I may find the way they operate appalling, but it is impossible not to applaud Axe and Chuck for eliminating a lot of risk in the first four episodes. Chuck has been able to convince Dake to cover up Wendy’s Ice Juice short, change the judge in the Axelrod case and keep his father quiet about his involvement in Ice Juice. Axe has given an even better performance by keeping Danny Margolis and the Burke Brothers quiet on his side, having Maria Gonzalez deported, and giving Ira his life back along with an engagement ring from Buccellati’s exclusive collection. We now find the two men going after the loyalty of the same man simultaneously.
Dr. Gilbert is the man of the hour.
While Axe is ready for his trip to Silicon Valley, the new Halls deliver news big enough to keep him in New York. The Eastern District has grilled every doctor Axe has been or donated to including Dr. Gilbert. This reminds Axe that the good doctor may still have the slide he told him to get rid of once he verified with him that the bacteria they put in Ice Juice would not be fatally hurting anyone. Given Axe is saying his line of business is about eliminating risk, I highly recommend him to hire our own Gingersnap as a personal consultant 😀 Gingersnap said the day after Season 2 Episode 11 Golden Frog Time that Axe should not have left that slide with Dr. Gilbert and it would come back and bite him in the ass. Kudos!
Axe now has no other option but cancelling his trip and sending his CIO in his stead to meet Langstraat in the Bay Area. It is hilarious that Axe tells Langstraat that Taylor is a huge fan of his work while Taylor tells Axe Venture Capitalists are nothing but hedge-funders that can quote the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
While Bryan seems to have seen dozens of doctors with ties to Axe, he still has not been able to pinpoint the one that may have helped develop the bacteria. Dake is frustrated failure has now become a familiar refrain with Bryan and hopes it does not become his anthem.
Chuck wakes Wendy up in the middle of the night as he gets a call from Dake about the doctor situation: Chuck cannot unsee what he saw when he had sneaked into Wendy’s laptop in Season 1 Episode 11 Magical Thinking: He knows Axe convinced a doctor not to tell Donnie about the experimental drug trials that could have given him another few months and one last Christmas with his family. Chances are, this could be the doctor that has helped Axe with the toxin in Ice Juice. Chuck makes it clear that he is determined, regardless what Wendy tells him to do, visit Walter, Donnie’s husband.
It is obvious that, according to Walter, Chuck is the man who made his husband’s last months a living hell. He does not shake hands with Chuck, and when the latter tells him about how Axe, in cooperation with Donnie’s oncologist, stole Donnie’s Christmas, Walter responds the doctor was as compassionate as he could be. He did not only attend Donnie’s funeral but also he was one of the first 15 people that contributed to the Donnie Caan Success Academy, a charter school Walter is now establishing in Donnie’s memory. Chuck expresses his sincerest apologies and leaves with all the information he needs: It takes one of his minions to look at the charter school’s list of investors to identify the doctor!
Axe and his “ninjas” find Dr. Gilbert in Fort Tryon Park as he is enjoying his favorite pastime: bird photography. The doctor says he has got rid of the slide per Axe’s instructions, but Axe does not believe that anyone would have a free get-out-of-jail card and throw it away. The slide has Axe’s fingerprints and even if the toxin goes away, the fingerprints may stay for years, if refrigerated. And even though Orrin Bach advises they may go for a chain of custody argument claiming Axe’s fingerprints could have been taken off a glass of Pappy and transferred, the likelihood of such an event is not more than that of “lightning striking powerball winner.” Axe needs to buy the doctor right away.
