Billions on Showtime, Season 2 Episode 7: Victory Lap

source: Showtime

As we start the second half of Season 2, Axe and Chuck are at opposite ends in their personal and professional lives. Axe seems to have made up with Lara but is suffering from the Sandicot deal. Chuck, on the other hand, is doing his professional victory lap for taking down Boyd but has a fragile relationship with Wendy. And, in an interesting turn of events, Episode 7 Victory Lap makes both men converge to exactly the same point: Black Jack Foley. Man of the Hour. It seems we will get to see more of David Straithorn in the coming weeks.

Poor Bruno comes down the stairs in the middle of the night, holding a baseball bat, just to find Axe and Hall in his living room. Hall believes when an operation goes sour, they need to go to its genesis: Marco.

source: Showtime

Does the bag Hall leaves on the table have torture equipment in it? And it is not hard to imagine what he whispers into Marco’s ear when we hear Marco swearing on his eyes that he did not trick Axe. Nobody knew whom he was talking to about financing. Marco believes this is the usual Albany machine shit: They are getting “fottuto” probably because someone’s cousin did something to somebody’s boss in a distant part of the state! Yeah, kind of!

source: Showtime

Chuck is seemingly spending a day with Kevin in the park but actually giving an interview to Mike Dimonda. Even though he says he would never consider running for political office while serving as the US attorney, he does not miss the perfect photo op, either!

Chuck Rhoades for Governor or what?

source: Showtime

While Chuck tells Wendy only about playing catch, Kevin talks about dad’s interview. Wendy does not like that Chuck has used their son as a prop and is not buying Chuck’s bullshit about Kevin getting his first exposure to relations with the press. When she confronts him, Chuck feels the urge to reveal he had to Columbo (My grandmother and I never missed an episode when I was little kid!) his way into finding out about her return to Axe Capital. Lo and behold, they are now allowed to see other people!

source: Showtime

Where Wendy sees half-truth, Chuck Sr sees the whole truth and nothing but the truth. He, in fact, sees Camelot! The look on Chuck’s face speaks volumes: He is READY.

source: Showtime

Chuck Sr is a practical man. He has quit his golf club today for not allowing women. It seems he will not have much time anyway for golf in coming days : With his campaign manager hat on, he lets Chuck know that the Tappan Institute is commissioning a poll to see his state-wide popularity and with his marriage counselor hat on, he knows Camelot needs a Jackie! And, no, he does not want Wendy just to stand behind Chuck at the podium but to build a killer out of him like she does every day in her job!

Axe arrives at his Hamptons house with the family to prepare for war only to find Chef Ryan in a “make love, no war” mode 😀 Despite all twists and turns in this show, this could easily be the most surprised expression we see on Axe’s face and I cannot stop giggling as Ryan says “and you did not call…”

source: Showtime

Ryan should be a real good cook that the chill boss pardons him. Now he has to wash his hands and make lunch for eight.

In the war room, Wags likens the Sandicot mess to “Billy Batts in the trunk” and Eveready comes up with the dark spell: AUSTERITY.

source: Showtime

The note exchange requires Sandicot to pay Axe first before all other financial obligations such as union contracts and teachers’ salaries. Axe may just enforce it and seize the town’s assets: Land. Utilities. Buildings. Vehicles. Pensions. The city also has a $900K Remington about whom Mafee of all people, who took Art History in college for an automatic A, provides information.

Taylor further explains the dark spell: If they force Sandicot to pay them, the town will not be able to pay salaries and pensions. Schools will close down. As graduation rates will go down, crime rates will go up. The city will need to cut back on police force which would bring all kinds of other problems. The remaining businesses will get affected and more jobs will be lost. A PR nightmare for Axe Capital. Axe tasks his team with finding a way to get this done without destroying the town.

Hall finds out it is Senator Joe Scolari who made the call for the last minute switch from Sandicot to Kingsford. And if Axe did not know how state politics worked before his meeting with Scolari, he knows now: The committee “chose the location that would bring the greatest benefit to the greatest number of people and it turned out to be Kingsford.” It is as bullshit as Axe claiming to take on the obligations of Sandicot as a New York state investor!

source: Showtime

Danzig has been losing sleep about Russian Hackers since last night and when she finds out about “what happened yesterday” Wendy gives him the big picture: Axe Capital is not very different from Russian Hackers in being agents of chaos. Axe Capital employees are constantly playing in the gray areas morally and legally but they can live with it since they do not exactly know whom they are hurting in the process. But, when it comes to Sandicot, they know exactly whom they are going to hurt and how.

