Can you believe this is my fourth year recapping Billions?? ME EITHER! I've been with the Billions bunch since its inception and while I still have an unbelievably shaky grasp on their financial shenanigans, I know the gang like the back of my hand. Let's roll into season 4!
Does anyone remember where we left things last season? Lemme break it down for you: billionaire Bobby "Axe" Axelrod (Damian Lewis) had just formed an alliance of sorts with former arch nemesis former US Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti), nicely glued together by their love and admiration for Doctor Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff), psychologist working with Bobby and wife of Chuck.
The reason they needed such alliance was that they were both under siege; Chuck had just been fired from the US Attorney's office after biting off more than he could chew in his attack on the Attorney General Jock Jeffcoat (Clancy Brown, whom I ADORE). Bobby was dealing with betrayal from within, his former recruit Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon) making an aggressive move against him and stealing alllllllls the clients they could.
There are one million (billion?) other things going on as well, we'll roll through them as we find them, hokay?
We open in a nightclub blasting "Short Dick Man" as Mike "Wags" Wagner (David Costabile from Breaking Bad!!) snorts coke and gropes very young women in abbreviated evening wear. He slides over to drip poison in the ear of Farhad (Amir Arison), whose just had a meeting with "Ms. Mason."
For the record, Taylor uses only 'they' and 'them' fanks, Farhad.
Wags puts on the squeeze; anyone working with Taylor isn't working with Bobby, capiche? Farhad isn't just representing himself, however, there's a Sheik back at the Embassy. Also incapacitating drugs deftly introduced by beautiful women, Wags is thrown in a small room where he passes out.
27 HOURS EARLIER
I love that! I do! Gimme timeline markers! (coughTrueDetectiveseason3cough)
Wow, Bobby's got a whole team of bodyguards at his sweet bachelor pad, Chef Ryan (Timothy Davis) walks past a half dozen on his way to deliver Bobby's breakfast to the Ace of Spaces by Motorhead.
**They insist that Bobby is a metalhead, well, Metallica-type metalhead and have him parading around in hoodies all the time, it just doesn't match anything he DOES. Like flying Metallica out for a special concert. Did I mention the ratty t-shirts to give him street cred?
Bobby strides into the office, legal adviser Orrin Bach (Glenn Fleschler) at the ready with new non-compete docs for everyone to sign. Wendy watches (in a dazzling blue sheath) as he holds court.
Chuck's having a much less angry day, clapping along to I Feel Fine by Al Green while a bemused Larry Brogan (David Aaron Baker from The Tao of Steve!! Please tell me someone else has watched that movie, I just want to call someone a "fat fattist" without the staring) watches. Big finish!
This is Chuck's roundabout way of pushing gun control (Al Green's girlfriend shot herself? Maybe?), but Larry still wants a gun, peez. He's high profile and has horses.
*What do horses have to do with guns??*
Larry's not there for a lecture or legal advice, he wants some of the power Powerbroker Chuck's been selling on the street! Chuck offers a parking space instead, apparently it's super difficult to get a concealed carry permit in New York. Larry DOES NOT NEED A PARKING SPACE, CHUCK. He leaves.
Woooo time to check in on the Bullpen at Axe Financial! "Dollar" Bill Stearn (Kelly Aucoin who did me a solid once and has my favour forever) is poised at the ready! Eveready (Keith Eric Chapelle) is ever.ready. and Rudy (Chris Carfizzi) is ready to roll. Bonnie Barella (Sarah Stiles) is too busy crapping all over everyone to do any macho posturing, throwing Bobby off his game. He needs Rudy and Bonnie in sync, "like incestuous ice dancers."
Billions can always make me laugh, the writing is, well, you see.
Bonnie is smart but too mouthy for someone in such a junior position. No longer in a junior position is Rudy, who's just been fired for not doing his homework properly but mostly for going to Taylor's weenie roast with Mafee (Dan Soder).
Awww I loved Mafee, he had a long turn as the moral compass of Axe Financial, but he was very close to Taylor, who was his intern.
Compliance Officer Ari Spyros (Steven Kunken) slinks out of his hole to watch Bobby's excoriation of our wee Rudy, he just...he's such a dork. Wendy is much more direct.