Axe needs to buy the doctor right away but guess what Dr. Gilbert is not interested. It turns out he has not used any of the donations from Axe for personal expenses and he and his family are living a frugal life with little debt. A man that cannot be bought is a new concept for Axe and while he finds it unsettling I find Axe hilarious! And I love how the show contrasts Ira and Dr. Gilbert: While Ira was not able to keep his life in track with the “sinecure” Chuck offered him, all Dr. Gilbert wants to do is to do his research and take bird photos. A good old academic, I have lots of them around me 🙂
So the new Halls apply pressure elsewhere trying to have a read of the doctor: His grant being reviewed and the lease on his lab being questioned out of blue forces Dr. Gilbert to meet with Axe and give him his side of the story: And while his story of burning the slide in a kiln, exactly like the Russians got rid of thousands of doping samples, sounds plausible, neither Axe nor I believe him when he swears on his Hippocratic oath!
Well, would you?
By the way, it is hilarious that Hall was “Iceland” on Axe’s phone, and the New Halls are “Greenland.” 😀
While Axe gets to meet with Dr. Gilbert in Fort Tyron Park, Chuck chooses to meet him in Central Park at the beautiful Bethesda Fountain. Chuck understands the doctor may not want to get on the stand, and guess what, if there is physical evidence that can speak for him, then he does not need to.
The moment Dr. Gilbert comes back to ask for $200M to have a better life for himself and his family, Axe knows he is now fucked. What he does not know is that the slide is now in Wendy’s refrigerator!
Bryan, who has been dreaming even during sex about the jury giving a guilty verdict for Axe in the courtroom, is now thinking that vision is slipping away from him exactly like his case. McKayla, who is about to board on Spartan-Ives private jet with the new CEO, gives him an idea as Bryan talks about how the mighty tumble:
“One day your initials are on the private jet, next you’re in jail.”
“And the next day you’re out.”
How come Lawrence Boyd is not in jail?
Bryan warns Kate about how Chuck’s fucked-up business may take the SDNY down if she does not do anything about it. What Bryan does not see is Kate is to Chuck what Taylor is to Axe: A true protégé. Chuck is right that Kate has made up her mind about what side she is on when she goes to see Chuck about Bryan asking about how come Boyd, given he is not Papillon, is out of jail. And, lucky her, Rhoades Airlines appreciates and rewards their loyal customers 😀
Chuck tells Boyd he needs to give him a few “misbehaving moneylenders” so his release looks like a case of “active cooperation” only to receive a list of conditions from him: Boyd needs his passport, unrestricted travel rights and more importantly his boat, deemed legally forfeit by the government, so he can travel to Antibe this summer! While Kate, as the Chief of Crim, gets a judge to keep Boyd’s release papers under seal, Karl Allard, who knows his Sonny Crockett (I had a huge crush on Don Johnson in Miami Vice) well, recommends “old empty auction play” in which a straw buyer can get the boat very cheaply . Boyd gets his boat back and might as well jump where as Allard and Kate put the final touches on their joint project by “massaging” the dates on the papers.
Poor Bryan. He is always a step behind.
When Bryan is finally able to have the appeal court grant his motion to see Boyd’s release papers, it is already too late. As he looks at the documents, Bryan realizes they are all cooked. And when he meets Boyd at The Lotos Club he understands the SDNY visited Boyd way before he did.
I am rooting for Bryan not only because I believe in justice as much as he does, but also because he is very lonely in his search for it. I genuinely think Bryan may lose his belief in the justice system by the end of the season, go to the other side and become a lion! 😀
And speaking of lion, here is a recent Twitter exchange I have had with THE lion about a week ago.
Well, even though they do not start off on the right foot, Taylor and Oscar bond over some Star Wars love: Taylor points out the Flaw in the Death Star to a young start-up guy pitching traceable user identity using the human voice and Oscar gets the reference as soon as Taylor mentions “the thermal exhaust port.” While Taylor regretfully misses the opportunity to have dinner at State Bird Provisions because they had other plans for the night, I was lucky to have dinner there with a wonderful friend of mine after the two of us made a tribute video to Brody and Carrie after Homeland Season 3. As Charlie Crews would agree, everything is connected!
