Can you believe we're on episode 9 of Billions already? Me either! And we even skipped a week so we could pretend to be surprised when Leo won an Oscar for pretending to be assaulted by a bear!
Last week was a wee bit fraught, we found out that Donnie Caan is actually a double agent, just pretending to be vulnerable to the US Attorney's Office to be used as a lever against Bobby but in actuality still working deep deep DEEP undercover. We also found out that Bobby made some shrewd business decisions on 9-11 while everyone around him died, and now everyone else knows it too. We didn't go into too much last week about it, but that has GOT to be a problem eventually, I mean, Bobby represents the Policeman's Pension Fund and they lost a lot of first responders on 9-11 while Bobby was short selling hotel and airline stocks. And they're not exactly afraid to speak their minds, either. Let's see!
Bobby and Lara are taking the hooligans out for supper, just for a break from all that drudgery at home of having to order food from the same chef every.single.meal, they yak about baseball but someone has defaced Bobby's Rolls, so yeah, we're jumping right into the 9-11 profiteering right away.
Later, at home, FunBobs has sunk 43 balls in a row on his pool table, but Lara is concerned, he never thinks of missing and now he is. She wants to move and now he's worried.
It turns out they have good reason, there are huge crowds of protesters outside of Axe Financial all day and all of the night shouting "Towers Down, Profits Up" and hedge funds are starting to jump ship. Last week it was one guy shaking his head at Bobby in the pizza parlour, now it seems to have escalated significantly.
Sean (Jack Gilpin) - aka Eyebrows from the Hall that Bobby secured the naming rights from is there to talk, Bobby welcomes him by saying he's been expecting him: the vultures and hyenas DO normally share the kills! Eyebrows frowns over his glasses a little longer and then launches into a tale of St. Nicolai, of the ANONYMOUS donation, please and thank you. He cuts to the chase: they need to rename the building. Bobby says sure! That's 100 mil at 3.3% interest which means he needs 100.1 mil plus change back. Thanks!
Well, er-ooh, that's not exactly what Eyebrows was thinking; they can't give the money back, see, but maybe if Bobby could see his way clear to a name change like "Freedom Hall" or something that doesn't say "Profiteer" quite so loudly.
Quick thing: war profiteering is hardly new. I like that they're showing what would happen in a digital age.
Bobby is a reasonable man, he gives him an option, but Go Fuck Yourself Hall doesn't quite have the ring Eyebrows was looking for so he departs.
Chuck and Adam from the AG's office are doing another breakfast meeting, this time out in public and all, and in between all the xenophobic banter (Chinese are taking over Harvard? Wait, is that racist AND xenophobic, or just the latter?) Adam just wants to encourage Chaz to go hard at Axelrod, the new posterchild for Wall Street malfeasance, and the aforementioned terrorist profiteering. Adam wants that win for all of them: optics matter.
He's preaching to the choir, acourse, but Chuck protests that he's recused himself, silly, but when Adam says maybe the Attorney General will jump up on the podium to help class up the joint, bantam rooster Chuck swells his chest and holds forth on everyone hiding in the hills until he got a clear shot and Adam says "You? Thought you recused yourself" and it's like Chaz isn't even LISTENING to himself!
Back at Axe Financial, the crowds are growing as Donnie and the young trader from last episode with the sweet, chesty high-school ex-gf watches. Have I mentioned Deb (Ifanesh Hadera), Bobby's admin? She's GORGEOUS and has so much gravitas, just lovely. Anyway, she tells Donnie he's being summoned to the mount while Dale scrambles to get Bryan in the wire listening room.
Ahhhh, and that's why Bobby had that Safe Room built, it's not safe as much as untappable and that explains why he was in there with his laptop last episode. He wasn't hiding from view; he was hiding from electronic scrutiny.
I may be too stupid to recap this show.
The Kemlot hook is set, let's see if Bryan and Chuck take the bait. Donnie is in the schwanky lunch room almost passing out from stress when Dr. Rhoades sees him and counsels him a little. Don't think of it as money, Donnie! Think of it as bullets in the clip, ammo to take something down, like poker players do. Donnie looks as grey as his shirt, though, and he says he keeps dreaming that he's tied to train tracks and there's a knife and she surmises that he feels trapped but refuses to save himself because he thinks he deserves what he gets. She disagrees, but he hates that he's been lying.
I can't tell at this point if he's performing for the microphones or legitimately feeling this way, I would guess the first except that he really has lost weight and looks like turd on a turnpike.
