Welcome back to Billions, where motorcycles cost 5 million dollars and a divorce lurks right around at least one corner. Rolling S2:E7 Victory Lap (whose?) after the break.
Last time, Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) made out like a bandit, winning job security AND a big belt notch taking down Lawrence Boyd (Eric Bogosian) of industry giant (and Attorney General ally) Spartan Ives. He even got the 127 lawsuits against him dropped, but do you think he's grateful to estranged wife Dr. Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff)? No! He's pouty because he didn't win the way he wanted to, it didn't mean enough, and, AND!! Now his ex is back working for his sworn enemy. Damnit.
His sworn enemy had a much worse week, Bobby "Axe" Axelrod (Damian Lewis) lost a significant chunk of change while gambling on the location of an upcoming casino, let go of his leverage over Chuck AND screwed things up irrevocably with his wife Lara (Malin Akerman). I bet he's still the cheerier of the two, Chuck likes to mope and rage from the pulpit of justice and he'll arrange his nibs so that he thinks he's working against The Man. Shhhh, nobody tell him HE'S The Man
Bobby and main henchman Hall (Terry Kinney) are mining through the rubble of the casino deal; what went wrong? Ex-military Hall suggests that when as Ops goes sour, they go back to it's genesis. Which means that they go freak out Bruno (Arthur J Nascarella) in his pajamas.
Let's go see Marko (Tony Yazbeck)! After all, this was his baby all along. Hmmm, Marko has a pretty swanky pad for a politician, including a bronze statue of a man on a horse? I dunno, but it made Bobby stop and look at it, so it must be important.
Bobby hits Marko hard but he swears on all that is holy: he didn't sell them out! It's backroom politics like usual, been going on since Christ was a cowboy (hey, was that the statue?). Bobby reminds Marko: he knows what he'll have to do to get his money out now, right?
Ermagahd the one reporter in town is back on the scene! Mike Dimonda (Sam Gilroy) must be back to spell Randy Kornbluth (Brian Berrebbi), the only OTHER journalist in New York. Mike's there to watch Chuck play football with his son Kevin (Zachary Unger) and maybe snap some pics. Awwww, Chuck even pretends he doesn't want Mike to take some picture at first, but if Mike "thinks it has value..."
I definitely liked Chuck more when Wendy was peeing on him.
Oh great, we get a textbook shot from the point of the male gaze; a nubile mostly naked blonde is blowing Chef Ryan (Timothy Davis) poolside in between asking to see the rest of the house. I'm only going to let it pass because "Sex and Candy" by Marcy Playground was playing and I'm old enough that I didn't even have to look it up.
Oh hey, that's Bobby's house and those are Lara and Bobby's kiddos running outside to see their chef about to make a mess all over some ill-thought-out ink. Whoops!
Lara grudgingly agrees to keep Chef Ryan on staff, Bobby only agrees because he's got a war room coming up and he needs grub.
Chuck gets home to find Wendy's read his mind like a Dan Brown book: fast and nonsensical but strangely compelling. She knows he used Kevin as a photo prop and his talking around it just infuriates her. They have a Married People Fight (yaaaay) and that's it: Wendy wants to start seeing other people. Er. You've been separated for awhile, you guys, why would that have to be discussed NOW? Wendy OR Chuck could tag-team an entire rugby squad and nobody would be able to say boo. That's how it works, right?
It's a pivotal moment in their relationship, though. Chuck is not prepared for it but Wendy, Wendy just wants to be gone. She's ready to take next steps and she doesn't want to put out any more fires on Chuck's chest. Literal or otherwise.
Bobby's assembled quite the crack team for his War Room, hey look, Mick Danzig (Nathan Darrow) even made it! We haven't seen him since season one! We've got Ben Kim (Daniel K. Isaac), Mafee (Dan Soder), my beloved Dollar Bill (Kelly AuCoin), Taylor (Asia Kate Dillion), Wags (David Costabile) and even newb Eveready (Keith Eric Chappelle), who knows that the only way to get their money is through Austerity.
