Billions S1:E4 Short Squeeze Recap


Welcome back for more (almost) literal peni-measuring on Billions! Let's see what shady shenanigans and aberrant sex acts our gang can get up to this week!

Last week Chuck did some horse-trading to get flipper Peter Decker in his stable, Bryan flipped Terri in a completely different way (or did she flip him?), Bobby spanked Chuck's daddeh (and his side-piece Evelyn by extension), Lara taught June a valuable lesson in social etiquette and Wags didn't get to figuratively pass microbes in an unsafe manner to Maria, thanks to Dr. Rhoades and her visualization techniques.

We open in Greenwich, CT, at 4:42 am (I totally should use subtitles, I love it when they LITERALLY spell out anything; for reals, you should see how excited I get when we getta read texts. It's embarrassing) where a very drunk, very rich Danzig is swigging vodka, sucking on a mouth full of chaw and using an automatic machine gun to hunt deer on his lawn. So those ARE for hunting! Who knew??

The police arrive and Bobby gets a call, he heads out with Hall to pick up his drunk trader. The next morning Bobby questions Danzig, who says he was just blowing steam after an 8 million dollar day. He's getting desensitized to his wins, just feeling a bit when he's down. Sounds like a Dr. Rhoades issue to me, not a Bobby pep talk, but really, it's about him feeling disgust for the deer; how dare they eat what he planted? How dare they (lesser beings, like not-him), occupy the same space as 8-million-dollar-day him, with their moving, eating and shitting lowly existence? Imma caution old Danzig about his Hitler leanings at this point, but Bobby just wants nobody else to know and for Danzig to KIT.

Wendy is dropping off Chuck and sees Peter Decker (in a dashing slim-cut suit, not many men can carry that off, props, Petey), when she asks if Chuck is dealing with him he pretends to not know what she's talking about. At some point, she's going to have to know, right, Chuck? Also: he's an even worse liar than Jean Bastiere in Spotless.

In the meeting with Peter Decker, they discuss terms and Chuck goes into a lengthy analogy involving singing and supper but I am mostly hypnotised by Toby Leonard Moore and his so not-Australian accent. He's much better at hiding that than Damian Lewis, isn't he?

G'Day mate! I'll have a Foster's and another shrimp on the Barbie please!
G'Day mate! I'll have a Foster's and another shrimp on the Barbie please!

ANYWAY, Chuck gets him to walk them through a Day in The Life at Axe Capital. Apparently Bobby doesn't hold meetings, they begin when he arrives, they form around him, he orders Philly Cheesesteak and 3 kinds are flown in immediately for everyone: he has money, we get it. He is all-seeing, all-knowing (as we watch him destroy a worker who was planning to use another offer for leverage) and information all flows TO him.

While Decks holds forth on the mystical knowledge-knowing of Bobby, the man himself is getting a fateful-sounding call from a European-looking friend he calls Constantine (Roman Roytberg), who says he was directed to only ever call Bobby's number under circumstances "like this". Very mystical! This important conversation must have place in person, but first: Metallica is playing one North American gig, in Quebec, and Bobby and his gang are going.

Not just those two, but a bunch of guys from the old neighbourhood are coming too and I want to make fun, but if I had a jet I'd be on it to go see motherhumping Guns 'N' Roses at Coachella before you can say GingerGroupieWannaBesRUs.

They've been waiting for approximately 20 seconds for Fred, who pulls up with a hitchhiker: Butch the Pouch. The Pouch is concerned about the position Bobby had him take on Crossco Trucking; he thinks there is an inevitable conflict of interest and Fred eavesdrops. Bobby tells him there is no conflict of interest, and as Butch's wife says: "hold the fcuking position until I tell you I'm done." Fratboy high fives all around, yay!

Chuck wants Peter to tell him where all Bobby's inside information comes from; there is no answer. It comes from everywhere, where rain comes from. Guys who owe him, guys who know him, guys who WANT to know him, basically, he's making the case that Bobby is Kaiser Soze and BOBBY IS NO KAISER FCUKING SOZE!!

He does mention the one weakness of being that big; "these guys are like kings, someone is ALWAYS coming to assassinate them". We cut to Chuck Sr. golfing with Quince, who has news from a British Fruit Fly (I assume that means gay and not anything bug-related) and a precarious short just itching for a squeeze.

Bobby and his old playmates from the neighborhood are sharing some really unrealistic memories from the old days; these scenes drag the most for me. They're either not well-written or well executed, or maybe both, but Bobby seems completely caricature in these vignettes. I think they're playing bridge, though, so there's that. Fred makes the point that Bobby always loses exactly when he thinks he's winning, so maybe that short position will result in a little juice for Chuck Sr. after all. They're playing NOT-bridge, and Bobby still wins, after some card manipulation.

