I did not realise this was the season finale of Billions, and it sounds SMOKIN'! Lots happened last week, let's cover it after the break.
Bobby and Wendy had a session last time, which was their first in 3 and a half years and realistically, probably their last. Chuck was all pouty when he couldn't find Wendy and then enraged to see her laughing and joking (in session) with Bobby, ran off to see a part-time dominatrix and came home and stole her confidential notes, a MAJOR breach of trust that probably signals the end of their marriage. I'm pretty sure we already know she's leaving Axe Financial, but ironically, it was Chuck's fear that he was losing Wendy that drove him to cross that unforgivable line. Let's see what shakes out tonight
Not to belabour a point I made last week, but the scenes with Bobby and Wendy are compelling, so interesting, a testament to their acting but also the writing. I can barely stand to watch Chuck's schlockfest performances, but Bobby and Wendy...memorable. I remember so clearly, I had just watched the season finale of The Walking Dead, which was 90 minutes of bullshit, although I still managed to write 4000 words on it and it was a pleasure to watch a well thought-out and engrossing storyline on Billions.
We open with Wendy walking out of a fancy bike shop (ooooh! Take us inside, I love bikes!!), stopping short to see Bobby waiting for her in front of a very fancy looking car. Rolls Royce? Bentley? Ohhh and it's not just a car, it's HER car, not part of the comp package (I expected that to be Severance Package, honestly), as a thank you for the great session. Huh.
Everyday People by Sly Stone plays in the background (I mentioned the great music, hey??) while we see Wendy checking out her hot new ride and Lonnie, the symbol of intractable justice walks up from the subway. Just for contrast. Thanks to his investigation and disappearing of former Judge Wilcox, Lonnie's back from the Eastern District, where Chuck had banished him so he could work a deal to get Peter Decker, a flipper from the Eastern District that didn't flip AND IS THIS CONVOLUTED ENOUGH? Oh no, it's not, Lonnie is ecstatic to be back, thanking Chuck, but forgetting that Chuck was the one that used him like a pawn in the first place. It's very Frances Underwood / Peter Russo House of Cards Season 1. Don't go into a parking garage with Chuck, Lonnie. Maybe stay out of the subway for a bit, too, just in case.
Chuck is raring to go and chomping at the bit; don't waste time unpacking, Lonnie, he's got a case for you already. Guess who's it about?? NO, GUESS!! He wants to nail Bobby on the police bribery in the situation where Mick Danzig was shooting at all the deer eating, shitting and fcuking on his lawn. This was information that came out of Dr. Wendy Rhoades's session notes and surely she could have protected them a little better. Yes, I know the breach of trust was all Chuck, just having a computer with shared passwords is a great trust exercise, but a shitty way to keep patient confidentiality.
We are at Bobby and Wags walking down the street; Wags is ineptly futzing around with several large binders on their way to a date with a potential new client. I like this new possible client, he cuts through Bobby's bullshit with a "I don't get to think about business in such an esoteric manner" and his people have some questions. I didn't realise this exactly, but Axe Financial lost 5 BILLION in other people's money to play with and is currently working with only his own 5 BILLION, so that must have been quite the hit the other day, the $430k of his own money. I mean, client money, sure.
I don't understand most of what they specifically say, so I'll just say it didn't go well. I could have watched it with the sound off to see Bobby fall gently on his nose in the face of intractable numbers and benchmarks. Wags calls Esoteric (John Sanders - I had to look him up, he was THAT interesting) a lemming, saying there will be other allocators, but Bobby says this guy was THE allocator, and what's the plan now?
Lonnie is down at the Greenwich police station getting personnel records, not letting on exactly what he's up to.
Bobby and Wags are pitching another potential client, this time a woman leads, asking about Carter Saley and I gather now that's a Big Fish, not a stock move. She says she would be thrilled to be the first money in, so Bobby and Wags smile, knowing they're there to make an experience for this team, not take their money. Too easy.
