Hey look, it's Friday already, how did that happen? Seems like it was juuuuust Sunday when Billions S4:E08 originally aired...Okay, let's just get to it, there's been a battle a-brewing and I can smell napalm in the morning. Rolling!
By that I mean a literal fight between former hedge bros "Dollar" Bill Stearn (Kelly AuCoin) and Mafee (Dan Soder), who recently defected to enemy hedge fund Taylor Mason Capital. They're going to box because it's not legal to show naked men swinging a tape measure around their privates on prime time TV. YET.
Hedge fund Deputy Chiefs are negotiating the terms of the rumpus, Mike "Wags" Wagner (David Costabile) from Axe Capital is looking for a bareknuckle brawl but Sara Hammon (Samantha Mathis) of TMC wants recognizable people exiting the ring, plez.
Multitalented Sean Ayles (Jack Gilpin of the gloriously patrician face) mediates; winnings will go to charity but a side wager of fifty grand is also on the table.
Dollar and his wife (which wife? He had two but blew that up in season one) are awoken in the middle of the night by Wags, Bobby "Axe" Axelrod (Damian Lewis) and presumably a fighter of some stripe who is there to make Dollar a man.
*Between the Google searches trying to figure out who the pron actors were this season and now the MMA fighters, whomever collates data is going to be very confused about my middle-aged female suburban bum.
Dollar runs down the middle of the road and you know what? I'm going to have to leave this for now or you're not going to like this at all. I am oot of gas and cranky. Cheers, see you shortly!
Oh hi Monday! How YOU doing?
We're with Mafee at the office, handing over all of his marijuana accoutrements as he's now in training. Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillion) walks by without a word.
Dr. Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff) is running again, but you know what trainers say: you can't outrun eleventy thousand bad decisions (I'm paraphrasing). She's got hedgie Bonnie Barella (Sarah Stiles, also of the short-lived Dietland!) with her, is she gonna spill or what?
Bonnie is here for the yakkin, Wendy! Wendy doesn't have a lot of girlfriends (really?), does she? Guys are easier (really?) but it doesn't surprise me that we're going the "I don't connect with a lot of women, they're catty/jealous/boring/hate me" route; the women on Billions follow very well-defined paths.
Bonnie wants to know how Wendy is holding up after Mafee singled her out as a monster over how she destroyed Taylor's relationship with their dad.
Wendy agreed with Mafee is the real problem. No way, says Bonnie, Wendy was just protecting Axe Capital, so it's totes cool, bro. Wendy is not doing as well as she appears, she's on the verge of collapse.
Wendy returns home to find her husband New York Attorney General Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) waiting with a full plate of breakfast. She can't decide if it's too soon or too late (he did a BUNCH of stuff that has cratered their relationship, not the least of which is exposing the graphic details of their bedroom shenanigans to the world after she politely asked him not to do that) but he's working against the clock of her selling their house. It's listed, there's a couple coming to see it, she wants to move on.
*It's such a tiny thing, but I've bought and sold at least a half dozen properties with a former partner and you just can't arbitrarily sell your house without their consent. Can.not. So this storyline is making me twitch. They also reference Speed the Plow, an acclaimed play by my least favourite playwright. David Mamet cannot write dialogue.
Taylor's dad is gone, but his coffee order lives on to taunt them. They rebound with an online auction win of "SomethingsomethingNumberNumberLetterSomethingSoundsImportantSomething" that CFO Sara Hammon (Samantha Mathis - I just make up titles for her every week because I'm not exactly sure what she does except make Taylor successful) hopes will fix everything.
Over at Axe Capital, Bobby and his entire team watch Taylor discuss fracking on TV's Halftime Report. They're trying to crush Bobby's position on SomethingOilandGasSomething, even referencing their time over at Axe Cap. This ties in with the NBA and the Celtics somehow.
I mean: NOBODY was Larry Byrd. THEN Taylor calls Bobby a dinosaur and refers to their new shop as the coming wave as opposed to old compromised dodo Bobby.
*I assume they use so many pop culture references in Billions to be relatable, do they understand it's like tossing a glitterball in the air every time they do? Distracting, unnecessary, fabulous and impossible to clean out of tile grout. This time it was Back to the Future.
Bonnie says what they're all thinking: they need to get out of NY refineries. Not everyone was thinking that, my bad, Victor Mateo (Louis Cancelmi) and his cheekbones think moving too fast is a mistake, that's just one investment opinion. Bobby sends him after securing the upcoming vote on fracking making it's way through local government.
*You know who knows a lot about fracking? Mark Ruffalo
Taylor and their team strategize about the same; PR rep Lauren Turner (Jade Eshete) has sussed that this is no longer about fracking but rather that f***ing Bobby Axelrod. For whatever reason, quantkid Winston (Will Roland) is included in this high-level meeting with Mafee and Sara, he wastes no time bringing up Taylor betraying their dad. He's always THAT guy.
Taylor is cold and vindictive and ready for war. They don't want Sara to go after Wendy just yet; first they need to take out the refineries.
