Previously on Billions…
Bobby arrives at Axe Hills on his expensive Bike to pick up eggs for breakfast. There is something about Bobby swapping his flashy bike for Tito’s very ordinary, but flower decorated bike that makes me love him even more.
Bobby is playing hardball with Wags. He’s not giving Wags anything but orders to ditch everything and the job of telling the investors as well.
Chuck is impatient and Team Chuck is feeling it because they have not been able to get very far as of yet in finding a way to get at Bill Stearn. Dale calling Chuck “dude” is a highlight. Kate steals the limelight, not for the last time this episode, by asking Bryan if he is still keeping emergency deodorant in his office. He says yes and asks her if she needs it. She looks at him pointedly and answers “no”.
Bobby is cooking breakfast for Lara and the kids. Chef Ryan jokingly asks if he is out of a job to which Bobby says that “breakfast is all he can handle” and Lara gives us some insight into her husband’s cooking skills by adding “yeah, trust me. We need you back”.
Bobby makes a family announcement in which the family seem to be little involved notwithstanding the fact that it is Dean who suggests the Galapagos. It may just have ben me, but Dean’s “oh shit” made me laugh. It is one of those moments where you know a straight face and a reproach is needed, but as it is not my kid, out comes the giggles. Bobby seems little concerned about his son’s swearing while Lara takes on the job of giving him into trouble for it. Bobby is more concerned about getting his way and the family heading off on holiday much sooner than expected. Lara is not slow in letting Bobby know how inconvenient the sudden change of plans (which he did not discuss with her) are.
Dale is told to remove ‘dude’ from his vocabulary as it is absolutely not acceptable to be calling the US Attorney, dude.
Bryan is apparently having trouble getting a new apartment. He does not have enough money in his account to cover one year’s worth of rent. Kate offers to be his guarantor. There is an interesting exchange in which Kate shows she’s willing to be a friend, but not take any shit from a wounded ego. Bryan firstly tells her not to listen to his conversation. She points out his door was open. He counters with a jibe about not taking her parents’ money and Kate puts him firmly in his place by pointing out that as she is a big girl now it is her money. It seems Kate is the beneficiary of a Trust Fund.
We are treated to some Lara and bobby pool sex and after discussion about what they are doing and where they are going. Bobby wants to say fuck you to gravity, but Lara is there to keep him grounded. He wants her to play hooky with him, but unfortunately for Bobby she is aware of her responsibilities. She can’t just up and leave, she has to make arrangements for cover at the restaurant before they go off on their jaunt.
Bobby will amuse himself by watching Citizen Kane.
Back with Team Chuck, minus Chuck at the moment and all the happier for it as they are discussing how best to get at Bill Stearn. They determine that Clayton Grunwald, a Farmer and agricultural scientist for Pepsum is their best bet.
Wags has some anxious PMs in his office wanting to know what the hell is going on. He handles them quite well, but they know something is wrong and I would guess that they know that Wags’ defensive and dismissive tone means he is just as much in the dark as them.
Chuck has a task for Dale and advises that somewhere between “sir” and “dude” is fine. Chuck wants him to find a woman called Martina Slovis. She used to live in Cobble Hill and dropped out of Brooklyn Law. He also tells Dale that “this is only for me”.
Bryan advises Chuck that they have found a link to Bill Stearn being in Iowa. He used his silver elite card to pick up reward points.
Dimonda arrives as he wants to talk to Chuck. He asks Chuck “do you want him here?” (meaning Bryan) and Chuck says he has nothing to hide. Dimonda wants clarification of whether or not Chuck is investigating Axe Capital. He also tells Chuck about rumours Axe Capital is shuttering. Neither Bryan nor Chuck are happy about this and Chuck wants Kate to call her “hedgie friends” to find out what is going on.
Meantime Chuck phones Wendy to try and get information out of her, but she’s not buying his bullshit. I’m not sure he buys hers either though.
Wags and Wendy have a discussion about “being here before” indicating this is not the first time Axe has went on a wander and thinking he is finished. Wendy basically tells Wags not to lie down to Axe. If Axe wants the positions pulled he can tell investors himself.
Bryan is being very complimentary to Kate about her ability to get people talking. I hope he realises this includes him. He’s practically gushing about her. Even Chuck notices. It is decided that the time is now for surveillance on Axe.
We then see the first hint of a strain in Bryan and Chuck’s relationship as the issue of the conflict rears its head. Bryan correctly points out it is going to become an issue and Chuck does not take kindly to it.
Wags shows up at Axe’s house just as he is getting ready to watch Citizen Kane. He has a pile of documents for Axe to sign. Their meeting is tense and Bobby is closed off. His second in command is basically blown off, but Wags insists on at least 3 of the investors hearing from Bobby personally, Alex Collins (the first to put in $10 million), Frances Kingsley (Buchanan University) and Raul Gomez (NYC Police pension fund) who was the first person to see what Axe Capital had. Bobby says “what a day that was”. I wonder in fact what day that was.