Bottomline: If you are losing sleep over it, take an action.

source: Showtime

Danzig takes an action as they are discussing an astroturf campaign to present Axe Capital investors as victims: A TV ad shows a retired school teacher who loses her money invested in Axe Capital because the town the company invested in is allowed to default. While Danzig proposes to hold the debt, take a short-term loss and redevelop downtown, the counter-argument surprisingly comes from Taylor: Even though Axe may look like he is hurting the town, the town asked for it. They mismanaged their business knowing the federal government would save them. I get Taleb‘s “be anti-fragile or die” but I do not get why people of Sandicot need to pay for the local government’s bad business. And why does everyone stand up and leave when Taylor finishes talking? Does whatever Taylor states become the law of the land or what?

It seems the “nature” argument is not compelling enough for Axe to go ahead. And Wendy is not giving him what he needs, either. She knows Axe wants to talk to her about Sandicot  not to genuinely explore his options in the matter but just to make himself feel better about what he is about to do.

Better yet, Wendy can influence other minds! 😀 The news about Danzig quitting makes Axe interrupt Wendy’s session with Mafee. He tells Wendy her contract is very clear about her having to help his employees perform at the peak just to hear from her that he was the one that made the deal and can get out of it anytime he wants. Ha! Now what, Bobby, except for this look on your face?

Kate and Lonnie are concerned Chuck may be serving Head of Crim to Bryan for lunch at Keens. It turns out this is a special place for Chuck. He learnt about his US Attorney appointment from Senator Vandeveer (Who else? She is Chuck Sr’s senator who also helped Adam DeGiulio to get on the federal bench!) here and he dreamt of taking Bryan here to break the news that he would be the new Head of Crim. Yet, they need to have another conversation today. One that Bryan dreaded having for months.

source: Showtime

Chuck skillfully brings the conversation from muttons to rats, and talking about rats, does Bryan have anything to tell Chuck?

“I am the one who called the OPR.”

source: Showtime

We go back to the night at Bruno’s: After Bryan leaves the place, Axe gets the call from Hall who heard from the janitor at Chuck’s office that Axe Capital was bugged. Axe catches up with Bryan to inquire about it and gets “Not officially. But, right now, I would not be surprised if it were unofficially.”Axe’s words might further prime Bryan to make the call:

“The man that you work for now… He’s not just dirty, he’s worse than that. He’s a hypocrite. And if you know that and you still let it happen, then I think you know what that makes you.”

While he is quite annoyed Axe could get to Bryan, Chuck sort of admits he was a hypocrite in the Axelrod case. The Head of Crim position will stay vacant in the foreseeable future but Bryan needs to make a decision NOW and it is not just about having mutton chops or not.

We have been saying Bryan has been at a crossroads for some time and he seems to have made his mind up when he visits Orrin Bach getting a manicure in his barber shop:

“Fuck your client. And fuck you, too.”

The initial poll numbers are promising enough that Chuck is ready to explore the electoral terrain. He knows he is vulnerable in upstate New York but Chuck Sr knows how to prop those numbers up. Chuck first needs to find a good clerkship for Black Jack Foley’s granddaughter Emma and then they will just wait for his call. Foley will take Chuck’s measures and bless him.

Chuck asks Adam over lunch at Peking Duck House whether he could give Foley’s granddaughter a clerkship. Adam, recognizing the name, thinks if Emma were as good as Chuck told him, she would have a clerkship by now. Adam seems to be doing things differently now that he is out of the trenches, but Chuck reminds him that it was deal-making and back-channels that got him to the bench he is sitting on. My hunch is Adam will help place Emma in a good clerkship.

In the meantime, it seems I did not get it at all when Wendy told Craig Heidecker she could give his “21 year old hairless girls” problem a quick fix 😀 A Mafee-Deb snogging session inspires Wendy to call Craig and give him another dimension to exist in!

source: Showtime

Now that he has got the ball rolling, Chuck needs the woman who would turn him into a killer! I believe Chuck deeply cares about Wendy but he is also smart enough to know why the baby sitter is taking a cab from their house in the morning. So he does his optimal play: He starts with a story to create some nostalgia. He went to the bistro they always went when they were first married just to find out the place has been closed for four years. And he follows up with a calculated apology about Wendy being back at Axe Capital:

“I’m sorry. I was being selfish. If you are happy there then that’s where you should be.”

He sounds so sincere and so strategic at the same time that Adam is right: Chuck is perfect for politics!

Hall now knows it is Jack Foley whose family, old steel and railroad money, goes way back to Tweed, that is responsible for the last minute switch to Kingsford. Things have not changed much since Tweed’s time, have they?

