Billions on Showtime, Season 2 Episode 8: The Kingmaker

Black Jack Foley. Old steel and railroad money. One of the first businessmen that went to Russia after the wall fell. It seems he has taken after his great-great-great uncle Boss Tweed that he is pulling the strings in Albany. He is THE Kingmaker who takes your measure and bless you. And that is why both Axe and Chuck need a moment with this man as soon as possible.

source: Showtime

Chuck Sr gets a lukewarm call from Foley. His granddaughter has not got the clerkship. Chuck may have no idea Foley moved the casino away from Sandicot, but he should have some idea Foley will help him in Albany. Now that he feels disrespected, Foley will back Bob Sweeney’s campaign in gubernatorial elections.

We find out Chuck Sr keeps his 1998 Fundadores at his personal locker at Nat Sherman Townhouse and likes them at 80% humidity for their “funk.” Chuck Sr shares the news with his son.

“Buffalo Bob?”

Chuck is surprised because Sweeney is second-tier. Besides, we are living in a democracy and “the age of the kingmaker is the past.” He knows Foley “wants his balls gargled” and Chuck is not giving him that. Not buying his son’s bullshit, Chuck Sr steals my heart all over again.

“You sound like a fucking hippie.”

source: Showtime

While only one Rhoades has an invitation to Foley’s party, Axe cannot get Foley even on the phone. I completely understand he needs to know if there is someone out there trying to crush him. Axe believes he can see any hedgie coming to him — he really did not see Birchie coming in Nigeria deal though, did he? — but Foley is different. How can they get to this “light touch, tight grip” man?

source: Showtime

Axe first goes old-school. However, even 370% of what he normally makes does not make the guy who supplies scrap for Foley’s business accept Axe’s offer to buy all his scrap! Axe now knows Foley can make “six hours on the cross at Calvary” look like nothing for people.

I cannot tell you how much I have been turned off by Lara in Victory Lap. She has shown the ugliest face of the 1% giving more than enough ammo to Axe to go fuck Sandicot. And now Marie Antoinette disguised as Mother Teresa is flying on a private jet to Sandicot to hug the children. Lara is running a show and, who knows, she may start a charter school business soon. We find out Axe is not going with her because SUNY Binghamton is on his agenda today. As someone that worked on another SUNY campus for 5 years, I welcome the reference and cannot help wonder if this is about yet another honorary doctorate or some insider information about a new scientific discovery. (UPDATE: Silly me! We find out it is not “SUNY” but it is “sunny” Binghamton where Axe meets the scrap guy. Haha, I am sorry but, as an academic, I would never think of anything but SUNY when Binghamton was concerned!)

source: Showtime

Chuck pays a visit to Sweeney to offer him a place on “his ticket” as the lieutenant governor. But Sweeney worked his way up from the lowliest elected position, sanitary commissioner, to where he is now — a 2-term mayor and a 3-term state senator — so he believes it is his time. No problem if people do not know his name, they did not know George Pataki‘s name, either. Sweeney does not leave Chuck an option other than finding a way to make people LEARN Sweeney’s name in a way that would give Chuck an edge in the race. Ira says he knew he would end up being like John Mitchell. He agrees to dig exactly like a hog digging through the shit to find a white truffle for Chuck and delivers it to his office.

source: Showtime

It then takes a trip to Buffalo for Chuck to break the news to Sweeney. He has the letters Sweeney’s gay son wrote to his friends from the “religious boot camp” his father sent him to have the “healing touch.” A father “forcing his son straight in the name of Lord” would probably not fly well with the State of New York, huh?

It seems Bryan starts playing the game, but seriously, does he really think he can outsmart Kate? Bryan pretends to Kate he is not interested in pursuing Dr. Gus, who turns out to be not a real doctor but a kinesiologist who went through Martha Beck‘s life coaching program, to get to Axe. But when they bump into each other at Dr. Gus’ “Kamikaze” program, they join forces. Bryan saying Axe is violating 5 virtues of the Bushido does the trick with Dr. Gus.

“Six. He wasn’t even polite.”

Which virtues of the Bushido do you think Axe has? Here is the 8 from Wikipedia for your convenience 😀

source: Wikipedia

Dr Gus cannot give them Axe because not being the perfect Samurai is not a crime. And while Gus never had any access to information Bryan and Kate are looking for he knows who had.

