It seems longer than a week since the first episode of the new season of Billions, doesn't it? Maybe because they dropped these first two early. I don't care, I'm looking forward to seeing what happens! Rolling Dead Cat Bounce (er) after the break!
We open at Spartan-Ives Global Thought Leaders summit where Todd Krakow (Danny Armstrong) is holding forth while Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) rolls his eyes and snorts loudly while sitting on the same elevated dais. Shouldn't have tried to steal Axe's (former) employee Dr. Wendy (Maggie Siff), Todd! Now you have an enemy for life. Two, actually, but only because I canea STAND the way Todd talks. It has almost visible slime attached. Bobby's gotta shut him down
And hard. What was that about the $45 million paid in fines to the UK?
Bobby pulls the plug and heads to the bar, to be followed closely by Krakow who suggests if he doesn't want to lose an employee: don't let her walk out the door.
Side note: Wendy would NEVER work for this pissant
Bobby finds Lawence Boyd (Eric Bogosian) to apologize; it's his company hosting the panel and no apologizes are necessary. He knew what he was doing when he put that panel together, he was hoping for a little Ric Flair woooooo!!
Chuck Rhoades Jr. (Paul Giamatti) is having his own fun in the cage; he's gone to see pal Ira (Ben Shenkman) about all 127 cases against him. Ira's taken a look (as have the papers), he'll represent Chuck for freezies! That's gotta be better than whomever Justice gave him, right? But Justice hasn't assigned him a lawyer....ooooh
That's it, they went too far. We're supposed to imagine a wounded Chuck dragging his broken body and protecting a near-servered limb while heading for the road; too much, too much.
They're not defending him because they're about to fire him, he's off to see the Attorney General on Thursday to get the chop. Ira suggests he try currying some favour with the AG by taking out one of her enemies, a big one. Sure, I mean, he has three whole days!
Chuck briefs his team and asks them to find him a big case...er, Chuckles, you only have three days, do you really want to waste time doing that? Oliver Dake (Christopher Denham) watches as Bryan (Toby Leonard Moore) and Lonnie (Malachi Weir) have nothing, Kate (Condola Rashad) suggests Axe Capital but Chuck is staying far away from Bobby. Just..."be creative" and he's gone while Bryan vows to steer clear of all of this hinky mess.
Mafee (Dan Soder) wants to relive some of the Krakow fight with Bobby, who isn't having it. If he has information about Krakow, just spill it! He knows Mafee hasn't been burning the midnight oil trying to figure it out, so who has? It's Taylor! (Asia Kate Dillon) and thank you for this
I'm always worried I'm going to offend and that is an awesome way to introduce yourself, Taylor! They do indeed have the 411 on Krakow's recent moves in China, Bobby takes it down to the cheap seats and Taylor departs to check out their next moves. They're just an intern; grad school in two weeks, baby! Let's see if Bobby can talk Them out of that.
Wendy gets home to find Chuck Rhoades Sr. (Jeffrey DeMunn - Dale from The Walking Dead! Never forget) waiting for her. He's deduced that they're separated and WHO DOESN'T TELL THEIR FAMILY?? It's been MONTHS! Chuck Sr. even denied it, what the Sam Hill? Sr. calls it selfish and destructive and whatever old man (I still love you, Dale!) and then blusters away about his grandson "meeting his station in life." Wendy kicks his aged arse oot; talk to your son.
Bobby's back at his pizza place. Bruno (Arthur Nascarella) introduces his nephew Marco (Tony Yazbeck) who just got elected in some position upstate; handy!
Chuck rakes Wendy over the coals for coughing up the news to his father; I really don't like how Wendy is acting this season. Bust some balls, lady! They're meeting up at a counseling session, they excuse the therapist right away and Chuck gives some advice about the upcoming meeting Wendy has with Oliver Dake.
He tells her not to lie for him and it's all very noble but she still removes his hand from her arm because he's still an arsehole that destroyed her trust.
The meeting with Dake goes about as well as you'd expect; a lot happened that last day, when she chose neither Bobby or Chuck and skated off into the sunset with 5 million dollars and an awesome new car. She looks sad, beautiful but also very meek, which is driving me crazy.
Dake calls Bryan next, arm-twisting for confirmation that Chuck didn't actually recuse himself from the Axelrod case or he'll "affect the vector of his future" whatever THAT means. Bryan hangs up and calls Orrin Bach.
Taylor has got the rest of the information on Krakow's play; Bobby directs Them and tells Stephanie (Shaunette Renee Wilson), who has just been sitting around listening all day, to tweet something provocative from his personal account so Krakow knows who shorted his stock.