Axe meets Boyd in prison to get a feel about Foley. What drives him? Who is close to him? How can Axe get close to him? It turns out Boyd could have put Axe in the same room with Foley back in the day but now he is off his speed dial! Besides, Boyd does not recommend austerity and tells Axe to be careful even though what he is planning to do is not illegal.

“If they hate you enough, they will find legal grounds to fuck you.”

Axe now needs a face to face with Foley. Will he take Axe’s measures and bless him, too? 😀

Bruno drives his Chevy to Axe’s driveway lined with luxury cars just to give his two cents. Axe may have everything now but he should know a thing or two about the people of Sandicot.

“These people, they’re just like you while growing up.”

This is the last thing Axe needs to hear. On one hand, you feel Axe’s pain while he is listening to Bruno. And I wonder if he is in extra pain because he is disappointing the only father figure in his life. On the other hand, Axe does not shy away from being rude to this old man, from intruding into his home in the middle of the night and dragging him to Marco’s office, to not even inviting him in when he drives all the way from Yonkers. One thing I have always admired in Axe was the connection to his have-not roots. But it seems the connection is not as strong when it comes to personal business stakes.

The justification Axe desperately needs comes from someone who believes in what she says: Lara.

“Did anyone ever help us, or look out for us? When my mother was closing the blinds so that bill collectors wouldn’t know that anyone was home?”

Lara reminds me of Marie Antoinette, surrounded by her overly expensive wardrobe, saying “let them eat cake” in this scene. As AC/DC’s “For Those About to Rock” starts playing, Axe is ready to rock his Ferrari Scuderia Spider and fuck Sandicot. And I understand one more time I would not last a day in their world.

source: Showtime

Author: Damianista

Academic, Traveler, Blogger, Runner, Theatre Lover, Wine Snob, Part-time New Yorker, and Walking Damian Lewis Encyclopedia :D Procrastinated about a fan's diary on Damian Lewis for a while and the rest is history!

37 thoughts on “Billions on Showtime, Season 2 Episode 7: Victory Lap”

  1. I love reading your re-caps before I watch, so I know what to look for! Seems like this is a crazy, jam-packed episode!

    Since I can’t comment on the show yet, let me just say one thing: ” I do not understand why the people of Sandicot need to pay for the local government’s mismanagement.” Because they voted them in. You get the government you deserve. If you continually vote in people who’s agenda is only self promotion, don’t be surprised when you get screwed. It’s not right, but it’s the unfortunate reality we live in today.

    1. Thank you!

      Yes, it is the people they voted for who make the Sandicot people vulnerable. And then a handful of people sitting at a $63M Hamptons mansion dining on a multi-course gourmet lunch decide the future of the town. True, it is the unfortunate reality we live in, and not just here but in most places. I don’t think there has ever been a TV show that has presented how money, politics and law go hand in hand as clearly as Billions. You are sort of doomed if you are born in a run down town like Sandicot. And take my “I do not understand… ” as a desperate stance against the world we live in.

      Enjoy the episode, and I am looking forward to your take!

      1. How does the voting system work for somewhere like Sandicot? I presume majority, but is it more complex than that? Excuse my ignorance of US voting systems.

      2. I was brought up with the principle of living within my means. It is what my mother and father taught me and one I still live by. I understand that aspect of it and why Axe has to protect his investors, but that entire town do not deserve what is about to happen to them.

    2. I agree 100% with you Lady Trader. I felt Taylor summed it up very well at that level. They may have come across a bit coldly analytical but I believe they are aware of the reality of running a local city. Axe didn’t buy into the town to tear it down. He had great hopes about its development. He even demanded that his team find a better way out than austerity. Axe has been put in between a rock and a hard place.

      1. Once I watched the episode, I agree with you as well: Taylor summed it up perfectly. I’ll be addressing that in this week’s From the Trader’s Desk.

  2. Another great episode and recap! I’m really conflicted about the Bryan and Chuck scene.

    (Firstly because I’m Australian and I’ve never heard of this kangaroo meat/Australus malarkey. I did learn that it was an actual competition and Jumpmeat was another entry, which is about as perfect an Aussie name for something that I’ve ever heard. But I digress.)

    I was kinda hoping Bryan would order a salad or something rather than saying he’d have the same as Chuck. Because fuck Chuck, too (just adding to Bryan’s list). It sucks he has to prove his loyalty to such a man who knows he was in the wrong. (Sorry, they were just *missteps*.)

    The scene with Bach was stellar… the look on Glenn Fleshler’s face in the mirror as he spoke to Bryan vs his expression at the end when Bryan gave it to him were brilliant. Such good actors in these guest roles.

