Welcome to the season finale (hopefully not the series finale, Vinyl psyched us all out for that) of Billions, which took an interesting turn last episode. Let's see where the fallout lands in Ball in Hand.
It's 5:58 am and Lawrence Boyd (Eric Bogosian) is walking out of prison a free man, as a thanks for helping to shaft Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) who looks much unhappier lying in bed next to his wife Lara (Malin Akerman) who don't trust him no more.
Bobby's nemesis U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) is already up and exercising; it's Game Day! Time to take down the robber baron of the southern district!
Dr. Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff) gently wakes up a kiddo as Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon) shaves their melon. Looking good! Also grooming is Bryan Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore) and woo hoo, he DID hook up with that flight attendant who was eyeballing him!
Axe tries to focus his Chi
But it isn't happening today. There's a knock on the door, Larry's returning the favour Bobby paid him earlier this season when Larry was getting arrested!
Well. Bobby totally earned that one, HAHAHAH. I guess old Larry wasn't cannon fodder after all.
Bobby's pacing when Lara finds him; she figures out what's going on in a hurry, but one small change from their escape plan. She and the kids aren't running with him.
Oliver Dake (Christopher Denham) is waiting in the chapel for Chuck, but although he owes his appointment to Chuck's moves, he doesn't want Chuck involved in the Axelrod prosecution. Chuck thinks that's like leaving the cow out of the steak dinner, but Dake figures he can prosecute better without emotionally involved Chuckles standing behind him yelling "I TOTALLY GOT YOU, BOBBY!!!! I WIN!!!" Also, there's that business of Chuck's family money being used as bait, which he suggests Dake doesn't allow into Discovery. Dake asks: wouldn't that be considered a coverup? Only by
Bobby calls Hall (Terry Kinney), whose phone number has been disconnected. Wendy reaches out to Chuck to apologize for coming down so hard on him about the Ice Juice stock, but since he knows she doesn't know what he knew then, he counsels her to wait to see how she feels in the fullness of time. Oh and he's done with marriage counseling. He'll be at home waiting for her tonight after work, he hopes she'll be there too.
Bobby goes to second string, calling Orrin (Glenn Fleschler) who is worried when he hears of the missing Hall: this is serious if Hall's ghosted. Bobby is gonna keep moving while Orrin does a damage assessment; if all else fails he'll negotiate the terms of Bobby's surrender.
George (Mary-Louise Parker) the fixer is not happy with Chuck; what was he thinking?
Um. What kind of bullshit is it that we see fully half of each of her breasts while every male actor is in a suit and tie?
ANYWAY she's heard all about this deal, NOBODY buys that it isn't Chuck coming for Bobby (again), she got her news from a dude she used to peg at the AG's office. That..seemed like a lot of information. She's mad, Foley's mad and if Chuck is holding out on them: Foley will not help Chuck. CONVINCE HER, CHUCK. He does, sorta, but his fate is now inextricably linked to Dake burying his family's involvement, OR his dad agreeing to take the hit. That's a tenuous position and he didn't expect it. He does, however, fully take for granted that his dad will fall on his sword for him.
Bobby's at Axe Capital, slinking around in the bushes until he makes sure there are no police around. There is a protocol in place and it is in motion; Wags (David Costabile) is running the game plan and yay, here's Taylor to figure out how they're going to do all this without killing their investments. Bobby is not ready to name an interim Chief Investment Officer.
Bobby is close to the edge; what's he going to tell his kids? Wags suggests the truth: "the government is a bunch of f*cking liars and the boys have permission to punch the teeth out of anyone who talks shit about you." Like, DUH. Bobby's in the wind.
Over at the U.S. Attorney's office, nobody knows what the hell's going on, Kate (Condola Rashad) and Lonnie (Malachi Weir) just get to Bryan's office as he fields a call from Orrin, what's this about a warrant for Bobby's arrest? Chuck isn't around to tell them what's happening, though, he's off explaining his mousetrap to Chuck Sr. (Jeffrey Demunn) and Ira (Ben Shenkman) whom he shanked on the IceJuice deal. They do not take it well
Chuck has brought the affidavit for his dad to sign already, which Sr. takes. It's all on the line, if Chuck doesn't contain this, he won't be Governor and so now Ira and Sr. have to throw more good money after bad.
Wags has come to see Wendy for a secret session
He can tell she doesn't know about the impending arrest so he gives her a high level overview; really he needs help because Bobby refused to name an interim CIO and he's freaked the fuck out trying to get ready to lead. He can do it, he's got this! And if he needs a reminder? She's right there. Like, forever? Because apparently Wags is a thirteen year old girl and Wendy shuts it down. She's here TODAY.
