Oh hai Billions, you with all your obscene wealth and shiny hair, how are you doing? Not much has happened this season yet (wracking my brain trying to think of something that stood out, coming up blank), but I have a feeling we're setting the stage for a proper Golden Frog Time of a brawl. Let's find out in S4:E03, shall we?
We open with Bruce Springsteen singing as we visit a chicken farm; this is the type I saw in one of those juicing movies! Lotsa chickens, no light and poop everywhere.
Now we're at the offices of Axe Financial with Bobby "Axe" Axelrod (Damian Lewis), psychologist Dr. Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff), Operations Manager Mike "Wags" Wagner (David Costabile from The Dirt!) and security expert Hall (Terry Kinney who looks older and less dangerous this season, but don't we all?). Bobby has tasked Hall with breaking into the headquarters of former protege Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon) but the security system is too good even for Hall. He did get something that captured the trading patterns, not heavily impressing Bobby but Wendy sees potential in using it as a psychological weapon.
*Unfortunately, I am already over this whole Bobby vs. Taylor plotline and we've barely got a toe into this fourth season.
**Apparently Chinese water torture has been misnamed; it was invented by an Italian
Bobby brings the illgotten information to analyst Ben Kim (Daniel K. Isaac), he's adorable.
Of course it's "Dollar" Bill Stearn (Kelly AuCoin) mixed up in the chicken business.
I couldn't decide which one I liked better, so you get them both!
Dollar is interested in the Arkansas Chicken Index; it seems the older fella we saw in the first shot on a scooter is the Chicken Man (Danny L. Chapman) who has literally been phoning in his chicken counting, leading to lower-than-expected chicken numbers, leading to overpriced but plentiful chicken.
Bobby just wants to know one thing (I LOVE THIS PART), what's Dollar's level of certainty?
Chuck Rhoades Sr. (Jeffrey Demunn) calls his son and recently declared Attorney General candidate Chuck Rhoades Jr. (Paul Giamatti) to do something, I don't know, I was paying all my attention to the lifesize Michael Bolton cut out next to Sr. in his casino. Is Michael Bolton playing casinos now? Like, fancy ones?
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh okay, we need a little history lesson. Season two was all about Bobby trying to buy a town named Sandicott because he was told there was going to be a casino built nearby. Once Chuck Sr. found out that Bobby had bought up all the debt in Sandicott, he arranged for an old crony Black Jack Foley (David Strathairn whom I LOVE) to move the casino somewhere else that he owned instead. THIS is that casino, and it's opening night! He wants his son there tout suite!
**One more quick note about Sandicott; it led to some fairly brutal austerity measures against the town, who had entrusted their pensions and investments to some inept people. Bobby bleeding the town dry with Taylor's help was a moral turning point of the show and Taylor is now using that as a reason they set up shop across town against Bobby.
Chuck Jr. doesn't wanna go play politician, dad! He's dealing with a migraine and now he gets to see former colleague Lonnie Watley (Malachi Weir, very happy to see him again!) on top of it. Lonnie's firm has cancelled the fundraiser scheduled for Chuck, it seems a story is out about an early case Chuck didn't prosecute. Did Lonnie come there to gloat or warn Chuck? Chuck's an optimist, so he ignores Lonnie's enmity and says he owes him one. I have no doubt Chuck can horsetrade this "problem" away.
Taylor's already noticed the fox in their henhouse, they call in Maffee (Dan Soder) and Winston the Quant Kid (Will Roland - awww, he used to just be Quant! He got a name!) who had an idea but he did not verbalise so he gets no kudos.
Taylor immediately susses out who is to blame, their right hand person Sara (Samantha Mathis - she's doing GREAT lately!) is on the case and hey, look who's come to see us! It's Douglas Mason (Kevin Pollak!!!! I am so excited!! Willow 4EVA!) who must be Taylor's dad.
Chuck's tracked down the reporter Lucien Porter (Mathew Lawler) who sticks a Gerry Raffety song in my melon (Baker Street 1978 - "You're trying, you're trying now" - now it's in your head too!) aka the best part of "You Belong to the City" by Glenn Frey.
**I swear, I wasn't trying to write a concise, efficient recap but I just spent half an hour researching and listening to 70s songs
Where were we? Ah yes, Lucien is miffed that Chuck didn't take him downtown, so he's going to roast him before he's important again. Lucien is threatening to release his story about Sugar Vape, marketing vape products to kiddos, which Chuck declined to prosecute. Coincidentally, the owners of SugarVape are good friends of Chuck's dad.
Chuck threatens/entices Lucien by throwing back his own Baker Street lyrics, let's see if Lucien bites. Someone has obviously put him up to it, we have to assume it was Chuck's newest arch-nemesis Jock Jeffcoat (Clancy Brown).
The whole team, including Dollar, Everready (Keith Eric Chapelle) and Ben Kim watch as the chicken report...is delayed. The music and Dollar's face tell us this is bad news, was his information from the buxom Meals on Wheels lady (Amy Bettina) compromised?
