So, er, oops, turns out this is the season four finale of Billions! How did that happen? I apologize for my lateness, I got all wrapped up in new shows and here this was hanging, waiting to be finished off. My bad, let's get this heifer to the slaughterhouse!
We open with Chuck Rhoades Jr. (Paul Giamatti) trying to relieve some stress, but can't seem to find his happy place.
Mistress Cassie (Ava Lee Scott) starts to crank it even tighter before he hits her with the safe word. He hasn't earned his punishment, so GO!
"Behind Blue Eyes" by The Who (LOVE that song!) plays as a sad Bobby "Axe" Axelrod (Damian Lewis) pours some wine for himself and his ladyfriend Rebecca Cantu (Nina Arianda). They contemplate one of his
tax breaks fancy works of art and discuss whether you have to suffer to be great.
Bobby's got his head somewhere else, specifically on how former Dr. Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff) can get her medical license back.
*I can't seriously believe he's still talking to/boning Rebecca after she went behind his back and made a deal with his current nemesis.
He asks Rebecca to take care of Wendy, weird. They're firmly shepherding us towards a Bobby/Wendy mashup.
Wendy packs while Chuck offers to help with the suspension of her medical license. She's had quite enough of Chuck AND his leveraging, fanks. Plus: he totally didn't help her when he could, so.
Chuck is hard at work the next day looking for a lever to use on the head of the medical board when Attorney General Jock Jeffcoat (Clancy Brown) barges in. They've got business!
Jock's got his dad and Chuck has a train full of raw sewage outside Jock's mansion: they decide to call it even.
That's right, Chuck Rhoades Sr. (Jeffrey DeMunn), you're on par with a train chock full of shite.
Jock's come with an offer: he will allow Chuck to resign with his dignity. Then it gets...wordy.
To paraphrase: *southern accent* fighty words, *Italian monologue plus spit* fighty words: fin.
Jock thought that was awesome.
Bobby sends Rebecca on her way with a kiss, I'm positive they're over. He invites Sanford Bensinger (Richard Thomas!! I love how Billions has such a huge cast) out for brekkie.
Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon) is speechifying about Bobby, they're done with the petty rivalry and are ready to move forward! Quant Kid Winston (Will Roland) is one hundred percent on board.
*But. That's like when your younger brother hits you, steals your toy, tells your mom you stole HIS toy and then decides he doesn't want to fight anymore because he has your toy.
It impressed Mafee (Dan Soder), anyway. "Taylor Mason is back!" Everyone claps while I mostly yawn and check my waffles.
Chuck Rhoades Sr. is released by Jock to his son, he looks worn out.
So does US Attorney Bryan Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore), who keeps asking his head of Crim Kate Sacker (Condola Rashad) the same illegal question. She's not budging, she's not going to give him access to inappropriate recordings that contain information he's not supposed to have.
To parahrase: gimme the tapes! No! C'MON!! NO! Gimmmeeeee the taaaappppes!! No. "I can do this all day."
I love Kate. Password.
Wendy and Rebecca meet for their fun
spa dirt bike riding day, oh hai Mark Cuban! Whatcha doon? Phil (Stephen Badalamenti) from Extreme Sandbox is there to help them have fun.
Bobby's back at his office with Mike "Wags" Wagner (David Costabile) listening to Sean Ayles (Jack Gilpin with the most marvelous face) talk about his Mommy and Daddy/Pa. It will cost an unnamed female $25 million to make her problem go away - I assume we're talking about Wendy. Or Rebecca? Either way, he doesn't want said lady to know he's bailing her out.
But. Here's the thing. If Wendy allows the corrupt dudes around her (either one, silver spoon Chuck or robber baron Bobby), then her confession meant nothing. She will resume doing ill and pay no consequences but with a freshly salved conscience.
Bryan Connerty can almost taaassste the tainted fruit of his forbidden tree, he gets himself amped up listening to the tape cut off just before naming the witness he wants to twist then calls Jock to ask for a friendly judge.
Bobby and Chuck meet at Chuck's house, Bobby's mad that Taylor hasn't been arrested yet.
*That adorable eye roll at the end.
But. For WHAT? Insider trading? I'd be careful throwing that one around, FunBobs. Chuck cautions Bobby against flying to close to an entrapment charge, there's a finesse to what he does.
*Basically the whole first episode of season four was watching Chuck walk around and trade favours, it looked suuuuper finessey.