    I know I shouldn’t be surprised by Axe’s decision about the town’s debt but I was. Just goes to show the disconnect between Wendy and him. I think I was hoping for more Lara conflict if he went against her advice. But that’s the reason why he’s with someone like Lara rather than Wendy. They’re both aware of his dealings, but only Lara knows the true moral and ethical depths to which Bobby is capable of sinking and is right there with him. Wendy looks the other way. They’re both complicit in their own ways.

    Interesting to see how far Chuck gets with his political aspirations in the short term, especially with Chuck Snr in the wings. I’d wager there’d be more than a few skeletons in Senior’s closet that could hurt Chuck’s chances as much as his connections could help. And he might speak French but he needs to brush up on his written skills. N’est-ce pas, Chuck Snr?!

    1. Thank you!

      I think Bryan wants to be on the “prosecution” side at all costs. He now knows that he has no real mentors and he needs to be his own man. I loved Bryan when he said “I was the one who called the OPR.” And, for some reason, I think Chuck admires him for what he did. Yes, in Chuck’s mind, Bryan betrayed him, and he is also quite annoyed that Axe could get to Bryan; but on the other hand, he knows that Bryan did the right thing. I was thinking Chuck would keep the Head of Crim position open until the end of Dake investigation to keep all three apprentices close and loyal to him, but it seems he will still take his time to fill the position. That may be part of a strategy of his longer game given that he is also considering a run in the gubernatorial elections! 😀 The US attorney’s office is so much fun to follow this season!

      Axe just makes up his mind and then looks for the justification in people he trusts. He looks for it in Wendy to no avail, but finally gets it from someone he truly trusts and who truly believes in what she says. I completely agree with you that, yes, THAT is why Axe is with someone like Lara and not with someone like Wendy. Axe and Lara seem to be a match made in heaven in many ways, they are true partners-in-crime, and I know I would not last a day in their world. To be honest, I am quite glad not to be in that world 😀

      You are absolutely right about the possible skeletons in Chuck Sr’s closet and withdrawing from his restricted golf club may not be enough. I can’t help giggling wondering if they deliberately misspelled “n’est-ce pas” on Chuck Sr’s note to his son 😀 And I am dying to see what Axe will do once he knows it is Chuck Sr that screwed the Sandicot casino deal!

      1. Having already confessed to joining Lady Trader’s “Read Damianista’s blog before you have seen the episode, club”, I am just going to jump right in here (obviously it is about Bryan, shock of all shocks!) and say that what you have transcribed about Bobby saying to Bryan (in the flashback) sounds very similar to what Chuck said to Wendy in ‘the Conversation’ about what it makes her if she is consorting with criminals…

        Also more Bobby and Bryan in the same scene…YAY!

        1. Welcome to the club! <3

          OMG! That is so true! Damian said at the Paley event in December that the show creators enjoy having Axe and Chuck say the same thing and this is a brilliant example of that: Chuck's words in "Conversation" worked on Wendy exactly like Axe's words seem to have worked on Bryan. And the fun part is that they said those words about each other almost the very same day 😀 😀 😀 You should definitely put this into your post - brilliant discovery!

          1. Oh, it is going in!

            Next season, I fully expect to see Bryan having his hair cut in the Barbers…like a grown up!

      2. Oy, the glorification of Bryan. I found him more than Lilly-liveried in this episode. Chuck all but put a shank to his neck to make him admit that he turned Chuck in to the OPR. Chuck had him dead to right so there was no place to hide at that moment therefore Bryan knew he had been discovered and might as well admit to his betrayal.

        And his little huffy confrontation with Axe’s lawyer, geez. He sounded so whiny complaining. And I still beleive if he wasn’t such a weak character he would have turned around at the door when he saw Axe in the pizzeria. No conversation, no sit down out of curiosity. He is, as we would say in NY back in the day, a sucker. Why does Axe & team make him offers to join up? Because he’s so intelligent and fierce? Nah. He is easily led, easily manipulated and fragile about his own self worth. His use to Axe is Intel on the D.A. Office. His use to Chuck is his earnestness in fulfilling what he, Bryan, thinks is justice but with the ability to be led in any direction by a stronger personality.

        I guess I will never forgive him for how he treated Denny. Axe may have robbed Denny of a few months ( and in turn also making sure his family was set for life) but he did not humiliate and degrade Denny with such glee the way I saw Bryan during his reviews.

        On a fun note, I just laughed out loud when I saw Dollar Bill’s face after Taylor finished their analysis of the Sandicot deal with the quotation. Everyone at the table had expressions of thoughtful comprehension. Even Wags was visibly impressed. The the camera pans to Dollar a Bill with that “what the f did I just hear?” look on his face. Priceless!

