I can't barely believe this is my third season recapping Billions, but here we are and it's looking juicy! I picked this show initially because it was brand new, just like the site, and I'd just come fresh off watching Wolf Hall, making anything with Damian Lewis an Of Course. I have loved Paul Giamatti since Sideways, so really: it couldn't have been a better fit. The writing has wended and wound it's way through several preposterous plots and many excellent character studies, let's see where Season 3 takes us, shall we?
Where did we leave off? Oh, right, about here: Billions S2:E12 Ball In Hand
With Bobby "Axe" Axelrod (Damian Lewis) being released from prison, Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) crowing and Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon) in charge. Let's see where we go. Don't be typical, that's all I ask.
We open in Washington, DC with Chuck glumly walking the halls of his new office, where new boss Waylon "Jock" Jeffcoat (Clancy Brown) wants to talk horse erections. Sigh. Jock looks waaay more comfortable than Chuck, who's with me in the No More Talk About Horse Teasers, Please group. This all is a means to make Chuck feel bad about Special Prosecutor Oliver Dake (Christopher Denham) getting all the glory for taking down Bobby when we all know Chuck's had a "rager" for Bobby since Day 1.
Some mixed baseball analogies later (yay we left behind horse erections!) Chuck understands his wings have been clipped and he's no longer playing in the big leagues, but rather nurturing local business concerns. Boy I'm super bad at sports and animal husbandry metaphors.
We getta see everyone, hai Bryan Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore from Tasmania, like a good friend of mine!) and Oliver Dake looking....hawt? When did Oliver become hawt? Is that just me? Where's Kate Sacker (Condola Rashad)??
Instead we're back at AXE Capital with interim CIO Taylor Mason, they look good! By that I mean exactly the same. They pause outside the meeting room, where the unruly masses are waiting.
"Dollar" Bill Stearn (Kelly Aucoin) is up front and center and not ready to have a meeting without Axe, fanks. He gives a profanity-laden tirade about frozen assets while Mike "Wags" Wagner (David Costabile) tries to calm him down. Where is Axe?
He's meeting with his shrink Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff) of course!
Side note: the chemistry between these two characters is the best on the show. Never mind they're both married (she to Chuck of all people), it's not necessarily sexual but it is electric and their scenes are standouts every time.
Bobby and Lara (Malin Akerman) must be separated.
Wendy practices some tough love ("this is a f*cking disaster") while Taylor whips the team back at Axe Capital into shape.
There's an upcoming Idea Dinner (that sounds ridiculous: all dinners should have ideas or I'M NOT GOING) with major players in New York, everyone on the team will get an extra-stupid bonus if they come through for Taylor.
Bobby wouldn't ever go before, but he himself begged an invite to this one. Wendy doesn't get it. Bobby wants to go tell his own story to counter the law enforcement narrative of his crookedness. He just doesn't think he can. Too much
The team is sent to brainstorm while I mentally review the last two seasons of Billions where yeah: Bobby and his shop are totally crooked. They're using the Lance Armstrong defense: everyone does it, they're leveling the playing field!
Wendy has a Tony Robbins technique to practice on Bobby: going over the former usefulness of his rage and why he's hanging on to it, what is it actually doing for him now?
Now that Bobby and Lara are divorcing, can he and Wendy...?
Hey there's Kate! Hai! She's next to Chuck, listening to Jock talk about shooting turkeys. Texas sounds like an awful place to be an animal. Chuck Monday-Morning quarterbacks Oliver's work on Bobby, Oliver responds in his usual weird way, comparing it to Chuck lust-murdering an enraging lover.
They'll discuss later in private.
Lara is meeting with (incredibly dishy) Steven Birch (Jerry O'Connell - I LOVE YOU), whom Bobby took down firmly in season one? What?
AND TODD MOTHERHUMPING KRAKOW IS THE US TREASURE SECRETARY?
If smug were a smell, it would be Todd (Danny Strong).
Ah, it's worse than I thought, Lara's with Steven to go through her assets because her and Bobby are totally getting a divorce. Awkward standoff between Bobby with Wendy and Lara with Steven.
Meanwhile, Bobby's meeting with his lawyer Orrin Bach (Glenn Fleshler) who WANTS to help Bobby but doesn't think incriminating himself is the way to go.
Let's ask our new head of Compliance! Sweet baby jeebus, is that Ari Spyros (Stephen Kunken - who was briefly in The Handmaid's Tale) that Chuck used and abused? It is and he's so happy, unlike everyone who glares at him at Axe Capital.