Did I say Wendy and Rebecca were gonna go dirt biking? Nah, they're doing heavy equipment operation and moving earth!
*I work for a construction company and that hurt SO.MUCH. to watch.
They go for beers after (THEY TOOK ONE SIP EACH AND THEN GOT READY TO WALK AWAY FROM FULL BEERS. FULL BEERS) so they can discuss how different they are (Wendy likes a team, Rebecca likes to own one) and just as they're heading out (AFTER ONE SIP), a couple of guys pop up to ask if they need a ride back to their hotel. Nope! Helicopter outside!
*You know, one of Bobby's last acts with his ex-wife Lara (Malin Akerman) was to have her picked up in a helicopter.
Bryan Connerty is beside himself with glee and full of arrest warrants. He sends Kate to arrest Secretary of the Treasury Todd Krakow (Danny Strong) and open Chuck Sr.'s safe.
Rebecca gets to work, surprised to see Sanford Bensinger in her board meeting. Bobby interrupts; her path forward with Cling Appliances (owned by Taylor Mason) will not be happening.
We getta flashback to Bobby and Sanford's breakfast, cooked by none other than Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli.
*I love flashbacks! And behind the scenes shenanigans, it's what made their best episode to date: Golden Frog Time.
Ahhhh, they're going to "save" hardnosed businesswoman Rebecca from herself because she's gone too deep into this Saler's (read: Sears) acquisition. I guess Bobby wants Rebecca to think the breakup is her idea.
*Every time Richard Thomas swears, an angel loses its wings.
Bobby lays it out very clearly for Rebecca: Saler's is going to be closed, lock, stock and barrel. He is emasculating her in front of her company, and she's not even a mascu. She should not have made that deal behind his back with Taylor.
So that's it. The board has voted and Bobby has spoken and Saler's is no more. Bobby was MAD.
Now the fight. See, Bobby wasn't having Rebecca cheer Wendy up, Wendy was distracting Rebecca while Bobby destroyed Rebecca's dream.
Listening to Bobby tell Rebecca, in exact detail of how he arrived at this moment in their relationship is goosebump-inducing. I knew he'd never get over her disloyalty.
The worst part is that he hasn't totally shut the door on them being a couple; there's a part of him that wonders if she's strong enough to take what he's done to her in revenge and come out the other side.
Or not. Did I mention that this whole plan/play was to use Rebecca to take out Taylor, majority owner of Cling Appliances? Bobby justifies it out loud as helping Rebecca make 100 billion dollars.
COO Sara Hammon (Samantha Mathis!) explains everything to a previously jubilant Taylor, this could wipe out their whole firm. Taylor's got a text that might help!
That's Bobby's bait, see, right after the massacre. He sits alone in the boardroom waiting for Chuck, who's got everything in place. Bobby doesn't want the usual perp walk, however, he wants Taylor arrested, but not charged, so they'll come back to work for him at Axe Capital.
Chuck and I have HAD it.
Dr. Wendy gets an important call, Dr. Zhang Lei (David Shih - he has a HUGE ImDb) and the board have decided to set aside the suspension of her medical license and give her a verbal warning instead.
*Looks like that 25 million was well-spent! See how Bobby rewards those who are loyal and decimates those who are not? Scorched earth.
Bryan gets a heads up that Kate and team are 30-40 minutes out and takes that time to illegally access the recordings he can't stop thinking about. There:
He's officially a criminal. He's ALSO the "idiot in question" as Chuck, his dad and bestie Ira Schirmer (Ben Shenkman) clearly invoked privilege on tape then shittalk Bryan, whom they know is listening. Bryan knows he's about to be arrested and scrambles to get everything back in the bag, the FBI walk in.
It gets worse; Bryan led right down the garden path. Remember that stupid-seeming document Todd Krakow wanted everyone to sign? It was an oath to help prosecute corrupt public officials, like US Attorney Bryan Connerty.
Oh and Chuck's there to apply the coup de grace.
Chuck's been running game on Bryan since the very beginning, it's another behind the scenes reveal. I love those! He has been leading Bryan by the nose through every step of the "investigation". Will this be how he brings down the almighty Jock Jeffcoat too??
Chuck pushing mobile voting was part of it, that was the bait he wanted them focused on so he could bring the other raptors around the sides.
Bryan blames it on the power of the office, Chuck is aware he's also vulnerable to that sense of heady but false entitlement. To the important question: is Jock going down too?
Not before we get this gem.
Hahahahaha of course he doesn't like Chuck's hipster beard.