        1. Bryan didn’t know Donnie was ill until the very end. It was the trick Axe used on them. He knew Donnie would die, the US attorneys office had no idea. It was Axe that stole Donnie’s Christmas by not letting him know about an alternative treatment that could make him see another Christmas.

          Let’s agree to disagree about Bryan 😀

          Yes, even a few seconds of Kelly AuCoin on screen is priceless – he is a remarkable actor!

          1. I agree about the disagreeing.
            Although, for me, it didn’t matter if Bryan knew about Denny’s illness. It is in how the character handles things in general. I find the character Bryan playing the bully too much. Chuck is more of a psychological interograter. He has an intelligence about his method. The character Bryan reminds me of the bully cop trying to beat out a confession from someone. This will be my last take on the character Bryan. I won’t write anymore on the character. As the saying goes, nuff’ said.

            And I too think Kelly AuCoin is a fab actor. I just don’t think the character Bryan is the potential hero of Billions. I’m actually leaning towards Sacker. She is extremely intelligent. She has tons of connections that have helped in their cases, she’ll go the extra mile to make a better grade in life (no B’s for Katie!) and has a conscious ( she was really upset when she found out about her Dad. Upset enough to talk to Chuck about her feelings.) and, I don’t think she would be easily manipulated. She would work out any manipulation before she could be used. And, sadly, she will give up any social life to make it to the top of the food chain. I think she has ambitions that top everyone we’ve seen on Billions. Didn’t she intimate that she may be entertaining the US presidency? To imitate Axe, look at the balls on her!

            Thank you for allowing me to add my two cents.

          2. My take on Bryan’s treatment of Donnie was more of frustration than of bullying. I agree with you that Chuck is more of a psychological interrogator. Besides, he is way smarter than most people in the show and is constantly playing mind games.

            Sacker is extremely intelligent and ambitious. She aspires for the highest office for God’s sake 🙂 And I LOVE it! I think she thought her dad sort of failed her. And I liked it that she went and shared it with Chuck. It was strategic but I think she also knew Chuck could understand her and he did. Wendy was the winner of Season 1 and Kate could be the winner of Season 2 — she could, in fact, end up as the Head of Crim.

            I believe that, maybe because I have a bunch of them around me, some people are happy when they get ahead in the game and thrive in their jobs. Their jobs give them a purpose in life. I think I am more of a person that sees the job as a job, I love doing it, but, like Orrin Bach would say, my job is not my purpose 🙂

            We love your feedback here, please keep it coming!

          3. A lot happened in this one, didn’t it?

            My heart was breaking for Bruno in this episode. Axe just lost one of his people and I ain’t talking about Danzig. I loved the fact that Bruno was willing to give up something of his own to help save Sandicot and while Axe tries to tell him he is doing everything he can not to do it this way, Bruno is shot standing surrounded by Axe’s car collection and he has a look as if to say “Yeah, sure you are”. Axe can clearly deal with people who argue, yell and shout at him. People who dare to try and get nasty with him. He can match or most likely out do them quite easily. But he can’t touch Bruno, nah. Damian and Arthur were wonderful together in these scenes.

            Agree with Wendy that Kevin is not a prop.

            Danzig’s scene with Wendy was very good. Love that he resigned. One earner down…might this be a strategy from Wendy?

            Is it just me that thinks Kate has Lonnie wrapped around her finger? She is good!

            Re the restaurant scene – please excuse the preamble – Chuck mentioned in the previous episode about Bryan not having a seat at the table like him and Sacher. Chuck knows what that means and Sacher knows what it means. Bryan also lacks a certain subtly that Chuck and Sacher have in spades…all of which Chuck knows and sees. Chuck also said he hired Bryan for his fury.

            So he is sitting across the table from someone he hired for his fury, presumably a fury at the wrongs in the world, but he knows he is also sitting across from an idealist who is still learning (due to not having a seat at the table) how the environment he is working in works, therefore can he be surprised about what Bryan did? Because Chuck was in the wrong and he knows that too. Bryan had been dreading this meeting we all saw it, but when actually faced with it I was glad to see him not willing to put up with any attempt from Chuck at being indignant. He stands his ground on it and gets an admittance from Chuck that he made more than just misteps.

            I was glad he brought up Wendy’s notes purely because it allows a comparison of both characters’ actions. Chuck knows all about an act of betrayal because you feel emotionally betrayed or let down. Even though Chuck is much wiser to the ways things work, it is exactly what he did in Magical Thinking to Wendy before Bryan did it to him in The Conversation.
            This may be the first real personal common ground he has found with Bryan other than the fact they are both prosecutors. He knows in this instance how Bryan was feeling and what drove him to it.

