Billions S1:E11 Magical Thinking Recap


We're back for more shenanigans with the Billions banksters and the men who love to chase them, let's roll the spoiling bits after the break.

Donnie died last episode, in a series of confusing un-marked flashbacks (throw me a bone, a different haircut, a "back then", SOMETHING!) and we ended by finding out that Bobby deliberately didn't tell Donnie about a treatment that could have extended his life a few months, preferring presumably the path that led to Donnie being dead before he could testify. I'm very surprised that Donnie (and Bobby's) doctor would do that at Bobby's behest, it's unethical at best and probably against the Hippocratic Oath.I feel I should mention that my entire knowledge of the Hippocratic Oath comes from TV.

We open at Bobby's office with Wags inside and Mafee (Mah-FEE) outside. Mafee wants to talk about BioLance, but if he does, Bobby's gonna fire him, so he's sent Wags in to ask for permission to enter. However, if Mafee DOESN'T talk about BioLance, he thinks he might lose Bobby $400 million, soo..come on in Mafee, we'll see.

BioLance has a call in 9 minutes and Mafee's been losing sleep over it. Bobby wants to him to hold their position to double their money, but Mafee and every other analyst on the floor thinks they need to pare their position and take a 10% payout. He fears they're about to lose big. BioLance has an inhibitor in for approval, but six other companies do as well and it's a coin flip. Mafee just doesn't see the difference. Bobby gets all megalomaniacal: "I'M the difference" and "second: you're fired" but Mafee doesn't look reassured by either. Bobby swears he's done the homework, he knows what's up and he wants to hold.

9 minutes later...

It did not go BioLance's OR Axe Financial's way. That's a LOT of money lost in the blink of 9 minutes and Bobby does not understand. He looks stunned and stares while the employees murmur and Wags gives us the full extent of the damage: $430 million. American dollars. Bobby sees Mafee emptying out his desk and asks him what he's doing? "You fired me?" "You know to never listen to me about shite like that between 9:30 and 4:00." Bobby sounds like a FUN boss!

Firing bullet dodged, Mafee and Deb eye cuddle from across the room

Wendy is meeting up with Maria at her new role at Zenobia, the boss Roma (Kathryn Erbe) wants to show her around personally, ohhhh she wants Wendy to come there and train her 60% female workforce as assassins. That's Wendy's specialty. Roma is interesting, saying they believe in socially responsible investing, which is why the gender percentages, but that profit is the goal. Leaving, Wendy gets a text from Bobby; he needs to see her. Now. I'm guessing Bobby is ready for session! Once every three and a half years, just like clockwork!

Adam is visiting Chuck at home, in his brownstone off the promenade and that sounds FANCY! To Adam, too, but mostly he's impressed with Chuck's ability to make a federal judge disappear. Chuck even knows the name of the nominee to replace! It's Adam! And that's the Friendly on the bench, now let's work on who's replacing Adam in the Attorney General's office: Chuck has some ideas on that too! Chuck's an idea man.

Adam is concerned; this is still all about Axelrod? One guy has gotten under Chuck's skin like that; leading to all these machinations? Chuck says it's about justice and of course he is. He offers to smooth Adam's way through the judiciary approvals process, in exchange for Adam's help with a friendly replacement. Adam takes that deal, but he warns Chuck about irrational behaviour being his downfall.

Lu is interviewing, grudgingly, as a private chef, ohhh at Bobby's office. Bobby comes out to meet them, he can't make it to Lilly's tonight. He had a bad morning because of a bad read and he thinks the problem is in his head. Hence the Dr. Rhoades 911 text. Lara is pissed; she doesn't trust Wendy but knows the eminent Dr. Rhoades is the only one that can fix Bobby's melon right now.

Lu is off to the side, two traders walk by and hiss smarmy "compliments" at her, that's exactly the kind of thing women are supposed to see as flattering: "all we need is a pole." So naaaice. I sincerely hope Bobby saw that and fired the troglodyte bastards.

Lu REALLY doesn't want to work there, and she doesn't recognise her formerly badass big sister either. Lara's so disconnected from the old neighborhood that she can't even see how far away she is; "and the night takes shape" says Lu with an eye roll.

Terri and Dale are gonzo, since Donnie died everything went on hold. Bai Bryan!

Wendy is in to see Bobby; she doesn't know yet if this is a friendly session request, or if he's found out that she's being pursued by various companies as an elite performance coach. He asks where she was and she says "I'm here now" and I don't know how much she'll be helping if she's got that much reason to worry about letting her own guard down. He's already gone against his own wife's recommendation that he get rid of Wendy. He dismisses everyone in the office, raising Wendy's anxiety level even more and then he explains: he needs to find out why he wanted to make the error.

Chuck is confused when the babysitter shows up; he was expecting Wendy. Soooo, Wendy texted the babysitter to tell her she was needed, but NOT Chuck that she wouldn't be home. I think it was also a surprise to Chuck that he was meant to be out as well. Maybe Wendy doesn't want to be on EITHER side any more.

A very tense Wendy starts the session; Bobby thinks he forgot he's not actually Superman (just like Rick last night on The Walking Dead season finale) and slipped. He says it isn't Magical Thinking, a la "if I clean the house, then school gets cancelled tomorrow" and he doesn't think that's it: he missed something. It was when Mafee said that everyone else thought it was the wrong move that the die became cast for him: he had to PROVE he was the difference maker. To who, asks Wendy? She thinks it's peni-related, as these things usually are; this is gonna take awhile.

At Chuck's office, Kate and Bryan are reviewing motivations for not letting go of the Axe Financial prosecution, Bryan is having an existential crisis; do the laws and fines and jail actually make a difference in making the markets fair? Kate says summat.

