Hi! We’re back with our dissolute denizens of New York on the shadiest male-o-drama this side of a Hemingway sewing circle, who’s ready to roll into Billions S4:E05? Onward!
Personally, I’m excited by all the people popping up in our Previously On preview, how about you? Not so Billions, who has chosen to lead the last two episodes with a famous person I have to Google. It’s not that Nick Morgenstern (Nick Morgenstern), CEO of Eataly and purveyor of fine ice creams isn’t famous enough, it’s that Billions is purposely choosing insiders so we all feel like outsiders. Unless you recognised our last three cameos, if you did goodonya mate!
Nick’s got extra fine ice cream and a theory about speakeasies as American culture, Dr. Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff) is more interested in the anonymity they offered.
**She is still not over having her sex life graphically splashed all over town by her doting husband
AND she’s meeting with her boss and friend’s arch nemesis! Hai Taylor Mason! (Asia Kate Dillon), want some ‘scream?
Taylor will take the ‘scream but there will not be any talking, gettit!?
Wendy is a trained psychologist (I’m maybe a little fuzzy on her qualifications definitely a doctorate of some stripe); she’s good at keeping her patients and others at arm’s length but Taylor and their dispassionate eye found their way under Wendy’s guard.
**I just had a wonderful flash of Wendy defecting to Taylor’s camp, bidding adieu to her arsehole hubby who LIED TO HER and her hypermacho boss Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Damien Lewis – I’m trying to recall if I’ve heard anyone call him Axe) who is territorial, mercurial and arbitrary. Then I woke up.
**Okay, so then Taylor called him Axe. Fine.
Wendy is impressed that Taylor reached out to her after her husband Chuck Rhoades Jr. (Paul Giamatti), even if she wasn’t ready to talk then. Nobody else did, they mostly gawked and tried to see what kind of bustier she was wearing.
Taylor cuts to the chase: what would Axe do if he knew they were meeting? Wendy has no intention of telling Axe, but we all know this is a fireable offense.
Wendy pitches a one-sided relationship; she uses Taylor as a dispassionate ear to sort out her troubles then Taylor can do likewise, if they feel like it. Taylor is willing to listen, not paying any attention to my disbelieving snorts in the background.
US State Attorney Bryan Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore) is working late, looks like Supreme Court Justice (I’m just making up titles, I know he sits on the bench and is a bigwig) Adam DiGuilio (Rob Morrow) is busy watching futbol and is skeptical of Bryan’s request for a wiretap on his pal Chuck Rhodes Jr. and his dad Sr. I’m counting the seconds after his denial until he calls Chuck himself with the scoop.
Bryan and Chuck used to be pals, they had a mentee/mentor type of relationship but now they are also nemesi. Chuck has so.many special enemies! He gets a note the next day and meets Adam in a clandestine location. Chuck pays Adam back for the intel with a juicy healthcase case. Sounds exciting!
Taylor takes their dad Douglas (Kevin Pollak!!) to his new factory for building his prototype of something complicated-sounding. Taylor is worried that Bobby will do whatever he can to sabotage the project, so implements some security protocol.
Turns out, they’re right! Across the street Bobby and Hall (Terry Kinney), Bobby’s head of security, are already scoping out the joint in full black leather/silk blends. Hall can do this all on his own, thankyouverymuch, doesn’t Bobby have a date?
Oh. Well. It’s not date night Chez Rhoades, not since Chuck exposed Wendy to the world. He’s sleeping in the guest room, popping in to wistfully ask for some more pajamas. He also requests permission to see another domme; Wendy waffles until she sees the pain he’s been inflicting on himself. Personally, Billions, if you could just never show Chuck or anyone with a safety pin through their nipple(s) again, that would be great. Thanks.
Wendy goes so far as to suggest a gameplan; have someone come to the house dressed for a “sports massage” because no way would anyone associate sex with a “sports massage.” She’ll take the kids out and Chuck can relieve some tension.