*Insert Pinky and the Brain gif here*
Halftime Report TV Host (Rich Eisen/TimFerris/???? I dunno man) calls to apologize to Bobby, who just wants equal time on air.
Chuck's at work, refereeing between Tonelle "T" Burton (Tijunana Ricks who has a long history of playing nurses, why such a specific niche?) and Karl Allerd (Allan Harvey) regarding block-chain voting from phones, it's hilarious to me when we get five second snippets on major political issues. Chuck suggests a quick answer and they're in to see Hap Halloran (Saul Rubinek
*SAUL RUBINEK. He needs his own line. Okay, y'all know him from the years and years of TV, seriously he's been in every show worth mentioning a bunch that don't but he will always be from Bizarre to me first, And The Band Played On second. Have you seen or read that? An unbelievable work, both, but the book has the benefit of length and being extremely well written. One of the things I like the best about Billion is this massive ensemble cast they've accumulated.
Hap's not alone, US Attorney Bryan Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore) and head of Crim Kate Sacker (Condola Rashad) are there to express their opinions on online voting forthwith. Lemme guess: whatever the opposite of whatever Chuck votes for.
OR! Chuck hears Bryan's opinion against online voting and completely reverses his own opinion (stated less than a minute previously) to advocate passionately for democracy in the form of easier voting for the masses, i.e. on cell phones.
Chuck is mid-sermon on the mount when Hap interrupts; they're all moved, hankies are damp. Hahaha.
Again: Chuck wanted to get the No vote, so $10 says he did that just so they'll think they're voting against him. Can grown folks really be as easily manipulated as a four year old wanting an extra popsicle?
Chuck knows that Bryan and Kate represent Chuck's archenemy Jock Jeffcoat (Clancy Brown), he's trying to find out why Jock's vehemently opposed to online voting.
Kate doesn't get it either, she intimates that Bryan is being too good of a specific type of German (from around the 1930's to 1940s); why aren't they prosecuting people instead of trying to prevent others from voting?
*I think it's an interesting argument on both sides; Karl and Jock represent the opinion that people should have to expend a bare minimum of effort in order to exercise their voting rights; Kate and T are of the opinion that more votes are better than less with the opposite being true of barriers. Do we need to point out the colour of the people on either side here? Personally, I think the more voices the better, it makes democracy more viable if more people are able to participate in it. Otherwise it tends to skew, doesn't it? Onward!
Hap pops over to see Chuck, we get to the bottom of his reluctance to play ball with Chuck's voting test. He hates Chuck because of his sweep of crooked government dudes at Black Jack Foley (David Strathairn)'s funeral.
*I liked the part where we met Stacey Cunningham, the (first female) head of the New York Stock Exchange! But first, really?
They make skipping rope look tough and you know what else is? Skipping! I've been running/walking with my middle kiddo and he skips to keep up (I'm sloooowww) so I thought I would try it. It is so hard as an adult! My body didn't know what the Sam Hill I wanted it to do.
Investor Rebecca Cantu (Nina Arianda) is having some challenges with a new-to-her business she just picked up, boyfriend Bobby asks why she's expending so much money and effort for a dead catalogue mail order business. It meant a lot to her as a child, she could open up the pages and imagine a completely different life. She wants to turn it around, and not just for money (although money is definitely her god, as it is Bobby's), but to fix this company and show little girls that they don't have to just dream about shopping, they can buy the whole company.
*I couldn't catch the name of the company she's referring to although I rolled it back a few times, but I felt exactly like that about the Sears catalogues here in Canada. It was MAGIC and the Christmas Wishbook was something we treasured for months after the holidays.
Chuck asks his dad Chuck Sr. (Jeffrey DeMunn) to get him in with the tribe, Sr. and I are both wondering why Jr.'s suddenly interested in Jewish money but turns out he meant the indigenous tribe associated with Sr.'s casino. I only include that because this is a pretty typical expression for Chuck around his dad.
Sr. will help Jr. because he hates Jock too.
Sean Ayles is taking bets at Axe Capital, Dollar is at work in his headgear and he'd like Ben Kim (Daniel K. Isaac) to hit him in the face. Ben demurs (he took piano?) but Bonnie's allll over it. She knocks him down immediately.
Dollar is so worried about this fight! Bonnie pumps him up with some boxing analogies (do NOT get me started on Sugar Ray Leonard MARVIN HAGLER WAS ROBBED), Dollar will win because he has more heart!
She does not believe her own hype.
Ohhh earlier we saw Sara talking to a gentleman in a suit, now same fella is in Wendy's office. He's Dr. Zhang Lei (David Shih) and he has some questions for her. She self-identifies as a performance coach and head of HR (awesome! Now tell me what Sara does, officially!), he asks if she prescribes medication. That is odd, right? I can't imagine any of my past HR reps tossing me some Valium on a hard day. It didn't twig before because we know Wendy is a doctor and I assumed she was working in that capacity.
She looks floored, wandering into Bobby's office in a daze. She can't really have thought that there wouldn't be repercussions, could she?
Bobby's on TV now, attacking Taylor's ethics but going one step too far referencing their flipping of their dad's company. Taylor calls in and this is the real Fight Night, not whatever Dollar and Mafee are going to do to each other in the ring.
