Hi everyone and welcome back to Billions, where Ice Juice is about to make some herkalicious waves in the lives of our protagonist and his nemesis. Rolling S2:E11 Golden Frog Time after the break.
We open in the past
Back at Cullen's Tavern with Terry (Michael Stoyanov of the incredibly interesting face), who's holding court as Slayton (Lenny Venito) swears he's gonna pay it all back. Real soon. Terry and his brother Johnny (Kevin Breznahan) have heard this a LOT.
And then smacks Slayton across the chops. Terry just needed to give Slayton a reason to convince his wife to not pay the credit cards first and I don't know if you need to bring marital relations into this, Terry. The funny thing is that Slayton seems bolstered by the tooth-loosening, he's gonna get Terry that money no matter what. Terry seems skeptical as we time shift again
I love it when they give us captions l like that! Remember that episode last year when Donnie died (spoiler alert) and they kept skipping all over the place while we tried to figure out what the feck was going on? This is better.
It's late at night at Axe Capital, Wags (David Constabile) gets some unwelcome news about Ice Juice, he runs by Taylor (Asia Kate Dillon) on his way to spill it to Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) who knows what Wags sudden loquaciousness really means.
Ice Juice looks good! Lawrence Boyd (Eric Bogosian) tipped Bobby off last episode and since we know Chuck Rhoades Jr. (Paul Giamatti) is using it as bait, we (okay, me and KE on Twitter) were hoping Bobby et. al would see through it. So far the banks love it, and so does everyone else, so Wags is having trouble planning a line of attack.
Um. Taylor is RIGHT THERE, Wags, Y U TRIPPIN?
Bobby hears that Chuck's lawyer pal Ira (Ben Shenkman) and Chuck's dad (Jeffrey DeMunn) are working together on Ice Juice, don't tell him he doesn't have nothing! This is Sonny on the Causeway! (The Godfather, I looked it up)
Woot, there's Taylor! They've got the skinny on Chuck Sr.'s finances: he's house poor due to buying up a bunch of properties including half of Kingsford (where the Casino went instead of Sandicot), so where did he get the dough to throw a sizeable allocation at Ice Juice? Wags figures it must be a personal loan, Bobby suggests they follow that up and that's a GREAT idea, since we know it's from Chuck Jr.'s blind trust he's not allowed to dip into!
Bobby and Wags think this might be one of those situations where they can kill their adversary by killing the guy in front of him; you know, like arrows tipped with Golden Frog poison. You should not try to smoke said poison, WAGS, and Bobby's glad a shaman got in the way or he would be without his Number Two man and his wise counsel.
That was a nice scene; I forget Bobby and Wags are actually friends, not just obnoxiously wealthy co-workers.
Over at Ice Juice IPO Central, Chucks Sr. and Jr. and supping with Ira and drinking some very good Scotch. Blue Label Johnny Walker something? Sr.'s kind of an ahole, I won't repeat his verbiage, but the word "mongoloid" came up and it made me think of Precious. Have you seen Precious? You should and then we can talk after about how AWFUL it is. I have all the respect for Gabby Sidibe and Mo'Nique blew me away, but it was Lee Daniels that made that art. Sorry, sorry, where were we?
We're in the Now, that's where we are!
Ira is all in on this joint venture; he's quitting his job and the IPO isn't even until the next day. What's the hurry, big boy? Unbridled optimism does not fare well on this show, just ask Bryan Connerty.
It looks like Dr. Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff) and Chuck Jr. knocking thigh-high boots wasn't a one-time thing; they're back in bed together but Wendy wants Chuck to sneak out. No sense in giving the kids (or Chuck) false hope based on these husband and wife "booty calls."
I'm trying to think of things I would rather do than a husband and wife booty call and I had to stop when I got to something involving a cheese grater. Still would rather. They're SO not getting a divorce.
Chuck is checking his phone already, Wendy wants to know what's so interesting? Ah, I may have this wrong after all; Chuck is EXCITED about Ice Juice! He compares the feeling of certainty he had when he saw it to his first time arguing in court and when he met Wendy; Wendy and I are nonplussed.
She looks conflicted after; is he trying to feed her bad information for Axe?
Speaking of Axe, he has another glorious wakeup late in the morning, alone with no Lara (Malin Akerman) which sends him flying down the hall looking for her. He's a little jumpy since she left him for LESS THAN 24 HOURS THAT ONE TIME.