Earlier, we had a prancing bowlegged peacock of a man enter Axe Capital, shark tooth on display and tight tight golf shirt showing off the nips. I didn't mention because I didn't know who it was: this is Wags' (David Costabile) Dr. Gus (??) and everyone is being run through mandatory sessions.
Ben Kim (Daniel K. Isaac) is first and he and I don't understand anything Dr. Gus is spewing. Ah, he wants Ben to kill giants, not apologize for not understanding what people are saying. I do that too, Ben
Oliver Dake's made a surprise move to ask Bobby to testify against Chuck; unusual in that they're offering full immunity for him to say the 5 million dollars he gave Wendy was a bribe to Chuck to stop the investigation. Orrin Back (Glenn Fleschler) is there to deflect and advises Bobby later not to take it. As tempting as it may seem, because it IS tempting. The entire annihilation of Chuck Rhoades Jr. as it were, but it would also take Wendy down and he doesn't want that.
I love whimsical, jokey Bobby here, Damian Lewis walks that fine line between character and caricature carefully and I dig it.
Kate's making a move on Lonnie, having already bagged Bryan last season she wants Lonnie to present her ideas to Chuck. He questions whether Bryan is being honest with her.
Over dinner Ira gives Chuck even more bad news; several other U.S. Attorneys are being called to testify that Chuck acted capriciously and advised them to use intimidation tactics. This means a judge can't throw it out, so Ira advises Chuck to settle but he can't. I like Ira more every time I see him, especially when he tells Chuck he can't afford to think in absolutes. How big is Chuck's trust anyway? Can he move it offshore? Blind trust says no, he can't do anything while he's in office. We just found a silver lining in Chuck getting fired!
And about this dinner...Ira's invited a couple of ladyfriends to join them. He met Taiga (Comfort Clinton - that's a NAME) at Soulcycle and she brought Carrie (Marisa Brau). Taiga is beautiful and immediately at ease, Ira starts throwing around gift cards as I wonder if these are next level sugar babies.
Stephanie's been listening to Axe direct people in strategy re: taking down Krakow; the "dead cat bounce" explanation nudges her into action. Wags takes a break from balancing a weight on his glabella to run in and stop her from advising caution, she wants to know if Bobby's animosity against Krakow is causing him to overlook things.
Bobby thinks about it for a minute and capitulates; they need more information. Satisfied, Stephanie leaves as Wags realises how poorly he's doing these days and so does Bobby. He wants Wags to help him make a fundamental change in their standing, what can that mean? Naming rights on another fancy building?
Chuck isn't happy with anything his team has brought him; maybe if he was specific about what he needed? Like a shortlist of companies at odds with the Attorney General? Wouldn't that be more efficient? But no, only Kate throws something out and everyone shuts her down. Chuck wants MORE from them! He gets it, they're raised in a culture of perfection and nobody wants to fail, but if they want to get head of Crim, they're going to have to cut themselves open and bleed.
I've heard that about writing, too, if it's not personal, it ain't anything.
Chuck keeps Bryan back. Like Bobby, he's sensed a change in his right hand man. Their focus is diffuse and they aren't helping as they usually are; what's up Bryan? He has until the end of the day to bring something good in for Chuck.
Lonnie crapped all over Kate's idea in the meeting, so she heads straight over to bust his balls. He's smarter than everyone else and has figured out what Chuck is REALLY looking for; he hands over a flash drive with some leaked emails sent in by a whistleblower. This what Chuck wants, right or wrong. She wants to know why he isn't giving it to Chuck for all the glory himself, but he thinks it could be good for her. And if it fails: not good for him. She'll do it, she's down for a calculated risk.
Did I mention this is Wednesday and he's due to be fired on Thursday? Hustle, Kate!
Lara (Malin Akerman) and cousin Mo (Erinn Ruth) workout/box; Lara's been thinking about what Mo said about getting ready for her next chapter. She thinks she might be, too, let's see what they can do together! How about traveling the country advising people on how to administer epipens? I'd be down!
Dollar Bill (Kelly AuCoin) has got the intel on the company Krakow is betting on in China; he is not uncertain the milk is spoiled. He seems to have a little bit of trouble adjusting to the new ways of business around the office; Stephanie having a say and Taylor being a Them, not She. We'll see how old Dollar handles all of that.
