Previously on Billions: Boasts and Rails

Previously on Billions…

We open with the FBI raiding Donnie’s house. Donnie tells his partner to go be with the kids and hides an awful lot of pills just as the FBI come charging through the door. Donnie has a lot of pills and we were discussing the possibility that Donnie is very ill and possibly dying.

Bryan instigated this raid as he isn’t happy and wanted Donnie to know how it would feel when they come to take him to prison because he thinks Donnie is stringing them along. Donnie explains about how he is giving them Axe using the data on Kemlot. Bryan shouts him down and tells him he has a week, by the end of which, either Axe is in Federal custody or Donnie is.

Chuck and Kevin arrive at the Big Apple Circus. Kevin spots his favourite baseball player and wants to go over and get an autograph. Chuck isn’t so keen when he sees Bobby talking to him and tries to steer Kevin away, but Bobby spots them and shouts Kevin over. Chuck is less than impressed but Bobby says “never women and the children”. Bobby can’t resist a dig though after Chuck says that Mark is Kevin’s favourite player “he obviously has his mother’s instinct for people”. Ouch! That is how you punch without getting a misdemeanor!

Source: Showtime

Wendy arrives clearly stunned to find her husband and Bobby standing next to one another. There is a quick exchange of words between them before Chuck ushers the family away.

Axe indulges in some insider information from Mark who is telling him about a company which the banks are all over and for which an IPO has been suggested.

Axe gets a call from Hall who has managed to get a janitor inside the US Attorney’s office on side and who has delivered information to Hall already.

Wendy and Chuck have a talk about Axe and Chuck’s dislike and insecurity about Wendy and Axe’s relationship comes out in this conversation. Wendy tells him Axe does have the capacity to be kind and that Chuck should “grow the fuck up”.

Source: Showtime

She then tells him how much it meant to her that he recused himself from the case and that she has seen a head hunter. They discuss money and Chuck is insistent that the kids go to the same school he went to. I think Wendy is testing her husband a bit here. Chase said in ‘the Punch’ he could get Wendy a job with a comparable salary to Axe Capital, but that is not how Wendy plays it out to Chuck here. Anyway, Chuck is clearly happy to say he will protect the rights of the ordinary man, but not send his kids to school with said man’s children. No, the Rhoades children absolutely must go to a $70,000 a year school despite Wendy’s reasonable alternative suggestion. They must because Chuck says “I want my kids to go to the same school I did. That my father went to. There is a continuity that bridges the generations. You can’t put a price on that.” Wendy delightfully points out “they do and it is $70,000 a year”. The question of quite why Chuck thinks it is important his kids go to the same school as his father did is a mystery, when his insecurities clearly stem from his father, is one even Wendy would struggle to answer. But let us not deprive the next generation of Rhoades children from having their father’s insecurities foisted upon them.

Wendy suggests that Chuck should see a head hunter. Chuck says it is not the right time as they are into major things at his office. Wendy says that if Chuck gets the big job he is always talking about she will quit Axe Capital. Hmm I would think that in order for Chuck to get that big job he’d need to nail Axe…hmm

We see Kate meeting a friend who has managed to get her hands on the redacted chapter 10 (of June’s book) and ensures that Kate gets a copy.

We see #TeamOfficialyBryan discussing its contents. There is nothing actionable or illegal, but it can do damage as Axe’s reputation will be severely damaged by it. Axe was not in the towers on 9/11 is because he was as his Attorney’s office going over a severance package. The Partners in his firm thought Axe’s trades were over the line, maybe illegal. They take the view that the deaths of the Partners allowed Bobby to take over and rename the firm.

They then also talk about the claim that Bobby was trading on 9/11and made hundreds of millions of dollars.