You can actually see his lungs start to work again when he finds his kiddos eating breakfast (THAT BREAKFAST) and Lara doing...assisted yoga? In the basement. Whew. It's gonna be awhile until he relaxes over that one, and Lara's face as he leaves tells us that is very much on purpose.
Chuck's having his own playwrestling fun, in his martial arts training; he actually forces a submission, woo hoo! Go Chuckles, that is One for Forty for you!
Taylor's new role as Head Analyst isn't weighing near enough heavy on Them; They're ready to go ahead and cut 10% off the bottom right effing now! Whoa whoa, sailor! Back that truck right up and go interview your analysts and find out how to make them tick better and basically: MANAGE. No more swanning about spouting data in a robotic yet compelling voice, time for the nitty gritty!
They do asymmetrical returns here at Axe Capital; not just for hedging, but for people too! I'm pretty sure Taylor would rather gargle glass. But! Bobby reminds Them; a small group can do the math; another small group can do people. Anyone who can do both properly; see the potential and rot in people AND numbers? Billionaires, every one. Says the billionaire.
So THEN you shank people! You know, you gotta get all Wentworth to earn respect on the yard! Aw man, I can't bring myself to watch again after the end of season four. WHERE WERE WE. Oh, right
I also watched a LOT of prison movies when I was young but the number one top prison movie of all time that had a hand in shaping the nascent sexuality of a young TTM: Chained Heat. Sorry if I grossed you out right then. If I remember correctly, in that case you had to shank the warden and by shank I mean, well, you know.
Taylor stomps out while Wags hollers after; enjoy shitcanning your first person! He remembers the first time he fired someone, it "tasted as sweet as the Mata Hari's armpit." and ewwwwwwww.
Chuck's had something fancy done to his computer; he paid money to have a stock ticker installed, which is like renting a Jesse Jaymes DVD instead of going to PronHub; IT guy is confused. Why pay?
Meeting with Ari Spyros (Stephen Kunken) of the SEC (I fink - government regulator anyway) who's heard all about Klaxon Automotive (Dollar Dollar Bill's baby) and guess who came in with a short just seconds before it went south? Ari wants the Super Sleuths at Southern (episode subheading, you know it) to get in there and find out how Bobby knew! Kate (Condola Rashad), Bryan (Toby Leonard Moore) and Lonnie (Malachi Weir) are down, but Chuck's staring at the clock. His own insider information is about to make him a mint and he's having trouble focusing. He kicks everyone out and goes and stares at his computer, like Chuck Sr., Ira, Bobby and Mafee (Dan Soder).
This is the most exciting and most disgusting-looking beverage IPO ever!
Ben Kim (Daniel K. Isaac) is up first for Taylor to interview; he looks worried. And we're off, with Taylor interviewing a bunch of people we don't know and do know and all: dudes. Taylor's matter-of-fact manner isn't putting anyone but Ben Kim off, he always was kinda soft. My favourite answer was the beardy boy who said he asked his dad, who told him to project confidence. And left out the part where he shouldn't say his dad told him to do that.
But the begging was a bit much; I thought these guys were all cock and balls, come on!! Someone show us some swagger! BARK LIKE A ROOSTER, BRO! Okay, okay, easing off on the coffee
Kate and Bryan are poring over the entrails of the Klaxon short play; they stop when they see who signed off on it: hey Taylor! Bryan is all tsk tsk, I tried to warn Them, but c'mon, Bryan, you were playing some complicated game involving Ed Harris, back it up.
Taylor bursts in on Dr. Wendy: how do you fire someone? I worry that Taylor will have to shank Mafee and that will make me, Mafee and Deb sad. Wendy talks Them through a logical plan; it's not kindness to keep an analyst who isn't pulling their weight. It affects the company and you might as well help them on their way...out the door, I guess.
Taylor's struggling, though, Wendy warns Them
And now we're at the real root of the problem: Taylor's dad was fired when They were young. It affected the family greatly, but the company thrived. How will that inform Their choice today? Taylor is off, striding the hall with all the efficient grace of a panther: Graff (Ellen Adair)! Time to go!
Hall (Terry Kinney) is ready to roll; is it time, Bobby? Izzit?? No, but almost. Chuck is also staring at the ticker again; I can't figure out if he's planning to kill Bobby on this, taking down his dad and best friend in the bargain, or just make a killing. I may not be smart enough to recap this show. Lawrence Boyd is ready for good news, too, are you doing it, Bobby?? Are you?? It's a trap, Bobby, don't do it!!
