Advance Warning: I have been on a less than 72-hour trip to London to see Damian on stage. Having come back only last night, I am probably doing a crazy thing right now pulling an all nighter to write my recap for this crazy good episode! I apologize in advance for anything that does not make sense 😀
Wags confirms with The Patriot Bank that they are taking out the Ice Juice IPO. Chuck Senior has already had an Uncle Miltie-sized position in the company and there is no avenue of short. Axe’s take on the situation is “Sonny on the causeway.” We all know what happened to Sonny, don’t we?
Taylor’s research shows Chuck Senior has his cash tied to real estate: a city co-op, a Hamptons house, a hobby farm in Mount Cisco, and a beach front property in Palm Beach. Oh, and, by the way, he also bought half of Kingsford (casino is coming!). It seems he used a personal loan from someone to invest in Ice Juice. It may be someone very close to him.
Ever heard of the golden frog? They are poisonous species that store their poison in skin glands and use it as a self-defense mechanism. The average frog contains about one milligram of poison enough to kill about 10,000 mice which would roughly correspond to 10 to 20 humans. Axe suggests some tribes use this poison for arrows that go through one man and then kill another. His Ice Juice play will be like THAT.
Ira cannot sit still in Chuck Senior’s apartment. The IPO will come out at $18 a share in the morning and, he expects, with a conservative estimate, to be a $125 million man by EOB tomorrow. Chuck does not like the fact Ira is about to sell his shares to his law firm partners but he himself seems to be very steeped in this investment.
Chuck shares with Wendy on their “husband-wife booty call” his dad and Ira do not know but he is in Ice Juice as well. Because it is one of the three instances in his life that he knew would be a winner — along with his first argument in court (his calling) and his first meeting with Wendy (his destiny). Yet, having some Stumptown in the kitchen (the favorite coffee in Billions Writers’ room as far as I know) is not in Chuck’s destiny today since kids may see him and have a false hope that their parents are together.
We first met Spyros in Billions Pilot when he brought a possible insider trading case on Axe Capital: Pepsum Pharmaceuticals, anyone? And, now, he is back with another case: Axe Capital has done a huge short on Klaxon, while the whole market was long, just before the company did have a recall. Timing is VERY suspect. We all know that is WHY Axe had Taylor come up with a short recommendation. Taylor’s signature is the insurance Axe Capital sort of has should the SEC go after them. Spyros should have young kids or he is in good touch with his inner child: His references are Winnie the Pooh (“Super Sleuths”) and Scooby Doo (“Fire up the Mystery Machine!”)
The surprising fact is Chuck does not seem to be interested in Klaxon. He is more interested in the opening bell of the market: Ice Juice is going public in minutes and Chuck is waiting for it as I am waiting for Billions every Sunday: Look how he is checking the clock!
Axe starts the day hearing Taylor, the new Head of Research, regarding their analysis of all analysts at Axe Capital. Taylor has everything figured out on paper and may need to axe some heads during the process. As much as Axe knows they need to “shank” someone to establish their authority, he recommends Taylor to talk to everyone first. They can run their department in the way they see fit but they have to, in the end, look into the analysts’ eyes as life drains out of them. And, besides, even if Axe knows Taylor is comfortable in numbers, he also knows “there is a small group who can do the math. There is even a smaller group who can explain it. But those few who can do both… they become billionaires.”
While Wags says loudly enough so everyone hears that his first “shank” was as sweet as Mata Hari‘s armpits, the experience does not seem to be as enjoyable for Taylor. Wendy understands Taylor has a personal reason for struggling with this: it turns out their mathematician father was fired from his aerospace company when they were in seventh grade and that affected family life. But the company thrived. Taylor ends up firing Pununzio, the only analyst that begs them not to fire him, and gets a bag full of 250K from Dollar Bill who says he now understands, thanks to Klaxon, what Axe sees in them. Given Bill is the cheapest guy in America, even his birthday gift for Axe was a business deal that he did not spend a dime for it, this is a BIG deal.
Kate finds out it was Taylor who prepared Axe Capital’s Klaxon short report and Taylor finds Bryan in front of their “swanky” building. It seems Bryan is taking Taylor’s donations to Urban Justice Center and participation in Occupy Wall Street a bit too seriously and believes he could turn them. By the way, Bryan is not alone and I have never lived in a NYC apartment where heat pipes did not bang, either! 😀 Taylor does not need Bryan to give their soul back. They do not believe in soul. They believe in actions and purpose. It may seem Taylor has been lured into the world of rich and famous a bit too early than expected. I think it is because because Axe Capital has provided them with more than the means to afford a private jet ride and a 26K/month apartment. I imagine Taylor has had a constant problem “fitting in” in their life. And now Axe has made them a centerpiece in the company: Golden Child. Head of Research. Axe’s Protégé. Taylor may be feeling for the first time that they belong.
Axe tells Boyd, who calls about Ice Juice, that he is about to press the button. Chuck Senior and Ira high-five as Ice Juice cracks $30 a share. While Ira grabs an Ice Juice from the fridge, Chuck Senior calls his prime to double his share on Ice Juice because it is like Bill Rodgers in Boston Marathon, fast and long. As a runner, I appreciate the reference!
It’s Golden Frog Time!
We always get to watch the trailer as well as the short clips Billions releases a week before the new episode airs, and, as soon as I saw the stretcher in a FDNY truck, I knew! What is the best way to make a stock like Ice Juice go down at light speed? Have a few people get ill because he had Ice Juice and cover at zero! So I seriously have bragging rights! I CALLED this on Twitter last week as I was interacting with Krista!
