Previously on Billions: Season 2, Episode 3: “Optimal Play”

Bobby wants to buy a football team and is wondering where his seat will be.

Chuck and Wendy are at marriage counselling and the discussion is around the effect on the children. Kevin asked his dad to make vows with him, specifically not to leave Kevin and Eva and to get back together with mom. Chuck promised they would always love Kevin and Eva and put them first, but could not promise the latter, only that they would try. Wendy is clearly moved by the fact that Chuck is not making promises he can’t keep and will not us his children to get what he wants. The counsellor says “that is intimacy” and you can feel it in the scene.  Jania Jania was right in her ep review for Dead Cat Bounce…their marriage is stronger than they think. However, Chuck still has to get his own place and he is struggling with that because it makes the separation more permanent.

Source: Showtime

Wags is clean shaven, but Bobby seems to doubt he is clean elsewhere and tells him to take another shower. I don’t think we want to know! Just before that order, the two of them are talking about the upcoming poker game and the fact that Todd has been mouthing off on twitter about it. Wags says Todd is better than Bobby at poker and Bobby concedes the point. 

Axe is busy this morning. After he leaves Wags, he meets with Lawrence Boyd who is very unhappy with Chuck’s tactics, but does admire them. Together Lawrence and Bobby are going to take down the Gallows before they get to Boyd. After the quick meeting with Boyd, Bobby meets with Hall and he feels comfortable enough with Hall to admit just how much Chuck Rhoades is getting to him. Hall tells Bobby that Rhoades cannot be moved on at the moment, but Bobby wants Hall to find a move. Hall seems very impatient and bored of Axe’s fixation on Chuck.

The team meeting doesn’t start or end well for Bryan. He has nothing, Lonnie isn’t willing to put his head on the chopping block and Kate is willing to take any risk necessary. She is the one who comes up with the info on the flight attendant, who hasn’t done anything wrong, but Kate’s opinion is that she won’t know that and they can use that to their advantage.  Bryan balks at the idea and Chuck loves it. Chuck takes the opportunity to question Bryan’s loyalty as the meeting finishes.

Bill is not happy that Taylor has a seat at the poker table, specifically his.  Off he storms to Axe’s office, no fake fight on the menu this time, though it is more a bag blowing in the wind as Axe blows Bill’s childish display off pretty easily. He mentions the football and Bill jumps right to the cheerleaders. Axe is all grown up now and only cares about the contracts. Bill leaves the office saying that “Everything he measures himself by is being called into question”.

Todd is paying Wendy a visit and she is not falling for the spa gift he has brought her. She knows he is there for something.  He asks her to come to the poker game as his performance coach and initially she says no. She does, however, interestingly ask Todd “You never hear no, do you? He replies “the word is said in my vicinity occasionally, but never really lands on me…I know someone else like that “I didn’t hear no.”

Dake is talking to Kate, complimenting her on meticulous reports, her removal of a rogue colleague and other matters. She gives him nothing, but he it is clear he is not quite buying it especially since he laid it out for her with all the good she has done that someone such as her should be putting the law first. Dake might just see Kate a bit clearer than everyone at the Southern District does.

source: Showtime

Taylor does not want to play poker, but Axe gets them a talk about it and confesses he needs to win. The discussion appears to be over with Taylor saying that kind of competition made her ill.

Kate is putting the pressure on the flight attendant, while Bryan stands casually against the wall…not the enemy. I am hoping he was using the chance to study Kate. Kate brings up fines and imprisonment and the flight attendant starts to panic. Chuck extracts Kate from the room and leaves Bryan to it.  The good guy, all comforting to the poor flight attendant. For her co-operation, she will have his protection.

Bobby arrives home with his Giants football and Lara thinks the kids will love it.  Bobby takes a call from Orrin and asks him for the name of a lawyer to help Boyd out. Lara asks why Bobby is helping Boyd and the scene is quite enlightening as we see how well Lara has come to know her husband. Bobby thinks Boyd is his scout and everyone but him, Lara and the kids are “cannon fodder”.

source: Showtime

While clear that Lara knows her husband well, she does not know him completely. As Damianista says, it is just as well Lara does not know it was Wendy emailing Bobby that caused the interruption to their chat…so much for cannon fodder, eh, Bobby? Wendy has done Bobby the courtesy of letting him know in advance that she will be at the poker game as Todd’s coach. Bobby is very unhappy about this, the toys are out his very expensive pram. Bobby still very much sees Wendy as his and cannot recognise her right to choose for herself, in the same way he can’t recognise that Taylor has the right to choose for themselves. Bobby facetimes Taylor and tells them they are playing in the poker game.

Kate is discussing not getting the case with her father. Her father is very helpful to her, advising her to be careful about not showing her disloyalty openly and being seen as intelligent the intelligent one. It seems clear from Kate’s talk   her dad that she and Bryan are no longer an item.

Taylor has a session with Gus, who surprises them by being quite useful.

Chuck is selling his Churchill first editions to get the money he needs for a place of his own. This hurts!

source: Showtime

The flight attendant is being wired up with recording equipment. Bryan seems quite content to be doing the honours.