Taylor draws first blood by invoking Bobby's 9/11 profiteering, he's mad and we're talking about the boxing match. Bobby throws a million dollars on Dollar's back, two for a knockout but it's Taylor who takes this round by refusing to play the game with Bobby Axelrod. He has no response for that and oops the show is done.
Chuck approaches the head of the tribe associated with Sr.'s casino, Jane Halftown (Tanis Parenteau) is not interested in lobbying the board for him, especially since Sr. has been "tasting the fruit" of the clan. By that she means Sr. has a baby girl with member Roxanne (Lily Gladstone). Yerk.
Kate Sacker meets with her dad, Franklin Sacker (Harry Lennix) has been approached to consult on a block-chain voting project, now that sounds familiar! She advises him to go ahead, he wonders why as her bosses are against? She's feeling lost; ejecting Chuck felt like the right thing to do but now it's all complicated again and she can't figure out which direction she should be pointed in.
*I think the storyline of Kate as a conflicted idealist is an interesting choice given her awesomely naked ambition and willingness to play whatever side was winning in the first few seasons.
Hap is dismayed to see tribal leader Jane with Chuck in his office; she threatens to put on a show replete with full indigenous dress if he doesn't back down on Chuck's block-chain voting pilot project.
Hap knows when he's licked. Chuck throws in tickets to Aruba and Hap's off like a shot.
Chuck will be providing a lifelong education fund for his brand new baby sister. He's also busy setting up a meeting between Bobby and Governor Bob Sweeney (Matt Servitto), the swing vote on fracking that will settle the refinery question once and for all.
Bobby has doubled down on his position; he's refused to back down and move his money elsewhere so it is balls to the wall in his sweet bachelor pad.
Chef Ryan (Timothy Davis) makes a brief appearance, in comes Chuck on his heels. Bob knows what he's up against, he wants all reward and no pain, please, specifically to be named the keynote speaker at the next national Governor's association.
Bryan gives Jock the bad news, Jock directs him to ruin the pilot project with a virus (infected blanket?).
Wendy sold a coaching session to Steven Birch (Jerry O'Connell, something has happened to his face) at the top of the season in a giant horse-trading rigamarole, he's since decided that he can't be seen with her, given her recent troubles. "It'll make me seem as sketchy as you" says the guy who spent season one in hedgefund purgatory after being prosecuted for insider trading.
Time for the fight! Bobby and Rebecca brush by Taylor and Sara without a word, Sara noting that it's more than a business relationship. Wendy is up next, she confronts Taylor, who knew nothing about the attack. In fact, they told Sara very clearly to NOT go after Wendy yet, but rolls with it until Wendy and Bonnie leave.
Taylor isn't mad; they think Sara did it to defend them and I suddenly think it's for the exact opposite reason, that Sara is destabilizing Taylor.
*Sometimes I assume the worst.
Wendy and Bonnie leave together before the fight, Taylor gives Mafee a pep talk and we're about to see where fracking lands in New York. It's been ruled legal, but Bobby and Wags are so obnoxious about it that we know Taylor has something else in the hopper.
They bought the water rights for the whole area, meaning Taylor Mason capital just made a killing off Bobby doing the legwork to get fracking made legal.
*I trust Sara again
The bet with Bobby for a million is on, btw. At 1.50:1
Bobby does his pep talk for Dollar, a house for each wife!
So he DOES still have both! Also: Mafee's first name is Dudley, which explains why we only know Mafee.
Ah here's Rich Eisen! He's the commentator, Deontay Wilder is one of Dollar's coaches, it's all becoming clear!
The fight starts and somehow Bobby regains his cool. He's been too hotblooded.
Mafee gets the first good shot in on Dollar's kidneys; Dollar responds with a shot to the jaw as "TNT" by ACDC plays. Dollar should have finished him, but celebrated instead and the fight goes on and on. Rich Eisen is cracking me up.
Everyone's out of gas, they're pushing the referee, Mafee throws up, nothing's legal and they stop fighting before the bell a bunch of times. Everyone's down, nobody wants to fight, it's a double loss.
*I don't know who the other ringside commentator is, but if he could just stop swearing and listen to the guy that's actually funny, that would be great. Thanks!
The only happy person in the hall is Winston, who bet everything on a draw, wooooo!
Wendy, Chuck and the kids get home to find a pregnant couple in their house planning its destruction; they decide not to sell to them because WENDY IS NEVER GOING TO LEAVE HER HUSBAND. Jaysus.
He asks to move back into the bedroom, she's not quite ready for that.
Bobby supported Rebeca's move on Sailor's, awww, they're fully a couple now!
Bryan's managed to shut down Chuck Sr.'s construction site citing National Security, isn't that how Bobby crushed Taylor's dad's product? Jock used Commissioner Richie Sansome (Michael Rispoli) to screw Sr. over, Jr. vows to take Jock down as TNT takes us out.
Lots of repetition on this episode, fighting on multiple fronts but not really seeing the usual front-laid long game stories that we usually do on Billions. I may have missed something, it happens when you're already a week behind. Until next time! Cheers