Bryan and Kate visit Steph in her Classic Six to find out she was sort of relieved when she was fired from Axe Capital because she was concerned with ending up in “banality of evil” of following orders and normalizing. While she has signed an NDA, Kate’s little bonding with Steph over her “great sense of service” does the trick. She is willing to talk if served with a subpoena.

While Bryan thinks these news will whet Chuck’s appetite, Chuck is not slurping that ramen anymore. His obsession with Axe nearly put him on the street and he will not allow THAT to get in his way to Albany now. I cannot imagine what Bryan feels when he gets a quick reminder of “I am glad I let you” to his “I am glad I stayed.”

Mafee gets a call from an investment bank that wants to wine and dine them to have Axe Capital switch to them from Spartan-Ives. Over dinner at Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, Wags finds the bankers undercutting Spartan-Ives by 10% over the next two years promising but they should let him “fire walk” them to St Venus Theater for his kind of evening. While Mafee is concerned Wags will “relapse” on his watch, Wags knows exactly what he is doing. He makes sure Tommy Barkow from Spartan-Ives sees him at St Venus and gets 20% reduction in fees in the men’s room to stay home! Poor Mafee has not seen any of this…

source: Showtime

…and Taylor feels a bit guilty about it. Wendy asks Taylor about their relationships at Axe Capital. Taylor points out the culture is set from the top and because Axe likes them, people seem to like them or they pretend. And Taylor is spot on that Axe likes them because he recognizes a part of himself in them and he also sees something he can use. And when the conversation turns into the relationship between Axe and Wendy, we are ALL EARS!

source: Showtime

“Everyone always assumes we were fucking.”

Taylor did not. Neither did I!

“We met at a similar moment, when we were both trying to figure out who we were going to be.”


“In some ways, we did. And in other important ways, we maybe fell a little short.”

I am in the tiny little minority who does not want to see Axe and Wendy hooking up. I believe in conversation, not sex, being the most intimate human relationship. Sex is fun. Understanding each other with words is a beautiful rarity. And that is what these two have had. I find Bobby and Wendy’s relationship intimate, sexy and dangerous as it is. And I find it fascinating that they do not pass the red line but keep dancing around it. Please keep doing it!

source: Showtime

But this is Taylor’s session, isn’t it? It turns out Taylor is the FIRST person to come to Wendy to talk about a colleague’s feelings. They may tell Mafee he is doing some good work. No, Taylor cannot lie. Then buy something for him. A Hell in a Cell poster autographed by Undertaker and Mankind it is! 😀

While Wags cannot see a reason for Axe to spend his time and energy to figure out the motivation for a son of St. Tammany — a great New York politics reference — Axe has one: FEAR.

source: Showtime

Axe has fear in the back of his throat tasting like aluminum. In contrast to many who try to rule fear out of their lives, Axe works it. He knows what Foley has done is not just a political move but it is personal. And he is now getting on the board of Eastern Timber Wolf Conservancy with a big donation on the condition that they give their Man of the Year Award to Jack Foley and Axe presenting the award to him. And, with that, he gets an invitation to Foley’s house which looks like a real life Tammany Hall 😀

source: Showtime

The first surprise for Axe when he arrives in his 1997 Porsche 993, is to meet Danny Margolis — the windbreakers got him as early as in The Pilot — as a waiter. Margolis “did the one thing that no one ever can come back from.” He did time.

source: Showtime

The second surprise is Foley himself. He invited Axe to tell him if this was a row between the two of them he would accept the award and they would shake hands, but it cannot happen now. Their relationship is ending here. He knows Axe will continue his search but he should not come back here.

“There is nothing for you here.”

Ok then. If Margolis keeps his eyes open at the party, Axe will pay off his house.

Chuck finally receives a “hand-engraved” invitation and ready to rock Foley’s party in his tails as Wendy arrives at the house. She feels a bit guilty about their fight the other day because honesty is the only tool they have to find a way back to each other. Chuck spills the beans he had a date with the Swiss sculptor. There was a kiss but he felt like it was adultery and stopped. Wendy has a confession to make, too. However, probably because she knows Chuck is too insecure to deal with it, she cannot bring herself to say anything but…

source: Showtime

“You look fuckin’ hot!”

As she hates herself over a bottle of wine later, Wendy calls Taylor to tell them they are way ahead of her and Axe when they were their age and that Taylor has a rare chance to survive. I wonder if Wendy is seeing her younger self in Taylor, too: The one that has not felt short in telling the truth department yet.

