After an FBI contact confirms that Van Miller is after him, Ray sends Avi and that crooked cop to deal with him. A great sequence of Avi drugging Van, and Van's next few hallucinatory hours, are a series highlight: Monkeys in business suits, living action figures crawling the walls, it's great. In the end, once he's calmed down, Van calls Ray to tell him he won't be intimidated, which means Ray has to escalate.
Meanwhile, Ezra has fled his brain surgery, and Ray finds him on the street in a hospital gown, trying to buy dogs off a dogwalker: As it turns out, he's afraid of leaving the world without demonstrating his affection for his mistress Deb, after spending the first half of the season doing so many things in his dead wife's honor. It's sweet, and you get the real sense of Ezra and Mickey being the two sides of Ray/Everyman's passionately ambivalent Dad Coin more strongly than ever: However vulnerable Ezra is in his little hospital gown, that's exactly how terrifying Mickey is for Ray.
Leading up to this, though, is the main storyline of the episode: Bunchy's crummy new house. Ray puts his foot down immediately about nobody from the family visiting him and Mickey's new digs, so of course the family immediately finds reasons to be there. Abby takes them dÃ©cor and shares a pretty heartbreaking moment with Bunchy about all his demons coming out; the kids join the housewarming party -- along with Marvin Gaye Washington and the secretly married Nurse Frances, whom Terry can't quite let go and refuses to confront. (MGW and Frances also dance together, which is kind of epic.)
All effed up on drugs and feeling "punished" by Ray for not coming to the housewarming, Bunchy's last straw comes -- as you knew it would -- when Mickey forces him once again into a sexual situation with one of the Twerk Twins from a while back. (There's also a weird moment early on when Bunchy tells Abby that Ray blames Mickey for his molestation, which seems like is a clue to more things we don't know, like the whole Bridget story.) He ends up trying to burn down the whole embarrassing "shithole," which somehow was the saddest part, and that's when Terry summons Ray to pick up the kids...
But Ray, who has spent all day wrangling Deonte and the FBI agent, has no time for Mickey's (more charming every week) bullshit, and -- stressed over Ezra's deterioration -- puts a gun to his father's head. Alienated and freaked out, the kids won't even look him in the eye, so Terry goes full Middle Child on his ass and takes care of the entire situation, sending him back to the hospital and caring for the Donovan kids himself.
After the surgery a laid-up Ezra finally shows his darker, noir side when he explains they are running out of time, and it's time to kill Mickey, because the Feds aren't backing off. And while Ray has proven to himself he's not capable of taking Mickey out, they both know who to call: James Woods, who pops up in the hour's final seconds with an interesting home life all his own.
Any episode so clearly Bunchy-heavy was going to be important, but the paranoid humor of the Van Miller scenes, and the grace of Ray's complex relationship with Ezra, put this one over the top. The fact that someone in the show's universe has more reason to kill Mickey than Ray -- and that it means adding James Woods to the already legendary Gould/Voight axis -- is a surprise twist that could end up putting Mickey and Ray eventually on the same side. He is a dangerous cat. But on the downside, I can't see Van Miller surviving the season, which is too bad because he is more wonderful every week.
Next Week: Ray heads to Boston to settle old scores and meet up with James Woods, while back home Mickey steps up his stalking of Sean Walker, that oblivious yoga-panted actor guy that killed the girl to begin with. Abby continues taking care of Ezra's mistress Deb, and it looks like Ray maybe works on reconciling with the fam after this week's dramatically poor showing.
Ezra has been hallucinating the Golem everywhere he goes, but it turns out his dementia is related less to the death of his wife and more to the full-on brain tumor he's cookin'. Ray and Avi are on the trail of my beloved FBI agent Van Miller, whose future is looking darker and darker. Poor brother Bunchy bought a sad sack house while out on a sad sack bicycle ride, while other poor brother Terry discovered that his perfectly wonderful lover Nurse Frances is secretly married, with a teenage son. Abby visited Ray's home-away in LA and turned up some disturbing stuff, but Ray was too drunk and distraught to explain himself, as though he would anyway.
Ray strides out onto the docks, eventually pushing a burly FBI guy named Frank into the water.
Ray: "It is my assumption that you are related to the FBI investigation into my affairs, which directly contradicts the nature of our fiscal relationship!"
Frank: "It is very cold in this water! And I told you, we haven't had shit on you in years."
Ray: "Then who is this adorable man that got my father out of jail?"
Frank: "Uh oh. That's Van Miller. He is crazy as hell, but also like a fox. You are in trouble deep."
Ray: "How deep?"
Frank: "Deeper than this marina you just threw me in, which was very rude by the way! I wish that I could help, but Van's something of a freelancer when he gets going on one of his weird deals."
Abby: "With nothing else to bitch about, I'm returning to the topic of you dating that boy down the street. I don't like it! Stop texting!"
Bridget: "Save it, Ma."
Conor: "Can we go to Bunchy's housewarming of his sad gross house?"
Ray: "Firstly you are grounded. Secondly, nobody is going to that house. It claims to be Bunchy's gross, sad house but really it is Mickey's den of iniquity."
Abby: "I can't wait to immediately go to that house then, so we'll have something to fight about."
Ray: "And if Mickey calls any of you again, let me know. He is off-limits."
Everybody: (Immediately calls Mickey on their phones, because Ray's life is tough.)
Abby gets the kids out the door -- with a hilariously adorable and relatable reminder to teen boy Conor to put on his deodorant -- and starts in on Ray about how come he has a dossier on a dead priest and also what is with the handcuffs and bloody mirror in his apartment.