Bobby has the kids at an amusement park. He sense something is wrong “with that guy”. That guy is in fact, Dale who has been ordered to tail Axe.
While the kids play a basketball game Axe is meeting with Hall at the shoot the star stall just across the way. Hall confirms that Dale is FBI and either the FBI are getting more desperate or they are getting closer. Hall asks Bobby if he trusts the guys between him and Decker. Bobby says yes with a caveat for not knowing how a guy will “react when he’s having his fingernails torn out”. Hall then regales us with how he knows about that. Bobby comments that “you freak me out sometimes.” Only sometimes? Bobby again displays a great sense of awareness here in this scene. He is hyper alert to security problems.
Team Chuck arrives in Iowa to meet with Clayton Grunwald. We find out that Clayton’s daughter has Cystic Fibrosis and that Bill was very good to them, helping with medical bills etc. Clayton gave him information on pepsum 24 hours before it went public. Team Chuck does Clayton up like a kipper in this scene just as Bill had previously. Bill made inroads by pretending he was a Farmer. Here Chuck assures Clayton he will try and keep him out of prison for his daughter’s graduation and tricks him into talking without a lawyer. Bryan then gets him to sign after which he is told Bryan will be in touch about his arraignment and that he should bring a lawyer with him. Clayton and his wife are devastated. This scene is the very definition of why you do not sign anything you have not read and why the only word out of your mouth should come from Bill Stearn’s handbook. That word is “lawyer”. The perceived good guys lie too, you know. Think back to the Lifeboat drill (aptly named it would appear) in Naming Rights. That was a test for everyone and even when told that his boss said to co-operate Bill Stearn still insisted he would say nothing without a lawyer. So, yeah, he’s one of those guys that Axe Trusts.
Bobby and Wags have a conversation on the phone about how the sale of everything is going. Wags comments that everyone will think Bobby is crazy. Bobby is happy to let them think what they want.
Lonnie, who had to give up his Statute of Liberty case to Eastern District so that Chuck could get the Axe case back finds himself being ‘jumped’ by Dimonda. Dimonda lets slip here that he lives in Cobble Hill – interesting that Chuck is looking for that woman who used to live there. Dimonda is here to get some information from Lonnie. He could write about Lonnie, about how he had an interview for a job elsewhere. Maybe he is unhappy working for Chuck Rhoades. He could write about that, but he’d rather write about Chuck and Axe so he’d appreciate any help Lonnie can give him.
Kate is kicking Bryan’s ass at air hockey. After the annihilation of Bryan they have a cosy chat over drinks. Kate is rather good at extracting information. Beats me how Bryan thought he could be hiding his relationship with Terri from Kate even if they managed to hide it from everyone else (which they undoubtedly have not). Yes, Bryan, it is that obvious.
Meanwhile Chuck can’t concentrate on work and ends up at a BDSM club again.
Kate with another scene stealing line to Bryan about him and Terri “guess neither of you are cuddlers, huh? Just knock it out and move on”. We really get a feel for the two of them here and how compatible they would be. Bryan thinks he will probably keep his old apartment – we’ll see. Kate loans her friends money all the time and it isn’t even a loan she is offering Bryan. Bryan comments that only people with money forget about money. Bryan manages to insult Kate even when trying to compliment her. He thinks it is inevitable that, in the future, she will end up defending the same rich assholes she is trying to lock up now because she is brilliant and that is how it works. Kate puts him in his place about that too. She has plans, big ones that involve making it all the way to the Whitehouse. No defection to the prosecution for her. She tells Bryan she’d consider him for Attorney General.
We’re back with Chuck who doesn’t know how he ended up outside the BDSM club. Well, I think you drove there – shrugs- this is apparently not the first time. He phones Wendy and she ‘goes inside’ with him. This was a bit risky. It is one thing to say Wendy and Chuck are perfectly entitled to get up to whatever they choose in the privacy of their own home. It is another thing entirely for the US Attorney to put himself at risk if as, JaniaJania suggested, someone nefarious like say Hall was lurking about taking photos of Chuck getting off in a BDSM club surrounded by lots of strangers.
Axe Capital is a free for all while Wendy tries to be diplomatic, but the children aren’t playing her game today. Daddy’s gone insane and uncle Wags only has so much influence so the children will do what they like. We do learn that Bill Stearn bought his mother a washing machine first time he pulled down 7 figures. Wendy isn’t happy with what she is seeing and decides it is time to visit Axe.
Lara and Wendy do the hugs thing, but have a slightly awkward conversation. There is something there. I’m not sure quite what as Lara does not strike me as someone who would be jealous of or insecure about Wendy spending time with Axe. Wendy clearly knows her way around the Axelrod house.
The FBI have surveillance on Axe’s house and Dale lets Chuck know that Wendy just arrived at his house. Chuck isn’t happy to find out that Bobby and Wendy are in there alone.
