Hi guys, who's late with Billions? Nobody, you're just early! Rolling S2:E5 Currency after the break and it looks like we get Jerry O'Connell back, yay!
We open with Johnny Cash singing "I'd Be a Legend" for Wags' (David Constabile) triumphant return to Axe Capital; everyone is whispery agog but he stops for no one. He's going to see Bobby "Axe" Axelrod (Damian Lewis) for his post-drinking checkup and so far, Axe likes what he sees! Clear eyes, steady hands and just as Wags prepares himself to make a possibly "momentous" speech (he told the valet to hold his car, he's not planning to be long), Axe reminds him who's really in charge here.
While Wags has been off frolicking with llamas (paraphrase) learning not to drink: Bobby has been stuck here for the last 48 hours "fighting the Battle of Thermopylae!" which is honestly, beautifully self-serving for Bobby. That movie 300 has a lot to answer for
We're at the grand celebration of Sansomic, where East is meeting West in some super stereotypical ways. The American CEO is all casual profanity and braggadocio; his Eastern counterpart self-contained and seemingly ashamed of such common displays.
There aren't any names in IMDb (because Billions doesn't believe in interns? Y U H8TE ACCURACY, BILLIONS??) so I'm going to call them Cowboy and Inscrutable until someone introduces themselves to the camera.
Inscrutable gets home to his immaculate high rise apartment, takes off his tie and jumps off his balcony.
I might change his name to Sorrowful and Imma guess that those new super-thin whatsits aren't as awesome as Cowboy thinks.
Mafee (Dan Soder) goes a-running to find Bobby, who's busy introducing his ginger son Gordie (Jack Gore) to Nicky "F*ck That" Bablowsky at the racetrack. Bobby wants to know if the casino Bruno's nephew floated is a non-starter or not, but they're interrupted by Lawrence Boyd (Eric Bogosian) calling with the news that Sansomic is actually Samsung and their super-thin whatsits catch fire.
And that's not it! Bobby also has to go talk on TV with Sam Brandt (Julee Cerda) and explain his first down quarter ever; it will buy him three days in a way I don't understand AT ALL. I thought TV was voluntary!
We're back in couples counseling with the Rhoades; Chuck (Paul Giamatti) can't believe they're still talking about what he wears for casual dinners with friends but Wendy (Maggie Siff) is MAD. She thinks he can't let anyone ever forget how important he is and you know what?
I'd rather cut Chuck's suit up into little pieces, flambe it with ripe pigeon droppings and eat it with a shrimp fork before I would ever partake in such a useless conversation. And I am going through a divorce right now! This is supposed to be common ground!
He's insecure about what he perceives to be a disparity in their levels of conventional attractiveness; the suit helps balance it for him. Um. Let's dig up a quick couple of snaps of the happy couple
So. Yeah, I don't think the suit does any of what you think it does, Chuckles, it just makes you look like an insecure pedant who talks over top of people at great, great length. And while I think your wife is gorgeous (Maggie Siff is mega-hot); the fact that you're using her as a comparison vehicle to stoke the fire of inequity in your soul is not healthy for your marriage. Dude. She had no idea he felt that way because apparently she does not own a mirror.
Axe is rallying the troops; they have three days to bring this quarter back around. What's everyone got? Dollar Bill (Kelly AuCoin who is AWESOME) is ready, put him in, coach! But Taylor (Asia Kate Dillon) is there, confusing Axe. Didn't he tell Them to be (wait. Do I capitalize They and Them? Damnit. Web consensus is lowercase. Sorry Taylor!) working on something else important? Taylor thought this was all hands on deck, which earns them a strategy lesson from Axe while everyone listens. They go back to their important stuff, but really Bobs: Taylor is the shit, let them help!
Bobby listens to a bunch of pitches but they're all trying to protect their own yearly records to keep their bonuses intact.
I bet Dollar goes for it! He don't give a feck. And I was right! He's the first one into Bobby's office, but Stephanie (Shaunette Renee Wilson) is standing right there and he can't pitch his quick fix, because it's a leeeeetle sketchy, as things tend to be with Dollar. He leaves and we ponder exactly how cleaned up Bobby is and how much he wants that Kevlar winning streak that defines success in today's market.