Lawrence Boyd arrives at the Alpha cup poker tournament to the accusing glares of others, but is embraced by Axe and then Todd, who despite his protestations, is absolutely piggybacking. There was nothing sincere in that hug.

As the tournament starts, Axe and Boyd meet outside where Axe introduces him to Hall, before leaving the two of them to it. I think this is a bad idea at a time when Hall might appreciate someone willing to listen to him.

Meanwhile Bryan is lounging about doing work in his apartment which seems noticeably bare in comparison to Kate’s, when he gets a call from Chuck about what is going on and Bryan’s tone is very much that Chuck should trust him.

Todd and his smug face is someone even less likeable to me than Axe has been so far this season.  After losing to Todd, Axe proposes a double or nothing deal which involves Taylor playing for Axe Capital. A nice example of what Axe taught his sons in the Pilot about short term pain for long term gain.

Wags, doesn’t seem at all bothered with the poker, only the woman he is going home with. Lara asks him how he gets up for work in the morning and Wags gives Lara a business idea.

Chuck gets a message from Bryan that the plane has made an unscheduled stop in Chicago where an unnamed guest has boarded

Back at the Alpha cup and Wendy now has to suffer the indignity of the other insecure Axelrod trying to project on to her.  Lara tries her best to put Wendy down by saying she has only ever heard about marriage being hard. Wendy  sees through this drivel  bats the attempt away with ease.

Axe has a pep talk with Taylor about the fact that they love winning and Taylor confesses they did not quit the online gambling, they were thrown out because others could not compete. Taylor felt hate and does not want to tap into that again.  Axe talks about sacrifice but leaves the choice to Taylor as to whether they win or let Todd win.  Todd’s arrogance makes that choice for Taylor who stands up well to Todd’s goading. Todd can’t read Taylor, which is glorious to see. Todd calls Wendy for a session, but treats her like dirt too, arrogantly saying that he knows what he is doing. The reality is he just thinks he does.

source: Showtime

Taylor stands their ground against Todd. “A bully is devastated when you stand up to him.” Taylor wins the cup for Axe Capital, but is very obviously uncomfortable with all the attention that winning has brought.

source: Showtime

The morning after and Lara arrives at Axe with the hangover cure. Wags is absolutely delighted.

Lawrence Boyd is playing around with Thomas MacKinnon’s wife, director of the company. Bryan has a moment with the flight attendant who has now realised that her trade was not illegal, but she went through with the spying for Bryan. Aww. Cute! Who is she? I’m suspicious. Step away from Bryan!

Taylor takes the Alpha cup off their desk and into Axe’s office. Taylor is not very comfortable having realised why Axe wanted to beat Todd so badly…the need for Wendy to watch Todd be broken.

Mr Mackinnon is now being made aware of his wife’s adultery and he is not a happy man. Chuck works on Mackinnon about helping against Boyd, using very explicit language. Mackinnon advises that Boyd has been rigging treasury bids.

The NFL think it will be better if Axe doesn’t bid which naturally displeases Axe, who decides that throwing more money at the situation will help.

Axe has bought Chuck’s first editions and orders Steph to buy up all first editions she can find. Axe is in destroy mode. The only question is will he manage to destroy Chuck before he destroys himself?

source: Showtime


4 thoughts on “Previously on Billions: Season 2, Episode 3: “Optimal Play””

  1. I do not write because my English is not good enough, but I enjoy reading everything you write, thank you very much

    1. Monique, I second Tbkwrm! Your English is perfectly fine and we love your comments. Please keep your feedback coming! Hugs!

  2. Both Axelrods turned me off in this episode. I thought, as much as it was outrageously funny, it was pretty pathetic of Axe to buy all Churchil signed first editions in the world. Are you six years old or what? And Lara was openly cruel to Wendy with her “yeah I’ve heard other people say that.” It’s interesting that, from what I saw, I was thinking Axelrods’ marriage was stronger than Wendy and Chuck’s. I am seeing it quite differently now. Conversation is a big part of a successful marriage, and Wendy and Chuck are able to talk despite all that happened. Axelrods seemingly have the ideal marriage; however, they do not really talk, do they? We saw in the last season that Axe was able to share his feeling with Wendy but not Lara and Lara did not feel good about it. Axe is very selective about what he shares with Lara. I don’t know but maybe protecting her is his instinct — that it is better if she knows close to nothing about his dealings so that she will not be implicated in case of an investigation.

    Your point is very well taken about the Axe case going to Eastern. When Donnie died, they took the case from Chuck and gave it to Eastern. May it be that they thought there was nothing more to do with the case since the only witness to what was happening, Donnie Caan, was dead… I understand they take over a case only when they feel they can win it (this Spartan-Ives case is of course totally different because of obvious reasons!!!) or the Eastern district just wanted some time to pass, because it was an embarrassing moment for the US attorney’s office, to go back and re-visit the case… I wonder if something will pop up at Eastern at some point this season!

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