Taylor meets with security expert Cook (Glenn Davis - we got a name, yay!) who will fix the hole in the system, watching Maffee talk to their dad.
Douglas has all kinds of dirt on Taylor, but it's jarring because he keeps calling Taylor "she". Taylor takes him aside for what is obviously not the first chat about the same. He's *sort of* trying?
Sara shows up to deliver news from Grigor Andolov (John Malkovich), when are they going to start earning? Right now, with Douglas's help.
Chuck's dug up the whistleblower Ray Cruz (James Martinez) connected to the SugarVape prosecution, he's had some hard times since Chuck left him high and dry. Chuck counters with the reality of the civil lawsuit that would have rained down on him, Whistleblower actually asks Chuck for help.
Chuck leaves Lonnie a cheery message, is it wrong that I want a car to hit him just then?
Dollar's in Arkansas, Chicken Man isn't answering, did someone get to him? I thought he might be sick, he did not look very healthy.
Hall's got a backup plan for snooping on Taylor's office; it's an Israeli spycam that can see through privacy glass. He has one for personal use which makes Bobby gloriously do this.
Taylor and their dad fight about math (but not about math) and the binary (but not the math binary, ifyouknowwhatImean) as a camera clicks away.
Mobilized Meals (Amy Bettina) takes Dollar to Chicken Man's house, finding CM dead and leaving his fingerprints on the window!
Lucien approaches Bryan Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore) and Kate Sacker (Condola Rashad) to complain about his story being torpedoed; Kate's gonna fix it tomorrow because she can and she's generous like that. He'll get to know that about her.
It's late at the office, Hall shows up with the code Taylor just wrote with their dad. Bobby is very excited.
Almost as excited as Chuck, who wants Wendy to lace up some leather boots and whips to relieve his headache. She offers regular sex, but he begs off, his interest reviving again when he sees her snapping an elastic into her hair.
Dollar's staked out the chicken farm, where it's all bad news. Actually mobile people with laptops bent on counting actual chickens have arrived. Can he buy off all 7?
Kate wants to know why whistleblower Ray has bowed out of the race, she offers practical assistance.
Not only is Kate going to prosecute SugarVape, she's going to make sure he's able to sue SugarVape and get federal whistblower protection. He's listening!
More tense talk between Taylor and their dad, mixed with affection and pathos. He agrees to stay on a bit longer, yay! He'll get those pronouns sorted right skippy!
Oh no. Dollar's going full tilt to save the chicken count, is he going to torch some poor miserable chickens?? Is he going to rub quarantined chickens all over the healthy ones??
Lucien Porter's story runs with a much juicer headline; this one about Chuck trying to intimidate a whistleblower into giving up his whistle. Everyone and their cousin calls, Chuck only picks up for his dad, who's relaxing in his hotel room with a dressing escort. He wants Jr. to come show his face.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch.
Bobby and Wags are waiting outside the farm, whoa whoa there, Chicken Bill! He's going to kill "a few hundred thousand birds". It's okay to not mess with the food supply, Dollar, so you don't deliver every single time!
They walk him away.
This does look like a fancy casino, but it's completely outshone by Wendy! She's so beautiful. Then I started looking around for Michael Bolton because I'm a huge Office Space fan.
Chuck heads right for the bathroom where he indulges in some self-abuse. Not the type you'd expect, but a large rubber band around his upper thigh that he can snap. Wendy is impressed with his game face.
Bobby's been studying Taylor's code for hours, there's a mistake. But Taylor doesn't make errors, meaning that this is a peace offering.
Chuck shakes a lot of hands and smiles at everyone, snapping the rubber band for fortification in between. It's appears to be going well until a photographer approaches and everyone else scatters like cockroaches under the light. His chances are not assured.
Bobby and Taylor meet in the dark by the water to banter about peace; it's just that Taylor totally screwed Bobby over when they left and stole people for their own shop, so I dunno how far Bobby will go towards that truce. Not very far, I'd wager.
Oh hai Michael Bolton! He's aged phenomenally! Chuck Sr. uses his performance as a pep talk for his son, just keep going! Do whatever you need to do to outlast the next guy!
Chuck and Bobby meet later, Chuck needs Bobby's help, and not just financially speaking. Well, sort of financially, he wants Bobby's money but he also wants Bobby to take all the money from the other guy. Bobby is intrigued. They fence around the idea a little; is Chuck gonna get a case of White Hat once he buckles up as Attorney General? Bobby has a favour in mind, he'll share that after Chuck is in place.
Chuck signs a LOT of blank cheques.
We're done as the glorious Baker Street with Gerry Rafferty's dulcet tones ride us out on a velvet fog. That was a fun episode! It's hard to beat the caper vibe of anything involving Dollar Bill and Bobby; they play off each other beautifully and it's a glory to behold. Interesting about Chuck needing the crutch of his particular brand of stress relief, how long until it crosses the line for him and becomes unmanageable?
FINALLY KATE GOT TO MAKE A BLOODY MOVE! FINALLY. Also: Triple G is a boxer, apparently, that was the reference. Until next time!