Chuck makes a show of “not knowing’ and “not leaking” this information subtly hinting that Bryan should. Bryan asks “who should we give it to?” and Chuck comes up with Dimonda. Damianista observed that Chuck clearly has issues with Dimonda being Axe’s guy and has to make him his. I’d say she is spot on and Chuck has serious possession problems. Chuck then decides he is giving the story to Dimonda himself. Pretty stupid when he is not supposed to be involved.

Axe tells Wags about Hall’s call that the US Attorney pulled an informant in the night. They don’t know who it is, but they do know he works at Axe Capital. Wags’ reaction is priceless. “What the Fuck? You sat on this for half a day?” He’s giving the boss a piece of his mind. The Rapacious scumbag is not impressed. Bobby asks him what he should have done and Wags answers “Fire everyone. Right now! Including me.” He is brilliant. Bobby is equally brilliant here as he says “Wags, if it is you, you got me” and puts his hands out for Wags to cuff him. David and Damian are a joy to watch together.

Source: Showtime

Bobby then says he is going to fire someone and he goes out in to the office and puts the shitter up everyone to “get the rat scurrying”. There is a hilarious scene with Mafee and his old girlfriend’s phone number. I applaud Damian for keeping a straight face during this scene and being such a hard ass. Bobby puts everyone on notice that they ae going to be watched. It could be that his warning will also prevent them from doing anything too stupid generally while the FBI are listening, as they are here.

The FBI are getting worried about Donnie being caught.

Bobby says everyone is on notice until “I find out who is on level and who is a quisling”.

Mafee really provides the comic relief here as he asks Donnie what a quisling is and Donnie tells him that a quisling is a turncoat. Mafee says “Damn, I knew it didn’t sound good.” You think, Mafee? Pick the pieces of your phone up off the floor, will you?

Bryan stops by to congratulate Kate on getting the redacted chapter 10, asks her out to dinner and she asks him to clarify if this is a superior taking out a subordinate. He replies yes. Wrong answer Bryan! Kate says she has dinner plans with her parents and invites Bryan to that. Now, Bryan is getting his dinner anyway, but I reckon if he’d answered no to Kate’s question he might have got that dinner with just the two of them.

Terri interrupts to make Bryan aware that there is an issue with Donnie at Axe Capital and Axe being on a mole hunt. There is a look that she throws Kate as she walks out of Kate’s office. She knows! She knows Kate has eyes on her “casual fling”. If only Bryan would notice for himself.

Chuck tells Bryan to bury the SEC file on Donnie as Spyros’ office is a sieve and Axe will be looking for anything open on his people. Chuck then puts everyone off their food by taking stuff from his own bowl into Bryan’s using the chopsticks that have been in his mouth. Table manners, Charles, table manners! He then decides that since Axe won’t stop until he has a mole, Bryan should give him one. Bryan is very uncomfortable with framing someone.

Source: Showtime

There is a celebration to baby sister Lu and her recent achievement of Michelin star. Tito catches Lara’s eye to let her know something is wrong. Tito lets Lara know there are people watching the farm, cops or immigration. Lara asks him if everyone has their papers and he says “don’t make me lie to you.” Not good!

Back with Bobby and Wags who are with the Axe Capital IT guy. This is another delightful scene…and not the last in the episode. IT guy has been snooping in everyone’s computers to see who has been doing what. Bobby tells him to forward emails to him. IT guy warns Bobby these guys are saying terrible things about him in email. Bobby nonchalantly responds “of course they are. I’m their boss. Hit me with some of the worst”. So IT guy does.

One email says of Bobby “the man fucking creeps me out. Is he even a man or some kind of alien magi? His eyes see the dark truth inside us all, a truth that wasn’t even dark until he looked at it. He knows I’m typing this. He’s having this email read aloud to him right now.”

Bobby asks IT guy to tell him who wrote that and then tells him not to bother as he can tell from the syntax. Yeah, can’t we all. Way to pay homage to the boss man, Donnie.

Bobby then wants to know what they say about Wags. Wags is quite sensitive here and says he doesn’t want to know because he is not like Bobby. He can’t take it.

