There is an established pecking order on "Ray Donovan." Family-based dramaticisms come first; then, Mickey and his kooky shenanigans; then, time permitting, Ray patching up the careers of various Hollywood types.
"Gem and Loan" does away with this entirely. That's a wonderful thing, because "Gem and Loan" is easily the strongest episode so far this season.
Here, the family schtick and the celebrity cover-up schtick are lumped into the same category. Bridget is a bright student, so much so that she's eligible for a powerfully ritzy private school. Unfortunately for her, it's also the private school controlled by one Stu Feldman, whose wrist was obliterated by Ray back in the series premiere.
Lucky for all involved, Stu is a man easily bought. If Ray can get him in the sack with porn star Lexi Steele, Bridget gets the private schooling of her dreams. So not only does "Gem and Loan" work the family angle into Ray's Hollywood schmoozings, but a large portion of the episode is Ray, trying to get a porn queen into the same bed as a horrible little goblin of a man.
It's all so beautiful. Feldman's testosterone injections (which, apparently, are mainlined into his buttcheeks and have robbed him of the ability to sit like a normal person). Steele's husband, and his combination of open shirt, gold chain and mustache, which is nature's way of saying "Yes, I do have connections in the porn industry."
Also, apparently "camera down" is code for the seemingly regularly-occurring infraction of porn actors dropping the camera, along with any pretense that they're here to be a professional and not just to do it with a porn star.
This is, by far, the most entertaining that Ray Donovan (the character, that is) has been in weeks. Fingers crossed that future installments will take "Gem and Loan's" lofty ideas of fun Ray and run with them. Probably, though, we'll be back to original recipe Ray next week. A shame, that.