Wags and Bobby are walking the streets with all those unwieldy binders again, Bobby said it was like wearing ties, they have to give the importance of seriousness with their stacks of paper data instead of a much more efficient flash drive, but I have to wonder how great the appearance of Wags stumbling around from shop to shop it? Bobby hops in his limo saying they have to get Carter Saley and leaving Wags outside with all those portentous binders.
Lonnie has found Officer Salter, who responded to the call at Mick Danzig's house in Greenwich, but I thought there was whole bunches? Anyway there was a vacation to Vaanatu right after that, let's talk about that? Hot lawyer for Salter says unless Lonnie's ready to rock and roll with some actual charges, they're oot and Lonnie is ready to rock like Cameo in '86 and that was too specific to not look up! Behold the codpiece of glory!!
Bobby and Wags know something's wrong, they're just not hooking people, even though Bobby's answering everything they are asking above and beyond. He needs...something. He send binder-laden (HAVE I MENTIONED THOSE FARKING BINDERS ENOUGH YET??) Wags back to office and sets off to find his mojo.
This involves a change of clothing, no more gorgeous suit and tie (a nod to tradition and the longing of schoolboys. Apparently). He pitches the next group in an overpriced hoodie, Henley shirt and jeans, addressing the actual concern of everyone: the turmoil. Nobody knows when the Bobby Circus will stop spinning. Dude is happy to revisit in a year...and Bobby goes into the turn. This is it; dude (I hope it's Carter Saley) has ten seconds to take the deal or he doesn't exist to Bobby any more. He takes the deal. Everyone at Axe Financial is very excited.
Lonnie is laying it out for the Fibbies, he's got the Greenwich cops in Vaanatu with an Axe Financial PM, and Vaanatu is a haven for offshore banking. I mean. That was such a small thing, one tiny bribe in a long line of tiny bribes, why not go to the fire chief Bobby was paying off to get Lara's restaurant clear? Also, WHY would Wendy make note of the bribery in her notes? It makes no sense. Bryan calls Lonnie out for his completely unbelievable hunch, we'll see if that bites anyone.
Bobby is speeding and playing music loudly, he gets pulled over. He holds out his Police CSB card without even looking to see who it is; it's Raul, the head of the Policeman's Union Fund that kicked Bobby to the curb not that long ago. He tells FunBobs he's got a problem. The U.S. Attorney's Office is digging up bones in Mick's backyard. Now. This guy is a Very Big Cheese, but he has a bunch of family in various branches and they don't miss much. Bobby thanks him and blinks a lot trying to think why this would come up just now.
Bobby is meeting Hall and Orrin in a sports field in the middle of the night; they brainstorm about how much there is on Bobby. You see, Mick didn't even know what Bobby knew, and he hasn't even been picked up yet, as far as they know. Only Hall knew and... Wendy. Bobby excuses Orrin to get down to it with Hall. Bobby knows the leak must be Wendy. He tells Hall yes in answer to his queries as to preparing materials on her and what does that mean? Hall tells Bobby to play possum for right now, but they both know Wendy is a psychiatrist, right? This is what she DOES.
Bobby arrives home to find Lara pouring him wine (they drink a LOT on this show) and leads her outside to a safer location to disclose. Wendy has betrayed him (he thinks, although she hasn't really, not exactly how he imagines, but rather through sloppiness or misguided intentions, but still: betrayed him) and it's time to put into play the contingency plan they'd talked about. I'm guessing, given Lara's face falling to her feet and the "Fcuk. It's really happening" that this is not a great choice, but a necessary one. He's gonna play it quiet and keep everything status quo for now.
I wonder, waaaay back when Bobby went to see Metallica in Quebec, someone with a strong accent called and said it was time; do you think that's connected?
Chuck crows in his office about Lonnie's impeccable investigation; this is Bobby in jail. There is no moral ambiguity about bribery of public officials, no room for interpretation. Chuck's such an asshole, I mean, really. Joking around about hey? Why did we ever send Lonnie away anyway? Let's keep him! After he Petey Russo'd that mofo. I mean.
