Now that Axe and Chuck have dug themselves out of their own graves, both embrace their victories, and pick up the game where they left. We find them handling new situations they face in their own unique ways: sometimes with utmost care, and sometimes not so much.
Chuck and Wendy have a surprise waiting for them as they arrive for their special night at “Miss Dominatrix.” Black Jack Foley and Chuck Senior humiliate the couple about their “childish enthusiasm” complete with Chuck Senior calling Wendy “mistress” and asking her to take off her coat thinking she may have her BDSM outfit under her coat. And as they tell “the boy” he needs to resign his position at the SDNY right away and focus on his campaign, they do not even stop and think for a second that they are way out of line and need to handle the situation with more care.
Chuck and Wendy’s special night turns into a three hour conversation in which Wendy suggests, after all they have done to avoid jail, it may be time to take a step back instead of charging ahead with a political campaign. While Chuck believes they can compensate by doing a lot of good for a lot of people once they are in Albany, Wendy thinks this is feasible only if Chuck finds a way to reverse the power dynamics with Foley. And as Chuck works on Foley, Wendy asks Axe if she could use his man to resolve a family issue. Hall is at Wendy’s service.
As Taylor declares in the PM meeting that the main fund is up, like Wags might say “up like his morning wood” or “up like his blood pressure on Cialis” you feel the new CIO is now used to owning the room at the meetings. Yet, the applause for them is cut short with the king arriving at Axe Capital, climbing the stairs two at a time and high-fiving his employees, to claim his throne back!
Sorry, boss, Taylor does not do high-five.
It turns out Axe, who is wearing a Black Sabbath t-shirt with the band’s “Never Say Die” playing in the background, has been thinking about this very day since the moment he gave up trading. He appreciates his CIO has outperformed the benchmarks by half a point in his absence, but now that he is back, the company is getting into a new era. They will unwind all positions, get rid of the quant experiment, and Axe will control all new positions going forward. It seems the only fan of this new plan in the room is Dollar Bill.
While he dons a Black Sabbath t-shirt, Axe seems to have had Beatles on his mind lately. He pontificates to his generals that Axe Capital will do like the Fab Four did after their victorious tour in America: They did not bask in their victory and released a new album every six months after their return. And now Axe Capital will kick off a massive capital raise with a target of $20B in six months like in 2015.
While Taylor thinks the people at the other side of the table may have questions due to the legal problems Axe Capital has had, Wags knows Axe will handle the questions like Charles Van Doren. Well, Taylor has seen Quiz Show (Who else remember a very young Rob Morrow in the movie?) and knows Van Doren was fed the answers. Yet, the bottomline for Wags is Van Doren got the money and so will Axe Capital.
As the meeting is adjourned, Axe gets a text message from Muresan, the tallest player in NBA history, saying they need to meet! Huh? And we figure out the reference only when we find Axe meeting with the new Secretary of the Treasury! This is mean, Axe! 😀
Standing next to Vermeer’s The Music Lesson, Krakow complains he cannot hang his Dutch Masters at his post modern townhouse since his young wife does not think they go well with their De Sede couch. And then he spills the beans about why he sent Axe a bottle of Armand de Brignac to celebrate his freedom. Krakow has inside information that the EPA will rescind a certain regulation that will prop up Natural Gas industry. While Axe thinks Krakow may be recording their conversation, Krakow hands him the proof of his intent: A Security Bank of Grand Cayman card whose number Axe memorizes in a second. Once Axe Capital makes the money, Krakow’s piece will go to that account in crypto.
As Axe offers to buy a car for Taylor as a token of his appreciation but what Taylor has in mind is different. It is not about their ego but that they find Axe’s decisions to broom the quants project and clear all money-making positions erratic. What they want is a billion dollars, unencumbered, to manage on their own to which Axe agrees to. And, oh, yes, they will take that car, too!