What's that, you might ask? Since Bobby bought up Sandicot's debt, he can force them to pay him first, say before fixing roads or maintaining schools, etc. It's not a win-win scenario, it's a nightmare for Sandicot and a slow bleed for FunBobs, so he rejects that and gets everyone to keep at it until they find something.
One thing that did come up was that the town owns a Remington which is worth almost a million dollars. Mafee explains what Remington is, but we already know! Old west is exactly what Bobby saw in Marko's house!
I'm probably spelling Marko wrong but we're just gonna keep rolling.
Guess what Chuck Sr (Jeffery DeMunn) did today? He gave up his membership at his favourite golf club because it doesn't allow women.
Not because he gives one flying feck about totally legal discrimination, but rather because he's anticipating Chuck Jr.'s imminent run for Governor or something. Everyone's talking about it; is this what people really want in politicians these days? All bombast and spittle? Sr. had a friend run a poll!
Sr.'s seen the cheesball photos of Jr. and Kevin throwing the ball around; he knows a man running for office when he sees one. He wants Jr. to hold on to Wendy, but not just because of the Tammy Wynette factor. Rather, it's that Wendy builds killers and with her helping him he would be unstoppable. Jr. and I think Sr. shouldn't get his hopes up.
The Axelrods are having an awesome bonfire on the beach, talking about growing up poor and bonding. Well, everyone except Bobby, who alternates between brooding and talking to Hall, who doesn't think Marko was shining them on. He's narrowed down who made the last-minute decision to move the casino, let's see if Scolari coughs up Chuck Sr. for Hall or FunBobs.
Bobby does not get anywhere with Senator Scolari; who just keeps reiterating that "the committee chose the location that would bring the greatest benefit to the greatest number of people. That turned out to be Kingsford." Really, it's kind of eerily creepy and brilliant, that repeated in monotone. Bobby knows when he's being stonewalled.
This isn't the guy Sr. called anyway, Hall's on to the Governor, maybe that was him!
Mick's having trouble sleeping; I guess it's a good thing that he didn't decide to shoot a bunch of deer with an AK-47 in the middle of the night this time, hey? Baby steps. He's having a session with Wendy (jelly, Axe?) and it's Russian hackers that have him up all night. But is it that, really? Wendy probes a little deeper: it's all tied up with the situation in Sandicot. If Axe Capital decides to implement Austerity measures, they'll be decimating that small town and everything the people in it have worked for. We're not just talking less road clearing, we're talking overcrowding of schools, dipping into the pension funds: make no mistake. This is not their usual bloodless deal, this is affecting people directly and Mick's having a hard time with how it makes him feel. Wendy sends him out with the directive to take action: he can't allow Axe Capital to toy with these people's lives, saving them is saving him.
An image consultant is working with the team to negotiate how the Austerity news is released; we getta see one of those horrifically manipulative commercials with an older actress bemoaning the town losing her pension in and investments. I have to wonder if anyone ever watches one of those pieces of shite all the way through. Mick and Ben are on Team Don't Massacre Sandicot and want to talk about ways to invest in the town. Taylor counters their schmaltz with cold hard facts. The town is living beyond its means: Axe Capital didn't put them in this position, they just tried to manipulate it to their benefit. Since they can no longer do that, they need their money back. Guess what happens then?
I was not expecting Taylor to be so stonecold about it, but they always were about the analysis and not the feelings. They're making the case that Axe is not the agent of chaos as Mick feared, but rather the unfortunate recipient of a lot of bad debt they didn't cause. They bring everyone on board and maybe now Mick can sleep tonight, yay for the deer!
Kate SACHER (Condola Rashad - I swear, I'm putting myself on a Twitter diet until I can figure out how not to mess up every.single.tweet in a string of 12) has been paying attention and lately Lonnie (Malachi Weir) has been stepping up his sartorial game. What's the deal? Interviewing at law firms, maybe? Yep, but the opening salary is *only* $600,000.00. ONLY just over half a mill. I mean, WHAT'S THE POINT IF ALL YOU CAN MAKE IN ONE YEAR IS SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS???!!!