And as much as what Axe does is appalling beyond words, it is extremely funny and, yeah, I cannot stop giggling. Honestly, I did not know my brain had this much capacity to figure out dirty play.
Oh Billions, what have you done to me?
Axe gets a little help from friends to make his play possible. Hall collects the “pretty fast and nasty” bacteria from a lab. Dr. Gilbert confirms there will be no permanent damage and accepts a $500K donation for his foundation from Axe. Hall arranges the guy who would leave traces of the bacteria in Ice Juice warehouse. And a guy that owes to Burke brothers, Victor’s undocumented cleaning lady whom his wife caught stealing jewelry, and Danny Margolis “volunteer” to drink it. Mike Dimonda breaks the news at the Journal and the stock falls to $3.89 in no time that they halt the trade on it.
As soon as Wendy finds out Axe is shorting Ice Juice she goes to Chuck to tell him he needs to get out of Ice Juice immediately because Axe will crush him. Chuck is disappointed Wendy has no faith in him and that she is looking at him like she would at a pathetic dog at a shelter. Given Chuck is acting like an idiot, Wendy goes ahead and shorts Ice Juice. Hmmm… so has Wendy just done some insider trading? Axe grills Mafee for doing it for Wendy without telling him first, but he finds Wendy’s bet as a bold one taken against THE family.
The Armageddon hits Ice Juice investors and there is no Ark for them to retreat to while Axe is considering to buy Chuck Senior’s Mar-a-Lago property on clearance sale! While Ira is apologetic to both Senior and Junior, Senior reveals the fact that he invested Chuck’s entire blind trust on Ice Juice and IT IS GONE. As Ira feels sick, Chuck Senior delivers my favorite line of the episode:
“Well, you did have that Ice Juice today.”
Churchill First Editions.
The Entire Blind Trust.
Chuck seems to have lost it all. I admit he has my sympathy at the moment.
While Axe is kicking ass with Ice Juice, his marriage still has dark clouds over it. He wakes up to another morning without Lara in bed and gets paranoid about having been left. Even though he finds kids having breakfast and Lara working out with her exercise coach, he knows things are still not right between them. But it is amazing that the man who comes up with a genius idea for Ice Juice can only come up with buying red roses worth 2K to make things right with his wife. Axe really needs to hear brother-in-law Matt and Bruno. There is stuff money can buy and cannot.
Lara is right Axe looks like Bobby “fucking” Axelrod for the first time in a long time since this is the first day in a long time that he kicked ass, and kicked some serious Rhoades ass. She has already sent most of the roses to a hospital and says she “formally” accepts his apology.
They pretend they are having a first date and Axe tries to dazzle Lara with caviar like he did on their real first date. They share a pizza Chef Ryan made because they are not getting deliveries from Bruno anymore. And you can guess what I have said to Lara loudly when she says “Fuck Bruno.” Axelrods really deserve each other but when a kiss turns into love making, Lara is not there with him.
The family crisis is far from over. I wonder if Lara heard Wendy about “forgive” and came back home, or now that she knows money cannot solve a problem like Wendy, she will use her own special ways to solve it. Or is it just that she still cannot bring herself to process the fact that Bobby has lied to her?
Back at Yale Club, Chuck sits on his bed. And as I am thinking he is just too desperate to keep it together, it turns out he is CRY LAUGHING. My jaw drops! He saw Axe coming!
And look, yet another example of how this show has turned us into dirty minds! This is from my recap for Episode 10 With or Without You:
“Despite his very bad day, Roberto still makes time for Boyd who brings a brief ray of sunshine to his day and earns the Michter’s he gets. Chuck Senior has taken a sizable stake at Ice Juice. The company is going public and Axe has an opportunity to be the “turd in the punchbowl.” As they shake hands, I am concerned if this is Boyd’s plan to take revenge or if this is somehow Chuck’s plan to get Axe. We know he is not in Ice Juice to help Ira or dad but he is in it to get to Axe.”
It turns out Boyd did not hear about Ice Juice from Spartan-Ives boys but from Chuckie boy who gives him terms of release in writing should he cooperate with him to get Axe.
This is an episode we all need to watch from the beginning to see what Chuck does and why he does it. Why doesn’t he like Ira selling his shares to his partners in the law firm? Why is he checking the clock for market opening during the meeting with Spyros? Why does he tell Wendy he is in Ice Juice, too, because it is a winner? Why does he tell her later she is underestimating him? And why does he say “if this is what it gets…” when he authorizes his dad to use his blind trust to invest in Ice Juice?
Chuck has played the long game and given an opportunity to Axe to use it against him — exactly like he does in Jiu-Jitsu. It may seem he has thrown Ira under the bus but Ice Juice will probably bounce back once it is public that Axe is behind the scandal. The AG, who should be happy her friend Boyd is getting released, names Oliver Dake as the interim US attorney for the Eastern District upon Chuck’s recommendation. And #OperationDake, as Krista calls it, is ON recording everything Axe does to make his Ice Juice play work. Yikes!
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers close the episode with Even The Losers:
Baby even the losers
Get lucky sometimes
Even the losers
Keep a little bit of pride
They get lucky sometimes
Will Ice Juice make Axe “Sonny on the causeway”? Well, he wanted to put a meaning back to the word “outlaw” and there is no one else but himself responsible for what may be coming. Will Axe be able to dig himself out of this big pile of shit? Does he still have the chance to bring back $5 million “bribe” back to the table? Or does Wendy’s short make her an accomplice in the Ice Juice case that could become a savior for Axe? I know that the season finale will be EPIC.