As Chuck Sr and Chuck hear Ben Folds playing the piano at the party, Chuck finally gets his invitation for a personal moment with Foley in the library. The first thing he notices is Churchill’s The Second World War on Foley’s shelves. He should be missing them.

It seems Foley has taken Chuck’s measure by giving him Sweeney as a rival and is now ready to bless him. But where is that Chuck who was talking about living in a democracy where kingmakers do not have a place anymore? He bows in front of the kingmaker to kindly ask whether he will make him the governor and does not forget to add:

“There are other judges more senior and prestigious. I will deliver you that clerkship.”

Margolis has just his mortgage paid in full! And I am so pissed with the ways old money has at this point that I cannot be happier about Axe jumping on one of his many motorbikes to go crash the party at The Yale Club!

source: Showtime

The boy whose dad never came back (about which I blogged earlier here and here) is standing in front of this room full of men born with a silver spoon in their mouths. It is all about to whom you were born to for them to let you play and NEW money is not welcome here. As much as I despise the fact that Axe will drink Sandicot’s milkshake, I cannot help root for him to be the bull that fucks the men in this room!

source: Showtime

And if Damian Lewis’ delivery in this scene does not get an Emmy nomination for him, I do not know what will. His precision is mind-blowing!

“They say that a boy never really becomes a man until he’s buried his father. Now, mine has been dead to me since the moment he walked out when I was 12 years old. I don’t remember if I cried, but I do remember that I was forced to grow the fuck up.”

Chuck is not pissed with Chuck Sr because he knows Axe is right that he has to hold on to his dad. Besides, he will now use Axe’s seizing the assets of Sandicot as an opportunity to turn his weak upstate numbers around. Chuck’s defense of the people is as BIG a show as the defense Lara has been making. This run-down town has just become the proxy over which Chuck and Axe will fight their war and we all know everyone is a cannon fodder when these two want to get what they want.

And if Chuck has Sandicot, Axe has the 5 million dollar he gave to Wendy as a last resort — he could bring it back to the table to kill Chuck’s political campaign. Or, better yet, he can wait for him to kick off his campaign, and then get in there, humiliate him publicly and kill his candidacy once and for all. My advice is to keep a doctor around since it is likely Chuck Sr may suffer a stroke if something goes bad on the way to Albany. And as Axe rightly points out Chuck will then finally have to do something on his own.

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!

57 thoughts on “Billions on Showtime, Season 2 Episode 8: The Kingmaker”

  1. Such a good episode and a fantastic review! I would not have known of SUNY Binghamton or who George Pataki was or what a Classic Six was without the blog. Even with my captions on and Googling last night 🙂 I love how this show, each season, gives us a history lesson each episode. Really enjoyed how episode 7 with Boss Tweed and episode 8 with St. Tammany overlapped. Connecting all those dots…

    I agree with you that Axe and Wendy’s relationship is just right the way it is. The only thing I speculated in the beginning was perhaps there was a brief fling in the way, way distant past.

    And my favorite part(s) of the episode? When the writers gave us a glimpse into Wendy and Axe’s past relationship, as well as knowing how Axe’s father was in the picture. We knew it wasn’t in the picture when he and Wendy discussed Magical Thinking, but last night’s episode gave us specific age and clarification the father left them by choice.

    1. PS: Bushido Code picks for me are #3 Chu (loyalty) and either #4 Ko (respect of parent-his mother) or #6 Chi (enhance wisdom, broaden knowledge).

    2. Thank you, Krista!

      When I sat down to write last night, for some reason, it was all clear in my mind what I would put into this recap. It is not always like that, I sometimes struggle to pick and choose. As much as I love writing about every episode, I really loved writing about this one a bit more — maybe because of the personal revelations about Axe and Wendy, and about Axe’s father. So we have the exact same favorite moments of the show. I also admit there may be a semi-subconscious reason to enjoy this episode more: The Kingmaker made me root for Axe again! When the boy whose dad never came back stands up to the one whose dad has always been there for him in a room full of OLD MONEY I cannot help but root for Axe. Those men would let someone play with them only if he was born into the right family Money cannot buy its way to a warm welcome to the exclusive blue-blood club. And it turns me off as much as Lara has turned me off in the last episode. It is so sad new money and old money will now have their fight over the already fucked up Sandicot.

      I worked on a SUNY campus for 5 years b/w 2001-2006 before taking my current job and George Pataki was our governor 🙂 I love New York so I watched all New York docs I could get my hands on and I owe big thanks to Ric Burns’ New York documentary for knowing a bit about Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall I know you and I do share the FUN in connecting the dots and I LOVE IT! And when you think about, not much has changed since Boss Tweed’s time, has it?