            The scene in the Barbers was fantastic. The acting was very good here. I am taking this scene as a bookend, not just to one scene as I mentioned to you earlier, but two previous scenes between them I. e. the Pilot where Bryan strolled in fishing for info and Orrin indulged him and the toilet scene from the deal. The latter was part shot with us viewing them through the mirror with Orrin in full control and the former was in stark contrast to how Bryan arrives…and leaves here. Just a great scene with two actors doing some great work, all in their faces. Bryan’s FU to Orrin, Bobby and Bobby’s FU money was quite nice to hear. For all my previous ramblings I am glad he has said no to Axe. The bit about not having any mentors is telling.

            Chuck’s meeting with Adam highlighted the very issue I have with Chuck. he actually said it to Adam himself…”Don’t forget it was the back channels that got you there”. All those people owing so many favours to the back channels.

            Lara shows why she is Mrs Axelrod because she will give Bobby the approval he won’t get from others. She gives him the freedom to be ruthless and is he ever. That last scene is so well played by Damian. Such conviction in Bobby’s voice.

          4. This is, in fact, a post right here and I LOVE IT!

            Axe disappointing Bruno BROKE my heart. And I think he broke Bruno’s heart and broke Axe’s heart, too, to an extent. I think Axe really wanted to avoid doing it. He usually moves fast and this time, he wanted to hear all scenarios before moving… and even after he made his mind, he looked for a justification, polled almost everyone around him, and found what he was looking for in the right place: Lara. I love the way you say it: Lara shows why she is Mrs. Axelrod. She gave him all the ammo he needed to do it. And the way he talks on the phone in the last scene was almost like he was starting a massacre. Damian STORMED that last scene!

            Your attention to detail never ceases to amaze me! Yes, we heard Chuck said almost the same thing about Axe to Wendy before we heard Axe saying it about Chuck to Bryan. This show is fantastic with words and I am in love with the symmetries!

            You and I are absolutely on the same page about Bryan. He stands his ground and I think that is why, and because he knows he did more than a few missteps, Chuck is keeping him. Bryan may not be the most strategic player in this show, or he is not doing everything to maximize his personal payoff in the game, but I think he really believes he earned the Head of Crim position, and I believe he did, too; so he may take the next step to get it: Hear Chuck, show loyalty and get it. We will see. I also agree with you that Kate has Lonnie wrapped around her finger, and that she knows what she wants and she may even know how to get there. JaniaJania alrady called that she will get Head of Crim, and yes she does not have the experience, but if Chuck wants to work someone exactly like him, then he should have his new Head of Crim in Kate! Who knows? Wendy was the winner of Season 1 and Kate could win Season 2.

            May it be a strategy for Wendy? Ha! So she is back and getting revenge for what Axe made her to basically cave in and get back to him with an offer to come back? Now that is an idea and a very good one at that!

    2. Agreed. It does totally suck when you have to toe the line to someone you know was the one in the wrong. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt, as they say, but like the rest of us, Bryan will get over it and be better for it. He has made the choice to remain prosecution but I am not equating that to a choice of Chuck.He does after all say he has no mentors and how can he when he trusts neither of the two who were playing the roles as his mentors?

      The scene with Bryan and Orrin was so well acted. The facial expressions from both were spot on. I quite liked that stride in from Bryan. That had some purpose to it. We haven’t seen such purpose from him before. I hope it won’t be the last.

      Bobby, for all his money, does not have such a back up like Chuck Snr to count on. Chuck Snr has been showing what money can’t buy you in among those who have certain connections. Chuck Snr likely does have some skeletons but the question is can they really be got at?

      1. Ack, the barber shop scene gets better every time I watch it. That bit where Bryan’s accent seems to slip… and I do mean Bryan’s, not Toby Moore’s. It’s so vulnerable when his less than polished, didn’t-grow-up-with-a-seat-at-the-table side shows.

        And a thousand times YES to your comments about Chuck and how he dealt with Bryan… who at the end of the day did the RIGHT thing. Chuck deserved almost losing his job over it and having to deal with his “missteps”.

        That said, Bryan’s own misstep fudging the paperwork that resulted in the Pouch being fired is still there in the background. I wonder when that’s going to bite him in the bum. Just as Lonnie’s disloyalty speaking to Dimonda is also yet to be found out by Chuck.

        Maybe Sacker will be the last woman standing after all.

        1. Yeah, I wasn’t happy with Bryan about F**K the Pouch. He has left himself open with that one. Now that Dimonda has reappeared he may let it slip about Lonnie at some point.

          In episode 1 the suggestion is that Head of Crim is really only between Bryan and Lonnie and I sure do not see it that way at all!

