We're back in New York with our Rich Guy Rumble, who will win the hearts and minds of Sandicot today on Billions? Will Lara lose her religion? Will Bobby find that horseshoe formerly lodged firmly up his stock ticker? These questions and more, rolling Billions S2:E10 With Or Without You after the break.
Bobby "Axe" Axelrod wakes up frantic the morning after his birthday party (you know, the one he blew off to go to the track because he's an "outlaw"); it's light out and late and there's no Lara (Malin Akerman) or kiddos around.
We know it's because we saw her face at the end of last episode; that was a woman coming to terms with leaving her husband after betrayal.
He doesn't know because she didn't say anything and she isn't picking up her phone. There's a note!
Dr. Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff), unwittingly the correspondent named in the upcoming Axelrod divorce action is out for a miserable-looking walk, she doesn't seem surprised when Hall (Terry Kinney) stops her and ushers her into a waiting vehicle in as creepy a manner as possible.
A furious Bobby awaits; funny how SHE'S the guilty party when he's the one who lied to his wife of fifteen years. He demands Wendy tell him the exact words with which she destroyed his marriage: she just told the truth and once again: she's the bad guy. Bobby thinks she did it on purpose, and yeah; there was a moment when she paused a took a breath before plowing ahead to explain to Lara just how wrong she was in thinking Bobby had set those terms on non-engagement.
Bobby is mistaken, however, he lied to Lara TWICE about Wendy, she just found out about the once.
Hey, the backup Domme Chuck (Paul Giammati) saw once has a new client! And while he's outfitted properly, he doesn't seem to understand what "don't move a muscle" means.
Woot, he has her laptop! I'm guessing Chuck's fixer is cleaning up messes or Hall's got much more of a rocking dadbod than I thought.
This is the first time we've seen Bobby truly rocked; he's leaving message after message on Lara's voicemail. He wasn't LYING, exactly, he was "protecting" her from the truth. You know, like the fact that he wanted to have two cakes and eat them both. I personally don't know why you would have cake around that you didn't plan to eat, but I'm fully aware people are not actually pastries. Wait, where was I? I want cake. He ends the call on the offensive; she could have handled this differently too. Oh sure, see all these people in the wrong over HIS lying?
Woo hoo, Chuck's fixer George Minchak is Mary-Louise Parker!! All right! She was the only 25 seconds worth watching of RIPD. She's going deep on Chuck's unseemly bits to protect against a November surprise (HEY SOMEBODY GET THE HEAD OF THE FBI TO WRITE A LETTER!!); planning to preemptively drop the grosser bits during the Superbowl when no1curr.
Chuck Sr. (Jeffrey DeMunn) is alllll over Ms. Minchak; does she want some of his special 70% sour cream pound cake? (HE SAYS WITH A STRAIGHT FACE) But alas, this works better one on one, so..scoot, Sr. Go trawl the one of the country club piano bars, you know, the ones that allow women.
Time to get started!
George lets Chuck in on a little secret; today he's Shamu! Yeah, he's gonna jump and flip whether he likes it or not! I'll tell you what he likes, he likes her taking off her fancy extremely high heels that look like torture devices except voluntary. She's smart, in control and not likely to suffer fools gladly. It's been a while in between domination sessions.
They do a quick run-through of possible areas of concern, no sirree, everything's clean as a whistle! Except for the stuff they aren't looking at yet; that he was just investigated for abusing his position, illegally accessed confidential client files and also likes to get freaky deaky in public houses of ill-repute. There he was, walking around without a face mask or anything in at least one sex club. He should probably bring that up.
Taylor (Asia Kate Dillon) is about to order their own coffee, but Mr. Know It All Bryan Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore) does it for them, AND nails the pronouns first time out the gate. Screw you, Bryan! He's been following Taylor, clearly, which he explains in the creepiest way possible then suggests they should get better acquainted while referencing Ed Harris and Tom Cruise in The Firm.
The only problem I have with the gender neutral pronouns is that I feel as though I'm being confusing about whether I'm talking singular or plural. They want coffee sounds like at least two people to me! I might have to go back to capitalizing again so it looks different for my old brain.
They aren't interested in Bryan's offer to help them avoid a nightmare, They like nightmares!
Wags (David Constabile) can't stand it any more, he's been watching Bobby pace back and forth and back and forth and what's going on?? Ohhh, Lara and the kids Took Off, not just took off. Lara left Bobby a note, saying "you lied to me"; Wags thinks that isn't specific enough but it was Bobby's sole lie, so.
An Unknown caller interrupts, but no, it's not Lara but rather Lawrence Boyd (Eric Bogosian) who is in jail and on a cell phone telling Bobby to come see him at his work release job. And bring booze, because apparently prison is like being a cook at Slappy's.
