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.
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.
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.”
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?
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!)
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.
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 😀
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…
…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!
“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!
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.
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 😀
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.
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…
“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!
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!
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.