      It is inevitable to speculate about Axe and Wendy’s chemistry and I have also though there might have been a fling in the past but never assumed it. Neither have you! 😀 Their relationship is all the more interesting because of the way it is set up, isn’t it? It’s personal and professional. It’s friendly and flirty. It’s sincere and strategic. And all at the same time – mind blowing!

      1. And like someone tweeted last night, (and BK liked the tweet), New York is the other main character of this show!

        1. ABSOLUTELY! And that is why I just can’t believe how all the stars have been aligned to make this show possible.
          Damian Lewis.
          New York.
          Game Theory.
          These are a few of my MOST favorite things and all come together in Billions.
          Am I lucky or what? <3

    3. We have found out it is “sunny” and not “SUNY” in that scene. Apologies. As an academic, there was no way for me to think of anything but SUNY Binghamton when Binghamton was mentioned.

  2. Damian. On. A. Motorcycle.

    Ok, with that out of the way-WOW! I was LITERALLY sitting on the edge of my couch cushions, leaning forward as Bobby cruised across the screen on that bike and marched into that building!! Holy crap! My husband was trapped under a sleeping cat and facing away from me, I am so glad he couldn’t see!! I feel like that scene might be this season’s equivalent to “the fight” from last season.

    LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. Can’t wait to get home and watch it at least 2 more times.

    1. I give it to Billions — that was SOME scene, sister!

      When asked about if he wanted to portray Steve McQueen on stage (it was JaniaJania’s Twitter question) at NY Times Talks, Damian said, he would do it if only for for riding motorbikes and driving fast cars… Well, Billions is giving all of it to him, isn’t it? 😀

      This season is getting better and better with each episode, cannot wait for more!!! <3

  3. Quick comments here. I am a day late watching this epi; was baby sitting 7 yr. old granddaughter last night and Billions is not exactly rated for the little ones! Must watch a second time since there was so very much going on in this episode. First thought was that of needing more of Axe on that cycle. (Yes, he would do Steve McQueen quite nicely.) Great closing speech, almost as good as the Nagasaki one from last season. Next, please, please, please, let this be the last we see of Dr. Gus. That character was one of the most obnoxious I’ve seen in a while. That scene, as well as the one with Steph, seemed to go nowhere. Why were they in there at all? Also, since I’ve mentioned before how little I like Wendy, both her conversations with Taylor annoyed the hell out of me. Frankly, Taylor seems a lot smarter than Wendy and I am growing more and more tired of Wendy’s know it all attitude. The scenes with Wags are, as usual, not always easy to follow, but he does indeed light up the screen!
    Now, if everyone will forgive me, I want to digress to Homeland. If any of you are following it, last night was the season’s finale and the last scene, not really a spoiler here, was Carrie standing, looking at the Capitol building at a distance. All I could think of was Damian’s Brody in season one in an almost identical scene. I have never forgiven Homeland’s writers for hanging Brody. But then I’ve never forgiven NBC for canceling LIFE. Of course neither the writers nor NBC give a hoot what I think.

    1. Thank you, Connie, for the feedback!

      Billions is SO RICH we all need to go back and watch. I watch 2 times before writing the recap and then watch for a third time during writing to get all details I want to get from it, and then I do a 4th watch just for FUN. And every time I find something new!

      I am with you on Dr. Gus but I was expecting him to come back because Chuck’s guys would want him what he really wanted to get Head of Crim! I think, now that Axe and Chuck are going at each other again, we will have a subpoena issued next week and then Steph will sing for the US attorney’s office. I will be giggling like crazy when Chuck finds out Axe has bought his Churchill collection first edition plus all Churchill first editions in the world so he could not get his hands on one anymore!

      And I, of course, loved the scene with Taylor and Wendy — mostly because we have got yet another little hint about Axe and Wendy backstory. I love their relationship as is, hope they keep it there!

      I have just watched Season Finale and yes I was telling my husband this season ended exactly like The Pilot and he could not believe I remembered that. Oh come on how can I not remember that???? 😀 Then we went back and watched the end of that episode… I just wish I had the time to sit down and re-watch Homeland from the start… first three season only and I would again skip that horrific scene which I have not seen to this day… But, alas, I just don’t have the time. Now that Damian has given us Bobby in Billions, I think I have brought myself to forgive Gansa and Gordon for what they did to Brody 😀 Haha Life is another story. If Life had lasted, say, 4 seasons, there would have been no Brody. If there had been no Brody, I would never have found out about Damian. So I think I am sort of OK with Life getting cancelled even though I think it was a brilliant show and Charlie is a more complicated character than most think.