Wendy is the most understanding spouse ever; she sees how dependent on pain he’s become. He’s no longer in control of his need for erotic pain and humiliation.
Bobby calls old pal Victor Mateo (Louis Cancelmi), whom we remember from Golden Frog Time, but Victor can’t talk.
Victor can’t talk??
Bobby senses something immediately, calling his lawyer Warren (Glenn Fleschler).
Awwww Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure reference! Appropriately aged, as always. Time for a deep dive on Victor!
An extremely fancy card is delivered to Mike “Wags” Wagner (David Costabile), he’s been admitted into Wall Street’s super secret fraternity! Bobby mehs, but Wags is ecstatic. Kappa Beta Phi! Ari Spyros (Stephen Kunken) is “jelly af.”
Warren’s sussed that Victor is in trouble with law enforcement, maybe it’s a good thing he couldn’t talk to Bobby! But then I’m an optimist.
Karl Allard (Allen Harvey) and Tonelle “T” Burton (Tijuana Ricks – isn’t that the best name ever?) are helping Chuck investigate yet another of his nemesi, seems Waylon “Jock” Jeffcoat (Clancy Brown) made a pitstop in the Cayman Islands recently. T isn’t there to help Chuck in his blood feud, however, she’s there for her own reasons; I’m sure they make a hell of a lot more sense than Chuck’s usual circlejerky shenanigans.
Bobby meets with Victor Mateo, he didn’t give anything up to the feds, but that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped gunning for him. Bobby advises him to limit his clients to friends from elementary school and hire a lawyer. Victor assures Bobby he’ll keep Bobby out of it, now Bobby is sure of the opposite.
Ooooh back to the office of the Attorney General of New York, Chuck about pees himself with glee when he hears that Jock was meeting with Todd Krakow (Danny Strong), US Treasury dude. We know him from when he tried to hire Wendy and also stare down Bobby from a foot and a half height deficit. They’re pals now! Off to the Caymans in the state jet!
Bobby leads a brainstorming session in the warroom at Axe Capital; what does “Dollar” Bill Stearn (Kelly Aucoin) think of Victor’s loyalty?
**I legit didn’t know what it meant until the gif, mostly I just liked watching Dollar’s face
Wags wants to cut Victor loose, his sloppiness has left them all wide open. Ari Spyros thinks he gets a vote (why is he here again?) but Warren’s got the real skinny. Taylor had their hands on the paper; turns out Bobby owns half of Victor’s shop and therefore, his actions are “legally attributable” to Axe.
The agreement is unbreakable (no lawyer would say that), the only option is to not have the case tried before the US Attorney – you know him, that’s Bryan! We met him at the top of the hour.
Bobby calls Chuck right away, he agrees to carefully prosecute Victor and Chuck’s away in the state jet. This has not gone unnoticed by US Attorney Bryan, who set up an alert for himself if Chuck traveled. He complains to Kate Sacker (Condola Rashad), who could not care less if you dipped it in glitter. Let Chuck have his, don’t torpedo yourself on territorial bullshite. I love it when Kate talks straight, it’s so rare.
Bobby and Hall are watching closely as Taylor and their father pitch his new product, Wendy and Wags hang nearby to murmur encouraging things. They leave, Wags to get ready for Pledge Week (a wink from Hall makes him very nervous) and Wendy to be ratted out by Hall.
Bobby is shocked to hear that Wendy’s been meeting with Taylor and not saying boo, Hall is to monitor closely, which I assume means audio next time.
Ooooh we’re in the Caymans and Chuck meeting with Abginton (Geoffrey Owens – from Divorce! And also the Cosby Show, apparently and Trader Joe’s) who swears Jock does not have any accounts there. So sorry! Oh but he does have some sketchy business practices Chuck holds over his head.
Awww, Wags is so excited about his initiation into the holy fraternity that it’s infectious. Dollar and Ari are helping him shop for his gown for a party, Wags’ recounting of his past tinged with shame, pain and uncertainty chokes everyone up. In 6inch nude heels, no less.