Chuck asks who protects these kings' flanks? And Decker says the prime brokers, the trading arms of the big brokers; whose two functions are to 1) provide credit and 2) execute trades. He calls them "loan sharks, for guys that are too rich to use loan sharks". Their business model is like those of casinos; they take care of the whales. I am writing this shite down verbatim because I understand NADA.

Butch is concerned, someone (Chuck Sr.) is buying up Crossco Trucking and it's moved to a Strong Buy. Wags knows that means bad news for their short position, and then he gets this text

I LOVE texts!! Show me the TEXTS!!
Which makes him swear a whole bunch more and calls Bobby. The prime lenders are taking their stock back and Bobby calls is a Short Squeeze. Wags figures it's the guys on the desk, "looser lips that my wife after the first kid" and I don't get it? I've had three kids and I'm pretty sure I don't talk any more (or less) than before?

They call Farraday who really appreciates their business, but can't do anything. Lot of trading talk later, they have to have their shares back by opening bell in the morning, or Farrady's been instructed to buy them in on their entire position, which is bad. I gather. They hang up on Farraday unceremoniously and Bobby instructs Wags to dig up the top ten shareholders for Crossco, hedge funds, not institutions, and GET THAT STOCK. While his friends listen to this possible $100 million mistake.

Holeeee cow. I knew that Phylicia & Ahmad Rashad's daughter was on this show (Kate), but I did not notice until now how she is their living, breathing DNA mixture that is EERIE. She turns this way, I see Phylicia, turns the other way, Ahmad.


ANYWAY, Tara's pumping her for information and you can see Kate notice that it's a little unusual.

Bobby's friends are concerned, they saw his face on the plane and they wanna know what's shaking. Yay, that means Bobby explains it to us too! He bought in on a stock that was low, but when the stock gets called in, and it's higher, they have to pay that price. And sometimes the stock keeps going up, and he really needs it to stay low. Someone is fcuking with him.

His friends go golf and mebbe smear themselves with some of Romero's THC lotion, their talk twigs his memory and: he knows who's fcuking with him: Chuck Sr. He calls Wags and they run through what has to happen; it comes down to Bobby making a deal with Ken Alpert with Testaverde, which makes everyone swear a lot.

Bobby calls Hall, who tells him about Decker, but they don't have a name yet. Bobby tells him to go after Chuck Sr. and the game is set.

Tara has resorted to tossing Chuck Jr.'s office. She gets busted by the man himself, but not before she sees the Idea Board with Decker's face all over it. Kate tracks her to the bathroom...grabs her phone. Kate is dunzo. Or can they flip her into a double agent?

Alllll the news is about Crossco Trucking, Chuck Sr. is practically masturbating to it but Bobby can't watch. Hall calls Spyros anonymously, and waves him at Crossco. That big buy-up by Chuck Sr. probably sticks out like a sore thumb, hey?

At the pre-concert Meet and Greet, Bobby's friends go hang out with the Band-Aids while Bobby hangs back. He's here for the band, he tells Elise and they bond / flirt over the Ride the Lightning CD and I guess they're trying to pretend she's close to his age? She tells him classic is good, "but new things can be fun, too. Unless you're afraid of change." He knows her deal and tells her "Oh I'm not afraid of much and I can change in an instant, but not uh, just for the fcuk of it" IFYOUKNOWWHATIMEAN ANDITHINKYOUDO wink. More similar banter, she is called to the stage, where she does a mean cover of this:

I'll also stick with the classic, thanks. Guess who calls? No, GUESS? You're wrong, it's Sir Kenneth from a couple of episodes that Bobby screwed over to get to the CousinHumper Folksy hedge fund guy Sikes. And he holds Bobby up for 25% to pad future losses. Bobby REALLY wants this!

I have never had a LOT of respect for Metallica, I mean, they had some good music, most of it not to my taste, but I respected the musicianship. Not EVERYONE can be Billy Joel, Guns 'N' Roses or Cat Stevens and I get that. But Napster, and Lars Fcuking Ulrich left a bad taste in everyone's mouth and ehhh. Personally, I hold their cover of Bob Seger's "Turn the Page" against them, it's like "Wish You Were Here" or "Boys of Summer" NONE OF THOSE SONGS NEED TO BE RE-DONE. ANYWAY, whatever vestiges of respect have been wiped away by this very moment in television history, where they "act." James Hetfield might as well be fellating a Pepsi.

Bobby asks how he can leave the earth behind, really fly, leave all those concerns behind; James says he plays. And then he does. Sigh

Spyros has done his homework and sussed out Chuck Sr.'s fluffing of Crossco Trucking, he wants to know Chuck Jr.'s cut? And brings up Jr.'s inheritance being held in blind trust with no access so he can avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Spyros assembled the Sr. data with a very small, discreet team at the end of the day, so not very many people know about the Short Squeeze on Bobby, did I mention how poorly Chuck treats Spyros, typically? Says he looks like a confused dog all the time? Right now he looks like a cat, one that swallowed a U.S. Attorney-shaped canary. He has Sr. dead to rights and he wants a little, no, a LOT of respect from Jr. or he's going to town on Sr. old bull arse.