Spyros, who failed to impress Axe with Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain!” earlier has just turned his Axe Cap-thusiasm into a 4K donation to the Axelrod Foundation. But that is not enough for Axe to keep him at Axe Capital. Axe talks to Spyros about my favorite Beatle: George Harrison. Harrison was not only a Beatle, but also a Traveling Wilbury. And it turns out Dylan and Petty sometimes threw a name out there and decide if that person was or was not a Wilbury. To be a Wilbury, according to Wags, you need to have a certain combination of wit, cool, and credibility. Jack Nicholson? A Wilbury. Richard Dreyfuss? A great actor, but not a Wilbury. Ari Spyros? Not A Wilbury. Not even close.
As Spyros collects his coffee beans, coffee books (including Uncommon Grounds and The World Atlas of Coffee) and Porsche jacket, he still has the urge to prove he is a Wilbury and who knew his “virgin intel” could turn on Dollar Bill of all people? 😀 It turns out Spyros still has access to public companies that are under investigation by the SEC but have not disclosed the investigation to their shareholders. If Dollar Bill, with his unique research techniques, distinguishes the investigations with teeth from the bullshit, they can short and long the companies accordingly.
The duo spend a night going over SEC investigations (notice the huge dollar sign on the wall!) and Dollar Bill, who is now not uncertain that Spyros’ unique investment strategy will work should they implement it carefully, gets Spyros his job back. Well, I do not know about Spyros, but Kelly AuCoin and Stephen Kunken are Wilburies!
Chuck meets with Joe Scolari at Donohue’s Steakhouse. “The success of his campaign is of utmost importance to them” and so Chuck should organize an event at his home to announce his run and time it with his resignation from public office. As a fan of Roller Derby, Scolari admires the J-Block Chuck gave to Bill Sweeney in Season 2 Episode 8 The Kingmaker; yet, now that Chuck needs votes upstate he needs to kiss and make up with Sweeney. And, no, Foley cannot do it for Chuck, because Sweeney thinks he burnt him once Foley adopted Chuck as the favorite son.
Ha! Chuck gives Sweeney the only copy he has of his son’s confessional. He would also be happy to ensure Sweeney’s mayoral competitor will be indicted by his office if Sweeney gave Chuck information that would ensure Foley would not boss Chuck around anymore.
While Chuck handles Foley with care, he handles Bryan quite differently. All conversations stop when Bryan arrives in the office where people, especially Kate, seem to avoid Bryan like the plague. Chuck’s assistant puts him in an office where there is no server access yet leaving Bryan with no option but playing Solitaire. And when Chuck finally stops by his office a full day after Bryan arrives, he is ready to sack Bryan. It seems to Chuck that Bryan learnt every lesson Chuck taught him except the one that matters most: He did not win. And how come he imagined there existed a universe in which he could threaten Chuck and his wife and still survive? Chuck is now Leroy Brown, the baddest man in the whole damn town. And Bryan may be many things but certainly not an Assistant US Attorney for the SDNY anymore. But does that mean he cannot investigate further?
Well, Lara should have seen it coming when she told Axe she might move to California with the kids should he take the plea and go to prison. Axe is now charging Lara 2/20 for her money at Axe Capital and is being a true asshole as he asks if Birchie did not read their agreement. Lara, already very pissed off by Axe’s behavior, explodes as she finds Gordie in Wendy’s office talking to her about his parents’ separation. Wendy has no permission to talk to his son and Gordie should not call her Aunt Wendy. She is not family.
As I wonder whether Lara regrets the decision to leave her husband, I can feel Wendy has regrets as Mafee sheepishly waves at her from his desk. His boys give advice to Wendy for a change: Chuck tells her they should move on so their guilt cannot swallow them. Axe, whose own jolt of victory lasted less than a day, assures Wendy what she did to Mafee “barely registers bad” in his world. Yet, Wendy is not able to pick up the pieces and move on like her two boys.