Wendy is in to see Bobby, and so much for status quo! He's all up in her grill immediately. And leads by throwing out pictures from her web traffic; bondage gear, pictures, etc. Oh and and a sweetener, the nude pics on them in the bath together.
She pushes back, furious, and then she realises what must have happened. He's still angry and wanting to fight, but she just then found out her marriage is over and she has to go.
Lara is meeting with a lawyer specializing in "their situation", looks like the Axelrods are moving? And YES, they will be using their real names! He asks Lara if she wants to go with Bobby? Her choices and the children's don't have to be Bobby's; this here is a one way trip. She says of course they will all be together, let's talk about travel. She offers to pay for a jet to breach Europe's air space, she's a problem solver!
Lonnie is enjoying his redemption burger SO MUCH, y'all! So MUCH! Bryan is fcuked up, though, he knows the Axelrod sting isn't clean and that Chuck fed it to Lonnie. Lonnie listens for a bit; he understands about Bryan's bootstrapping like Bobby, unlike Chuck's silver spoon that he pretends isn't there, but if Bryan has a problem with Chuck: take it up with him.
Speaking of Chuck, he's just heading home to his brownstone off the promenade and I'm shocked to not see the entryway strewn with his expensive custom suits. He finds a grave Wendy waiting for him; the kids are at Nancy's so they "could do this." She flips over her phone and I'm guessing she's recording "this" little chat they're about to have about him illegally accessing her confidential session notes.
What follows is a tense conversation and Chuck's done it, he's decided Wendy is a criminal just like the people she works for and you KNOW he can justify anything he does to a criminal. He would do it again! Oh, and he went to see Troy without her and almost got caught, and that's ALSO her fault, he sweeps his own illegal and immoral behaviour under the rug while excoriating her for propping up this den of thieves.
She says if Chuck uses that information, she'll testify against him, and he actually makes me think for a minute; Bobby's influence is evident in that he knew about the prosecution before anyone should have, is it okay for Bobby to be corrupt, but Our Corrupt Good Guy? IS it okay for him to have more information out there than anyone else, to make crooked deals? At least he lives in his dishonesty, rewarding those loyal to him like a robber baron of old; he doesn't purport himself to be some kind of public avenger, breaking laws for the greater good. There's a lot more, but that's the gist of it and I legit cheered when she tells him to pack his shite, she's going for a walk and when she's back, he better be gone.
You're a piece of shite, Chuck, just so that's clear.
The next morning, Chuck's holding a meeting with everyone in the office he clearly just spent a night in, Lonnie has a good lead on the money, but Chuck shuts him down cold: the investigation is cancelled. He STILL doesn't come clean, admitting to jerking around a whole office for a personal vendetta, but Bryan knows. Kate is flabbergasted, but nobody answers her. Lonnie whispers "it's Chinatown, Jake" to Bryan and them's the breaks. How long until Lonnie gets transferred, do you figure?
Bobby shows up for work to find Wendy sitting at his desk. She plays him the recording she made of her and Chuck's fight and he apologizes profusely for doubting her. She asks if the pictures will be destroyed? And how sorry is he exactly? He sends her a 5 million dollar apology (Wags: woo! Powerball winner!)
as her bonus and offers 15 million as his opening offer on her recording. She deletes it and quits; Chuck was right about that, Bobby is a criminal and she doesn't want to help him be one anymore. She loads her brand new fun car and we get a great shot of her awesome bum
and if I was a guy or a car person I would already know what kind of wheels she's driving away happily. I think it's a Maybach?
Bryan's phone rings, he answers with a guarded "yeah?" and when Chuck goes looking for him, he's gone. Chuck focuses on Kate then for a bit, sure, manipulate more staff for your own personal vendettas! He wants to know how she knew that Tara (the staffer caught on video blowing rails off her gfs boobs) was wrong; Kate says she just felt wrong, too much hovering and always around. Chuck wants her to do an investigation on who else is dirty in their office and I think it's just the janitor, right?