Stephanie actually speak for once! Yay! She gives a speech about building trust based on fallibility, on being human and having a down quarter and hold on. Since when does Axe not know that a product is complete shite? He knows everything, so how did he miss that Sansomic was so close to catastrophic failure?
Bobby works on his grocery list while she talks; he'd like some privacy now please. And go find Wags!
Oliver Dake (Christopher Denham) has set his sights on Lonnie Watkins (Malachi Weir) now that the Bryan well has run dry; I always liked Lonnie the best but don't tell Kate or Bryan.
TANGENT! Don't read if you don't want to get side tracked into a race-related vaguely worded side note. I find Malachi Weir very attractive but since I read an article on Wear Your Voice, I'm wondering if it's hypocritical to say so. The argument put forth in this article was that white women objectify black men and we shouldn't comment on how attractive black men are if we aren't willing to also vocally address racial injustice. Now. I can't speak for all white women attracted to some black men (I'm attracted to all KINDS of men, you shouldn't get me going about Vincent D'Onofrio and Andy Garcia, it's embarrassing) but is that really something equitable? I know I don't feel informed enough about racial tension in the United States to speak out about it, and I'm pretty sure there are more important and less confused voices than mine out there that are and should, but is that a shirking of responsibility? You tell me. In the meantime: Malachi Weir is fine AF.
Deb Kawi (Ilfenesh Hadera) follows Bobby onto the roof lookout; she overheard an idea from Mafee (they're at sleepover status!) that he's hiding from Bobby. Oh that's not a good plan, Mafee, you schmub.
Bobby finds him vaping in the can; what's he got? Some staring later
It's a currency play featuring one of his bros (for real, a grown man called someone his bro, out loud) from school but Mafee's been hesitating because this bro is also his main competition. He doesn't want Bobby or especially DEB to like his bro Everyready more than him.
Kate (Condola Rashad) wants to get this Lawrence Boyd investigation rolling, Chuck! Let's be proactive! First he has to give a metaphor-laden speech about hunting and it's all very meaningful, just like it always is and I have to wonder if he realises he causes that same eye roll whenever he speaks and the suit has no effect either way? Kate doesn't hunt because she's black. What? Anyway, he's just rolling to the point of what trap cannot be avoided by man or beast when Bryan (Toby Leonard Moore) walks in and RUINS it! Their inside man Tom McKinnon wants to chat.
Lara (Malin Akerman) has decided: she's ready for the next level in her BrosBeforeBreakfast business, is she for sure ready for outside validation? Fer sure! Bobby questions her readiness but will get someone at Spartan Ives to look at her proposal.
Bobby sits down with Eveready (Keith Eric Chappelle) who does indeed have the inside goods on the currency market. They break lobster as Eveready explains that the Nigerian government is about to devalue it's currency and could be nudged along by the right firm(s) taking a massive short position against it.
Guess who thinks he's untouchable and doesn't want anything to do with Bobby's crazy schemes? NO, GUESS???!! Lawrence Boyd suggests that Bobby talk to all the other little outsiders instead, see if they can band together to take down Nigeria. All this while being measured for a bespoke suit, no less, Billions doesn't exactly have a feather-light touch.
Tom McKinnon (Ross Partridge YAY!! Look - a credit in IMDb!! Only took three weeks!) has gotten off to a slightly rocky start with his undercover work, let's just say he's not a natural liar. Chuck takes the super spy recording pen from Tom; he'll be back soon, begging for it.
Dr. Gus (Marc Kadish) is training for a bike race...on an upright bike in his office...in full spandex sponsor gear. He gives it a good run, I like his banter but Bobby doesn't dig that Dr. Gus threw Wags under the bus immediately and shuts him down with a few careful sword slashes. I ESPECIALLY liked that he called the office "Wendy Rhoades' office" because I hope that is one day true again! Neither one of those two are happy working apart from each other but I will be mad if they try to shoehorn a romance in it. That so rarely works, except for maybe the last twenty minutes of The Killing that brought the whole series to a resounding close near and dear to my heart. I should watch that again. Where were we?
Lara and Mo (Erinn Ruth - is it weird that I fixate on her greasy hair every single scene she's in? Is she test driving a new dry shampoo?) got their meeting with a Lawrence Boyd suit (Carolyn McCormick, who will always be the smokey-voiced shrink from Law & Order for me) who condescends to them AND drops Lawrence's AND Bobby's name, not cool, suit. Not cool at all. Lara wants to make this on her own.