Chuck calls his dad and I don't think he should have done that. That's pretty bold of Hall, isn't it? And by extension, Bobby, I mean, calling the feds on a dirty trade you are currently dirty trading in? Balls for days.

Tara is meeting Hall, but he smells something, literally sniffing the air, and not going anywhere near her.

Bobby is not even enjoying this stupid concert, hanging out in the back on the phone with CousinHumper, who needs more assurance that things aren't going south. I hadn't even made the connection that Bobby bought the naming rights to the former Ellis Eads Hall to seem more stable and constant for CousinHumper Sikes, I feel bad. He ends the conversation, which is really more a shortened version of Ben Affleck's speech in The Boiler Room (eagles dare blah blah) with "you want to stay, stay, you want to pull out, tell me in the morning, but either way, get off my dick". Fin

After the show, Bobby's drinking and in walks Elise of the Ratt Cover; more bantering and now drinks. I mean; it's so ridiculous; she tells him she's not into missed opportunities so she's down with wherever he sees this night going. Nobody writes a blank cheque like that, and if they do, this is exactly what happens: declined. Don't try so hard, yo. He says he's married and it's a Real Thing and they banter some more about who's luckier, Bobby or Lara and I'm guessing it's me, for getting to listen to this drivel about making the Right Choice in between meaningful eye-humping. The important part of the convo is when he says he's just realised he's stressed and deeply involved in this big move for hours, ruining his entire trip with old friends and he holds all the choices, either way. So: masturbatory.

Back with Decker, it's here and there and "not exactly" and "he didn't really" and it turns out that Decker was never directed by Bobby to make the Pepsum Pharmaceuticals move, it was an anonymous call that Decker thinks was from Dollar Bill Stearn ("we are not uncertain" dude) and that's part of why Decker went out on his own: being Bobby is too much pressure. So they didn't get anything form Decker, not really, except a name: Bill Stearn. They think they're gonna put him on the rack and map his genome and squeeze out a Bobby, but I'll tell you this: I've met Bill Stearn, ain't NONE of that gonna happen.

Constantine and Bobby are having their Important Meeting, he has crucial information that must be imparted to us slowly. In 5 second vignettes.

Bobby wanders back up to the special box, where he finds a morose Fred, who was indeed listening when Bobby was spouting off at The Pouch about his Short of Crossco Trucking (that totally sounded like I knew what I was talking about, right?) and sank all of his money in. Bobby is PISSED. His friend stole his idea, didn't ask him about it, exposed Bobby to risk and generally acted like some shitstain about to be fired from Axe Capital. Bobby asks how much Fred's in for, how much their friendship is worth, and he says $210k, which I'm pretty sure Bobby cleaned from between his toes this morning.

Bobby covers it, of course,  and shares this wisdom: If a short's going against you, you have to be able to withstand the pressure. He doesn't lie to himself and he doesn't hold on to a loser. The moment it doesn't feel right, he lets it go. Like Fred here, who may be thumbing it back from Canada.

Chuck is crawling into bed late, he explains that is was Pete Decker on the road and he's proffering Decker and blah blah. She reminds him that there were at least a half dozen other things he could have said that didn't involve that ridiculous attempt at dissembling, including "I can't talk about it." His dad's been calling all night and texting and generally trying to figure out what's going on.

Bobby and Lara are FaceTiming, they keep showing her face and bewbs and I keep thinking I will see them pan back and show another person in bed with her.

It's the next morning, an ecstatic Fred grabs his laptop to find that Crossco Trucking is indeed in the toilet, YumTime Bakeries having dropped their contract due to rampant violations, blah blah, Fred is so 'CITED, it's like Christmas! He goes to tell everyone, but they're gone. All hungover as shite on the plane while Elise's now-obnoxious cover of 'Round and 'Round plays over Bobby's vindication flight.

Chuck Jr. and Sr. are meeting in his office, Sr. thinks he was striking at their common enemy "where he lives" and there's a tense standoff wherein Jr. won't let Sr. buy out of the sinking stock until he's lost just under half a million dollars. Chuck Jr.'s propensity to punish people out of the courtroom (and reward, the ice cream two weeks ago to the trader going to federal after his wife's death) speaks to a larger problem, I think, going beyond his altruistic bent and U.S. Attorney's framework: I think he sees himself as Judgement, and he is, after all, just a person.

Bobby watches a herd of traders rush his door, held off by the manicured hands of his administrative assistant, and all at once he sees how Danzig did: all these people eating, moving and shitting and he wants out. He directs Wags to start selling everything, in small batches to contain the bleeding, then by sector. I bet it goes back to the realization he had with Elise; so very masturbatory to play these same games all the time, this one gets caught, then that one, then he wins this and another and who cares, really? Eventually you have to do something that means something to you and I don't think ol' Bobby is feeling particularly inspired right now.

Deuces, CousinHumpers! I mean that with love