IT guy tells Bobby 3 people deleted their hard drives.The reaction of Bobby and Wags, so in tune when the Pouch is mentioned as one of the 3 is hilarious. They are incredulous.

Source: Showtime

Chuck is meeting with Dimonda about putting the story on Axe out there.

Bryan is meeting Kate’s parents. Dad (Frank) is very forward. I like him. He makes an excellent point about Civil servants being unable to see the difference between criminals and business men and using that to justify their own unscrupulous behaviour. Dad is masterful here and it is easy to see where Kate may get it from.

Bryan says he has accepted certain realities and he has responsibilities beyond niceties. Frank asks him how he feels and Bryan cannot answer immediately. You can try and talk like Chuck Rhoades, Bryan, but that don’t make you Chuck Rhoades.

Frank talks about knowing about “doing bad to do good” and how he wouldn’t do that anymore. He also says “principle doesn’t usually go away all at once. It is a creeping erosion.” Dad would be a much better role model for Bryan than Chuck could ever be.

Lara tells Bobby about the farm being watched. She had to let Marta and family go as their papers were forged. Bobby tells Lara they are being staked out by the FBI. Bobby tells her he didn’t want to alarm her. Lara accuses Bobby of not living in reality if he thinks they can just go about normal life.

Bryan says to Chuck he won’t frame an innocent man as their mole and uses the new words he has learned from Frank “it is an erosion of principle.” Chuck is not happy and he becomes condescending and petulant about it. He tells Bryan to do it his way. Bryan says he will.

Chuck wants his secretary to set up a meeting with Adam.

Axe is having the meditation room at Axe Capital refitted into a panic room. Wags tells Donnie that he is wanted in the conference room by Axe. Donnie says “we don’t have anything scheduled” and Wags’ answer is “he didn’t want to give you time to prepare”. The other two who wiped their hard drives are there too. There is some tense silence as Axe stares everyone out and then Donnie announces he is going to be sick and bolts from the room. Axe says “we will pick this up tomorrow”. Dale of the FBI breathes a sigh of relief.

Source: Showtime

Axe puts a tail on Donnie.

Bryan gets a text from Donnie that they should meet.

Chuck clears the plate of another employee, but doesn’t tell her what for.

Bryan arranges to meet Donnie, he warns Donnie he is being followed and should just go home instead. Bryan is waiting for Donnie when he goes home.

Chuck is playing Squash and it seems he is meeting a head hunter about a job. He whines about Bobby, naturally. Seems he can’t do anything but these days.

Donnie is getting very worried and tells Bryan how stupid the idea of setting Pouch up as the mole is because Pouch always plays it safe, he has no balls and they think he has a vagina. I love the delivery of this line. Simply brilliant. Donnie says that if Axe doesn’t trust him anymore he might not give him the kemlot trade. Bryan tells Donnie he has to get that trade. Get the trade and then testify. Donnie isn’t happy about the testifying bit especially not in front of Axe with his “Laura Mars eyes”.

Adam and Chuck are having lunch. Chuck advises Adam that Bryan is coming off the Axe case because “his case load is too heavy”. Translated, ‘he isn’t doing it my way’. The woman we saw Chuck talking to earlier, Tee, is who Chuck wants to take it forward now as he feels she has the better skill set. This is a problem for Adam as he and the Attorney General signed off on Bryan, in part, because of his integrity. Adam is not happy about Chuck changing who is running the case as he does not want even the appearance of string pulling given that Chuck is recused. Chuck says he is still allowed to determine who does what. Adam says he will choose and he will send it all the way to the Eastern District if Bryan is taken off the case.

Axe tells Wendy that he is having meetings with Donnie, Channing and Pouch and wants her in on them.

This is the other brilliant sequence I referred to earlier.