Bobby wants to know how Wendy is doing? And she's devastated that Donnie was dying and he shut her out. He talks a bit and she brings it back around to Donnie. It can't be a coincidence, him bombing on a trade right after Donnie died. She's wondering if he's atoning or trying to prove something to who?

Lu and Lara stumble out of McCrory's (where Lu suggested Lara thought she was too good for earlier), realising just how much it sucks. Let's go joyriding!

Chuck Jr. has gone to see Chuck Sr., who isn't letting him off the hook quite so easily after all his harsh words. Jr. wants Sr.'s senator, the preeminent Marcia Vandeveer to run Adam through the judiciary committee. Why Sr. must have spent a LIFETIME building relationships to be able to reach into his pocket for a U.S. senator like that! Chuck finally apologizes.

Wendy and Bobby are throwing things at the statue in the lobby, there's a blind spot in his self-image that usually works for him, but clearly isn't now. Can we just throw some more shite at the statue?

He's at her now, talking about how a lover says goodbye sleeping with someone one last time but not actually saying goodbye, although it's all done but the crying? She doesn't follow, but of course she does.

Bryan and Kate are getting ready to hump on Chuck's desk, too cliche! Let's find something else dangerous!

Chuck still can't reach Wendy (she's in session, Chaz, give her some time), but finally rolls into his meeting at a strip club (mebbe) with Ari, who's sexting with a 23 year old; how did he manage that? "You put the porsche in the Tinder picture. You can't be subtle on Tinder." Also, you need a roof. A roof is protection and Jr.'s roof is Sr.

Ari's ladyfriend comes over and is summarily dismissed to the bar for now; but Chuck, he's worried. He doesn't think he and Wendy are just out of pocket for right now, he's sensing a seismic shift and tectonic collisions and a lot of other words that mean the writer went to Yale. Hurry it up, ya Whiffenpoof!

Chuck doesn't want this decadent lifestyle, it's lonely. And sad. He misses his ex-wife and he misses all the things he meant to say to her but didn't, left until morning where it got plowed under the routine and that is REAL.

Bobby and Wendy are walking outside now, he never cried for Donnie but he thinks he should have. When's the last time he cried? YouTube videos of soldiers coming home, or schmaltzy baseball commercials. It comes down; does he think he'll still be loved if he takes off his mask? He hasn't even told Lara about his crying at the sentimentality. Back to Donnie!

Lara and Lu are doing a super tame joyride that the Axe private helicopter? That's not lame any more! More sister bonding.

Wendy gives her rundown of why she thinks he missed on the trade; Donnie fell on his sword for Bobby and he provided for his family in return. Why doesn't that leave him feeling proud? Bobby says he stole from Donnie; his time. The not-mentioned experimental treatment that could have left Donnie time to testify. Bobby's worried about his capacity to do that to someone he cared about, but Wendy turns it around: he's actually worried that he really didn't care about Donnie.

You know who really cared about Donnie? Wendy

Bobby felt relief at Donnie's death; and now we're to the crux of what Bobby's worry is: is he a sociopath? She tells him a normal person wouldn't do what he's done, but a sociopath wouldn't care, so he's somewhere in between and he needs to figure out how to live with his feelings or they will atrophy and die or close himself back up.

Bryan and Kate are lighting fireworks at the top of a tall building (maybe THEIR tall building, I don't know) and that's how people lose hands you guys!

Wendy and Bobby are finishing up; she gives him this takeaway: "you are a difference maker. But you are not a god." Pancreatic comes for everyone it touches, Patrick Swayze's family knows that.

He finally asks her point blank if she's been looking at other shops;  they vape and he baits her about safety: does she think she'll be different there?

Meanwhile, Lara has rented the old mall they used to shoplift at and it's a spree! Just like they always wanted.

Chuck shows up just then, watching them laugh and cuddle and share a vape in the cold on the balcony of Axe Financial and I almost well up watching him well up. He heads back to the city and a sex club with Troy, an extremely tall asian woman in latex.

She leads him through a session, but barely gets into it before he invokes an extremely unimaginative safeword (red? come on!), but it's him, he can't get into it. He doesn't have Mrs. Martinez's permission. AND Wendy isn't playing any more, even through she was an All-Star at the workshop (ah! that explains that) and just then, there's a loud noise outside and a man is taken out bodily.

It's someone following Chuck specifically, and has been all night. It's as though Chuck all of a sudden realises HIS lifestyle puts him at risk, just like all those people whose lifestyles he used against them. He's gotta go!

Bobby gets home to Lara asleep on the couch in a bad 80s prom dress, must have been some party! He blurts out that he cries at commercials and she tells him to not ever fcuking do what he did tonight; leave her alone. They make out and yay! Badass Lara is back, smiles Lu from the other sofa.

Wendy is at home, typing up her notes from the session when she hears Chuck enter. She closes up and gets in the shower and there is that laptop, just sitting there in Chuck's reach...he opens it up and they have each other's passwords of course, so he helps himself to her confidential notes and deletes the evidence.

She walks out of the shower to see a guilty-looking Chuck sitting next to her laptop; Bob Dylan takes us oot with "Gotta Serve Somebody."

So. Chuck is playing the White Hat with all the dirty moves, versus Bobby, who is the Black Hat working on his honesty and finding his truth. It was a compelling talk between Wendy and Bobby; their scenes resonate the most and I think it's a credit to them.The whole theme of this episode has been serving; hence the song: you have to choose to serve the devil or the gods; which one has each chosen? I know it's very meaningful and all, I just think that's been in the forefront all along. Until next week for the penultimate episode of season one, we oot!