Well, you never know what turns people on, do you? One thing leads to another when Taylor and Oscar bump into each other at a round of Netrunner, a card game depicting cyberspace between a global mega-corporation (the Corp) and a hacker (the Runner) 😀 I loved it that they loved each other’s brains before they loved each other’s bodies. And I want that VPI Prime Signature turntable!
Billions has been using hilarious subplots this season and the actors are killing it. We now find Dollar Bill using his special methods that computers cannot use for research: a bag of money along with a whistleblower protection for the scientist at Mendham Pharmeceuticals! The company is pure evil like Dr. Mengele creating tumors in rabbits and such even though they know the drug they have developed is not working. Dollar Bill is not uncertain it is time to short the company and blow the whistle. Taylor, having studied Agrippa, knows why Bill is doing what he is doing, and will only approve if the compliance gives the green light.
But Spyros, who describes himself as “grinder, tamper, knock box, quality, and integrity” in terms of his Rocket Giotto espresso machine, tells Bill he will not let this caca de vaca happen! Not even Bill repackaging the trade by longing the company like a Hail Mary Pass, and hedging it against credit default swaps, a type of insurance for non-payment convinces the compliance, works. As Spyros believes he is there to keep everyone out of prison, Bill is ready to rent him out for a scoop of potatoes should they be in prison.
Wendy diagnoses that Spyros and Bill have irreconcilable differences: For one, Spyros has never married but did couples therapy with three separated women while Bill is married to two women and never did couples therapy! Dr. Mojo would recommend break up should they be a couple but given that they are like in No Exit, Sartre’s existentialist play about three people being locked into a room together for eternity, they have to suck it up and focus on goals.
Neither Dollar Bill pulling his pants off for a “Strip or Retire” nor Spyros threatening to turn Bill’s trades in do the trick. Axe tells Bill to pull his pants up and get his shit together, while he dines and wines Spyros at Daniel of all places with Daniel Boulud, the owner and the executive chef of the Michelin-starred restaurant, making a cameo! As Axe calls him the favorite son, Spyros agrees to use his distinguished career to protect his new family as well as to keep his Porsche 😀 Yet, we do not get to hear the one thing Spyros says he needs…
Bill, who proves once again he is the cheapest man in America by not paying for his newspaper, will now take his creative trading to Victor Mateo’s Fund and will take a page from Otis Redding songbook to publicly apologize to Spyros… followed by some sweet revenge! Dollar Bill will be Dollar Bill no matter what and it is hilarious to notice he is doing street parking while Spyros does valet! The look on Spyros face as Bill hits his Porsche again and again and again is priceless and I wonder whether he will tell “dad” 😀
While we witness water and oil clashing in this episode, I believe we will get to see nitrogen and glycerol come together and, thanks to Wendy’s black magic, not make a fire. I believe The Killing Moon by Echo and the Bunnymen may be a messenger of what is coming our way…
Up against your will
Through the thick and thin
He will wait until
You give yourself to him”
If Wendy coming to Wags to ask for the “bottle” is not the depiction of her deep frustration, what is? And her frustration is less about the two “idiots” she just had in her office but about her two favorite lost boys: Axe and Chuck.
We find out Chuck was in private practice when Wendy started dating him, and Axe and Chuck liked each other plenty. She misses those days, and Chuck is right that her giving all of herself to both of them is not sustainable. That is why I think Wendy, as she hinted in this episode, will bring her two boys together for a a kiss and make up session. It may be a stretch but I am giggling as I imagine Axe and Chuck sitting on a couch, couple therapy style 😀
Now that Axe has Ira and Chuck has Dr. Gilbert in their pockets, isn’t it time to put aside the measuring tape and cooperate? I imagine Wendy can orchestrate the perfect operation in which she makes the boys believe they are doing this in the name of saving the woman to whom both owe a great deal. This is pure speculation and I may be way off but, hey, this is my dream storyline! And hats off, one more time, to the brilliant writers for creating and the wonderful cast for bringing this awesomeness to life for us.