      1. I have to confess I haven’t watched the latest episode of Billions yet. I watched the Homeland finale and did not like it at all! I have always been a member of “team Brody”, but still I had hoped for a more positive story and for some happiness for Quinn. I am glad that Billions is totally different to Homeland! On the surface it may not be as thrilling but I think Billions and its characters get more and more interesting with each episode. Most important for me: I am very happy that there is no torture and no killing in this series, because I am so fed up with the real world news!! Greetings, Barbara.

        1. I watched the Homeland finale, and I thought what was inevitable happened.

          Oh Billions is completely different and we know they cannot hang Bobby Axelrod – Thank God! And I think Billions is also a cat and mouse thriller in a sense and I may be biased but it is one of the smartest shows that I have ever seen on TV. And you are absolutely right the characters get more and more interesting with each episode. Please keep your feedback coming! Let’s hear what you think about the last episode, too! Much love to Germany!

    2. Connie, how do you gals remember that? I mean that last scene? I did not believe in Damianista when she mentioned the same, I went back and watched it again. Oh my, I salute y’all and am scared of y’all 🙂

      1. It is probably because I have watched the first 3 seasons of Homeland so many times. In fact, the only thing in all my years that I have watched more often is Band of Brothers. With BoB I can do most of the dialog right along with the actors.

    3. You are not the only one who saw the overlap btw Carrie gazing at the Capitol with Brody doing the same. Carrie at sunset, Brody as sunrise, if I recall correctly. Interesting that folks are talking about Quinn’s death in the same terms other folks talked about Brody’s death. Apples and oranges though. Both emotionally resonant, but in very different ways and degrees.

  4. Guys, are you sure that the motorcycle is the Indian Four? The gas tank has a metal circle on the side. I really want to know which motorcycle he was using. 🙂

    Thanks in advance.

      1. Thank you for the heads-up! As you can imagine, I am no motorcycle expert. I think I sort of assumed it was Indian Four because of the connection to an earlier episode 😀 I checked though the scene you sent me and compared with the one I saw in this episode, and because the big front lights look similar, I thought that was the Indian Four. I will remove that from the post. Thanks much for your help with this!

  5. Late to the party…no motorcycle though…

    A few tidbits stand out for me “Timber wolf” Chuck said earlier in the season the key to catching a Wolf is time.

    The quip Foley makes to Chuck about Snr possibly having other children out there.

    Axe commenting Foley may have been holding the grudge for a decade. I know that later on Foley indicates it isn’t personal bug I am not buying it.

    Everything I don’t like about Jnr and Snr was on display in this episode. The end result of which is Chuck using Sandicot to suit his own purpose.

    Axe, while having a very valid point about Chuck’s reliance on his dad, doesn’t fair better in the likeable stakes “I am drinking that town’s milkshake.” I don’t necessarily see this as a win for him either. He has just alerted them to the fact he knows when silence might have been better…and he may just miss the point that Chuck will get over the insult of being called a child and milk his dad dry while he is still there.

    Just when Sandicot thought the worst had already happened, Lara Axelrod is en route.

    Yay for something with Bryan and Kate. The scenes between them this season have been very unsatisfying so far, but I enjoyed them here. A tiny slither of a hint of why it went wrong and that there is still some attraction. Bryan being able to get Gus to listen had me grinning with Kate fairing better with Stephanie.

    I enjoyed the scenes with Wendy and Taylor so much. Not for the first time this season, Wendy is looking at someone who reminds her of her, but for the first time, Wendy is looking at someone who she can really connect with. I loved that Taylor bypasses the suggestion of any physical relationship and sees the emotional connection between Axe and Wendy. Taylor has a shot of being the person Wendy lost. I wonder what Mafee’s role will be.

    You know I had this feeling there was more to the scene with Bryan and Chuck…

    While not happy that he is doing Chuck’s dirty work for him, I do like Ira very much.

    1. Hahaha Foley telling Chuck that his Chuck Sr would not show him the pics of the bastards was hilarious – Chuck’s face!

      I don’t know if Sandicot is luckier to have Lara or Chuck on their side! It’s so sad that new money and old money will now have their fight in already fucked-up Sandicot. And, because he is on the “legal” side, Chuck will credit! His is as big a show as Lara’s.

