Ray Donovan: Season 1, Episode 6; Housewarming

This is one of my favorite episodes of Ray Donovan. Last episode Bunchy bought a house. So this episode he decides to throw a housewarming party. The party is about as pathetic and disastrous as you would expect.
Terry is there with Frances, his secretly married to someone else girlfriend. Mickey hires some hookers (of course). And even though they are banned from going to the house Conner, Bridget, and her boyfriend Marvin show up.
There are three absolutely great moments in this episode. One of them is a quiet yet powerful moment between Bunchy and Abby. Abby sneaks over to his new house to help Bunchy decorate. We see now more than ever how much of a man-child Bunchy is. He sits in his new room like a little boy while his ‘mother’ makes his bed, etc. Bunchy reveals his insecurities, fretting that he bought the house and Ray must be mad at him. He also goes on to talk about the sexual abuse he endured from his priest. The moment is touching and very sad as Bunchy blames himself for what happened to him; Terry broke the priest’s hand when he tried to molest him, why didn’t Bunchy retaliate too? Abbey tells him “That’s what monsters do. They make you think you want something you don’t want.” This emotional moment makes Bunchy’s breakdown later on at the party all the more powerful and effective. Mickey encourages Bunchy to ‘christen’ his new house with one of the hookers. The hooker gives Bunchy a blowjob, but as he looks down at her head he suddenly has a flashback to his priest. Bunchy freaks out, she freaks out. Drunk and high on coke, Bunchy lights his Boston Red Sox poster on fire in an attempt to burn away his memories. All he really accomplishes though is ending the party and ruining his new room. This episode makes Bunchy’s pain more palpable and real to the audience than it was before.

Jon Voight as Mickey Donovan.
Jon Voight as Mickey Donovan.

My favorite moment of the episode comes during the aftermath of the party. Ray has been at the hospital, waiting for Ezra to get through his brain tumor surgery. Terry calls Ray, telling about him about the fire and that his kids are there. Ray flips out quite dramatically and wonderfully. Liev is exceptional throughout the episode, but especially here, showcasing Ray’s anger, pain, and reluctance to pull the trigger. Ray storms up to Mickey, pistol whipping him and nearly shooing him in the head as Ray’s kids look on. I love watching the emotions Ray goes through, especially when he sees that he’s scared the shit out of his kids. Terry is also great here, as the calming voice of reason (although he should’ve known better than to phone Ray like that).
Lastly it is a ‘trip’ to watch Van Miller, FBI Guy, unwittingly ingesting some LSD and hallucinating seeing a monkey in a suit. It’s Ray’s way of gaining evidence to blackmail Van with, to get him to stop investigating Ray. But it turns out Van isn’t going to be that easy to deal with.

Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan and Michael McCrady as Frank.
Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan and Michael McCrady as Frank.

Tidbits:
• Ray has an FBI connection named Frank. Funny enough, Ray isn’t afraid to drop kick him into the water since, as always, Ray has info to blackmail him with.
• Abby to Ray: “I just don’t get you anymore.” Ray’s answer is to stalk off in silence.

Elliot Gould as Ezra Goldman and Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan.
Elliot Gould as Ezra Goldman and Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan.

• Ezra escapes the hospital just before his surgery. Not totally implausible. Ray suddenly finding him on a random street? COMPLETELY implausible. Like wtf, the first place he looks he finds him?
• Terry continues on with Frances, acting as though he doesn’t know she has a secret family.

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Devon Bagby as Conner Donovan and Jon Voight as Mickey Donovan.

• Mickey shows this interesting dynamic of wanting to appear cool to his grandkids and putting them in dangerous situations, but at the same time he is fiercely protective of them.
• Bunchy’s roughhousing with Conner feels incredibly inappropriate, showing that he doesn’t know how to act with a young boy. Fortunately Mickey quickly puts an end to it before Bunchy can finish his “Father Nelson” joke. You know it’s bad when even Mickey’s like, ‘whoa, too far.’
• Ray tells Ezra about their FBI problem. Since they can’t make Van go away, Ezra concludes that Mickey has to be killed. In a wonderful moment of vulnerability, Ray replies, “It’s not that simple. He’s still my father.”
• So, who wants Mickey dead more than Ray? Who can be the one to pull the trigger? How about that guy Mickey stole $500,000 from? Hmm…..

Episode MVP is a real toss up between Liev and Dash Mihok (Bunchy)…. I’m going with Liev, only because his last scene with Ezra was so great and subtle.

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