Wendy and Bobby are in his screening room. Bobby again pauses Citizen Kane – I wonder if he actually sees it all- to talk with Wendy. Wendy gives us some useful information. Last time Bobby was having issues he ran off to Scotland for a while and she had to go after him. Wendy is assuming Bobby is having problems seeing the market. Bobby tells her “this isn’t that”.
Chuck is frustrated and angry that they can’t see or hear what is going on inside the Axelrod house. Bryan brings up the conflict of interest again and is beaten back down by Chuck. Bryan is spot on though and it is perhaps time Chuck started listening to his Assistant. Chuck appears to want Axe so much he might just ruin his own career trying.
Bobby outlines to Wendy the other kind of life he thought about while away watching Metallica. Wendy’s others self is a famous Broadway dancer. She also implores Bobby that, if he is really leaving, he owes his people the courtesy of hearing it form him and not making Wags do it for him.
Chuck gets news that Dimonda is going to publish an article that he is investigating Axe Capital, but is holding back because of family conflict. The article also quotes a senior official familiar with the matter. I find this interesting. Dimonda being particularly choosey with his words here. The likelihood is that Lonnie gave Dimonda quotes, but it seems to me based on this choice of words and other issues earlier in the episode that Dimonda may be trying to mislead Chuck in to believing that Bryan is his source.
Bobby is meeting with Raul from the NYC Police Pension Fund. There is mutual respect between the two. Raul isn’t happy that Bobby is out and he will have to find a new Investment fund. Bobby promises to help him find a good one, but it is clear only Bobby will do for Raul who describes the younger Bobby as “a cocky prick with terrible table manners”.
Raul suggests some other funds – ‘Rangewater’, Bobby says they are smart but overleveraged; and PKZ get a flat no from Bobby because they have no idea how to manage risk and they have no idea how to short. Bobby promises to find Raul a winner.
Raul then gives Bobby a pop quiz of sorts “first solar late July 2007”. Bobby is reluctant at first, but Raul pushes on the basis that, as long as he is still an investor, Bobby will play his game. Bobby plays along.
First solar late July 2007 “Broke out in good volume, went up to around 120. We were out of the sector til August. We left millions on the table. That was on me.”
Google mid-June 2004 “That’s a trick question. Didn’t go public til August. IPO’d 19.6 million shares at 84. Closed at $100.34.It was a good day for both of us.”
An IPO is an Initial Public Offering where shares of a company are sold to the general public on a securities exchange for the first time.
Cyberonics August 2004 “Started mid 20s went to 40s. Then the FDA dinged its nerve stimulator and the stock tanked at 13. We saw it coming. Everyone else was trying to catch a falling knife. We made $7.4 million that day.” It appears upon investigation that this relates to medical equipment as Cyberonics did indeed have issues with the FDA in 2004. I wonder, with another mention of medical related stock, if medicine is perhaps the answer to what Bobby’s incendiary move after 9/11 was which Orrin referred to in YumTime when meeting with Lara.
Bobby finishes his pop quiz and asks “how did I do?” to which Raul answers “how the hell would I know?” Raul explains that he remembers giving Bobby a quiz like that the day they met and it wasn’t the fact Bobby knew so much it was how he lit up. He knew Bobby would take care of the money and wouldn’t care how it looked. That is who he needed looking after his cops. It is who he still needs. Raul adds “in case you can’t tell anymore. You still lit up.”
Chuck phones Wendy to make sure she is not at work. She isn’t, she is about to sneak into a Broadway show at intermission. He wants to make sure she isn’t there when the warrant he is about to sign is served on Axe Capital. Damianista can confirm, but I think Chuck has succumb to some game theory.
Bobby goes to meet his new boat “The Good Life”. It is rather stunning. He gets the news that Mundia Tel executives have been indicted. Mundia Tel is the Company Constantine worked for.
We see the FBI gearing up to head into Axe Capital. Meanwhile inside Axe Capital, Wags is reading the news about Mundia Tel and realising that his boss is even more of a genius than he realised. The PMs seem to have the pieces between them, but it is unclear if they put them together like Wags so clearly has. Mundia Tel stock has tanked 89% already and they are talking about suspending trading. One of the PMs notes “it is a good thing we were out”. Yeah, it was.
Bobby is back at Axe Capital and Wags seems like he might lick Bobby’s shoes at this point if Bobby asked him to. Wags wants to know how Bobby knew they should get out of Telecom and ditch what they could elsewhere. Bobby isn’t telling. Bobby suggests that he was seriously considering leaving for a while, but he didn’t “Because I fucking live this place. I love what I do. I love what we do.”
He wants to get back to business tomorrow or next day after market correction – Axe Capital wish push back in hard – start buying again.
He cuts himself off as he sees the FBI marching in on his house. He clearly thinks they are coming for him as he tells Wags to phone Orrin and Lara. However, they aren’t here for him. They are here for Bill Stearn whose only word to them is “Lawyer”. There is a nod between Bill and Axe. Bryan has a smug grin on his face as he walks in looking at Axe. There is also a look between the two of them just before Bryan exits the building. Hmm…to be continued.