Now here's a thing; Bobby found out about the secret investigation into Donnie through a janitor who worked for Hall scoping out the U.S. Attorney's Office. But. Of course Bobby already knew that, he loaded Donnie up and aimed him AT Chuck, so why all that stupid airplay about "discovering" the FBI and Chuck had a witness?
Bobby rushes home to tell Lara they don't have to go; Wendy was the leak, but not in the way they thought and the investigation will not be going forward. Lara is so relieved their boys won't be turned into fondue eaters and what does THAT mean? She asks about Wendy, and that is a major blind spot for her; she's jealous of Wendy and that can erode a marriage. Probably less so now that she quit, but it was probably not the reality of her, but rather the spectre of her presence in his brain.
She says she'll bring the gold and stacks of cash back to the bank tomorrow, but he tells her not to, which worries her some. But, who knows what could happen? There's a plump pitbull terrier of a U.S. Attorney firmly embroiled in a rage-filled chess match, you just can't never tell.
Kate's spotted the dirty janitor already. Chuck has a highly improbable confidential talk with an unaware Dale about wires at the Axe Financial office in front of him, let's see if he passes it along!
Ahhh, the phone call to Bryan was from Orrin, and they're meeting at Bruno's pizza joint, which is really Bobby's pizza joint and damnit, now I want pizza! I JUST got over Lonnie's burger! Orrin was Bryan's law professor, and has previously tried to lure him astray into the private sector before, so this somewhat makes sense. Orrin spills exactly how Chuck got that bribe information. Bryan is a True Believer, remember? Orrin's part is done for now, though, it's Bobby's turn! I was thinking before how Bryan & Bobby are really better matched up against each other; they both came from nothing and have their own sort of integrity. Just on different sides.
And that's what Bobby says! And this is something that Chuck brought up too; this is very much personal for Bobby, too, it's not just Chuck grinding his axe quietly in a corner; Bobby could have walked away, there was no reason to approach Bryan like this. He offers Bryan a job at Bach's firm on his account, at least Bryan won't have to lie to himself there.
Bryan thanks him for the pizza and leaves, while Bobby says what Wendy said in the first five minutes of the first episode "I didn't hear a no" but Bryan doesn't burn Bobby with a cigarette and then pee on him, so it's not EXACTLY the same.
Chuck is signing into some schwanky rich boys club; he's so sad and downtrodden in this $3000/NIGHT HOTEL. Wendy isn't picking up. He finds the torn up cheque from Bobby that Bryan thoughtfully had framed.
Hall calls. The janitor did indeed pass on the information that the FBI has Axe Financial bugged; Bobby orders the place swept immediately. They find nothing, and so...go deeper. Gyproc and ceiling tiles pulled apart; the office is completely destroyed and now they know their source is burned. Or they should, but Bobby is focused on his paranoia as he sits in his ruined office building to see Chuck stroll in. Now whatever in the world would cause Bobby to do such a thing to his place? They didn't have a warrant, did they? Chuck can't remember.
Chuck comes bearing gifts, he has the framed cheque and lots of hyperbole about how Bobby stripped away everything that matters to him. And that's when me and Bobby shout "but you came at ME!"
Oh FFS, they have this "momentous" showdown, but all I saw was two men of different heights posturing while holding out their dongs for measuring. There were a couple of good lines; Bobby: "you're a traffic cop hiding in judicial robes" and Chuck "You'll sure to become President of the Libertarian Club of Danbury Federal Prison" and they acknowledge they have both lost Wendy, but other than that, meh.
Chuck leaves with "the only enemy more dangerous than a man with unlimited resources is one with one with nothing to lose" meaning himself and COME ON. I mean. CHUCK has unlimited resources and boo hoo! He has to stay at a luxurious hotel of his own choosing because he violated his wife's trust in a myriad of ways and that's BOBBY'S fault. Anyway. We're out, we're done the season and it's already been renewed for another, so we'll see what shakes out in the next one.
Honestly, this whole show is the same thing, over and over, only highlighted by some truly spectacular acting by Maggie Siff, Malin Ackerman and sometimes Damian Lewis. We'll see if they can kick it up a notch next season. Peace oot!