Kate counsels Lonnie to wait to find out about the head of Crim position, which would mean at least double that paltry $600,000.00 yearly salary mentioned above, but Lonnie knows Bryan (Toby Leonard Moore) has it on lock. Chuck took Bryan for lunch at Keen's Chophouse and we all know what THAT means.
Well WE don't, but since Kate drops the wrap she's been mangling and swears, it means something momentous. I wonder if Chuck's using that supposedly golden opportunity to confront Bryan over Oliver Dake's assertion that it was Bryan who reported Chuck to the Attorney General.
Keen's looks super fancy, with it's papered whatsit ceiling and muttonchop ($52) historical dish for lunch. This place is full of history (are women allowed? Or just for the washing up?); Chuck was told he would be appointed to U.S. Attorney here and where he always thought he'd give Bryan his promotion.
Bryan smiles then because he missed the part where Chuck said "I always thought" instead of "I'm promoting you" and also the part where Chuck knows he tried to have him deposed. I gotta admire Bryan's ability to roll with things, from fighting the good fight against Chuck's unethical shenanigans in the first season, to reporting him, to openly opposing him and now finally: waiting for a promotion from the man he did his level best to run out of office. It's beautiful, really, and Chuck especially likes it when he gets to stick the knife in deep when people least expect it.
Chuck's monologuing about mutton being sheep but that being too cute to eat; did you know Australia was going to do that with Kangaroo meat? Call it something else?
Me and Bryan:
GET TO THE POINT, CHUCK. He shouts a bit about kangaroos being giant rats and now I think Bryan's starting to pick up what he's laying down. Chuck goes just that one extra step into condescension, trying to order for Bryan, then "Bryan. Do you have something to tell me?"
Bryan asks if this is about the investigation, maybe? And then Chuck gets the talking stick again (he's more of a ballhog than the Black Mamba) and blah (betrayal!) blah (second chances!) blahs what Bryan calls "grandiose indignance" before copping to reporting Chuck. Now we're to it!
Back when Bryan accidentally ended up meeting with Bobby in Brooklyn (he thought he was just meeting with Orrin, his old law professor and Bobby's head counsel); he didn't crumble and accept Bobby's generous offer, but neither was he able to disregard Bobby's characterization of his boss as a hypocrite willing to bend the law to his own needs. THAT'S why he called.
Surprise, surprise, Chuck doesn't take responsibility for his gross breaches of public trust and misconduct; instead he insists that he's atoned for his wrongs and is working to make it right, even now. He's not giving head of Crim to Bryan, but he's not giving it to Lonnie yet, either. It's still a cockfight in the U.S. Attorney's office of the Southern district.
Chuck is willing to move forward with transparency, but only when Bryan proves his loyalty will he be promoted. Now: is he having the mutton or not? Bryan is indeed.
I'm just going to say: Bryan showed his loyalty to the office of U.S. Attorney, I think that's worth a helluva lot more than sucking Chuck's muttony arse.
This whole Sandicot deal isn't sitting well with Wendy
And it's time to do something about it. Bobby never could say no to her counsel, and he's literally licking his lips at the potential for a session this presents. Honestly, he's like a ginger lizard, licking, licking, licking away at his lips and smirking as Wendy realises everything, but everything is going to be used to get her into exactly this position: having a session with Bobby.
Which is what she swore to never do. Which is what he promised his wife he wouldn't do. But the thing is: he needs HER counsel, he doesn't need Lara's any more. And Wendy needs to be with her equal, someone as strong and powerful as she is, not a worm in a high-priced suit.
Sorry, sorry, I just wove them into an affair with catastrophic consequences based on a bunch of lip licking; we need some Lip Chap, screen one!
Chuck's dad's friend did a completely un-asked for poll; lookit the numbers, Chuck! Whee!
Bryan goes to see Orrin (Glenn Fleschler) to yell at him for putting him in the compromising position that threatened his job, Orrin counters with a reiteration of Bobby's job offer. After all, they're big fans of his
What's Bryan going to do? He can't trust Chuck, he can't trust Orrin, he's got nothing but his own conscience to lead him and I suggest taking one of those $600,000.00/year jobs. Sure, it'll be tough at first and you'd have to live on food stamps and Ramen noodles, but after a little while you might be able to rebound, Bryan!