Wags pops down to say goodbye to Bobby on his way to the Embassy; the Sovereign Wealth Fund has already been designated for them, now Wags has to set terms. Or rather hold terms, which as he ended up on his face in a hole: I'm guessing he did not do to Bobby's satisfaction.
Heeey look who got a big promotion! Bryan Connerty (Toby Leonard More) is sworn in as US Attorney as Jock and Kate Sacker (Condola Rashad) watch. Jock has plans for Bryan.
Chuck Rhoades is technically an adult, but his dad Chuck Rhoades Sr. (Jeffrey DeMunn or Dale from The Walking Dead) treats him like a wayward toddler, bursting in with Ira trailing to bust his chops for not securing a gun permit for Brogan. It seems Sr. has been sending Jr. clients. He's so "supportive".
I'm glad Chuck made up with his friend Ira (Ben Shenkman), they had a bit of a wobble when Chuck used Ira's LIFELONG DREAM to bait Bobby into a trap in "Golden Frog Time." You should watch/read that one, it's probably the most iconic of the series thus far.
Ira's only got bad news, however, the US Attorney's office is reviewing all of Chuck's cases for malfeasance. His reputation is at risk, as is Sr.'s, given that they share a name. Jr.'s mired in a defeatist attitude, but Sr.'s ready to go to war.
Did I mention that Chuck and Wendy have a sub/domme relationship? And that Sr. interrupted them at one of their public dungeons right before playtime? BOUNDARIES, PEOPLE.
Sr. challenges Jr. to get that gun permit by any means necessary, it will be his springboard back out of oblivion.
Then he says a bunch of stuff about using poppers in a bathhouse because he's super inappropriate like that with his son. BOUNDARIES.
Taylor Mason isn't content to rest on their laurels having stole Mafee, they have Mick Danzig (Nathan Darrow) from Axe Financial in for an interview too. OOoooooh who is this over Taylor's shoulder? It's Samantha Mathis!! By that I mean Sara Hammond (Samantha Mathis from The Strain but really: always Pump Up The Volume), Taylor's COO.
Interesting that Taylor is claiming the moral high ground over Bobby, they were responsible for the austerity measures that critically squeezed Sandicott (Bobby got some bad inside intel about a Casino being built there then had to recoup his money by destroying the townspeople. By the way, that intel wasn't bad until Chuck Sr. got wind) but they blame that on the atmosphere at Axe.
Taylor is selling the moral imperative, Mick isn't buying yet. They ask the room why he didn't commit, everyone but Sara thinks it's coz Taylor is scary. They thought they were inviting!
Sara's prepared an outfit for a reluctant Taylor; is this something with sequins? Taylor is not happy, but I wonder if this has to do with the Sheik we heard about at the top of the show.
Hmmmmmmmmm in a meeting between Wendy and Bobby we find out why Taylor is having so much trouble hiring anyone: Wendy's paid off Taylor's headhunter Nancy Saltz (Suni Reyes). Bobby immediately directs Wendy to re-hire Mick Danzig when he hears Taylor's been talking to him, he wants Taylor to have nothing. NOTHING.
I think all the bodyguards are associated with our other new kid on the block: Grigor Andolov (John Malkovich from...everything).
Now we're at the fateful meeting between Wags and the Sheik's people; he's offended because profane and buffoonish Wags is there instead of Bobby.
Ohhhh, this is sort of what I was expecting, but I am disappoint.
Taylor looks like a woman and it feels like sadness. They can't be themselves.
Bobby does not deal well with this news.
Chuck is worried, so Wendy gives him a pep talk and sends him on his way.
I started when I saw another new cast member, it's Michael Rispoli from The Deuce! I should really finish that series, I wonder how the big budget adult flick worked out for
Sorry, sorry, it's Commissioner Richie Sansome (Michael Rispoli) who is...not exactly disposed to help Chuck.
**I wonder if Michael Rispoli goes home and just never, ever swears, pats puppies on the head and relaxes by donating money to medically-based GoFundMes on Twitter.
Chuck is thwarted but has a plan, he tells Wendy on the phone (in a way we have never seen before).
It's the next day at Axe Financial and Wags is nowhere to be found. Bobby's got his bogeyman Hall (Terry Kinney) on it, but isn't truly worried. Wags tends to be a bit of a night owl and by that I mean an inveterate partier with no respect for mixing medications.