Donnie completes the trade and hangs his shirt on his chair and ...he's in the wind. Bryan and team are very excited about the Kemlot trades, which they think is THEIR hook, and they figure out about the safe room being a wire blocker too. So there.
Chuck wants to know WHY Bryan let the AG's office know about the Axerol informant, but then compliments him on his kikashi. According to The Google, it is a Japanese word for a forcing move and boy, we're sure learning a lot about Asian cultures from white men on this show, aren't we?
Chuck thinks he can use the AGs penchant for the spotlight in the future, and it is pretty good news for him that so many big bodies are invested in this takedown, that practically guarantees at least the appearance of success. Optics mattering and all. As Bryan brings Chaz up to speed on Donnie's big move; Kate tells them both Donnie is gone, baby, gone.
Lara's family has gathered in Lu's restaurant for a crisis intervention; they're worried. They're also pissed; what would her brother have said, if he had lived after running into the second tower while Bobby was short selling like a mofo. Her family is pissed because they're getting shunned too, and one even tells her to divorce Bobby's criminal ass. Guess who's not invited to the family Christmas party this year??
Bobby gets out of everything, I just don't see exactly how he will get out of this one.
Wendy is looking for Donnie, she calls his phone...which he left on his desk. Now you KNOW he's gawn.
The head of the Policeman's Pension Fund calls; he's pulling out, but Bobby's been expecting that. Wendy comes in, wondering how he's doing, and oh, by the way, Donnie's walked away. He orders coffee and doughnuts for the gang of protesters outside, of course they turn it down.
At Lu's, George the Fire Inspector comes in and trashes the joint. Man, you gotta love that herd mentality.
Back in the wire room at the US Attorney's office (or is it the FBI's office? It's all Fibbies up in there), Terri is bracing Bryan about Chuck's body language. She brings up Kate's body language then calls their thing a hell of a lot of fun and done, and I'm telling you, the ones that pretend to just be in it for the bangin...gotta watch 'em. She takes a parting shot, calling him a "hell of a lot better" when he's his own man.
At Axe Financial, a few of the younger traders are bailing in the middle of the night, including Carly (stop feeling!) and the improbably named Channing Feldt from last episode and someone Wags calls that "fcuking Hiasa" who I didn't recognise. Bobby's gonna give them time to start to raise capital and then will hobble them. "Like Misery?" asks Wags and yes, like in Misery. Stephen King is the universal language.
Chuck is visiting Whit, to see which way the wind is blowing about Dollar Bill Stearn's trial and hey! Whit is Judge Whit Wilcox and it's ANTHONY MICHAEL HALL!!!! Woo hoo!!!!!
He promises to drive sympathies in a tough but fair way, but refuses to bug Bobby's home, he won't go that far. "It's not just a question of civil liberties, it's a question of decency, too."
Kate and Bryan are going over the Kemlot trade. Axe stands to make 100 million on a dirty AF trade and they're so 'CITED! They high five but it turns into this awkward hand holding and suggestion of dinner again. They're interrupted by Terri calling, "just business" mumbles Bryan, and that business is that they STILL can't find Donnie!
Lara pulls up outside Mikey's (Ben Lawson) house, he and his buddies have been threatening to ram firetrucks through Axe Financial, and I think he may be the firefighter breaking shite in Lu's, but I can't tell, he's all scruffy. He is an Aussie, though, oy Veronica! He and Lara were an item before and she suspects he's been stirring up all the boyos against his former rival Bobby. They stand off about the money; the Axelrods have given a quarter of a billion dollars to the Firefighters Association alone and holy shite. Mikey don't give a fcuk, though, he's pure of motive and that money is dirty. She calls him a simpleton and THAT is why they didn't work out.
So. Chuck has a warrant, but no witness...
Lara lets Bobby know just how bad it is, but lies about her family supporting him 100 hunny. Hm mmm. The New York firehouses are calling the shots, but he says he can fix it.
Wendy is working away when Chase the spurned headhunter comes in; she is shocked by his chutzpah at approaching her at her current job, but he is just there pitching clients to Wags. That's not at all what Lara is going to think as she walks in. He scrams as Lara sits.
She needs advice about how to handle them coming after her restaurant, but really, she's telling Wendy to tell Chuck to back off, angering Wendy. Lara is doing her part, anyway.
Bobby meets Wags in the Safe Room, who's also figured out it's secret; he wants to know too: where the fcuk is Donnie?? Bobby actually doesn't know, for reals for reals.
