Billions S4:E04 Overton Window Recap

It's time for Billionaires and their baubles again; last week was fun! They don't usually run caper episodes back to back, so we can expect something political this time, along with some whips and chains. So our basic Monday nights, amirite? Rolling Billions S4:E04 after the break!

We open


In a parking lot full of school buses. The Burke Brothers from Lara's past - Terry (Michael Stoyanov) and Johnny (Kevin Breznahan) are up to no good in neon yellow, under hoods pulling cables out of somewhere important in the middle of the night.

Last time we saw the brothers, they were expanding their horizons and operations at their dive bar.

You remember dese guys, yes? They were a crucial part of Golden Frog Time and a connection to the past for Bobby but especially Lara.

We skip to


As people get on a big bus.

Bobby "Axe" Axelrod (Damian Lewis) is somehow outtalking Chuck Rhoades Jr. (Paul Giamatti), reminiscing about a carnival experience from his youth. It's to explain to Chuck that the Attorney General Primary is in the bank. Bobby promised to deliver the AG role to Chuckles, starting with school buses not running and people getting on a bus; those people were most likely going to vote against Chuck.

**I was very excited to see his opponent, it's Ajay Naidu from Office Space!!

Chuck isn't breaking out out the bubbly yet, though, he's got one big hurdle to jump first. Technically, his dad Chuck Rhoades Sr. (Jeffrey Demunn, I loved him in The Walking Dead but this character is creeping me the eff oot) will be taking down this particular challenge, but it won't be easy.

**Hahahaha of course it will, this is essentially a soap opera with a huge budget, an affinity for BDSM and naked geriatrics.

Sr. has to talk his "friend" and influencer (not like YouTube influencer, more of a kingmaker) BlackJack Foley (David Strathairn), who wanted to help make Jr. Governor...and then was badly burned. Some fighty/WASPy words later and BlackJack throws down the gauntlet: Chuck Jr. will NEVER be the AG of this great state! Or any of the lesser states hahaha.

BlackJack is going to the mattresses, indeed, right down to his knowledge about Chuck's "degenerate" sex life.

**For the record, Chuck and his wife Wendy engage in consensual BDSM play wherein Chuck is the submissive. There are only two things I find worrisome about their lifestyle; one being that Wendy is no longer interested in these shenanigans and the other is that Chuck appears to be using it as some kind of a crutch.

***I am very sorry for those of you who ended up in this recap, disappointed, via a Google search of the terms above, but stick around! We have cake!

Chuck explains to Bobby without details, Bobby quotes back Walter Mosely "always outnumbered, always outgunned", that's the state of play for guys like us!'

**I always liked the Easy Rawlins series by Walter Mosely, I will check out this one!

More Bobby pep-talking, Chuck was his most formidable opponent, his heart used to race when he saw Chuck! Chuck is grudgingly cheered. Enough to ask Karl Allerd (Allan Harvey) to find out why BlackJack is so ready to throw down, anyway. Why is Karl there? Doesn't he work for the US Attorney's office? I'm confused.

Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon) gets a visit from their dadeh Douglas Mason (Kevin Pollak!) and they talk math briefly before he asks them for money for a project. Taylor is disappointed; they thought their dad was staying to build their relationship (and proper gender neutral pronoun use), not hit them up for dough.

*Disappointed child sideye*

Bobby takes his new ladyfriend Rebecca Cantu (Nina Arianda) out for a spin in a stupid-fancy car. They talk shop for foreplay, I think he's sharing too much information with our Rebecca, she's a shark with great hair. Some flexing after has my eyes rolling almost as fast as that stupid-fancy car, which is only $130k USD.


A lone man in tie and shortsleeves runs alone an office to call Bobby frantically, something is gonna get splodey. Bobby calls "Dollar" Bill Stearn (Kelly Aucoin) and directs him to get out of all natural gas holdings. For some reason, Bobby and his security team run while they're calling, I guess so we're extra frantic.


Now. I'm not an expert. But isn't this the definition of insider trading?

It's a moot point, nobody can trade anything because the whole Axe-Cap network goes down as soon as the opening bell has been rung. The system has been hacked. Analyst Ben Kim (Daniel K. Isaac) watches in disbelief, how did IT not safeguard against this?

I'm going to assume this is an attack by Taylor and their Quant Team, but how would they know about the natural gas issue, if they did? That's the more interesting question to me.

Karl gives Chuck the lowdown on BlackJack's stubbornness; he's got terminal cancer and his going away present to himself is Chuck crashing and burning. In fact, he's been working with Chuck's current mega-nemesis Jock Jeffcoat (Clancy Brown) who "always knew he was a pervert."

**It's consensual!! They're adults! Nobody's asking you to strap on a whip, Jock!

Karl calls it "the great man's final move" but I thought BlackJack looked craven and weak with Jock, although he could be just tired, cancer sucks arse.

Taylor's caught wind of the hackattack; her CEO (I'm just making up titles now, they don't tell me NUTHIN on this show) Sara Hammon (Samantha Mathis!) suggests they make hay while Bobby's sun is not shining, stealing whatever move he was trying to make when the lights went out.

**Now. In 2019 phones and internet going down in a building means literally less than nothing, right? Every goshdarn one of them has minimum one cell phone on them with at least one data plan, so I'm calling shenanigans. Make a wifi hotspot!

Ben Kim comes up with a laptop/wifi hotspot combo as I nod approvingly.

And then that stops working because *see note above about soap opera.

