May I just say I will miss Sunday nights? My typical Sunday evening runs like this: I watch the show at 10pm and take notes. Then I watch for a second time and take more notes. Then I sit down and write. I typically go to bed as the sun rises. It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Writing for hours as if the world is waiting for my recap… But it is not about that… It is about the show and the thrill it gives me: WORTH IT! 😀 Besides, Billions is the ONLY show, other than Mad Men, to date, where I care about every single character. It does not mean I love them all, but I care about them all, which I think is the biggest achievement a show can ever have. I give standing ovation for all brilliant minds behind and in front of the camera and give special thanks to my husband for bearing with me for the last couple of months and letting me sleep until noon on Mondays.
The season may be coming to an end, but we still have so much to say about it. For starters, we are currently working on a FUN Best of Billions we will publish next week followed by a locations guide, a dining guide, a music guide and more. We hope you stay with us!
We find Bobby “Fucking” Axelrod, who believes he kicked some major Rhoades ass, meditating for the first time this season. His peace is cut short by a knock on the door: Boyd has come to tell him windbreakers are coming for him today and he would be happy to hold his watch. Axe is determined to stay and fight this but it seems Hall is the first one to jump ship. Axe takes the E-ZPass off his car and takes off.
Chuck meets Dake in THE church. Dake is confident his office is capable of taking Axe at the closing bell today. Chuck asks if Dake could make sure there is no leak about his family’s involvement in Ice Juice IPO. Yes, some unimaginative types may call this a cover-up, but not Chuck! Dake is not giving this to Chuck and he also seems to ignore Chuck’s word of caution that if he goes after Axe on his own, he would better carry a good supply of body bags with him!
Minchak is not giving an easy time to Chuck, either. And I think she takes off those shoes to keep Chuck under her spell! She is not happy about finding Chuck’s DNA all over an operation Eastern is running. And she does not buy Chuck saying he is in the process of getting an assurance from Dake that Chuck Sr’s involvement in Ice Juice will never see the daylight, and his father is ready to take the hit if this fails. Minchak does not need Chuck to charm her, she just needs all guarantees in writing. There is no room for “might” in Foley’s world.
Axe arrives at Axe Capital like a man on the run. He does not need coffee only burn bins! He takes his passport and his phones from the safe and Deb will make sure the rest gets to be torched. They need shredders for paper files (we know from Klaxon how unsafe shredders may be!) and plasma torches for hard drives! All outside money will exit within 24 hours of an arrest so there should be a new CIO in place to manage the rest. Even though Axe is not ready for someone else to be the CIO, he knows Wags is right that what they do or do not do seconds after his arrest will make a difference of millions of dollars. Axe gives Wags a phone for the day’s communication and Taylor a homework with three questions one of which is the REAL question: Find the best way to liquidate all their positions quickly with minimum loss. Taylor is on it.
Axe has another question in mind: What will he say to his boys? Easy one for Wags:
“Tell them the truth. The government is a bunch of fucking liars.”
The USA office is receiving shocking news: Lonnie hears from a friend at Bureau of Prisons that Boyd will not be mopping the floors anymore while Bryan hears from Bach that Axe may be mopping the floors soon. The three amigos have questions for Chuck but Chuck is over at his dad’s explaining to Ira and Chuck Sr about Ice Juice. They are shocked not because Axe has sabotaged the deal, but because Chuck has thrown them under the bus!
It turns out Ira can sue Axe and get his money back but only AFTER (and if) Axe is convicted which may take years. Moreover, Ira should protect Chuck here because it will benefit him when Chuck becomes governor. SHAME on you, Chuck. And, by the way, Chuck Sr cannot sue Axe even in his dreams because he cannot reveal his involvement with Ice Juice. Besides, he needs to sign an affidavit saying he acted on his own accessing Chuck’s trust. While Chuck Sr SIGNS the affidavit, he is DONE with his son. Oh, and he pulls a good one by giving Chuck the pictures of Wendy and Craig as they leave the hotel after their one-night stand. What Chuck Sr does not know is that Chuck may even be relieved that the man in the picture is not the one he was expecting to see.
When Bryan finally gets hold of Chuck, Chuck has no time for explanations because he has Kate waiting in his office. Kate, who had come to work at the USA office to learn from the best prosecutor the office has ever seen and put bad guys behind bars, is ready to move on and will be accepting an offer from Sullivan & Cromwell where she will oversee big criminal defense cases. But the young woman whose aspiration is the highest office in the nation is willing to wait for one more day and see what kind of a compelling offer Chuck will make her.
Wags needs Wendy even though he does not know whether he should trust her given the circumstances. As she finds out what is going on, Wendy diagnoses Wags’ erratic heartbeat and other symptoms as panic. It is healthy that he is not responding to the news like it is just another day and Wendy will be there for him TODAY.
It seems sponsoring young baseball players is not the only “other” business Dollar Bill is involved. Axe finds him at his dry cleaners’ to pick his brain about prison. Bill lists the essentials: Have a bite before you get in there because they will starve you. Take a shit because you would not want that pending in there. Figure out the one guard who wants to get paid.
If Hall is the first to jump ship, Lara may be the second. She starts playing with her wedding ring as soon as she hears the news!
Lara wants to protect her kids so the fact that she does not want to run away and the speed with which she empties the safe make sense. However, her visit to Bach, whom I applaud for his professionalism, to understand her “options” blows my mind. WOW. We find out, since there is no prenup, Lara owns half of whatever they own but she needs to go find counsel somewhere else. Where is that ride-or-die wife we have come to know? Remember “in good times and in bad” at all?