Oh goodness, now it's time for Dollar Bill's (Kelly Aucoin) interview with Taylor; why did I think he would be exempt? Um. Well, maybe he is, because he asks Taylor to go for coffee and then when They stare, confused, knocks twice and says they'll do the thing later. DO WHAT THING? The interview? What's with the knocking? I know Taylor isn't going to fire Dollar Bill because I will motherhumping riot up in this joint and plus: he just brought in Klaxon.
Bobby has sent many, many red roses to Lara, which buys him a phone call, anyway. He senses that things aren't right with them and he wants to fix it. Lara and her cousin Mo (Erinn Ruth) are skeptical.
Ira and Chuck Sr. are having a great day, lookit all the money they're making on this Ice Juice stock that is just running away! I can't believe their unbridled enthusiasm, they're not that dumb, are they? Sr. decides to double down and I am not uncertain that it's time for Bobby to make his move.
We're suddenly back 6 Night Ago in a lab with Hall and a tech testing something...nasty. Some form of bacteria and there's Bobby confirming with his doctor (I was JUST thinking about how Bobby screwed Donnie literally to death using that doctor!) that said bacteria would only cause a couple of days of discomfort...if people are healthy...$500,000.00 later, Bobby's oot and we're at
Four Nights Ago
With Hall meeting an Ice Juice manager and handing over a bacteria ampule. Just trace amounts, Ronnie (Steve Gagliastro), Hall doesn't have time for your colloquialisms! A little dab will do ya, indeed.
I didn't realise Bobby and Wags were talking literally about Golden Frog poison; they're going to infect people, take a short stance and that's essentially announcing to the world that they knew something was going to happen. Talk about a penis measuring contest.
Three Nights Ago we see the Burke brothers hooking Bobby up with Slayton of the chipped tooth from above and Two Days shows us Bobby and Victor (Louis Cancelmi) discussing his housekeeper. It can't track back to Victor! Neither can whatever Bobby asked Danny Margolis (Daniel Cosgrove) One Day Ago, that also involves trusted people. To do...
Ah poor Slayton slugging back Ice Juice laced with bacteria Earlier Today, so is Victor's housekeeper but not the guy Danny chose, so he better not drink it himself is all I'm thinking. Talk about a trackback! Bobby just paid off his house, how's the going to look? Maybe he finds somebody.
Meanwhile, Slayton's throwing up all over Ice Juice buyers and sole New York reporter Mike DiMonda (Sam Gilroy) of course gets all the tips.
Over at Axe Capital, Wendy comes across groups of people betting on when a stock will fail; she's in until she hears the name. She goes straight to Chuck to violate her business agreement and inform him of Bobby's short play, he can't believe she doesn't have any faith in him! He's got this!
Wendy's pissed; as she's walking out she takes a sizeable allocation in Axe's short and FUCK. Danny Margolis DID drink the Ice Juice himself! That's a straight line to Bobby and THAT is why he fired your ass, Danny!
Oh hey, the only other reporter in New York, Randy Kornbluth (Brian Berrebbi) is ALSO all over the Ice Juice story, people have lawyers and everything already! Randy is 'CITED: "this is spider eggs in bubblegum. This is another Chipotle."
Chuck, Chuck Sr. and Ira get the news and now we see if Chuck set a trap or lost his starched shirt.
After we see Taylor's last interview, with a guy named Peter, but called Rudy (Chris Carfizzi) because he was the little guy who tried his hardest. He kind of thought Bobby was going to be his mentor at Axe Capital, but not so much. He makes it out of the room alive as everyone cheers him on and high fives him. So. Who's going?
Oh hooooo, maybe the reason Wendy took that allocation in Ice Juice was to make it look hinky for Bobby, hmm? Bobby and Wags are disconcerted by that move. Perhaps Bobby should out some thought into hiring someone slightly less conflicted for a key position in the company, yes?
In the meantime, Wags and Bobby amuse themselves by talking about which of Sr.'s fire sale houses they're going to buy, Palm Beach for SURE. There's that unbridled enthusiasm again.
Taylor fired Pununzio (Adan Kantor) of the begging; he's kind of a weasel and Rudy was just so darn scrappy. Now They need a drink! C'mon Wags, you're good for that! Taylor walks alone through the parking lot later; I can't be the only on who jumped when Dollar popped out. Don't do that! Even Taylor looked freaked out AFTER They saw who it was.
Dollar has a big old bag of money for our Taylor, though, it's a cash Thank You for the Klaxon job. They try to give the money back, but Dollar insists. People in their line of work need to have cash stashed away and hey: there will be lots more coming.