Axe starts off by referring to Donnie as “my Brian Doyle”. He asks him how he feels about how he has done for Axe. Donnie says he feels good about it. Axe then asks Donnie to tell him about FedEx. Donnie’s dry reply is “that’s not my sector.” I creased myself here. Fantastic line! Bobby then says that someone saw Donnie mailing a parcel and he wants to know who it was to.

Source: Showtime

Bobby brings up the FBI and whether or not Donnie has met anyone from the FBI socially. Donnie says he doesn’t think so.

The listening FBI are getting nervous and Wendy is yet again annoyed with Axe. She yanks him out of the meeting with Donnie and pulls him up for using her as a human lie detector. She says she won’t be used to legitimise this bullshit. Axe just shrugs his shoulders and heads right back to it.

David Cromer’s, (Donnie) delivery is just absolutely superb in this episode in particular. When asked why he overwrote his hard drive he says “don’t know, I just thought you would want me to.” Pouch says he does it once a month and Channing says “you wanted me to leave that paper trail?” in relation to some trade last year that presumably was not above board.

Axe asks about a company. Pouch isn’t sure what or who it is and Donnie says “it could be a monster” to which Axe replies “I made it up.” The facial expressions being pulled by everyone here are just fantastic. This whole sequence is genius and it isn’t finished yet. Donnie “would never”, Channing isn’t sure what his wife has to do with it and Pouch has made his peace with the Cross Co trucking trade. Now, this is a very interesting one for Axe to bring up while he knows the FBI are listening. I would imagine that the FBI would look into any trade mentioned in any of these meetings as far as they can. Now, just for a second let us hope that Bryan takes a look at Cross Co trucking and notes the Rhoades jiggery pokery that has gone on there.

Back to the Axelrod Pop Quisling – Axe asks Pouch a question about how many strawberries he had last week…and Pouch answers!

The 3
Source: Showtime

Axe asks Channing what he would do if they arrested him and he says he would stand up like Dollar Bill.

Axe then asks Donnie how he responds to the SEC letter on Rubinex. Donnie says that he didn’t, he gave it to his lawyer. Axe says “I thought you said Rubinex never raised flags with the regulator.” Donnie answers “It didn’t. Are we done here?”

Bryan who was listening calls Donnie “Burnt fucking toast”.

Chuck is meeting his head hunter and what he describes Chuck’s possible new job as sounds to me like Chuck’s worst nightmare. Not least because it is everything Chuck might associate with someone like Axe.

Axe is meeting with Hall and Wags who has managed to get a SEC file on someone at Axe Capital who has turned on Axe. The interesting matter to note here is that we do not see who this file relates to. We think we know. Axe is not surprised. He is irritated and did not see it coming.

Dimonda is waiting at the bottom of Axe’s drive. Dimonda tells Axe a story about 9/11. Axe’s only response is “congratulations”. The story then goes viral. Chuck smiles. Lara is not pleased. It is on the news.

Wags gets scary inside Axe Capital and turns off the TVs.

Lara pulls the kids from School and Bobby adds security. Lu isn’t happy to find out that Lara knew what Bobby had done and she seemingly walks out on the restaurant.

Bobby shows up at work to find Wags has his back and Sheryl has his denials written. Orrin is ready to bring a defamation suit.

Bobby decides he is not going to lie about it. He did it before anyone knew it was terrorism. He’s not proud but he saw an opportunity to make money and he knew the firm and the surviving families would need it.

He fires Pouch. The implication is that Pouch was caught by the SEC and tried to sell Axe out. So we all thought earlier that Axe had been handed a file on Donnie by Hall. Now, the writers want to make us think Axe believes it is Pouch. Pouch has spent the entire season not standing up for himself so the fact he doesn’t here means nothing. Axe does not even open the file to show the evidence against Pouch. He tells Pouch to go get a job in another country as he will have a hard time in this one. Is Axe hinting at something here? Given how the public perception of him is likely to be in the next couple of episodes he may need a nice jaunt to another country himself.