Bobby thinks that Russian oligarch Grigor Andolov (John Malkovich) is responsible; Grigor was unhappy with Bobby's revenge on his former protege Taylor. Bobby comes up with an old skool plan involving Reebok Pumps and non-traceable phones.

Dollar is prepared.

Bobby calls Rebecca to ask for a favour; earlier they discussed the move he was planning to take during a board meeting, working with another guy to remove someone else. He asks Rebecca to go in his stead, but the person supposed to be backing Bobby already dumped his shares and no longer has a horse in this race. Rebecca's not giving up that easily.

Back at AxeCap, Bobby and Mike "Wags" Wagner (David Costabile) work the phones while all the other analysts look on in awe. It didn't take long for Maffee (Dan Soder) over at Taylor's shop to figure out what was up, they're going to drop all their shares and depress the price of natural gas for everyone so Bobby won't be able to get a decent price for his shares.

**This is literally exactly what insider trading looks like; they can trace these weird spikes!!

Things get sticky for Bobby and Wags, but I now have a sort of idea about Wags in his off hours.

Dr. Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff - where you been??) pops up to ask what I was thinking: what are you guys doing just sitting there watching? Ben Kim would like to help, but he's never made a trade with his voice ever hahaha. Young people. It was Maffee that did the voice trades!

Instead of gladhanding with voters, Chuck Jr. has been dragged out to a new development by his dad Sr., who doesn't want to hear any boohooing about losing the Primary (he hasn't yet). This development is his legacy, he just needs Jr. to grease some wheels! He suggests that Jr. go ahead anyway, damn the BDSM torpedoes that BlackJack might release. Sr. throws in a creepy reference to Wendy slapping Jr. later; he's disgusting and Jr.'s PARENT.

Bobby works his throwaway phones with increasing desperation.

Newbie Tuk Lal (Dhruv Maheshwari) finds an error in Compliance Officer Ari Spyros (Stephen Kunken)'s calculations, actually never mind, it's all wrong.

**That's right, they have a Compliance Officer right there counting their money made and lost from insider trading.

Chuck Jr. explains the situation to Wendy, who is sorry for him that he's having to pull out of the race. He pauses, non-plussed, but what if he just went for it, Wendy? She wants to know if he's "f****** insane?" There's the Overton Window, which refers to the concept of there being a range of ideas suitable for public discussion. I don't know if what Chuck and Wendy do is so far away from middle America these days; Fifty Shades of Grey made people think BDSM-lite was the new black.

Wendy will not take the humiliation of this public disclosure of their private life, however much Chuck enjoys that sort of thing.

Rebecca makes her move on Evan Robards (Reed Diamond), who is not cowed by the spectre of Bobby Axelrod. However. He will not be facing Bobby, but rather Rebecca, who is a much bigger threat in this situation. Interesting.

The natural gas pipeline blows as Wags makes the last trade of the day; they got out of 90% of their positions! Dollar saved 70 million alone, another 450m or so was saved by Bobby and Wags.

Over at Taylor shop, they group high-five without touching because of course they do. Sara's picked up on the strange timing of events; I was thinking it was Taylor messing with Bobby until he mentioned Grigor, of course our execrable Russian accent would be able to arrange for the pipeline explosion as well.

Taylor's had such a good day that they even take a look at their dad's project. They're gonna back it!

Hall (Taylor Kinney) found the Russian gadget that killed their network, just before Rebecca comes in to take her victory lap. I immediately assume she's a mole, seeing how cozy she's getting with Bobby. Plus I have trust issues.

Chuck waits with his bestie Ira (Ben Shenkman), ready to concede the Primary with Ira's speech.

*There is no way he will concede

And he doesn't. Instead he invokes Winston Churchill and asks everyone to understand his predilection for sexual humiliation while everyone watches. I mean EVERYONE. I don't know that he needed to get quite as graphic as he does, given that Wendy is practically hyperventilating watching him explain how he achieves sexual gratification. While everyone in her office watches her.

Sr. is the only one excited about this turn of events; Bryan Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore) and Kate Sacker (Condola Rashad) look as though they want to crawl under the carpet.

Chuck sells it as being comfortable with who he is; isn't it glorious when you can say what you want and need and get it? And not be shamed for it? Tis indeed, but I bet Chuck had it pretty good right up until then. He was able to share his need with his partner AND she was down to party. Now what?

Wendy is devastated, but it's super fun looking at everyone else's faces in a roving montage! I don't think she's going to punch him ever again.

Chuck and his supporters have time to enjoy a glass of champagne, right until Wendy shows up. The fact that he workshopped her betrayal before broadcasting it to the world is the final straw.

Wendy is done hearing Chuck talk.

**Please please PLEASE actually get rid of this guy this time, Wendy!

Taylor calls Wendy with an offer of support, they know what it's like to be scrutinized for who they are. Wendy hangs up, but she did take the call...hmmm.

30 days later, Chuck is the Attorney General of New York and everyone is super excited except Wendy, who isn't there. He fields a call from the governor-elect then heads to his suite to find Grigor Andolov. It seems Bobby called in his marker, which was to freeze all of Grigor's money and eject him from the United States.

Grigor suggests a slap-junket for fun together, Chuck demurs and gives him 12 hours to get out of town. Grigor heads to the airport to be met by Bobby for some chest-bumping. And we're out.

*My god I hate that farking accent so much. Oh and then they end with Bob Dylan. Honestly

I *think* they're done. I think Bobby and Grigor's fairytale enmity is over, what shall we do now? Buy more stupid-fancy cars? Jostle for position with Taylor? PowerCouple with Rebecca? I dunno, but I guess we'll find out next week! Until then, cheers!