That is SO WEIRD, I was just thinking this morning about Lawrence and Chuck Sr. being friends, surely Lawrence could have filled Bobby in on what really happened in Sandicot? Anyway, let's wait and find out what a bottle of 20-year-old buys FunBobs for information.
Mafee (Dan Soder) is confused by Ben Kim (Daniel K. Isaac)'s analysis on Klaxon; his numbers don't support a short play and we all know how Dollar Bill (Kelly AuCoin) feels about it.
Back in the boardroom with Minchak and Chuck Jr.; she's not getting anywhere. He's not giving her anything and she needs to know EVERYTHING. I have to leave out the part about child abuse because her phrasing was whack, but when he finally coughs up bullying, we all do this
He was part of a gang at boarding school that pulled a Code Red hazing on a priggish tattletale (wait, is he projecting?) and just as Minchak's getting interested, in bursts Sr. Damnit, Sr, you just gave George and I blue-bullying-balls! What does Code Red mean??? The victim went off to the Ivy League, so I guess he's okay? Sr. can't get over Minchak's "tight little body!" because of course he can't.
Bobby's messages on Lara's voicemail are getting more and more unhelpful; why doesn't she know that Wendy is good for Axe Capital which is good for them and good for her? Why doesn't she know that??
What Lara knows is that she can't trust her husband, who has a stronger connection to the shrink that won't see him than his wife of fifteen years. Also: he lied to her WHILE he was apologizing for being a condescending prick about her business venture, which has to salt the wound that much more. Just keep browbeating, Bobby! That's gonna work out great!
Bryan updates Chuck on his progress with Taylor, okay he messes up pronouns too, whew. We'll get it! OaD says we just need to grow new synapses on our thinkers! He's dismissed so an FBI agent (Jabari Gray) can tell us they've found Antoine.
Bobby has gone to the belly of the beast; to Lara's brother's house to ask after her. Matthew (Kevin Isola - that's almost my name!) didn't like Bobby before his sister left him, things haven't improved since.
Bobby, let her calm down and give her some space. You are being controlling and giving her all the reasons to not ever want to come back. Matty says all that, but throws in a carpet-wrapped beating to sweeten the deal. Bobby calls him a good brother because he can't ever not condescend (he brought up paying for Matty's house immediately) and takes his leave.
Chuck is surprised and happy to hear from Wendy, she wants to meet for a bevvie. Weird juice smoothies it is! She's feeling a little alone and a lot scared.
Mafee and Taylor are apartment hunting, I just don't buy Taylor's 'gosh my goodness' demeanor when it comes to adjusting to all this money. They never seemed motivated by money and it's incongruous. I understand we are fighting for Taylor's soul in this feeling-sucking deadening pit of a profane sausage fest, but let's not get too Jimmy Stewart, shall we?
Mafee suggests that Taylor take the fourth look at Klaxon's short; he didn't think that move made sense either, but he wants Them to review before presenting to Axe.
Hall's found Lara and the kids; Bobby rushes off to her old watering hole to see if she's still there. She isn't, but has left the same instructions I said above: give Lara space. It's good to see Johnny (Kevin Breznahan) and his scruffy friend!
Bobby doesn't give Lara any space, of course, instead leaving a more friendly message, speaking of better times and a night in Paris with "With Or Without You" stuck on repeat because nobody wanted to get out of bed. They swore they'd remember that night if anything ever threatened what they had and now he wants her to think about it. Call him, please.
Now, I don't think I've heard him apologize yet, amirite or maybe I missed it in between all the yammering about "THIS WAS FOR YOU!!"
Chuck and the Domme are meeting in public to discuss her lost information; the thief did three months with her before gaining access; wow. That's some backwork! She thinks the information is safe and gives him a little pain and humiliation as an amuse bouche before leaving. She'd love to see him again, after he gets permission, of course.
Wendy comes to see Axe, who's just waiting and waiting and WAITING. She remembers when he first met Lara, how sure he was right off the bat, how kind she was, how different.
Um. LARA was kind? Let's back that up to the part where she extra-fucked Sandicot because that's who they are now.
We can see now that it's gotten to Bobby, that he understands that he will have to get rid of Wendy to even get back in the doghouse and now he's ready to do that. He leaves another message: say the word and he'll blow Wendy out of their lives forever.
Time for round two with Minchak! She knew immediately that Chuck was the victim of the hazing, not the perpetrator (he WAS projecting!) and she figures she can spin his baseball bat to the face retaliation as anti-bullying, no problem.
Now onto the main course; it was Sr.'s operative that stole the computer from the Domme and Chuck hands it over to Minchak so it's relatively safe now. Ish. I was kind of hoping that it was Bobby's guy who got it, if only to see Chuck hoisted on his own ball-gagged petard the same way he got information on FunBobs.