Wendy watches Mafee and Deb (Ilfenesh Hedera) kiss and cuddle outside, it makes her think. Yeah she could stand a date or two! How about that Elon Musk clone we saw in the previews?
Chuck Sr. is serving up Eggos for supper; Jr.'s too busy brooding about his hard day to dig in. Seriously: waffles take 5 minutes to whip up, do NOT Eggo! Chuck's ready to run! What does he need to go to get started? First, he needs to be anointed, which means having Blackjack Foley (THAT'S who Sr. called about the gaming license!) give Jr. his blessing. Now, to get the ball rolling, Jr. just has to get Blackjack's granddaughter a clerkship and then they wait.
People do understand that exactly this Old Money backroom dealing is what gave rise to the surprising and potentially dangerous presidency of Donald Trump, right? Cronyism for the win.
Woo hoo, Wendy's in a hotel room ready to get her freak on! Yay! Who's the lucky dude? It IS Craig Heidecker (James Wolk)! He's adorable! Now take your clothes off, sailor, times-a-wasting!
They wake up all cozy in the morning; he's ready for round two but she's, well, she's not finding it as awesome to have slept with someone other than Chuck come the light of day. He's all ready to roll; let's get this relationship started! She called him because he was...restless, not because she's ready to jump right into something, so calm down, Rebound Bounce.
An awkward morning meeting with Chuck later; he's decided the threat of her sleeping with someone else was serious enough to overlook her CHOOSING TO WORK WHERE SHE WANTS and he's willing to let that go. She's just not interested, Chuckles.
Wags brings in the news I am happy with, even if it makes Bobby furious: Mick quit. Yay, Mick, do what is morally and ethically acceptable to you! I have more respect for you than anyone else on this show right now, even if that means I probably won't see you again.
Bobby decides this is all Wendy's fault and goes storming into her office to yell at her; she's not taking that. To sum up: you don't like it: fire me, Bobby.
Chuck's meeting with Adam DiGulio (Rob Morrow) to move into second steps, let's get that clerkship for Foley's granddaughter! Adam sees right through Chuck and he goes into a moving speech about not moving forward with back-channeling, deal-making and patronage but I'm afraid I missed some of it because he was CHEWING WHILE TALKING THE WHOLE TIME and I was in a full-body cringe. Adam will think about it, but he's on the bench now and has no interest in all that stuff that got him there. Remind him again, Chuck, and you won't get any more Peking Duck with Adam.
Bobby gets the name Jack Foley from Hall and takes it to see Lawrence in prison. Lawrence has already heard about the trouble upstate; he counsels caution to Bobby. He doesn't give up Chuck Sr.'s name as a Blackjack influencer, but then he's a friend of Sr. too. Such an incestuous mess. ANYWAY, he tells Bobby not to act too swiftly against Sandicot, lest he end up like him.
Bruno comes to the house to make a plea for Sandicot; these people are who Bobby was growing up. How can he take everything from them? Lara watches from above. Bobby finds his kids playfighting with plastic swords, his nod means it's okay.
Bobby FINALLY asks Lara her opinion, (while she's trying on expensive clothing with tags on, no less - we get lots of shots of their extreme wealth) she says fuck Sandicot, take everything they can then bring in Charter Schools, take the tax writeoff and walk the fuck away because it's Us or Them and there are 400 expensive pairs of shoes to buy. Paraphrasing.
And that's what Bobby does; he drives off in his expensive yellow car (Lambo?) to get Chinese food for his spoiled kids (not pizza tonight, after he fucked Bruno over so royally) because it's Us Time, baby. Victory lap!
We're out. Until next time, where our fairytale morality play goes on and on to convince us that anyone (ANYONE) can get rich and has the right, nay RESPONSIBILITY to maintain the robber baron lifestyle lest they get soft and have to go work somewhere for a paltry $600,000.00