'Ray Donovan': Has Terry Hit Rock Bottom?

"Terry's not out of the woods yet," Eddie Marsan tells THR of his character's transformation and upcoming "moral hell."
Michael Desmond/Showtime

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Sunday's "Come and Knock on Our Door" episode of Showtime's Ray Donovan.]

Showtime's Ray Donovan isn't known for its morally sound characters, but when it comes to the heart and soul of the show, Terry (Eddie Marsan) has pretty much always filled that role. In its third-season premiere Terry was notably absent, having been banished to jail following a robbery with Mickey (Jon Voight). 

In the second episode, Terry killed a man in self-defense, which led to Sunday's climactic "Knock on Our Door" hour in which Ray (Liev Schreiber) and Mickey raced to get the battered and broken man out of jail before a revenge killing could be issued.

They may have succeeded, but by the closing moments it was clear that Terry is leaving prison a changed  and potentially suicidal — man. The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Marsan to get his take on the character turn and where he might go next.  

It's been a rough couple of episodes for Terry. Will things get worse?

There’s a mixture of things going on. One of the things about people with Parkinson's is that apart from the disease being degenerative and destructive, they also have trouble sleeping and they have visions. The medication can create these side effects, limit behavioral inhibitions and it can exacerbate the worst traits of their personalty. If they’re addictive, paranoid, violent or aggressive, it can exacerbate that. Terry's Parkinson's has deteriorated drastically since he’s been in prison because he hasn’t had the proper care. Now that he’s coming out there's that, coupled with the fact that he’s just killed a man, survived prison, had a nervous breakdown and is taking the medication that’s creating these side effects. Terry's not out of the woods yet. He’s still going through a kind of hell at the moment. 

Would you call him suicidal?

To an extent. In episode two when he walked out to fight, to a certain extent he was suicidal then. That was him trying to commit suicide, by being killed. But Terry’s cursed with being a Donovan. So even in spite of himself he will fight back, because that’s what Donovans do. He can’t commit suicide because he can’t give up.

Is there anyone left in the family he could turn to?

He doesn’t turn to anybody. The only reason Terry accepts Ray’s help is because Terry knows that if anything happens to Ray, Terry wants to be there for his children. Terry in essence is their mother’s representative on earth. Terry always, even though he’s tough and can look after himself, he’s also very gentle. Whatever the mother would do, Terry would do. That’s why Terry’s never cut off Mickey even though Mickey behaves in such a bad way. His mother never divorced Mickey, and Terry in a sense could never divorce his father. He’s like a catholic wife whose husband keeps cheating on her, keeps beating her, but she will never divorce him. That’s what Terry is. 

What's the Terry/Mickey relationship like going forward?

Their relationship is broken down. It carries on, but they don’t have the close relationship. Terry doesn’t trust Mickey. Terry and Ray know what Mickey is and they’re weary of him. Ray has nothing but hatred for Mickey and has tried to get him killed. Terry tolerates him because in a religious, moral sense he thinks you have to tolerate your family. There's a scene between Mickey and Terry in episode four that kind of describes where their relationship is at the moment. Terry reads Mickey like a book. He knows every game Mickey is playing; Mickey’s never one step ahead of Terry or Ray. He’s sometimes one step ahead of Bunchy (Dash Mihok). But Terry and Ray know what Mickey’s up to.

Is it a dangerous relationship, knowing that Terry has a record and Mickey is deep into illegal activities?

Mickey always brings danger with him. He’s dealing with some dangerous things and there’s always side effects or consequences. There’s always collateral. Just as there was when he tried to rob the marijuana store.

Does this mean Bunchy is done running the gym?

Terry mourns the loss of the gym, he’s got so much going on in his mind that he doesn’t mind Bunchy running the gym. He’s glad Bunchy is finding his feet. Terry’s a kindhearted soul, so when Bunchy starts to run the gym, Terry is pleased for him. You will see that Terry is overprotective of Bunchy, that’s the problem  when he gets paranoid he gets even more overprotective of Bunchy. Plus, Terry found out last season the gym was never really his because it was a money laundering place for Ray. And that broke Terry’s heart.

Will there be any closure with Frances (Brooke Smith)?

I don’t know. I hope so, because I think we did some great work together. They're very fascinating characters to put together in a romance. The end of the relationship had a suddenness to it when Terry discovers that it’s over. It works dramatically because it’s like the suddenness of life. It’s unexpected for Terry that it’s over so quickly, but I suspect that in future seasons you may see more of Frances. Because also she knows they killed the priest!

Showrunner David Hollander had said Terry has a big story this year. Any more hints?

The whole of Ray Donovan for me really is about self-denial. These men were abused when they were children, and they don’t deal with it in a very efficient, very functioning way. They deny the pain they feel and therefore it produces violence and dysfunctional behavior. Ray earns his living by helping Hollywood stars cover up who they really are. And Terry is a man who is more self-destructive in a sense because he’s a Catholic and has guilt. His journey is one of self-destruction, not through drugs or violence with people, but through self-punishing. He goes into moral hell. He loses his moral compass. He’s disoriented. He doesn’t know where he fits in anymore. The main the thing about Terry is he’s cursed with being a Donovan.

Ray Donovan airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime. How do you think Terry will fare outside of prison? Sound off below.

Twitter: @amber_dowling

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