Taylor's figured out the problem with the short play on Klaxon; Mafee and Ben Kim didn't dig deep enough and find a way to MAKE the short look good on paper. Taylor assumes that there is another "factor" at play that will have to be accounted for, that is what they should have been looking for. They don't think Bobby knows their employees any more. Bobby promotes Them to head of analysts, ohh.
Well this is unexpected; Wendy's gone to see Lara. Lara comes charging out of the gate hard; if she could just get Wendy out of the way, she could maybe fix that broken thing in Bobby herself.
Then she offers Wendy up to 20 million dollars to leave, but Wendy doesn't think she's going anywhere. Some back and forth and we're reminded that they're both in the same position, dealing with betrayal and neither one knows if they'll make it out the other side and if it will make them stronger. From what I've heard, Lara just needs some time to get her ducks in a row and to be ready for the next betrayal, so she can leave then.
Wendy leaves with a "forgive. If you can" and Lara sits and thinks.
Mafee stops and asks Taylor if that Klaxon stuff is ready to go? No and stop asking! Taylor stares at Bryan's card and then goes to see him.
Taylor has an attack of conscience about Klaxon and not fecking SANDICOT? Ohhh nope, no, I have Them all wrong; Bryan was threatening Taylor, trying to leverage Them. THAT is why They were concerned about having their name on the report; They realise that Bryan has nothing on them and walks out.
Speaking of Sandicot, Bobby has the nerve to go back and try to get Bruno (Arthur J Nascarella) to sit and chat, Bruno is having none of that. Bobby burned that bridge when he fucked Sandicot.
Bobby now leaves a very angry message for Lara, he's really not good at waiting, huh? Let's see how "I CAN OPERATE YOU BY REMOTE CONTROL" goes over uptown.
Bobby takes off to see Larry, who can't take the booze after all but offers up Chuck Sr. and Ice Juice as an aperitif. Would Bobby like to set a turd in the punchbowl? Since we know Chuck Jr. was planning to use Ice Juice (herk) as bait, I would suggest Bobby not take the sizeable allocation he's thinking of right now, but I don't think he'd listen to me today.
Bobby's not stupid, though, he stops to watch Larry drink the verboten alcohol that he threw out in front of Bobby, he always has his antennae up. Maybe now he'll understand that he can't trust Larry, but I wouldn't bet a sizeable allocation onnit.
Chuck and Wendy blow off couples counseling and go get dinner, he knows just the place.
Taylor's work gets a cool 500k bonus, Their desk is moving closer to AxeVille!
Chuck had this whole evening planned; the Antoine (STEPHEN SCHNETZER - I forgive you all, Billions, for hiring disguy, you should bring him back all the time! I've been watching this gravelly-voiced funny guy for years and I love him! I also made a fool of myself on Twitter trying to find out his name, thanks Veronica!) he had the FBI track down was the chef at "their" restaurant and they're so not getting a divorce.
Bobby eats and drinks alone while Wendy explains why she's been feeling sad and alone. Her decision to tell Lara that Bobby lied to her was deliberate, she knew exactly what she was doing. Let's face it, Lara was being a c-word that doesn't moo to her, why wouldn't she? But she feels bad after. Chuck makes up some points and talks about his run for Governor. I can see he's feeling her out a bit, partially for their marriage, but probably also for weaknesses in his campaign, too.
Bobby's getting drunker and messages are now full of "I COULD HAVE BEEN BANGING EVERYONE AND I SHOULDA BECAUSE THEN I WOULD HAVE earned THIS!!!" when he's interrupted by a call. Lara's at the gate.
Wendy makes a call herself; "Chuck. Come home tonight." When he asked if that's an order, her "damn right it is" makes him turn the car around in the middle of the street. I've never actually seen anyone's blood rush completely south before.
With Or Without You plays as Taylor takes the apartment with their ill-gotten gains and Bobby tries to quickly sober up and talk rationally.
Chuck is being tailed by Hall as he walks up to his old house where Wendy waits in full gear
And not taking gasping for an answer either
Bobby finds Lara's phone while she's upstairs putting the kiddos to bed; he deletes all of his messages because he is a smart, smart man.
Chuck and Bobby are going through the same emotional stripping this episode; how much are they willing to give up for and about themselves to get what they want? Bobby's offer to get rid of Wendy was Chuck's opening bullying gambit, etc etc but at the end: they got back their partners. Maybe they couldn't function otherwise, maybe they didn't want to find out. I was surprised when Bobby fell apart so completely when Lara left, but then I was surprised when he treated her like shite over her business proposal meeting as well. Marriage is tough, y'all.
I give the Billions writers a lot of guff for their occasionally heavy-handed Important Lessons writ large, but I have been impressed with their deft touch with a bunch of different storylines this year. They've made Chuck a whole person, Bobby slightly more complicated and even gifted us Taylor, who isn't the trend-fitting Rainperson I afeared at first pass. Kudos, yo!
Until next time, you lot! Cheers.