Chuck and Wendy eat supper and Chuck gets a call; Bryan's got a hit on Donnie's EZ-Pass and a trooper is waiting to pick him up. But we know Donnie is smarter than that, pfft, it's some scurred Asian dude.
Chuck gives a beautifully executed speech about their job being to play the short and long games simultaneously, managing risk and now he says they have to stop admiring their opponents slippery wiles and start to "mirror it" and if that isn't a pat justification for taking the gloves off, I don't know what is.
Chuck goes to see Lonnie of the exuberant hair, knowing that Lonnie's had problems with tough but fair Judge Wilcox previously. Lonnie had wanted to do an investigation on Wilcox before, due to some overly harsh sentencing recommendations, but Chuck had previously demurred, saying that at least Wilcox was ostensibly in their corner, like really, really, five times the requested sentence in their corner. Now Chuck asks him to look into Wilcox and what's he up to? Lonnie's wife Sandra kicks Chuck out, she's got a concert at Carnegie Hall to prep for.
Bobby, Hall and Wags are brainstorming in the parking lot of the American Dream Diner and I mean...that couldn't have been more perfect. And hey? Where the fcuk is Donnie? This whole play was put in motion by Bobby trusting his read on his guy and I can't figure out if he means Chaz or Donnie.
Bobby and Lara are at the New York Firehouse, he's giving a speech but it's not going over very well. He actually didn't meet Lara until 9-11, in an aid tent, and that's what brought it home for him. He didn't donate to be calculated, it was out of admiration! SUUURREEEE says the boys, led indeed by Mikey and Paul, who says Bobby sounds like "a fcuking politician" and he kind of does. Right until he says that he started trading MOAR after the second tower was hit, freaking everyone in the room oot. He says he did it because he knew he was gonna have to take care of the families of all his dead friends and he really has done that. A few more words about how much this house matters to him and he's out, the crowd no longer openly angry.
Awww, Donnie is getting mystical! He's gone to see a Third Eye Seer, whom he tells that he is lost. The seer anoints him and tells him, no, he is found.
And he really is found, he used his credit card there and when called by Bryan, Chuck immediately knows what our lost Donnie has been up to. Wendy hovers in the background and I think she's about the hit him over the head with that Chinese Wall they keep talking about.
Donnie is throwing up in a garbage can and ...why?
Lara's entire farm for the restaurant has been destroyed by vandals and thirty pieces of silver left behind. They can't really call him Judas, he what was he gonna do?
Donnie finally checks in, with Wendy, who wants to know where the fcuk he is? He's not sure, somewhere flat with lots of fat people, so let me just check out my window, nope, don't see him! He'll be home tomorrow, anyway, done his spiritual quest to Cleveland.
Chuck gets home, just in time to tell the babysitter she is NOT excused, Bryan's caught Donnie! He race-shambles out...to run into Wendy, who thinks they should talk.
The protesters outside Axe Financial are stuck, their bus broke down, so Bobby sends them all home in limos. Catch more flies with honey, Wags!
Bobby's been waiting for Lara in the bedroom; she's closing the restaurant and selling the farm. They can't go on like this, really. Someone WILL get hurt. He tells her they should have fought, but she's all Kaiser Soze up in this motherhumper, getting rid of her weaknesses so she can fight better. He knows he shuts down when things go bad, like today, like 9-11, but she tells him he needs to find another way. Can't do that any more.
Donnie is being interviewed by Terri, Dale and Bryan, who really WANT to believe he's legit, they've got their whole case wrapped up in poor Donnie. As Chuck listens in horror, Donnie starts to cough up blood and what looks like tissue onto Bryan: is something seriously wrong with Donnie?? Is he dying?? Is this why he was willing to be the guy tied to the railroad tracks? Wendy said he had lost weight and he does look like hammered shite.
Huh. So. Will Donnie live to testify? What's Chuck doing going after Wilcox? Isn't the fact that he's a prosecutor's judge a GOOD thing for Chuck on the Dollar Bill prosecution? Will Kate and Bryan finally bone already? Now, I get that they aren't giving us any easy answers on the 9-11 problem, but what Bobby suggested is a reasonable timeline, a decade or so, but I'm pretty sure this show hasn't been re-upped through 2026 just yet. So. How will that be handled? Also, when is Wendy gonna drop the hammer on clearly not-recused Chaz's arse? That has to be soon. And we oot, Spiritual Seekers, until next week!