Ari suggests Bobby give up his license to trade and operate through a blind trust. Orrin is willing to set it up, but there is no way Bobby is going for it.
He sees Wags fighting with Lara and Steven across the way and storms over to blow off some more steam. He and Steven talk a bunch of gobblegook about trading (or pancakes? Umbrellas?) then Bobby gives Lara access to everything she wants, trades and all. Steven's not bright enough to be able to do anything useful with it, but I'm super happy he's there anyway!
Everything is talked out at Chez Rhoades, except for the bit he's sorting out right now with Oliver.
Blah blah Chuck probing Oliver's marriage blah blah oh but don't prosecute Wendy either, thanks. Chuck argues both sides of his argument for Oliver's benefit, what's doing one more shitty thing in the long run of shitty things Oliver has done for Chuck? Oliver agrees and keeps that favour in his back pocket.
Heeeey, Bobby's got the only other reporter in New York on the line, he's feeding Randy Kornbluth (Brian Berrebbi) a bunch of background info while a beautiful young woman shows up at Axe's Bachpad.
This is how billionaires woo beautiful young women: "Want dinner? We need to do that?" Apparently we do not.
Bryan approaches Oliver for information on the Ice Juice case, where are all the victim names again? *coughWendyRhoadescough*
Oliver waves him off and directs him away from the tipster and hey: I'm not your boss! We're just colleagues in a hierarchy.
Bryan bitches to his flight attendant girlfriend McKayla (Gia Crovatin), ooooh she's in law school now! Woot!
Chuck can't sleep. He goes for a walk, ending up throwing himself at the feet of former bestie Ira (dishy Ben Shenkman) with a job offer as recompense for destroying his life. Ira doesn't want it, but he won't rat Chuck out either, so go home, arsehole.
Orrin is sent to offer a deal to former protege Bryan, Wags and Taylor are off to the Turkish baths. Wags kiiiinda wants to know about the Idea Dinner, but really he wants to know if Taylor is listening to other offers on the street. Todd Motherhumping Krakow took a run at them, but they declined. With finality.
Someone doesn't like Taylor's bewbs being out so Wags backs them down in the grossest way possible. I don't need to see Wags pinching his nipples and groaning, but since it was in my head it had to be in yours. You're welcome!
Chuck Rhoades Sr. (Jeffrey DeMunn from season one of The Walking Dead!) is meeting with political heavyweight Blackjack Foley (David Strathairn whom you can remember from whatever you like, but will always be Another World for me!) to withdraw his request to promote his son Chuck Jr. Blackjack can't do that, unforch. Blackjack knows Sr. used Jr.'s money (in a blind trust) without Jr.'s consent, he thinks Jr's ruthlessness is gonna serve him well as Governor. Or hai Chuck Jr.!
Sr. is DONE!
Orrin approaches Bryan at his Table Tennis Club (...for real) with Bobby's offer of...nothing. Bryan is not interested, just as Orrin thought he wouldn't be. Bryan does go back and share it with Oliver, though.
Bobby wants the skinny from Dollar.
And then he wants everyone to leave so Wendy can tell him what everyone else has been telling him: he's gotta give up his license to save his firm or everyone is going to defect like Czechoslovakian gymnasts.
Bobby gives it up.
Oliver notifies Chuck right away, who takes a call right after from AG Jock. Something unfortunate is going to happen to an animal in this conversation, I just KNOW it. Okay, he's just checking the herd, that's not too bad. Chuck is not enjoying the micromanaging.
Taylor was smashing apart phones and electronics earlier, we find out it's about recognising chips...and Bobby is off to the Idea Dinner! Tonight's a big win for Bobby.
It's like he didn't even LISTEN to himself earlier this episode!
Chuck and Wendy are also going out to dinner after seeing their therapist and I have to wonder if that's "therapist."
Oh. Never mind.
Oh but it gets weird almost immediately (okay, weirder) because Chuck is just now dealing with his anger over Wendy sleeping with someone else while they were separated. He needs to hear all about it, THAT is how he wants to be punished. Plus the leather belt. Wendy thinks they're roleplaying, but Chuck is doing some serious psychological damage to himself.
The Idea Dinner is filled with some of our favourites, Steven Birch and Kenneth Malverne (Dennis Boutsikaris) who are all busy mocking what Bobby has become. It's not Bobby who shows up with the electronic chip idea, it's Taylor.
Bobby stares into the night and we are out.