Chuck continues to his second diner of the day, this time to see Freddie Eisen (Andrew Polk) who grosses me out immediately but has something Chuck can give to Sansome. Lots of 'fuck you's later and Eisen at least offers an ear, Chuck needs to meet Ambassador Suarez.
HOW does Chuck expect anyone to take him seriously with this Park Anywhere permit shit?
What Eisen needs instead is tickets to...something complicated-sounding involving Hanukkah and his kiddo with an ex-wife. Done! Then Chuck can get in with Suarez, which is a step closer to Sansome and means yet another walk to a restaurant. This time we meet Donnie Deutsch (Donnie Deutsch...who is an author? And has a show?) who doesn't seem to like Chuck much. He does have tickets to the Children's Hanukkah SomethingOrRather, however, all Chuck needs to give him is super ultra privileged access to a fancy skihill. For some seasons, not days.
Bobby arrives at the Embassy to retrieve his Wags, to be stonewalled by Farhad. They will not allow Bobby to search the building, and they can't meet with the Sheik yet to find out about terms, so they're kind of screwed.
Chuck's got his quarry in site, it's our old pal Steven Birch (Jerry O'Connell) that he maaaaybe prosecuted, so Wendy makes the first move for him. Steven calls her "the face that launched a thousand shorts" and accepts her trade of a session for his ski pass.
Onward we run through the steps to get Chuck the conceal carry permit, stalling at Eisen who isn't actually the guy to get to Suarez.
So we switch to the Embassy, where Taylor is messing with falcons while wearing their girl drag. They look so ODD. Farhad slings some sexist trash about nature meaning women are only good for nest tending; Taylor counters that we're past that caveman shite now that we have, you know, the ability to hunt for more than one meal at a time so may the best hunter win.
Farhad is charmed, let's go have tea with the Sheik!
Bobby paces. Hall's back with bad news but a possible lever: something juicy that bucks Bobby up.
Heeeey Chuck finally meets someone who needs his stupid parking pass!! It's the guy to get to the guy to get to Sansome! Nacho (Jorge Cordova) has $3000 worth of parking fines and Chuck has the golden ticket.
Chuck calls Bobby for the next favour in line: he needs to move a charter school and Bobby's on the board. Bobby's off to see the Sheik and Chuck's hooked up with Sean Ayles (Jack Gilpin who has the best face ever) to meet dishy Ambassador Suarez (Raul Torres) who has an unfortunate situation at home. Long story short: Chuck's gonna get that concealed carry permit.
It's late and the Embassy is surrounded by security, a very suspicious Bobby follows Farhad into the lion's den.
Oh. It's not the Sheik that Bobby is meeting, but rather Grigor Andolov (John Malkovich with the most annoying, unwieldy Russian accent ever). Blah blah flexing blah chest thumping blah.
Grigor is backing Bobby off of Taylor, who will be allowed to make bigger plays.
Wags is waiting in the car when Bobby returns, this is not even an unusually crazy night for him.
Chuck makes his (hopefully) last stop of the night; hiya Bryan and Kate hanging out at the same bar as Commissioner Sansome! Chuck has a Little League pitcher for Sansome, the deal is done! All day we've been hearing gangsta rap as Chuck has made his moves but at climax it's all big band swing.
Taylor videochats with Sara as they change back into their usual clothing, they have a new plan and an apparently clothing-optional relationship. Bobby's struggling but when he took Grigor's morally questionable money to prop up his fund last year he must have known the day would come when he would have to kiss the ring.
Bobby will not give up on crushing Taylor; Wags calls him an American oligarch but we know Bobby's a robber baron. He won't douse the flame of Taylor's fledgling pyre but rather choke it out with lack of oxygen. And money.
Chuck and Richie Sansome bond over too much booze and Mafia drivebys. I don't know if laying in the middle of the street imitating dead Mafia dons is the best idea ever had, but we're out.
We certainly got out and about, didn't we? Met a bunch of new beautiful people, some old friends, and we even got a caper-feel type episode. Okay, so Chuck's still got it and Bobby is still drawn his own personal Waterloo, even if they no longer choose to oppose each other. This good vs evil storyline between Taylor and Bobby is a bit weak, but I have faith in the Billions writers, who can throw twists with the best of them. Until next time! Cheers