Lara digs out passports; is she ready to go? Next stop is the vault, chock full of steel suitcases full of cash. Looks like Bobby's got some traveling companions!
Dollar Bill Stearn (Kelly Aucoin) is reviewing invoices with the manger of his dry cleaning business (?) when Bobby sneaks in the back door. No, Bobby isn't there to ask Dollar to take over Axe Cap in his absence, FANKS, but rather to get a minute by minute play of what's going to happen when he's arrested.
Dollar takes it gritty with his eating and pooping recommendations; now go find a guard you can bribe.
Lara has come to see Orrin herself; she throws around a wad of cash and just about gets thrown out herself. She's seriously thinking about herself and the boys only now; I totally get it but that is so very different from the last time Bobby was in trouble. She was down and the kids were packed, yo. Now she's trying to sweet-talk his lawyer into telling her how she can separate her assets from Bobby the Titanic.
Wags and Dr. Wendy are strategizing, he's taking control!
He's glad they're foxhole buddies!
You know who isn't in Chuck's foxhole anymore? Kate. She's had it with being kept in the dark by Chuck and all of his shady dealings and she's quitting. He begs for 24 hours grace.
Orrin has come to see Dake; Bobby's listening in on his cell as Orrin makes terms for his surrender. Dake does not negotiate! Bobby shouts "THEN GOOD LUCK FUCKING FINDING ME" and now Orrin's gonna get reported to the bar association.
Taylor has the model! They demand to see Bobby directly and then we're at the wharf. Sailing off to international waters, are we? We'll see, first run those numbers, Taylor! They have a good plan, one that won't hurt too much and: means They will be appointed interim CIO. Huh. Bobby still can't make up his mind about leaving, though.
Taylor was like, an intern 6 weeks ago, right?
And Bobby isn't sailing away from ANYTHING! BOOM!
Lara's making her own moves; dumping a fat suitcase off with her cousin Mo (Erinn Ruth); she'll be putting their business is Mo's name. This is divorce, yo, people hiding money and being shady as FUCK.
Orrin and Bobby are meeting at an old poolhall where Bobby used to play as a kid; he laments the days when the only way someone could get a Ball in Hand is by knocking it right off the table. Now even the smallest scratch means you getta move it where you want it: where's the skill in that? Bobby wants to know how much game he has left.
I get what he's saying; that the game has changed and it's all cheaty now but still. It's hard to feel bad for a guy who deliberately infected a bunch of desperate people and screwed an entire town.
Bobby is really worried about what to tell the kids, all Orrin tells him is what he already knows. Bobby is a good father and he just needs to remind his kiddos that they know who he actually is, no matter what anyone else says.
Taylor, Wags and Dr. Wendy are gathered in Bobby's office when Mafee (Dan Soder) busts in to find out what the Sam Hill is going on. Wags takes him for a walk while Taylor and Wendy circle each other. Taylor doesn't think Wendy's staying, but Wendy never really was one for the statistics. Taylor watching her approach is a thing of beauty
Wendy is indulging Taylor because she thinks They can help Axe Capital be where it needs to be.
Speaking of indulging, Sr. has signed the affidavit, which he calls unconditional love, and washes his hands of his son, who asked so much of him while giving nothing but thinly veiled contempt in return. Don't get me wrong, Sr.'s a total dirtbag, but Chuck Jr.'s made it a habit of using his dad when it suits him and ignoring / castigating when it doesn't. Sr. tells him to get lost (in a total WASP way) and even hands over a going-away present: pics of Wendy leaving a hotel with Craig Heidecker, the Elon Musk dude. Chuck's reaction is ALSO a thing of beauty
Bobby's decided to take the bull by the horns and tell his kids what's going on. He starts with Wags' "the government is a bunch of f*cking liars" and then gets real. He's a flawed man. He's lied, made mistakes and in fact: he did something wrong this time. They'll make up their minds as they grow, but he will always be their dad. Lots of hugs and tears.
Bobby calls Lara on Mo's phone, which the Fibbies have tapped, he's on his way to give her and the kids a hug. Dake is elated, it's Go Time!
We all know Bobby is headed anywhere but home, right? Well, the FBI apparently didn't, because they find Ben Kim (Daniel K. Issac) doing a run-rabbit maneuver (man I LOVED Super Troopers) and an extremely relaxed Lara at home.
