Prostitute-in-training Ray Drecker gets a step closer to forging his new career path this week, and Tanya renews her determination to be the best pimp she can be after struggling with her own self-confidence and Lenore's shady dealings. The bizarre but sorta-cute dynamic of Ray and Tanya's relationship gets a chance to shine, and there are a number of other elements in this episode that made it an improvement upon last week's awkward suckfest.
Overall, though, I'm hoping for Hung to get a few steps removed from Alexander Payne world, to stop trying so hard to make us chuckle over the quirks of its characters and introduce some genuinely intriguing plotlines. A lost wallet and a prickly neighbor are the extent of what we get this week, and considering this is already the third episode, time is running short to grab our attention and keep it.
The central storyline here is that Lenore has vanished with Ray's wallet, and tracking her down to get it back proves difficult. This turns out to be Tanya's battle to fight, and fight it she does: she finds Lenore, pesters her into giving back the wallet, and (wisely, in my opinion) makes Ray believe the lovemaking was a success -- despite the fact that Lenore decided to steal the contents of Ray's wallet rather than add to it. What's interesting here is that, once we look beyond Tanya's mousiness and her self-admitted desperation for people to like her, we see some solid evidence that behind that humility is genuine strength and determination. Tanya understands follow-through, and development of her character, hopefully, will have her learning how to better deal with unpleasant one-on-one confrontations.
Speaking of which, Ray has a run-in with his alpha-male neighbor, Koontz, who after catching Ray peeing in the lake, calls up a pair of cops straight out of Wacky Television Cop Central Casting to issue some vague threats. Ray once again displays his phenomenal lack of people skills by grumbling a bit and then inviting the cops to kindly get the hell of his property, but on the upside he finally gets motivated to start repairs on his house rather than waiting for someone to do it for him.
Both this storyline and Tanya's hint at future drama, yet go virtually nowhere within the framework of this episode, and both lack a truly satisfactory payoff. Lenore seems to merely take pity on Tanya when she finally calls her up and offers her a list of potential future clients, rather than this being a result of something Tanya has done directly to influence the situation. Ray, meanwhile, takes action by giving Koontz a box of Tanya's lyric cookies and asking him sweetly, but with subtle menace, to "call off the dogs." His motive for doing so is open to interpretation: is he trying to confuse Koontz with unexpected kindness, to make him think he's potentially a bit crazy, or is it an attempt to make in-roads with the aloof (but possibly interested) Mrs. Koontz? Now there would be a great way to exact revenge on a difficult neighbor.