Ooooh, Bryan and Kate show up and snake Chuck’s witness Abginton! Off he goes in the OTHER New York state jet (someone get me the numbers for what they’re spending on shelters for victims of domestic violence and homeless people! Oh what? Whatever, I can buzzkill all I want, this isn’t my fairytale!) with the FBI while Chuck and Bryan go toe to toe. Again. Wheeeeee they’ll see each other in court!
Douglas Mason has decided he doesn’t want to do any business with any of the investors Taylor brought him; he’s pouting because he wanted them to finance all of it. *The melodramatic music tells us this is family fight time*
Maffee (Dan Soder) tries to convince Douglas to stay, but pride will not goeth before this fall just yet.
*Ohhh and by the way, it was Maffee who helped Taylor screw Bobby over with the Victor agreement
Taylor and Wendy meet again, lots of chitchat but I was struck by the gorgeous shot more so than the loaded banter about dads.
Wendy leaves and calls for her old Taylor Mason session notes.
Bobby and Rebecca are at the making dinner for each other stage, awww, but a surprise visit from Chuck throws a spanner in the works. Chuck won’t be able to help Victor at this point; Bobby will be collateral damage if the US Attorney notices the fine print.
Bobby comes back pissed off and no longer in the mood to make gnocchi by hand, he doesn’t want to talk about it, okay Rebecca? F**k. Rebecca is taken aback, but rallies: this is like S.C.U.B.A diving when “maximum recreational depth” is achieved.
**I was going to say that would be an excellent episode title and then I looked at IMDb and they had beat me to it. I must say the subtitle should be “LOYALTY, MOTHERHUMPER” but there’s probably a reason why I do this on evenings and weekends. “Daddy Issues” is on the list!
Rebecca thinks Bobby talking money and issues is more intimate to him that sex, he’s not ready for it so she bails.
**EXCUSE ME, did we not just watch the two of them run a joint game on some board two episodes back?
Business and money was ALL they talked about and now we’re supposed to forget that and think Bobby’s your typical billionaire playboy?
Time for Chuck’s “sports massage”! Wendy is taking the kids out for the night and some new woman is going to beat his arse for stress relief.
Cassie (Ava Lee Scott) is dressed for battle.
Wasting no time by immediately punching Chuck in the face and grinding a very sharp stiletto heel on his junk. This is C*B*T, I Googled!
Taylor and their dad Douglas face off again; the narrative has been that he developed a special prototype while employed then received nothing in return for his billion dollar idea. Taylor did some digging via their head of security Cook (Glenn Davis), turns out things didn’t go exactly like that. Douglas developed an awesome idea, sure, but didn’t tell his manager and shopped it to the company across the street instead. Whoops!
What he didn’t know was that he was going to be made CTO before his shenanigans came to light. That seems to slow him down a little, but rallies to suggest again that Taylor support his project unilaterally.
Taylor knows their shite, they need a strategic partnership and he should shut up and invent. He finally understands that “it’s hard becoming a new version of yourself.”
That’s almost impossible for most people to be accepted as evolved, I can’t imagine how difficult it is for Taylor. We’ve only known them as Them, how do you retrain someone who thinks they own you?
Chuck got beat to shite by Cassie, I still can’t believe she hit him in the face. With a businessman, you’ve got to keep that below the neck! He’s all burned and cut, jaysus. Wendy can’t believe how marked up he is, she’s worried people will think she did this to him. He can’t live without this, that’s scaring Wendy and I.
Well, here’s a blast from the past! Bobby has brought in his ex-wife Lara (Malin Akerman) for coffee, I think he wants her advice. He used to run everything past her, they were a very tight unit, except for his friendship with Wendy, which ultimately led to their divorce. Some divorce-banter later, they’re actually talking and it’s lovely. He always appreciated her loyalty, and now he’s willing to let her and their kids move wherever she wants. Perhaps that’s why he couldn’t make the move with Rebecca, he needed to settle this first?