While Taylor cleared ALL their positions and broomed ALL the quant projects, Axe tends to release the funds he has promised them over time. And, when he suggests they jumpstart their book on natural gas, Taylor figures out Axe has inside information and decides to skip natural gas to find their play elsewhere. While I am surprised that Taylor is surprised Axe is acting on “unsubstantiated information” to make Axe Capital what it is supposed to be, I am rooting for them to develop their own algorithm or find some play that is not based on inside information and make Axe feel like he is not a Wilbury! 😀
As Sweeney delivers for Chuck, the NYPD raids a hotel room in which Foley is paying a man to mark his low-grade steel as high-grade. We find out Foley’s empire is built on selling sub-par material to state-run projects at top dollar. And if Chuck makes his past municipal dealings public, the kind of fallout Foley would have could bankrupt an Astor. Chuck hopes Foley sees the situation clearly.
“Clear as Catskills spring water.”
I have to jump in here and add that Catskills spring water is a major reason why NYC tap water is defined as “the champagne of drinking water.”
Having ensured that Foley is not hiss boss anymore, Chuck comes home to take a Silkwood shower but he finds Judge DeGiulio waiting for him. Well, DeGiulio had told Chuck he would take his word as gospel when the latter told him there is nothing DeGiulio can ask and he refuses for the rest of their days should the judge take the Axelrod case. And here is Degiulio asking Chuck not to run for governor. For DeGiulio to have a safe journey to the Supreme Court, Chuck should give up on his journey to Albany.
Wendy’s magic touch finishes the job DeGiulio has started: Wendy knows Chuck passionately loves his job at the SDNY where he is a king: He engages the battles he chooses to fight in the way he chooses to fight them. Jeffcoat may be a more powerful king for now, but Chuck has deposed his kind before. Politics, on the other hand, is a different animal involving a lot of hand-wringing and ass-kissing. Chuck does not want to be in politics, he wants to be beyond politics… In other words, he may want to be the one pulling the strings… Wendy is manipulating Chuck but I am giving it to her that there is a lot of truth in what she says…
And I give it to Chuck, who handles it with utmost care, and does not give the slightest hint until the very end of his speech. He talks about fighting for the less fortunate. He highlights that the next governor of New York should be someone that cannot sleep until justice is served for the people of this great state. And he finishes with a “fuck you” at Foley and his dad as he announces his support for Bob Sweeney in his run for governorship! This is not the first time, Foley says, he needs to wrestle with his shoulders close to the mat, and he is now at war with Chuck. Foley is now at war with Chuck.
As the kids are driven to a restaurant for dinner with dad, Lara stops by Axe Capital to talk about money. Axe has decided to make a special discount for her: 1. 5/ 15 along with a 7-year lock up both for her money and the kids! The moment Lara agrees to 1/10 and the rest, the agreement is in front of her to sign exactly like she presented a non-disclosure agreement to June (remember the woman who wrote a book about 9/11?) in Season 1 Episode 3 Yum Time. Well, what goes around comes around. The gap between Axe and Lara feels so deep right now that it will take a miracle to bring them back together.
Once the EPA lifts the regulations on natural gas, exactly as Krakow suggested, Axe Capital makes a lot of money. But this is everyday business at Axe Capital and the real thrill for Axe is now in the NEW competition. With Taylor. We find out there was a time Axe went to a gym where other people also worked out and he never got off the thread mill until the guy next to him did.
“It’s just the way I’m wired.”
Axe will now stay in the office until Taylor leaves which means he needs to cancel dinner with his boys. Gordie puts his fork and knife down when he hears dad is not coming. Does Axe really think buying all the desserts at the restaurant would cut it for his kids? It is obvious he does not have his priorities right about what to handle with care and I am not sure if Axe deserves to spend any time with his children. I wonder if a problem about his kids, especially Gordie, will make Axe come back to his senses and try to get back into his family.
Given her prior encounters with him, who knew Wendy would be happy to have Hall back? As Chuck Senior seems to have taken the pill, an unexpected guest arrives in his hotel room. Wendy knows about the one dream Senior has had for his son from the day he was born and she will not let him have it.
“The next time you want to ambush, threaten, humiliate, or otherwise fuck with me, you’d do well to remember who you’re fucking with.”
And that is your crack in the ass, old man! With her wit, cool and credibility, Wendy is a true Wilbury. And Senior now knows he had to handle his daughter-in-law with more care.