Butter my biscuits, I didn't even realise this was the season three finale of Billions, woot! I'm super behind, was hoping that I'd make it before the next episode aired...which should be...February 2019, so I'm actually ahead! WOOO!! We saw a big move by a character last week, let's see where everything lands in the finale! Billions do like to make a big play to end off each season.
It's been a tumultuous season, I like how they gave us a whole 11 weeks to get used to the fact that Bobby "Axe" Axelrod's (Damian Lewis) opponent this season was really his protege Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon) who's had a hell of a year.
Somewhere off on the sidelines are Bobby's former nemesis US Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) and the amazing Dr. Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff), still moving chess pieces all over the place but not drawing our eye away from Bobby vs. Taylor.
We ended last time with Taylor standing in front of a TAYLOR MASON CAPITAL sign looking to pitch to Bobby's number one investor, will be bite? When will Bobby find out? Let's find out!
We open at yet another Rich People Being Rich event, hai Bill McGann (CORBIN BERNSEN) and Steven Birch (Jerry O'Connell - that's almost too much all at once, give a girl a chance to catch her breath), have a good time at the annual Spartan-Ives Capital Introduction event!
Spartan-Ives is important because it's former CEO Lawrence Somethingsomething sold Bobby down the river to Chuck previously, before Chuck and Bobby realised they were both on the Saving Wendy Side.
Ohhh, Bill McGann and Steven Birch are together. Brb.
Bobby and firsthench Mike "Wags" Wagner (David Costabile) pull up - smell that money, son? Wendy pulls up alone, looking down in the dumps while Bobby and Wags meet with their Spartan-Ives guy who has never been gifted with a character name (Scott Aiello). Script read-throughs must be a bitch.
30 billion dollars is on the table, Wendy's motivating!
Taylor's running late...and obviously hasn't explained their new position when it comes to acquiring capital, that is: under their name alone. Bobby wants a third of the overall take.
Taylor's busy meeting with Grigor Andolov (John Malkovich), who's taking an extra moment to ponder if he "would." He would! He's delighted to learn something new about himself. Post eye-roll, Taylor shuts him down.
On to business!
A quick note about Grigor; when we first met him, we were sold a bill of goods about a bloodthirsty, ruthless tyrant who tore people limb from limb, not for resisting him but rather for not giving in quickly enough. Later, we learned that he was a survivor, rather, a protector of his family and a man of firm word. Given the latest incarnation, I would be surprised if he jumped onto Taylor's ship, as he had shaken hands with Bobby already.
Taylor says they have to leave Axe Capital because it's the only way to survive, Grigor leaves and his henchman Michael (Michael Aranov) tells them they crushed it. Expect moola!
Back at the SP event, Bobby rubs elbows with Spanx inventor Sara Blakely, who I sideeye since I'm recapping Dietland later.
A quick showdown with Bill and Steven (call me!), they have smaller suites than Bobby does so take pains to call him a circus freak and / or the lost land of Atlantis.
Chuck heads into an Asian foot massage parlour to meet with Alvin Epstein (Brian Stokes Mitchell - from Mr. Robot!!), he's written the memo of no return announcing his investigation of Waylon "Jock" Jeffcoat (Clancy Brown)'s brother, aka Chuck's boss. Chuck wants to catch Jock trying to influence the investigation.
Chuck and Alvin are a little scurred, but the memo is sent: they are in the chute!
They brainstorm over how Jock will react, but my money is on Jock understanding immediately what they are up to. At some point, one of these huge "titans" that Chuck keeps taking down easily will actually act like someone who knows what the eff is up and do something titan-like.
I mean, we got weeks of build-up about how awesomely powerful is Black Jack Foley (David Strathairn, whom I adore), Chuck took him out in a five minute hotel room sting with off-duty FBI agents. Ditto Bobby, the smartest of them all, brought down by Chuck and the transparently dangling bait of Ice Juice. An adulterous wife brought us Lawrence Somethingsomething, it's never a challenge. I hope Jock puts up more of a fight, maybe that could distract him from harming animals!
*any and all Jock monologues involve an animal getting hurt, without exception*
Chuck and Alvin are hoping that Jock will bite and call Chuck's phone, asking for help and then the trap! *HAHAHAHAHAHAHA maniacal laugh HAHAHAHAHA*
Taylor finally shows up, time to roll, Barry White style! Woooo! Bobby tells them there are only two things investors want to know, and they won't ask. They are:
1) Can they be trusted
2) Are they special?