(Totally not hipster)
Jock is tied up firmly in Bryan's mess. How, you say? Kate Sacker! Kate took the bug that Chuck offered her and attached it to Bryan's jacket so Jock is on record directing Bryan to do "if I order it, it's fucking LEGAL!" illegal acts of listening.
Atta girl, Kate! That had to hurt, betraying her closest ally and former lover. To think she did it for the greater good, and not her ambition, perhaps the conscience we glimpsed last season has grown. Hahaha, wait, she'll come out as US Attorney or something.
Chuck calls himself scorched earth, essentially, while Oliver Dake (Christophen Denham) sings a beautiful operatic aria in Taylor Mason's office. WAIT! That's not Oliver Dake, it's Rudy (Chris Carfizzi)! Who Mafee already turned down for a position at Taylor Mason Capital after Bobby fired him.
*OOOOOOOH this must be the shady play Taylor is supposed to be hungry enough to snap at. I'm glad Rudy's been gainfully employed, given his home sitch.
Will they bite?
Wendy gets home, happy and grateful for Chuck removing her suspension. Except I'm positive it was BOBBY. So is Wendy, after she sees that he's funded a 25 million dollar pancreatic cancer research center.
"Did you even fucking try?" she asks Chuck, with a bag in hand. He didn't. She doesn't know if she's coming back but I am pretty sure I know where she's going.
Taylor is *sort of* arrested outside their shop, Chuck advises them to pretend to be arrested which means that he's making a play against Bobby for saving his wife's medical license.
(Coz he was supposed to arrest Taylor but not charge and he just saw that same cancer donation thingy)
Taylor knows more about opera than I do, they recognised the aria that Rudy was singing was about deception (idunnoshrug) and turned down the being-taped offer.
Chuck threatens them with a camera malfunction, but he's lost his taste for Bobby Axelrod's prey. He monologues about the downward trending direction of his life, it's all because of the "corrosive" nature of one Bobby Axelrod. Guess who's got an old/new nemesis and a partner in crime??
Chuck charges Taylor with returning to Axe Captial as a mole for him, so he can bring Bobby down as he always wanted to.
Bobby and Taylor meet and they get a full understanding of the stakes; Bobby is fully invested in bringing Chuck down as well. Leaning into that toxic power of entitlement, huh? Chuck with public office and Bobby with his money.
So we all know this is about Wendy, right? Chuck's been quite cold to Wendy since she tried to sell the house out from under him after he exposed their sex life for public scrutiny. I once explained things like this to my children: you know when you don't want a toy any more but you don't want anyone else to play with it? It's like that here too.
Taylor explains their new role to their girlfriend Lauren Turner (Jade Eshete), they're going to let the boys focus in on them they step out of the way so they can shoot each other instead.
Bobby stands alone in his dark bachelor pad, sloooowly deleting Rebecca's contact information as the click of Wendy's heels draws his ear.
When she says she doesn't want to sleep at home.
It's almost comical watching him stutter and stammer all over his apartment and spare bedroom while the tension builds. They're both single now...and love and trust, defend and protect each other...I would just be sad to see their partnership and friendship end over some ugly-smooshing.
I wonder if that was the fatal flaw in his marriage to Lara; she could sense how important Wendy was to Bobby. However, the first season was all about how Wendy and Bobby were not banging the gong slowly or quickly, it seems pretty predictable that we ended up close to here anyway. HOWEVER. Predictable or not, these two have the best chemistry in the show, bar none, so I bet viewers will be in for a treat next season.
The next morning, Taylor, Sara Hammon and Maffee show up to work at Axe Captial. Bobby and Wendy watch from above while Ben Kim (Daniel K. Issac) enthusiastically greets the new / old arrivals. LOL
"Dollar" Bill Stearn (Kelly AuCoin) jabs him, even Ari Spyros (Stephen Kunken) knew better.
Chuck returns to Mistress Cassie for his punishment, he's earned it! We're out.
Well that was a fun finale! Right? Kind of expected in lots of ways, but just because you know which wrestler is gonna win, it's still fun to watch them come off the top ropes, right?
Let's review this season: Taylor, Mafee and Winston are back at Axe Cap with friends, Wendy and Chuck are separated again and Chuck and Bobby hate each other once more. Really, season three could just have not happened, perhaps replaced by a video of Chuck waking up like Bobby Ewing.
Take care, Billions, I wish nothing but the best for you in the future. Cheers!