Taylor takes a minute to digest that; Dollar doesn't just mean more random cash drops in dark parking lots with all kinds of uncomfortable close-talking; he means there are more shady deals coming and hey! Taylor is One of Them, congrats! We all breathe a little easier when Dollar smirks off into the dark again, don't we?
Back at Loser Central, Ira just now finds out that Chuck was all in, NOT his dad, but wait! There's more! Sr. bet ALL of Chuck's blind trust, it's all gone. When Ira hears that
Taylor gets back to Their swanky pad, $250k on Their shoulder, to find Bryan waiting for Them. That cash just went laser hot, didn't it? I can almost smell it from here. Poor Bryan (who probably doesn't even make $600k/year - HOW DOES HE LIVE??) compares it to his meager surroundings; They grew up in places like that, fanks.
Bryan is there to save Taylor's soul: he warns: "Axelrod will demand things of you, incrementally, that will change the fundamental nature of who you are." Bryan is there to offer salvation; he can give Taylor's soul back to them.
They're just doing their job, man, They don't even believe in the soul, They believe in purpose and vocation and movement and back off, Bryan. No snake oil sold today.
Exuent into fancy building
Lara's up when Bobby gets home; can they work this out? Lara's saying the things Bobby wants to hear, but she keeps looking at him as though she doesn't know him and this ain't going nowhere. I did like the point where they chose pizza prepared by Chef Ryan (of the poolside beej) and adorned by Bobby with caviar over Bruno's - Lara is cold as ice, y'all. She's also not ready to resume sharing orifices with FunBobs.
Chuck gets home and sits on the edge of the bed and...cries? Laughs? I can't tell, but we're back three weeks ago again with him staring at that Ice Juice binder / trap.
Now we're at two weeks with Chuck visiting Lawrence Boyd and making a deal to draw Bobby in; 6 Days Ago we see Oliver Dake (Christopher Denham) getting a huge promotion to Acting Attorney General of the Eastern District; he's as confused as we all are as to how he fits into this picture. Guess who engineered that? NO, GUESS??!!
We see it all coming together now, Chuck had Dake following every move Bobby made over the last few weeks, got lots of pictures, woot. And there we have it: Chuck is laughing and I dun tole you that was a trap! I can't believe Bobby believed Lawrence, HONESTLY. We're out. Talk about Sonny on the causeway; Bobby was just mistaken as to who Sonny was in this particular scenario.
So. Now Bobby is where Chuck was; in a marriage severely damaged by lack of trust, in serious risk of prosecution and acting erratically. There is no way FunBobs would be in this spot if he hadn't been having that trouble with Lara at the same time, but of course he was having that trouble with Lara because his behaviour with her was shite long before that.
It's even more complicated in that Wendy is mixed in with that sting, because of course she is. I've said before that Taylor's soul is the one up for grabs this season, but I don't sense any sturm und drang behind that. I do think it's interesting that Oliver Dake, Taylor's exacting counterpart for the Other Side has been brought into the fray; I bet he won't like the corruptive influence of that.
Every once in a while I forget that Bobby is the bad guy (like, all the time) even WITH Sandicot, and I think that just goes to the overwhelming power and lure of money. We all know Bobby operates outside the law but he is a seductive figure because he has what we're all supposed to want: ridiculous amounts of Fuck You Money and he got it all by himself, not by his daddy or decades of cronyism. So we lean towards him, and away from Chuck, who's born wealth and silver spoon upbringing offends us and whose (very human) hypocrisy makes us root for Big Money. Yes, I included you in that, YOU'RE WELCOME.
I get that this was a Switcheroo episode and beyond the point where I think shows with big twists are usually shite *coughTheWalkingDeadcough* I didn't like how atypically everyone was acting. It's unlike Bobby to be careless; since when is Sr. a naive optimist, and don't even get me started on Ira. It felt like what I call a Sugar Spike, where an episode is almost a stand-alone in that it tells a short story with a strong message that is outside of normal behaviour for established characters. It was FUN, however! I couldn't wait to see what Chuck had done while Bobby was up to his shenanigans!
Quick note: Tom Petty's "Even The Losers" played all the way through this episode and while I appreciate it's sledgehammer point, if I never heard it OR the random jazz playing for several scenes in a row again: I'd die a happy woman.
FINAL POINT! Yay Billions interns, you got every single actor name in IMDb!! Every one!! Yay and THANK YOU!!
Until next time!