Bobby sets Taylor up to do the speech, I actually hurt for him here. He has no idea he is giving Judas wings, and I don't even believe in the bible. "Taylor is the single most effective manager of money I have ever come across."
Taylor explains what they do as the opposite of magic, grinding work involving the Elmsley Count which must be important! Wendy said they were selling themselves, but the weird thing is: Bobby is selling Taylor.
Hear me out, I think we have a sugar spike brewing. You remember what that is? It's when a main character takes a position that is completely opposite to how we've seen them act, only to have it bite them in the ass by the end of that episode. It has to be that fast, like a blood sugar spike after a chocolate binge, or it doesn't qualify.
Let me tell you why I think we're in that territory: when has Bobby Axelrod EVER thought that anyone was better than him at ANYTHING? Never. It's a key part of his character, that cocktail of driving narcissism and cockiness and confidence. To see him pushing Taylor to the forefront of a huge event, to say "it doesn't work without them", who the eff is this?? To mention himself and the team as backup to Taylor's superior strategies? GTFO
So I think we're only hearing this so when Bobby finds out about Taylor's betrayal, it will be all the more poignant and tragic.
Bryant Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore) meets up with former colleague/paramour Kate Sacker (Condola Rashad), he thinks he has a shot at Chuck again! Apparently the whole world knows about the witness Chuck has stashed away (his name is Ashley Cutler and he's stashed so that Jock will go to Chuck and not after the witness), Bryan thinks it's to protect Jock. Kate's gonna need a stronger drink; she's got to explain that Connerty's got the wrong end of the stick. It's for the good this time, and Bryan will stay out of it because this time Chuck's on the side of the angels, capiche?
Bryan capiches, but he's not happy.
Bobby celebrates a morning of 6 billion committed by introducing The Home Steady, everyone seems to enjoy?
Bryan gets home to wake up Oliver Dake (Christopher Denham), who's sleeping on his couch. They really wanted to get Chuck, Oliver'll go home in the morning while Chuck heads over to see his dad Chuck Sr. (Jeffrey DeMunn).
Sr. counsels Jr. to throw everything he has at Jock, no holding anything back! Let Jock be the one worried about making decisions under heat! Jr. calls Alvin, telling him to go ahead with the grand jury.
Bobby walks in to not-great news at Axe Capital, Wags is having trouble locking in the 6 billion dollars pledged. Nobody's answering calls AND Taylor isn't at work yet.
We flash back to the night before, when Taylor and Mafee (Dan Soder) left early. Mafee us also not at work, he's busy with Taylor who pitched her new business the night before.
Bobby figures it out immediately, Taylor stayed long enough to figure out exactly what they needed, then they ran an Emsley Count and are gone. Here:
A war room is set up in the conference room, Orrin Hach (Glenn Fleschler) delivers bad legal news: they can file intellectual property violation reports against them but it won't stop them from opening. As for the money: only 500 million went to Axe Cap, 3.5 billion went to Taylor and the rest disappeared while Axe Cap figured out their housekeeping.
Wendy has a few traders she wants to quarantine, Ben Kim (Daniel K. Isaac) is also gone, oops, only late. But late on the day after Taylor made their move, Bobby and Wags are very suspicious. How do they know he's not a spy?
He insists that he said no to Taylor, whose pitch included a reference to his recent promotion but lack of raise. Guess who suggested Ben not get a raise? Yeah, Taylor's had a plan for quite some time.
Wags, Wendy and Bobby are all exhausted with the knowledge.
Jock calls, he wants to meet at his hotel, right now. Chuck is as happy as a wee portly clam!
Grigor calls, they must also meet right now! Bobby brings Hall (Terry Kinney) so they can hear about Grigor's pest control program. He can make Bobby's problem go away forever.
Hall interjects and is backhanded by Grigor, STFU! The grownups are talking! Bobby declines Grigor's kind offer of murder, why does Grigor want to do this?
*It's been almost 27 minutes and Grigor is the first to call Taylor "she" as opposed to the they/them they've asked to be identified by YEAH I WAS COUNTING*
Bobby asks for a day to think about it. Saying "no" in this case is going to be as complicated as saying yes.
He's having a hard time making decisions, he needs to look Taylor in the eye.
