Ray Donovan is rarely cryptic with its episode titles, and “Viagra” was no exception. It was an hour devoted to sex, and about the complications of sex, for everyone. As Ray and Abby continue to struggle through their relationship, Terry and Bunchy take drastic steps to move forward with their respective ladies. Sex is used in a number of ways to help Ray try and ensnare Cochran, and even Mickey and his friend get a moment with a prostitute (sort of). Hit the jump for why Ray is determined to send someone to the Maldives.
“Viagra” was a little more scattered than recent episodes of Ray Donovan, but it worked. There’s been a drought of Terry and Bunchy action, and “Viagra” was a huge leap of an episode for both of them. Terry reconnected with Frances at his doctor’s appointment, and it led to a whirlwind of decisions: Frances was cold with him, then wanted to sleep with him, then wanted to cut him off. But, he formulated a plan for them to run away to Ireland together (after he had been learning about it through, presumably, PBS documentaries), and is ready to sell the gym and propose, which he does.
Terry’s desire to sell the gym hurts Ray’s financial situation, though, which is in a precarious place. Because he’s paid in cash, his accountant cannot launder through the gym fast enough. It puts the Donovans moving the Truesdale in doubt (not to mention that Ray doesn’t know about Abby’s altercation with the neighbors), but it’s also a metaphor for empty promises Ray has been making to Abby. Bridget calling her mother a victim was something that woke Abby up — she’s not willing to play that part anymore. Instead of meeting Ray for a reconciliation dinner, she stands him up and goes out with Halloran, the detective, instead.
Ray is always fighting to hold things together, but just as he begins to feel he has things settled (like after the last episode), the leaks begin to spring in other places. When he does a favor for Ashley (the nutbar Mouseketeer) and her new monied asshole boyfriend Steve Knight, a motivational speaker, Ray is able to parlay the experience into a steady income for himself on the side, unconnected to Ezra. Ezra has done many things for Ray, but putting him on his payroll has not been one of them, and it’s starting to literally cost him. The other major outcome from the event, which included him sending Manuel back to Guatemala with $350,000, was that Ashley is back in his life, and looking for sex. Ray has had a newfound desire to stay faithful to Abby, and should have learned that lesson about being employed by Ashley’s sexual partners while he sleeps with her, but then again …
Ray often uses sex to achieve another end, either for himself or regarding his clients. After the discovery that Cochran and his wife were swinging with the Volchecks, he uses Lena to first pretend to seduce Volcheck, and then use Volcheck’s sexual connections to Cochran and Donna to catch Cochran out. This twist was one of the better things Ray Donovan could have done with Cochran’s story, and I give the show credit now after I lamented the turn of events where it looked like Cochran was just being a sexual predator (though he possibly still is, by wielding his power over Volcheck to make him participate, but Volcheck’s wife doesn’t seem to have a problem with it — something that was definitely not conveyed in the kitchen scene from before).
As for Bunchy, the series of events that led up to him using the Viagra just as his new girlfriend’s kid returned home was one of the more uncomfortably hilarious sequences of the series so far. It took a lot for Bunchy to even go on that date, and to then be so relaxed and comfortable that he wanted to have sex. Taking the Viagra that Pie had given him also took a lot of courage on his part, but he did it at exactly the worst time. His desire to get out of the way as the kid stripped down and, later, laid his head on his lap was incredibly tense. For him to have had a noticeable erection at that point could have been devastating to everything he has built up with his life.
However, it also had shadows of the experience he had when he was a child, which Ray suffered as well. Ray listens some to Steve Knight, but doesn’t seem to really internalize the advice to leave the past behind by owning it (at least, not yet). Terry flat-out said in this episode that both Bunchy and Ray were raped by the priest, and for Ray to come to terms with that will, hopefully, be one of Ray Donovan‘s defining moments. Sex played many parts in “Viagra,” but few of them were good.
Episode Rating: B
— This episode was a little nutty, but it was still entertaining.
— “You’re a smart man, Tom. Fuck him before he fucks you” – Ray.
— “I did this, I own it, but it need you to fix it” – Steve Knight.
— Avi questioning Ray about the cameras was one of the first times he’s really done that, but it didn’t come to much in the end.
— It was nice to finally have Lena do something out of the office and to put her in a situation we’ve never seen her in before. More of this, please!
— Mickey’s neighbor is making me very nervous with his smoking and that oxygen tank … The two of them together are hilarious, though. I love how he still wants to pull heists by going through the roof.
–“Oh, I don’t get erections anymore” – Neighbor.
— That look Terry gave Bunchy when he called himself a sexual anorexic was so funny.
— Mickey: “They say write about what you know, I know about two things: robbing banks and fucking black chicks.” Paramount Exec: “Ok. Let’s see where that goes.”
— Happy 14th Birthday, Conor.
— “We’re all your victims” – Abby.