  3. This episode seemed to jump around a bit more than others, and it won’t be my favorite. That is probably due to hoping Bryan would be more assertive with Chuck ( who I thought looked like a fish out of water tossing the football). Also, once again, Wendy comes across as a know-it-all (I don’t even like that term much) who can fix anything but her own life. But of course I’ve addressed my opinion of the Wendy character before. I suspect Lara gave Axe advice she really felt would be bad, since the look on her face after the conversation looked to me like she was getting revenge on the way Axe had recently treated her. Maybe it was a test to see if hubby really would value and take her suggestion. Best part of this episode was the back and forth of “what should I do” so convincingly evident in Axe’s eyes.

    1. Thank you, Connie, for your feedback!

      Chuck was there for the photo op, wasn’t he? 😀

      I loved Bryan when he said “I was the one who called the OPR.” I believe, Chuck knows deep down that Bryan did the right thing. I think Bryan wants to stay on the “prosecution” side at all costs and being more assertive with Chuck at this moment would probably not work in his favor. As much as he is probably the most idealist one in the US attorney’s office, he should play the game right if he wants to get ahead. He now seems to be cutting ties with his original mentor but I am still so curious where Bryan will land by the end of the season.

      You really don’t like Wendy and I respect that. We have a saying in Turkish which I had put into one of the recaps in this context and I stand by it: “A tailor cannot sew up her own robes.” I think Wendy is an expert to diagnose situations that she can have an objective take on; however, it gets complicated even for her when she is emotionally involved. That is why it is hard for her to fix things in her own life — for example she did not see Chuck wore a suit all the time not to remind everyone about his job but because of his insecurities. But she sure sees through Axe. And I liked it that she did not give Axe the justification he was looking for about Sandicot. He did not want to talk to Wendy about Sandicot to have her take on the matter but it was all about making himself feel better about what he was about to do.

      Your take on Lara is very interesting. I think we need to wait and see how the Sandicot story folds out and if it will bring more tension to the Axelrods. I personally thought she believed in what she was saying, and frankly, she reminded me of Marie Antoinette, surrounded by her overly expensive clothing, shoes and purses, saying “let them eat cake.”

      I love the vulnerable and restless Axe of this season more than the arrogant and overconfident Axe of last season mostly because this Axe makes Damian go explore parts of his incredible range as an actor that he has not gone before with his character, or maybe with any character.

      ps. Your fan story is coming up tomorrow! <3

    1. I completely agree with you. It is frightening because it drives from the crazy world we live in and so it feels truly compelling and real.

  4. I find the interactions between Kate and Lonnie interesting… I wonder if Lonnie gets anything out of it as he strikes me as more of a lone wolf. If Kate’s angle is to still be his deputy if Lonnie gets Head of Crim, would Lonnie follow through with that? He knows how ambitious she is, and wants the job for herself. If he thought it might mess with Bryan some more to appoint Kate, then I think he would. (I do love Lonnie and Bryan’s professional dislike/jealousy of one another.)

    Unless he too know about Kate’s political ambitions and is playing a very long game – keeping a strong connection that could serve him 20 or 30 years down the track when she’s in office. He’s a smart one, that Lonnie.

  5. Chiming in to say: Great post! Loved that you got the Remington connection. 😀

    The townspeople of Sandicot were really the last ones on anyone’s mind when the casino deal was first being made. Marco came to Axe to get money for his town and sold that deal by a promised casino, Axe knew the town was crap, but went in with hopes of raking in the profit from the casino. Maybe Marco is truly grassroots and attached to the people he represents. Or maybe he saw opportunity in the casino to upgrade his own position, feed into his own ambitions of going higher. It seemed that way when he first met with Axe. The actual people of the town, the teachers, firemen, cops, small business owners, are the furthest things from anyone’s mind when such deals are made. Kudos go to Billions for mentioning them at all. Both scenes of the King at his “round table” were exceptional at how they addressed the real consequences of sexy deal making. Consequences that DO eventually come home to roost….ie if these words from MLK are to be believed: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

    1. Thank you! This week’s episode has brought in a lot of good discussion – I am seeing my husband is involved, too 🙂

      My take on Marco would be that he is not necessarily grassroots, but after all, he is the county executive, and if he wants to go up on the political ladder, a thriving Sandicot would look better on his resume than a huge failure. So, even though he does not directly care about the people of Sandicot (and maybe he does) he cares about them indirectly since their well-being would impact his political future. And that is what politicians are typically about in my opinion. They are strategic players. I am not denying the fact that there are idealist people among them but keeping the constituency happy helps with a politician’s main goal of staying in office and pushing an agenda. Billions is doing a brilliant and a deliciously provoking job this season with REAL issues. They are not necessarily taking sides or asking us to take sides but when you drive your storyline from real life, it is inevitable that people respond depending on their own POV on these issues.

