You’ve seen this episode of Ray Donovan before. Maybe not this exact permutation, but something just like it. The storytelling beats, the character moments, and the general plot of the episode are all very, very familiar. Ray Donovan has done this episode multiple times before. It’s the one where Ray is finally in some sort of good place, where he can maybe look out for himself and his best interests, only to have that newfound sense of security upended by both his family and his employers constantly needing him to clean up their own problems.
This kind of storytelling is really tired at this point. We’ve been down this road so many times that even if the scenery is different, the destination remains the same. It genuinely doesn’t matter what each character wants from Ray in this episode, because the entirety of “Inside Guy” is designed to show us how much this family relies on Ray to keep it afloat. The thing is, we know that! We know that Ray is constantly looking after everyone. There’s nothing all that revealing or entertaining here; it’s the same old story.
The show plays a familiar storyline for comedy in the beginning. Ray brings Molly home from the bar, and the two are about to get all hot and heavy until Ray throws Molly on the bed and she lands on a sleeping Bridget. Molly gives them some space, and Bridget asks her father about how to fix a marriage where someone has cheated. Then, Bunchy shows up to the apartment wanting to talk to Ray about the kid he shot and the money for the surgery. It’s all played for laughs, and the extra punchline comes when Molly and Ray leave to go to her apartment, only to find Jim Sullivan sitting there with a drink in his hand. You see, there’s no escaping this life! Thank you for underlining that point, again and again, Ray Donovan.
Anyways, Sullivan has heard about the guys from the 1977 heist ending up dead, and he’s convinced that Mickey is still alive and knocking people off. He knows this because the only other person who’d kill those guys is Sullivan himself. Ray is skeptical at first because he doesn’t trust Sullivan, but he knows for sure Mickey isn’t dead, and now he’s wondering if he never got on that plane to the Maldives. He heads over to Ronny O’Malley’s house to check on him and the tapes Sullivan mentioned his father had, and sure enough, there’s another dead body there. Earlier in the day Mickey, Sandy, and Daryll showed up to O’Malley’s to get the tapes. Daryll took the lead in an effort to stop anybody else from getting killed but ended up shooting Ronny himself after the guy pulled a gun. Daryll is getting in way too deep with Mickey, and he can feel that things are getting out of control. You know he’s thinking about his mother, his step-father, and that job offer. He could have escaped. He might not be stuck now.
Ray gets to work on finding out if Mickey ever got on his plane, and he uses his newest employee, Bunchy, to do so. Keeping tabs on everything wears Ray out. He’s got Bunchy asking for an advance on his first payment for the work so that he can help pay for Matteo’s surgery, thinking that doing so will remove the tremendous guilt he feels for what he’s done. It’s never going to work that way, and any possibility for redemption vanishes when Matteo dies in the hospital due to an infection. Things are about to get much worse for Bunchy.
Eventually, Ray learns that Mickey never got on the plane and that he’s definitely been running around with Daryll and Sandy in an attempt to get revenge for the 1977 heist. Everything’s starting to pile up at Ray’s feet. Detective Perry is putting the pressure on Smitty, seeing him as the guy who might flip on the family and expose everyone’s role in the murder of the three cops. Jim Sullivan won’t be happy until Mickey is taken care of, and that means Ray won’t have much chance to be with Molly. Everything is going sideways, to the point where Daryll beats the hell out of Ray at the end of the episode, all in an effort to protect the man who’s leading him to certain doom.
Same as it ever was for the Donovans.
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