Bryan's hosting a Go night in his office, sans cell-phones, so Chuck had to come all the way down there to see Bryan nerd out on purpose. Tom's having supper with his adulterous wife and Lawrence and his cuckolded wife, the U.S. Attorney's office is going too! Chuck advises Bryan of a weakness in his game that he spotted in his split-second glance, yeah we get it, Chuck. You're smarter than everyone else, ever. See what I mean? He doesn't even need the suit to be a smug, supercilious bastage.
Hahahaha it's like an Intervention at a diner and Bobby's the one doing the apologizing. He's called together Krakow (Danny Strong), Steven Birch (Jerry O'Connell - rawr) and Kenneth Malverne (Dennis Boutsikaris), all those isolated loners Lawrence mentioned.
Krakow's the hard sell of course, but really: Bobby's screwed them all in his time. They all want in, and Eveready is there to explain why.
It's Chuck's day at the brownstone and I have no idea what he's saying because he is cutting up a melon in the most inefficient way possible. Peel it all first! Using a paring knife and then the big knife! NOTHING YOU'RE DOING TO THAT POOR FRUIT MAKES ANY SENSE!!!
Wee Kevin (Zachary Unger) thinks their mom doesn't even want to come home anymore, leaving dad Chuck to to do the right thing and take the blame for Wendy's reluctance to be at the marital abode. It's about human frailty and courage in being honest to your kiddos and so on and so forth.
Bobby walks out of a meeting to get more bad news from Lawrence; someone leaked his currency run to Nigeria and they're fighting it. Who was that? Steven Birch, dishy as he is, was always a weak player. Krakow's too obvious.
It was indeed Birch, who knows exactly who fed the journalist that story about his shady trading. He's decided to take a strong position on the OTHER side of that currency deal, but hey: thanks for showing him where to really dig in deep, Bobby.
I love watching Jerry O'Connell's face move, it's changed so much over the years that it's almost alien, but you can see little glimmers of the past here and there and it's mesmerizing.
And Bobby STILL can't find Wags! We're getting all kinds of screen time with Deb this week, did someone complain about the sausage-fested-ness?
Eveready did take the job with FunBobs, I thought he was still test-driving but there he is, walking around the office talking about trying not to lose five million dollars of Bobby's money on his second day. The banks are going to fight Bobby's move, so in this "global cock-fight" (which my kiddo called Chicken Slashing the other day and I had to physically stop myself from correcting more than once), he needs a big reputable voice promoting his bird. Someone like Lawrence Boyd, perhaps?
Chuck's getting his ass handed to him at his martial arts class by a woman for a change; guess who's got a new love interest?? NO, GUESS!! She's a beautiful Swiss sculptor and is this how it happens? He meets and falls in love with another successful, beautiful woman he can feel inferior to? He better get a BUNCH of cool suits.
Malverne and Krakow decide to stay in because of course they do. Bobby's very convincing. We get a little cross-conveyancing between Krakow's threat to hunt Bobby down like a pack of wolves, tying in Chuck's adolescent hunting trip to Canada.
Oliver Dake has a meeting with his higher up (I'm not even looking in IMDb, you know it's not there) in the church: Lonnie Watkins is who he's pinned all his hopes on. That's his final play for the AGs office. Hm. He warns Oliver to not let the job have all of him.
Taylor's Important Deal is the casino; they've crunched the numbers and come up with nothing BUT the casino. If they can't get a guarantee on the gaming license; they have to walk away. Bobby doesn't want to hurt Bruno or his nephew, but mostly he's just pissed because he might not get a casino to play with.
Bobby's got a meet with the guy who knows re: casino licenses, apparently Bruno's nephew was right. The casino is coming to Sandicott and Bobby goes all in. The music made me worry just then, was that a bad move for our FunBobs? Has he lost the ability to tell when someone is bending him over, like Steven Birch was? (Must not picture that)
Ah, so the reason Chuck Rhoades's face looks different these days is that he's "eating clean." I couldn't quite put my finger onnit. Either way, I refuse to let diet culture into this recap so THERE, society! Stick it where the cleanse comes out in the wash! I will say that if Chuck wanted to improve his appearance, he probably should have started with wiping off the smug smile and using terms like "heaving his seed into your bride" in conversation.