Source: Showtime

Wendy comes into the panic room to tell Axe he does not have anything to be ashamed of regarding the 9/11 trades in a relativistic sense. It seems to be that Wendy already knew. I hope that wipes the smirk off Chuck’s face.

Bryan is not feeling happy with himself and has asked Chuck down to talk to him. Bryan is struggling with making peace with what he has just done.

Bobby goes to see Bruno and the whispers have already started as he gets looks from some of the customers. Bobby rips up the check that was his share of the profits. He asks Bruno if he saw the news today. Bruno sarcastically replies that he didn’t and then shares a drink with Bobby.

Bryan and Chuck get very drunk. Chuck describes why it is ok that Pouch gets fucked. Chuck tells Bryan that he is the reason Chuck just turned down $9 million because Bryan has just proved himself.

Chuck then says that the best reason it is ok that Pouch got screwed is because he was working at a dirty shop so it doesn’t matter how clean Pouch himself was. You, know come the end of the season someone could be saying that about Bryan.

Chuck tells Wendy about his job offer, that it felt good because they recognised his worth, but he could not take it. Chuck then whines about Axe some more and how much he cannot stand Wendy working there. He hates that Axe’s looted gold pays for his kids’ schooling. Chuck then complains that Wendy has been with Axe longer than him and that the love Wendy and Axe have for each other is “something else. It is weird, it is deep and I fucking hate it”. Personally, I wish Wendy would give Chuck a right good slap…one that isn’t foreplay.

Wendy then attempts to placate him by telling him he is stronger than Axe, that things are getting worse at Axe Capital and cannot continue that way. Chuck says that they won’t.

Axe and Donne have a nice meeting in the dark where it becomes clear that Donnie is helping Axe and not ratting out on him. Donnie wants to know when they give the FBI kemlot.

Axe answers “soon”.

Source: Showtime

3 thoughts on “Previously on Billions: Boasts and Rails”

  1. I just love reading your “previously on Billions” posts! And as I told you earlier, you never cease to amaze me with your attention to detail and I am in LOVE with your sense of humor — the way you describe the pop quisling (and what a brilliant way to call it!) is just priceless, believe me, I am still giggling especially thinking of Pouch’s look. Poor guy! Do you think Axe has fired him for show and Pouch somehow (someone lets him know) knows that it is just part of a play and he just needs to disappear for some time and that is all? If I know Axe well, I don’t think he’s selling Pouch out. I can even imagine Pouch is sailing on Axe’s yacht to Galapagos — I know, I know, I have some imagination!

    But what tops the post for me is something I missed again and you caught! Charles Jr’s table manners 😀 We know Raul Gomez telling Axe that he was a guy with terrible table manners 15 years ago but it seems Axe has educated himself… where as Chuck is quite comfortable using the chopsticks that he just had in his mouth on someone else’s plate… the look on Bryan’s face… I totally missed that and I thought he did not like Kimchi — hahaha this is brilliant!!!!! I love the way this show brings “bits and pieces” from life in everty single episode. I am obsessed with that. I really think we should do a post on that once the season is over: Bits and Pieces from Life in Billions!

    These writers love to play with us in the best meaning of the world. The curveballs they throw make the show better and better every week. One of the smartest writing I have ever seen in any show!

    1. Thank you. I thank the writers for giving us so much material to have fun with ourselves. ‘Pop Quisling’ just jumped out and demanded to be used. I loved that scene. They are all brilliant in it. “That’s not my sector” from Donnie was hilarious.

      I have no doubt Axe fired Pouch for show. Whether or not Pouch has been made aware of that or not is another matter. I wouldn’t be surprised to find much later on (as in season 2) that Pouch is off in another Country doing something for Axe.

      The Kimchi is just another example of Chuck forcing his will on Bryan. The wink he gave to Bryan was so condescending like patting a child on the head. The writing is very smart and quite delightful too.

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