      I agree with you that Axe’s “milkshake” comment was distasteful. But I think he made the comment not because he felt he would have the milkshake but because he was besides himself upon learning who screwed him up in the Sandicot deal. When you see the kid from Yonkers standing up to that room full of old money guys, you just can’t help but root for him. I don’t want him to screw Sandicot but I seriously want him to screw those men in the room — they are the perfect depiction of that entitlement feeling that I cannot stand. Bobby has billions and billions but they still do not allow him to come play with them because he was not born into the right family. Oh God, the way Billions plays with us… At the end of last episode I was so pissed with Bobby and look at me now 😀

      I wonder how Bryan will take Chuck’s move on Sandicot. He is from “Sandicot.”

      YES! I completely agree that Taylor has a shot of being the person Wendy lost on the way. I wonder she lost it because she has been at Axe Capital for long, or because she has been married to Chuck, or both? As much as she has a moral compass, Wendy is still attracted to POWER in personal and professional sense, and POWER may corrupt in so many different ways.

      Ira is a good friend! 😀

      1. Chuck Snr certainly seemed shocked Bobby would actually do what he did. Bobby wore his fury on his face in this scene and it was directed at them. However, what he says of Sandicot is true. In order not to lose a penny he will be drinking milkshake.

        I watched one of the new clips and Bryan appears to have a face like sour milk as he sits behind Chuck giving his speech about Sandicot. I say appears because we all know the Billions clip are very cleverly edited…but I certainly hope he is disapproving.

        With Wendy I would be more inclined to say it is her emotional connection to Axe that has gotten her to this point but that Chuck plays his part and I find myself wondering if Chuck was to begin with an escape from that side or life with Axe.

        1. Oh Axe will drink milkshake. He just would not say it that openly should he have not been so furious. And, besides, he let them know about what he is about to do. WRONG. Because Chuck is the “legal” side he will certainly get credit he does not deserve as the defender of the people. Maybe not from Bryan, but from the people of Sandicot, from the press, etc. Oh well…

          1. Chuck will (to begin) with be treated like a hero and it will be nauseating. However, he won’t be able to hide forever.

  6. Didn’t have time to look up all the references, so I’m glad you did! Now, I desperately want my own Classic Six! Lottery winnings will definitely be going into finding such a Manhattan pied-à-terre.

    “Margolis “did the one thing that no one ever can come back from.” He did time.”

    Axe saw Margolis sweating when he came by to the office last season, remember? He knew Margolis was up to something and kicked him out immediately. Maybe Axe even guessed he may be wearing a wire. Whatever the case, Axe knew that Margolis betrayed him. THAT is the one thing no one can ever come back from. We’ve seen with Axe’s visit to Boyd in jail that jail is just a pit stop for Axe, not irreparably damaging to a career.

    Great insight seeing Taylor at that intersection point between Axe and Wendy. Taylor is who both Wendy and Axe were at one point, with choices about which route to take…the route towards some semblance of emotional maturity, aka Wendy, or the route towards cold-blooded thin air, aka Axe.

    1. Classic Six is very popular in NYC real estate market. I, in fact, put a note into the post and then deleted it that classic six is kind of an apartment that my husband and I would never be able to afford — starting prices are around 2 million I guess — despite our DINK status 😀 I have learnt this term recently: Double Income No Kids 😀 It’s fascinating, Steph, at a fraction of my age, can afford a Classic Six! It’s a world that I don’t know and maybe I don’t really want to know personally.

      You are right about Margolis: He certainly betrayed Axe and yeah there is no return from there. I think Axe guessed he was wearing a wire in The Pilot. Still, even there had been no betrayal, Axe would probably have never hired him again at Axe Capital. That would give a reason to the legal side to again take a look at the company. I don’t know if Boyd can make a come back once he is out. Who knows maybe he can. And maybe this is a way of showing us you can do time and then you can come back from there. But then if he can, this again attests to the fact that this is a world that I probably would not want to personally know in real life.

      As much as Wendy’s emotional maturity is millions times that of Axe, I think she has also lost a part of her younger self in the “truth telling” department. I am looking forward to seeing the choices Taylor will make and given that they will be at Axe Capital in Season 3, too; we’ll see how they will evolve over time and if Axe Capital will be able to corrupt and erode them as it did many many others – including the boss – over the years.