Chuck, Bryan and Kate argue over Abginton in front of Judge Adam DeGuilio (Rob Morrow), Bryan takes the W.
Bobby interrupts Rebecca at work; he’s all twisted up about this Victor issue and he’s willing to share now that he’s put his ex-wife and their kids on a plane.
*Just read that sentence over again.
Rebecca does have a revolutionary idea, Bobby should clean up his mess before the mess controls him!
*I rolled my eyes so hard that I lost my balance for just a minute. We’re supposed to believe that Bobby couldn’t think of a way to clean up his own mess and that a vague motivational cliche shone a bright light for him?
Bobby does as directed, cleaning up Victor before he could become a problem. Victor and his icy cheekbones will be working a desk at Axe Cap for the foreseeable future.
Ben Kim (Daniel K. Isaac) and Tuk Lal (Dhruv Mahershwari) welcome Victor to the desk, but it’s Dollar who does the introductions. Bonnie Barella (Sarah Stiles) wants to know what Victor’s going to be doing here? The same thing we do every night, Pinky, “Earn.”
Chuck and Adam meet up in a candy shop, seems Chuck threw the fight over Abginton to Bryan on purpose for the bigger picture, which is Bryan having to prosecute his boss Jock Jeffcoat (Clancy Brown) via Krakow.
Bryan is just starting in on Abginton when he is summoned to his office to see Jock right at home. He will not be allowed to prosecute Krakow, which we totally already knew was gonna happen, and now Bryan knows too!
It takes Bryan a minute to swallow the bitter pill with Jock’s boot on his throat, but then he rebounds with a vow to live to fight Chuck another day. It almost brings a tear to Jock’e eye.
Wendy sorts through her old session notes with Taylor, there’s quite a lot in there about Taylor’s dad. Will she use that? Is she using Taylor?
Oh no. Wags got all fancy in a gorgeous blue dress, but he’s not on the list?
He’s been humiliated by Mick Nussfaur (Michael Kostroff), whose grave he swiped a season or two ago. Wags is all about prestige, so he wanted a grave plot in a super exclusive cemetery and screwed disguy over to get it. Not only has Wags not been invited into this super secret fancy fraternity, he won’t ever be, thanks to Nussfaur. He’s homies with the Grand Swipe (Robert O’Gorman) who helped with the fake invitation.
Wags vows revenge (in a super profane and graphic way, course) and leaves to the laughs of all.
Kate walks the Krakow case over to Chuck’s office, he senses some softening on her part and so starts a pitch that she shoots down. For now.
Celebration time for Taylor Mason Capital, they accepted an offer from a strategic partner and it’s nothing but success from here on out! Maffee skips out early, where can he be headed? Off to see Wendy in a speakeasy (where we started)? Really?
*History there: Maffee always had a thing for Wendy, which she used to her advantage when she was facing federal time for her involvement in the Golden Frog Time scam. You should totally watch/read that episode.
If Bobby is nervous with Wendy meeting Taylor, he would be apoplectic to hear that she’s having cocktails with Maffee, what’s shaking here?
She gently pries out information about Taylor’s plans and runs back to the office to share the news of her side mission. Bobby is relieved.
Wendy was working Taylor too, she knows that the best and most effective way to crush Taylor is to have them destroy their father and his life’s work and dream. We’re all a little surprised Wendy had that in her.
Looks like everyone in New York works until the middle of the night, so Bryan has no problem finding another judge to get a wiretap on Chuck. Judge Funt (Harris Yulin – seriously, Google this guy, he’s been in everything!) is appropriately equal parts craggy and skeptical, he knows Bryan already asked for this wiretap warrant and was denied by Adam DeGuilio. Bryan hands over a video of Adam and Chuck meeting that very night, looks like the Grasshopper has become the Master! Bryan gets his wiretap and Chuck better keep it clean for awhile.
We end with Chuck and Wendy at yet another impasse.
Until next time, cheers!