and lays a beating on him while taking Winslow’s money back. As Bunchy screams that he needs that money for his family, Ray pummels his own family in order to get himself out of a jam. He proves Lena’s point, and there doesn’t seem to be any turning back now.
Ray doesn’t truly go off the deep end until Bridget calls him and asks him to meet her at the bar. He shows up, but it’s not for a casual drink. Bridget, who’s been pounding back the Johnnie Walker Black, lays into him in a way that cuts even deeper than Lena’s speech. She tells her father that everything he does is to protect himself. He didn’t want to show Bridget how to drive because he didn’t want her to grow up. He didn’t let Abby die the way she wanted to because he didn’t want to be hurt. She says that he’s broken and traumatized and that while it’s not his fault, he needs to let her go. She’s trying to escape him, and she needs him to let it happen so that she can have a life of her own, removed from all this violence.
That’s what sends Ray off the deep end. When Bridget is talking to him, he starts to hallucinate. He sees Justine saying her words, the guilt of her death already gnawing at him. He stumbles out of the bar and into the night. He has visions of his court-ordered therapist from last season telling him he’s traumatized and that he needs treatment. He sees Natalie James, another body left behind him. Then he sees himself, dressed as a cop, and he tries to choke himself. That’s a bad idea because that vision is an actual cop, and Ray’s arrested yet again.
Things are different this time though. Rather than getting thrown in jail, he wakes up strapped to a bed in a psychiatric hospital. The episode ends with a montage of all the Donovans, except Bridget, going nowhere real fast. Terry’s now slept with Abby’s niece, called her Abby during sex, and then gone back to underground fighting and seen his Parkinson’s come back. Bunchy has no money, despite promising Teresa he had something that would change her and Maria’s life. Then there’s Ray, locked up and under psychiatric care, getting medication via needle from a hulking nurse. The Donovans have been in some bad places, but this is maybe the worst it’s ever been.
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