Chuck and Bryan are there to soothe a nervous Tom who is about to go into battle in the form of a private dinner with Lawrence; go gettem!
Tom's wife Shayleen (Angela Marie Roy) mostly just stares at her lover Lawrence the whole dinner while Tom sullenly drinks and drinks and drinks. He spills his wine on Shayleen; Linda Boyd (Suzanne Johnson) takes her to the washroom and we have our two adversaries alone at last. Tom has a false start, but regroups and pulls it off! He pulls it off and that's it, the Fibbies and the U.S. Attorney's office has Lawrence Boyd on tape explaining exactly how he's rigging Treasury bids.
Is it wrong that I spent the whole time worried that now Lawrence won't be able to back Bobby up for his currency takedown? Not that he would have, of course, but still.
Now we're back to the present and Wags about to make his big speech! He was in session with Wendy and I alllllmost could make out his bum tattoo. Damnit. So close.
Wendy takes him to the park and they work through exactly why he's been driving towards that wall so fast. He saw his mentor; almost completely blank from early onset Alzheimer's. It bothered him even more because he felt that when Axe hired Stephanie as Chief of Staff, he was saying he didn't need Wags anymore. Since Bobby's been screaming 'WHERE IS WAGS??????!!!!" for the past 2 days, I'm going to say Wags is pretty safe. It's when they do fine without you is the problem.
Bobby fired Stephanie for her little speech, did he go find Dollar Bill after and hear him out? We don't know yet, but Wags is ready to work!
Chuck finishes his hunting trip story for Kate; he and his dad used time as a trap. If you wait long enough, it will come and that was certainly true for Lawrence Boyd.
Wow, Bobby comes home for a flyby with Lara; she's pissed about the meeting but Bobby doesn't have time to put on the kid gloves. He hits her with it right between the eyes
I have NEVER heard Bobby talk to his wife like that before, what the hell is going on? He cares more about saving his quarter than having a decent conversation with his wife?
It's one minute until showtime; Lawrence is there to back up whatever Bobby says, but a phone call from his lawyer Orrin (Glenn Fleschler) has him wondering if he wants that. There is a warrant out for Lawrence's arrest; he'll be in cuffs within the hour.
This is where we'll find out just how good Bobby is on his feet
He does not warn Lawrence.
Bobby goes on TV and does his spiel about the people of Nigeria and their unfortunately over-valued currency; Lawrence follows right behind as the FBI make their move. Bobby gives Larry a heads-up AFTER he gets Larry's testimony on TV, Larry gets it. It's a fcuked up world they choose to work in; how can Bobby help now?
Chuck has Lawrence led off in handcuffs while Bobby watches; Chuck can't resist a little dig at Bobby but those never work out for him, do they? He wants it too badly. So his comment about this being Bobby's future foretold bounces right back with a "you mean, watching you arrest other people while I walk right out the door?"
We see Chuck eating everything in sight later; poutine and a Montreal Smoked Meat sandwich, peeze! Nice watchman's plaid flannel, Chuck! Looks good on you. And we're out.
Well. There were almost too many echoing things this episode to talk about, really. The hunting metaphor about the time trap; the Asian vs. Western, the return to Axe's roots as a dirty player free with the bribes, then Chuck clean-eating no more. We have Wendy building Wags up as we wait for her to take her rightful place at Axe Capital while I worry about the way Bobby is dealing with the love of his life Lara. He has never talked to her like that before and they've been in business together on several ventures. He also lied to her about talking to Wendy, so I have a stomachache. I hate it when Mom and Dad fight!
The only problem I have with the show currently is Eric Bogosian as Lawrence Boyd. I don't know if he's been directed poorly, but the man has zero gravitas and I would call it a stretch to call what he's doing "acting." I never roast actors; I understand there are a lot of factors at play on a set and I'm mostly interested in characters anyway, but he's just...bringing his scenes down. I cannot feel the relationship between him and Bobby; I get no sense of hidden malevolence: I get zip. Nada. Poor Damian Lewis does his best, but a brick is a brick is a brick.
I will see you lot sooner than usual, I'm still an episode back so will try to catch up in the next few days. Cheers!