Bobby walks into Taylor Mason Capital, to be met by Mafee. Fightywords fightywords.
They felt they just made the last move in an unavoidable death match, Bobby is confused. He felt they were working well together.
Taylor thinks they'll surpass Bobby's assets in 3 years, 8 on the outside. Bobby tells them about the summit, the "death zone" and then some fighty words later, the die is cast.
Jock needs Chuck's help! There's a political hatchet job pending against his brother. You don't say! Gosh. What's this about Ashley Cutler? Chuck should do what? Get ten minutes with Ashley Cutler alone in a hotel room? Chuck pretends to demur, shouldn't justice take it's course? Okay, okay, Chuck will help, but only if he gets to stay US Attorney forever and ever! Jock is reassured that Chuck has his hand out, but he seems offended that Chuck doesn't want any more meddling in his cases.
Jock can't be this dumb, can he? Seriously?
Bobby ponders his path forward, Wendy has the temerity to suggest Bobby invest with the rank traitor. Or maybe Taylor will just end up feeling bad! C'mon Wendy, you can do better than that!
Chuck lays out the scenario for Jock meeting with Ashley, the air is thick with double and hopefully triple-dealing.
Alvin calls with the good news, it worked, they got him! They're going to meet and I'm 41% certain this is also a setup.
Taylor is laying in wait in the parking garage for Wendy, they want Wendy onboard! Taylor, quit poaching, go find your own people.
They're offering Wendy a fresh start, blaming her for all the recent messups, but that's not the way to someone's heart, Taylor. Taylor thinks there is no heart, only money: that's what Wendy and Bobby taught them.
Hall's been thinking deep thoughts about how to answer Grigor; if Bobby says yes to murdering Taylor it will be handled cleanly and without ties to Bobby, unlike that ridiculous Ice Juce farce. However. Then Grigor will have something huge over Bobby and something that lasts forever. But now Bobby has something on Grigor.
Bobby has no choice, he has to take Taylor out, either with Grigor's help or with Hall's help, because he can't be seen as weak or a fool.
Bobby politely turns Grigor down, who immediately threatens to pull all his money to give to Taylor. Bobby counters that he wants to see Taylor suffer instead and I dunno, Axe, Grigor wants to see SOMETHING.
Chuck heads to the office to see Alvin, outside is Kate who reminds him that she is a political animal, remember? She warned him that it might come back to bite him.
And so it has, as he walks into his office to see Jock cuddled up to Alvin Epstein, Bryan and Oliver Dake waiting in chairs.
Alvin caved, he couldn't take Jock's heat.
Jock's on a roll now, he's giving a speech worthy of Chuck! "Character cannot be taught, it's innate." Bryan, Oliver, Kate all have it, Chuck does not.
He mocks the mockery of the white cowboy hat Chuck had set aside for his victory over Jock, Chuck invited him to his HOUSE!
(Okay, he totally invited himself)
Bryan gets his job, Oliver just got to watch. As a cherry on top, Bryan even gets to escort Chuck out. Chuck spits some fighty words, then gets moved along by Bryan with a "drop your credentials at the desk and get the f*ck out of here," just like Chuck said to HIM!
To be fair: Jock is completely evil as well, the death in custody of young Juan Vargas was a serious breach of ethics and a tragedy.
Ohhh, Taylor's ex-boyfriend Oscar Langstraat (Mike Birbiglia) has come by with seed money! But he doesn't trust them after they betrayed him, he'll never open himself up to them again.
Bobby has a similarly rotten night, at least Chuck gets some tea and sympathy from Wendy.
Wendy's got a different message for Bobby: f*ck Taylor and really, f*ck them over! Screw "look inward"!
Oh and Bobby's over at Chuck and Wendy's house? They have no more enmity, they're just gonna hang out and drink wine? Everybody is so low, it feels like Christmas.
*I feel bad for wishing for a threeway*
Instead, they're gonna discuss strategy on how to deal with their problems! They're on the same team and we're oot.
Okay, so it was a minor sugar spike, only contained in that ill-fated Spartan-Ives event with Bobby pushing Taylor instead of himself so we'd feel more keenly the blade sliding into his back. We knew Taylor was working on something all along, we just didn't know when.
I'm blue that we're three years in and everything is up in the air, usually even fairytales have a clear sense of direction. Thanks for reading along this season, all the best to you and yours, keep your family close if you have them. Cheers.