  7. Apologies if someone has already picked this up, but I listed to this scene 3 times to be sure I was hearing correctly. The scrap yard owner said “six hours on the cross at Cavalry”. ???? Christ was on the cross at Calvary. Did the writers not know that? If not didn’t anyone else pick it up? Now instead of being insulted as a Christian, I prefer to take a humorous stand, because I have this vision of John Wayne galloping from the hill of Calvary right into Axe’s private office 🙂 That might even surprise Bobby!

    1. So the scrap guy said “Cavalry” instead of “Calvary”?? I thought he said “Calvary.” Maybe I just assumed he said “Calvary.”
      But I love your humorous take 😀

    2. Hi Connie. I listened again and I hear Calvary. The “cross at cavalry” makes no sense at all. 🙂 The words do sound very similar though, so who knows.

      1. Right, cavalry wouldn’t make any sense. But I went On Demand and ran past that section 3 more times and still hear cavalry. I think that actor just said it wrong ( a common mistake) and either no one picked it up or they figured it wasn’t worth a retake. Also, I’m wondering how many viewers knew who Dick Button was without Google? I remember seeing him skate. Oh well, as far as I’m concerned, a good many of us would be at a bit of a loss without Damianista’s re-caps each week. Some of the dialog would be even harder to grasp if the viewer wasn’t at all familiar with New York State in general. Sorry, don’t mean to be cranky here. My hubby used to say, “Don’t be so critical; it’s just a story, enjoy it.” He was right!

        1. Love your husband’s motto, but we can’t help micro-analyze when Damian is concerned, can we? 😀

          I also went back to the scene. The two words are so similar, I swear I hear “Cavalry” and I hear “Calvary” too 😀 And I tried the caption, too, I don’t know how reliable it is but it says “Calvary.” And as you say it could also be an unintentional mistake that has not been picked up or something.

          Show creators loved their own reference to Dick Button. They love cultural references. I had to look him up 😀

          I don’t think you would be lost without our recaps, but we can’t tell you how much we appreciate you all coming and reading and better yet, discussing the episodes with us. It’s a lot of fun! THANK YOU!

  8. Another very good and helpful plot summary Damianista! For me the final scene where Bobby storms in and confronts them all….It just did not come off that well for me. Damian Lewis just did not pull off outrage that well. But a minor quibble. I thought it was cool how Bobby sleuthed the Black Jack Foley connection and paid off Danny’s house (mortgage) for the crucial photos. Not such an exciting episode. I liked the Gus meet up. That was humorous. As far as Rhodes and dad successfully using Bobby’s “out of controllness” and rape of Sandicot to get elected Governor….ain’t gonna happen. Why? Lara Axelrod.

    1. Thank you for reading!

      Axe was too furious to hold back and he told them he would drink Sandicot’s milkshake. MISTAKE. I think it’s just so sad that new money and old money will just have their fight in the already fucked up Sandicot. But let’s not underestimate Chuck because he is on the legal side and he may get more credit even if he does not deserve a bit of it. I think he is running as big a show as Lara is running there. Cannot wait to see how that story will unfold.

      I think Axe was overwhelmed as much as furious being in the room with the old money that is not intimidated by his presence at all and moreover joking about dress code and all. Money can buy you status but cannot really buy you membership to an “exclusive club” if you are not from the right family. I think Axe probably even went back to his golf caddy days there. I thought it was pretty intense and Damian gave multiple emotions — furious but overwhelmed boy who was forced to grow up when his dad left.

      Interesting that you have not found the episode exciting. But of course it all comes to personal taste and what you like most about the show. I found the new money vs old money framework fascinating, plus I loved the revelations about Axe and Wendy as well as about Axe’s dad walking out on him when he was 12. I can say this is absolutely one of my favorite, if not most favorite, episodes this season. Which episode is your favorite so far this season?

  9. You are welcome and thanks for your labor of love! Until next week…… I am just waiting for Lara Axelrod vs Chuck over Sandicot. She will claw like a tigress for her cub, Bobby. Yeah I know she irritates you. Developing…we shall see. Fucking hippie, what a great line, we need more from dear ol’ Dad! We both know what a fine actor he is along with all the other so called “minors”. We both know the supporting actors steal the show when we look closely. Such as the perfect characterization (by the actor) of Dad’s friend with his ear “always on the rail”. I loved his world weary wiff n poof face and them singing together!