Bach visits Dake to tell him Axe is happy to revive “the immunity deal” which we all know can put Wendy in jail! As soon as Dake advises that offer has expired and that he will not negotiate any terms about Axe’s arrest, Axe’s voice comes out of Bach’s phone!
“Then good luck fucking finding me.”
Dake will now report Bach to the bar association.
Taylor figures out the optimal “fire sale” and is ready to take over as CIO if the arrest happens. They have so much to learn from Axe to lose him now so Axe should spend every bit of energy in him to get himself out of this situation. Wags assumes the Troika is complete, Taylor bets 7-to-3 Wendy will not stick around and Wendy believes Taylor will get Axe Capital to its best — with or without her.
Axe meets Bach at a pool bar to give him his passport — it will assure the authorities he is not fleeing and should facilitate bail. While Axe uses “ball in hand” as a metaphor to imply he does not have much play left, Bach seems optimistic. And he gives better advise than Wags regarding what to tell the boys.
“Remind them that they know why you really are no matter what anyone says.”
This is certainly not an easy conversation to have with kids who most often see dad as a superhero. I applaud Axe for being honest with his boys. He does not want to fail them like his father failed him. Axe admitting what he would not admit to many to his kids may be the BEST moment in Billions.
“The government is a bunch of fucking liars, guys… Listen. Look, that’s not true. Sometimes they lie. Sometimes they tell the truth, just like everyone… Like me. Most folks, they find this out about their dad much later, but everyone finds it out. I’m a flawed man. I’m not perfect. I’m not always right. I don’t always win. I fucked up. I did do something wrong.”
Axe’s tricks — from calling Lara to say he is coming home but sending Ben Kim to drop off his car to giving away his credit cards to random guys who make random expenses at random places — confuse Dake, but they also motivate him to give in to Chuck: Nobody will know about Senior’s involvement in Ice Juice but also Chuck will now name one personnel in Axelrod case. But how will Dake find Axe?
“Get a cell site order for the wife’s phone.”
“I thought I told you. I already…”
“Not his wife. Mine.”
As the windbreakers tear apart Axe Capital, Axelrods’ main residence, their city apartment and their Hamptons home (I was expecting Chef Ryan to tell them they should have called :D), Chuck and Bryan go on a field trip to 9/11 Memorial to find Wendy waiting for Axe. It turns out Bryan does not just get the girl (remember the flight attendant in Optimal Play?) but also the Axelrod prosecution. And, by the way, he can let Kate know she IS the new Head of Crim! Well, whose house is it now, Lonnie?
Well, Axe and Wendy meeting at 9/11 memorial is no less than GENIUS. We know the entire Bobby Axelrod story kicks off at the World Trade Center, on September 11, when the planes hit the towers. Bobby is not in the office that day because he is in meetings with lawyers to deal with his partners who are about to kick him out thanks to his shady deals. As soon as he hears about the attacks, Bobby shorts airline companies, makes A LOT of money and the rest is history. And he will now face what he has feared the most at the exact location his rise to power began. DELICIOUS writing.
Axe and Wendy find meaning in what they built together and draw the best out of each other. I cannot ignore the fact that Axe offered to revive the immunity deal earlier in the episode. However, it is his talk to his children, finally admitting to himself that he fucked up, what makes him see more clearly how badly he treated Wendy. Their reconciliation scene is up there with my all-time favorite Don and Peggy reconciliation in Mad Men and the words they exchange are sincere.
“Would you help me find my way back?”
“Yes. I’d like that very much. That is exactly what we’ll do together.”
Why does Wendy have tears in her eyes as the windbreakers are taking Axe away? Touched by the apology? Or because she knows she will not keep her word? Regardless she is not the only one in tears!
While Axe may be right that the worst part about being locked up is the company, I have no complaints since any showdown between Axe and Chuck is a delightful duel of words.
Axe cannot believe Chuck has given up all his money and broken his best friend and his dad in the process just to CATCH him. And he knows there is a thread, however small, that Chuck left behind, and he will find it. Well, he does not need to look far beyond Wendy’s short on Ice Juice.
“I might go down behind all of this, but one thing is for sure, you are gonna be right there next to me.”
“Wow. Like I said before, Bob… Worth it.”
Is it, Chuck?
This is not over yet. Chuck may, in fact, find himself trying to dig Axe out of this shit to be able to keep his wife, his job, his reputation and his prospects to be the next governor of New York! And I cannot stop giggling as I imagine Chuck frantically trying to stop not just Dake, but also Bryan!
Josh Ritter’s “Homecoming” is the perfect tune to the perfect closing sequence in a perfect season. As his guys soldier on, the boss makes the bail and goes out on a dark cold night. Alone. Axe is going to a broken marriage and to his kids who now know dad is not a superhero.
As Chuck Senior is in deep thoughts in his living room, his son may not be as on his own as he thinks he is. Wendy and Chuck take the stairs to their home hand in hand. Chuck has no idea about Wendy’s short on Ice Juice. And we do not have any idea about what Wendy whispered into Axe’s ear as the windbreakers put the cuffs on him.
Billions Season 2 leaves us with more questions than answers, exactly in the way that it should, and I want to add to the already long list of questions: Who do you think is the first person Axe talks to after his arrest? No, not Chuck. Be open minded. Be creative. Make a guess. Find the answer here 😀