Wags seems a bit lost; it doesn't help when Dr. Gus stops him in the hallway and implies that his days of being able to duck staff mandates will soon be over. He says something in Japanese and Wags eyes go WIDE. Dr. Gus is gooood.
So is the information that Lonnie gave to Kate for Chuck. CEO Kurt Williams is in troubbbllleeeee. He's very happy with her work. Chuck calls Adam DeGulio (Rob Morrow) right skippy, he wants to talk to the new Assistant AG right away, peez!
Fred Reyes (Ian Kahn) and Adam are super happy to hear about the pending suit against retail giant GoodStop (hey, didn't all the Axe Capital hedgies wanna kill giants too??) in a stunning coincidence, GoodStop was just going hard after the Attorney General!
Taylor is getting well earned kudos from Bobby for Their take on the Krakow sitch; Bobby wants to know why They care. They've already turned down a job, who cares if They were right? He knows that They're testing him, though, and They still are. They wanted to know if Bobby was as good as they say, if he could see Them. Bobby pushes hard, offering up to a million dollars and then a little dancing
Taylor is an outsider; They feel uncomfortable in Bro Central but Bobby sees that as an asset, it gives Them an edge. The glass that keeps Them separated also acts as a lens and I could not agree more. They agree to a week to week deal, done!
Wags thinks he has it! How does Bobby feel about football? Good, go further! Krakow calls just then, he's gonna get Bobby back! From the floor
Bryan's meeting with his old law teacher Orrin again; he's conflicted and feeling alienated from everyone at the U.S. Attorney's office. He's bummed about whatever it was with Kate not going anywhere, and is feeling disenfranchised with the whole system. Orrin offers a flask and the advice to ride it out.
Dr. Gus and Wags are dining at a Japanese restaurant, two rude Hedgies set him off and there's almost a bro-down of flying fisticuffs until one of the guys hears Dr. Gus call Wags by his name. Then it's all blah blah sorry Mr. Wagner, my bad blah blah.
Dr. Gus LOVES Wags passion! What's churning his waters right now? What's going on?
Chuck Sr. is in Jr.'s office; he used Jr.'s trust money to buy Wendy a "six-figure ring" because after all, what's trust when there are sparklies to be had? Apparently we're all like that, according to Chuck Sr.
Chuck Jr. just wants his dad to stop talking, so he hugs him and hands back the ring. He can't take anything from his trust, it would be unethical.
The fact that the word "unethical" uttered from the mouth of a man who broke into a doctor's computer to read her session notes to use in his professional life to settle a personal grudge didn't result in a lightning strike makes me feel hollow inside.
Chuck Jr. gets the bad word from deputy AG Fred Reyes; his offering up of Kurt Williams isn't enough, see you tomorrow, Chuckles.
He mopes home to see Wendy leaving; she suggests a 180 in his strategy, which is a tool she used in therapy with her Hedgies. If his strategy isn't working, turn it around!
He sits in the AG's office and comes up with something completely different than he had planned. Why NOT go after friend of the administration Spartan-Ives and specifically CEO Lawrence Boyd as Kate had originally suggested? If you can't join 'em, beat 'em! He enlists Ari Spyres at the FCC to salt the waters.
The AG (Petronia Paley) knows exactly what Chuck is doing; if they fire him now it looks like it's to protect Lawrence Boyd et al. She vows to skid him in a few months, after the lights have moved on.
Lawrence Boyd is in Bobby's office, waiting. He's lived his whole life to avoid the kind of trouble Chuck Rhoades Jr. brings to the table and "still. He comes." What can he do? What did Bobby do that he can do to make this go away and not leave a mark?
Bobby would like to know where all this concern was lo those years ago when it was HIM on the pyre and none of his Hedgie pals were exactly breaking down the door to get to help him.
But he'll help him. He describes an epic battle, with lawyers but
And a river of shit and you get the picture. Hard! It's going to be hard and will test how much Lawrence wants to maintain and can he do what is necessary to win? Just how did Bobby think Lawrence got to where he is right now? And we're oot.
So hmmm. I knew Chuck would rally, he was too clearly marked for death for it to be over but now he's fighting on three fronts: against the administration, still against Bobby and also against Lawrence Boyd and Spartan-Ives. They've made a lot out of LB, so I assume he'll be interesting.
I'm wondering where Lara and her cousin are headed, one scene you guys? One? Taylor is an interesting character, kind of a non-binary Rainman of numbers and I'm interested to see where Their storyline goes. Billions always was like a fairytale at it's heart; there are clear motives, morals and endings so we'll just have to wait and see how things shake out. Until next time!