    “We are poor little lambs who have lost our way” _______ Tie in with mutton chops at Keenes? One thing leads to another in Billions, under texting similar to Mad Men but Billions does it much much better. Layers of the onion as you know. If you liked Mad Men watch the first season again, it was the best. Especially the Kodak Carousel scene.

    1. I have never seen a show where the so-called “minors” are so remarkable. Jeffrey DeMunn (Chuck Sr) is a Shakespeare actor. He is fantastic! I miss Chuck Sr when he does not appear for a couple of episodes. Even the guest stars with a few minutes on screen are remarkable.

      I LOVE MAD MEN. For me, it’s the best TV show ever made. And I am so happy to find out that Mad Men is show creator Brian Koppelman’s favorite, too. He has tweeted about it multiple times. Damian is also a BIG fan. I am so glad to hear you love Mad Men, too. I agree with Billions is doing the layers of onions even better than Mad Men. Billions is smarter and I think the show creators take their viewers very very seriously.

      I, in fact has blogged about Damian’s Mad Men love. You may like it:

    2. Hi there, Just chiming in that I too think the first season of Mad Men was the best. Don Draper still had an aura of Jay Gatsby to him…a man who reinvented himself from scratch in order to get the golden ring. Subsequent seasons lost that ethos around Don Draper, for me. It was still visually perfect….they worked hard on getting all the details just right. Billions does work similarly hard to get the details right. And the writing are performances go a lot deeper.

      Chuck Sr. does seem to produce an old friend who can do him favors nearly every episode doesn’t he? Fun stuff. I think Foley, if they can work out a way to keep him long term, provides even more of that patriarchal element…a bullwark of the establishment. Chuck Sr. is a great comic character, IMO. Foley provides the dramatic gravitas, symbolizing the very real theme of the old world putting up a fortress against the new.

      1. “Hi there, Just chiming in that I too think the first season of Mad Men was the best.”______ Hi Jania. This is the rap on Mad Men that I read years ago. The first season was a lot more guy oriented because the writers and directors were just about all men. After that season female writers were brought in. The show got more and more female “issues” oriented as the years went by so I watched it less. It got more soapy, sudsy and incoherent. I always got a kick out of the obsession with period detail. Just throwing this out there…Jessica Pare was my favorite actress on the show with January Jones second, before her divorce from Don Draper.

        “Chuck Sr. does seem to produce an old friend who can do him favors nearly every episode doesn’t he? Fun stuff.”_______ Mischievous old guy providing lots of laughs for me. Chuck Sr., still a player and don’t you forget it!

    1. I loved them, too – maybe I subconsciously love Episode 8 more since it gave me a reason to go back to Team Axe again 😀

  10. “I LOVE MAD MEN. For me, it’s the best TV show ever made.” _____ How about this just as a theory that I am sure others have covered. With all the HD and now slowly moving to 4700k, there is now an obsession over detail both visual and in recruiting the best supporting actors and actresses. Mad Men was the first and showed the way, how it was going to have to be the way for today’s audiences. Billions pays just as much attention (more!) to all the surroundings the actors move in. Interiors, furnishings, coffee brewers, super expensive sports cars, motorcycles…

    Holy cow! Billion must appear in many foreign countries or will be. I know people outside America want to know how the super wealthy live in America. Or at least a semi-real representation of it.

  11. With Passover this week, I didn’t get to watch the episode until very late! And I’m glad there wasn’t a lot of fin speak this week, and I don’t even know how I’d would have gotten in a post!

    I really relied on your post this week. As this was an episode that seemed it was about everyone except Axe (until the end), I basically am on auto-pilot watching.

    I have been saying since the season started, how Axe becoming more and more emotional in regard to his investing/trading would hurt him, and there it is. He telegraphed his next move to his enemy. S1 Axe would NEVER do that. This is going to be his downfall.

    1. You certainly would do a great post! But it seems they do have “fin speak” every two episodes lately. I think 3 and 6 did not have much, but others did. I bet, given the trailer for 9, we will have more “fin speak” this week. Looking forward!

      Axe was too furious to restrain himself. However, what he is doing to Sandicot would make juicy news for the press anyway, I don’t think it would have made a difference should he have not shared the news with Chuck and Chuck Sr. But I agree with you about him being more and more emotional. I think Wendy may bend the rules for him at some point and talk to him.

    1. YES! And I now know this thanks to you. I love REM but I never really knew the lyrics to their songs!
      And I know show creators are big REM fans:

      They change the order of words. Lyrics: “Aluminum, tastes like fear, there”

      Thank you for the information!

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