The vault is even empty, save one sad clown statue. Dake goes screaming into Chuck's office; don't make him look like an asshole on his first Op! Chuck is more than willing to help, he just needs to input on a personnel decision (Kate I bet) and alllll the transparency Dake can handle, except for the coverup, which also needs to happen. Dake agrees and Chuck gives the real 411 on finding Bobby: ping Wendy's phone.
Ohhh ho ho ho hooooooooo we all chuckled in disbelief then, didn't we? That's cold, Chuck, Dake talked about your transactional nature, but you just don't give a shite, do you? Maybe that's the result of those photos of Wendy's fling while separated, maybe it's just blind ambition. Either way. *slow clap*
Lara sits with the kiddos in her disheveled house; oh. Oh, she thought Bobby was really coming so she had the kids ready oh. Oh Lara.
But Bobby's not there, we think he's headed to see Wendy while Chuck and Bryan clock them from across the street. I can't think of a less private place, FunBobs, come on! Oh and it was Bryan who is getting moved to Eastern, not Kate, so maybe she'll stay now because she gets to be Head of Crim with Bryan gone. And Chuck's number one guy Bryan gets to prosecute Bobby, so everyone's happy, mazel tov!
And there is Bobby, his ginger hair gleaming in the light as he and Wendy finally, finally have another session. It starts...emotionally. I am so afraid there will be declarations of love. He apologizes for what he did to make her leave; can she help him find his way back? Because all of his decisions have been wrong since then.
There is a beautiful tense, fraught hug and then the police are upon them. He went the way he wanted to, in the arms of the person he trusted and respected the most.
I got all teary!! Those two. You can almost feel the electricity in the air.
The news reaches Axe Capital and Wags gives the order: time to make the model work. Dollar approaches Taylor: Axe made Them CIO? He did. Dollar pauses and we all hold our breath until he says "that was a good f*cking call. How can I help" and we all yay! He's on it!
Bobby is brought into prison, which is oddly quiet. What, they don't like redheads? He's brought into an interview room, guess who comes in? NO. GUESS??!!
We're right where we ended season one; with a Chuck and Bobby showdown. I can't WAIT until Bobby tells Chuck that Wendy was involved in that deal, even though it was after. They spar a bit over trapping versus entrapping, I think Chuck will find this a tougher play to make than originally thought, but I have no doubt he WILL make it.
Bobby vows to find the trace thread Chuck left behind, because he knows there is one. He'll keep digging, then start pulling and he will bring down Chuck's house of cards because even if he's gotta be in here, at least he'll have a well-known cellie.
They should just get out the soft-edged tape measure and get this peni-measuring contest OVAH.
Also: Bobby has the biggest cell in the history of prison; I think it's a lunchroom
We get a closing montage with Lonnie watching Kate get the job he deserved, Taylor, Wags and Dollar working through the night and Bobby getting released. I wonder if Lara and the kids will be at home when he gets there. If he goes there.
Lara plays scrabble with the kiddos as Sr. sits alone in a dark room and thinks about chickens coming home to roost and the monster he hath wrought which is so much more and somehow much less than he had hoped for.
Wendy meets Chuck outside the brownstone with a smile on her face, they hug and head inside together as Bobby stands outside his home and "Homecoming" plays on and on. We're out.
Well. I don't know, am I completely wrong about the chemistry with Wendy and Bobby? I'm not one of those that has to pair up all innies and outties I see, but there is something there, an incredible connection you can feel. I do not get that with Wendy and Chuck OR Bobby and Lara, so I'm confused.
As for the rest of the show, there wasn't too much unexpected that happened, we knew there would be a showdown, we knew Chuck was planning to use Ice Juice, his best friend and his dad to get to Bobby again, none of that was unexpected. We're at a very different place than the end of last season, though, with all of our main interpersonal relationships in the wind.
Can I just say how wrong I was about Taylor? Remember back when they first showed up and I was all C'MON THIS BETTER BE GOOD, DON'T YOU DARE BE TRENDY AND NOT GIVE US A REAL CHARACTER!! But I was wrong, so very wrong, because being gender non-binary is the least interesting thing about Taylor on this show. And that's how it should be; I hope soon will be gone the days where anything out of mainstream got the Afterschool Special treatment.
Instead, Taylor has become a major mover and shaker and their moral compass is what has us holding our breath most episodes. Will they fall? Do they care still? It takes a hell of an actor AND writing team to bring that much depth and complexity to a character, bravo Asia Kate Dillon and the Billions writers: you've made it more than a profane soap-opera sausage fest. Until next year, thanks for reading along! Cheers