  6. Thanks for your super recaps. Billions can be complicated. I watch it then read recap and watch a second time to see what I missed. I really liked episodes six and seven with the casino skullduggery. Lots of black humor. And now we have Black Jack Foley involved. I look forward to when Axe meets up with ol Black Jack. (soon)

    With Hall (the blcak ops guy) becoming prominent. The actor who does Hall has very good background. In fact the casting director for Billions should get more credit

    1. Thank you so much, you make our day! It is a pleasure to do the recaps and have a discussion with Billions fans. The show is very complex and they never use a scene or a word for nothing so you need to be alert at all times! I still find new things in an episode when I watch for a third or fourth time. It is incredibly RICH. I don’t think we ever had a series that showed how hand in hand politics, money and law go in this country. And Black Jack Foley seems to be the perfect depiction of that intersection — connected to money, business, politics and law at the same time – I find it deliciously provoking! Isn’t it mesmerizing both Axe and Chuck need Black Jack Foley at this very moment?

      Thank you for reading and please keep your feedback coming!

      Terry Kinney (Hall) is a brilliant actor, and in fact, a director, too. I just saw Arthur Miller’s The Price on Broadway under his direction. Brilliant job. Billions is certainly utilizing the advantage of being in NY — they have amazing stage actors in supporting roles that make these characters all the more remarkable.

  7. Damianista…..thanks for your reply. Yes very complex. The previous episodes no. But I have watched eps six and seven, four times each. Lots of humor overt and covert, some you only notice when you watch it again. How about all that scene about eating mutton and how kangaroo meat is being marketed.. Half was an inside joke because Toby Leonard Moore is Australian. Or Lonnie about to pleasantly zone out on a donut / coffee sugar high when Dekes Investigator comes and demands a ,eating.

    Yes Terry Kinney has been kicking around for a long time. I hope he makes some good money from this show. He is one of my favorites. Costible-Wags is great, Toby Leonard Moore is solid! Tough standing up to Bach. Malachi Weir-Lonnie!!! Maggie Seif I don’t like. She has everybody’s number, Malin Ackerman I like. The show does a super job making her look great. She does well at coming from poor roots.
    Last episodes conclusion was hilarious where Bobby is barking out orders on extracting money from Sandicot//// while driving 90 in a $300,000 sports car///////while “For Those About To Rock We Salute You” is blaring in the background.

    1. Absolutely! I always find something new on my 4th and 5th watches. The show does a lot of play with words, with food, with cultural references and, yes, with music, too. Billions is one of the smartest, if not the smartest, show I have ever seen on TV.

      The supporting characters are incredible! I LOVED Maggie Siff in Mad Men and I adore her as Wendy. She is probably the only character in the show that I can identify with in real life. Malin Akerman is getting better and better. She is probably the only actor though with no stage experience.

      That is how I ended my recap: Axe rocks his Ferrari and fucks Sandicot. Doesn’t he? Can’t wait for more! 😀

  8. Hi…acknowledging read your entire post. You and I get how multilayered the show is. Better than movies these days, at least for me. And the very fine supporting actors. How do they make ends meet when not on a smash like Billions? What a depth of fine actors (acting talent) we have in this country who finally get a chance to shine and get acknowledged, not via Hollywood movies, but in extended “Prestige” TV series.

    “Taleb says we must become anti-fragile”…..lulz.. I see he wrote a book on this. Next episode is Kingmaker so Black Jack Foley must be involved. I am predicting some kind of plot twist involving Bobby and Black Jack where Sandicot is spared or half spared.

    1. I think Billions is tailored for a more sophisticated audience and so most fans get how multilayered the show is. We are lucky to be living in the golden age of TV. And Billions is up there with the very best like The Wire or Breaking Bad.

      What a good question. I think they do stage and they do not live like Hollywood actors but like people with normal jobs — like us. That is why they are very down to earth and relatable people, too. I am so glad Billions makes use of fantastic stage actors brilliantly and give them a space to SHINE and they do! I would say, including the stars, this show does not have “Hollywood” in it which I admit I am in love with!

      Yep! I guess Jack Foley can make you King and can make you a Pauper, too. Now that both men want to have a personal moment with him for different reasons, Foley — as much as he seems to be a man of all seasons! — is the man of the hour! Let’s see what will happen with Sandicot. And I am dying to find out what Axe will do once he knows it is Chuck Sr who screwed him there…

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