Billions on Showtime, Season 3 Episode 7: Not You, Mr. Dake

Well, we all knew they would get out of this, didn’t we? Yet, Billions has once again kept us at the edge of our seats while finding out HOW. And this is what I love the most about this show. The true thrill is not in what happens but in how it happens and I bow in front of the brilliant writers and actors for giving us yet another thrilling hour of TV where the holy triangle proves there is nothing that can stop them when they are out there to get what they want.

And, in this particular case, they want to make Wendy’s short disappear.

The episode opens to confuse the viewer, Billions style. We find Chuck talking to Dr. Gilbert about his obsession with the paratroopers in WWII and especially the point of no return where they need to make the jump, or where Chuck and Dr. Gilbert are exactly at the moment. I hope you are not implying you are a Dick Winters, Chuck. They are planting the slide, probably under a ketchup bottle, in Axe’s refrigerator at the moment and the FBI will be coming in  while Axe is having dinner with his boys tonight. Dr. Gilbert almost feels bad for Axe, yet he sees the situation like an emergency room triage after a mass casualty event.

“You save who you can and force the fate of the rest out of your mind.”

Well, that is exactly how the holy triangle sees it. We find them in Axe’s living room discussing how to make Wendy’s short go away in a way that the case does not go to trial. Axe can have the new Halls to “massage” the phone records to make sure the phone call Wendy made to short the stock was not made from Chuck’s office. It is fascinating  how Axe and Chuck use the time Wendy leaves the table to plot their game together: They will find someone to dump this on and then divide the work: Axe will ensure it will look like he has made profits in Ice Juice and Chuck will ensure he will take the plea and go to prison without a trial. While both men know Wendy has got steel in her, they are surprised when she asks them the question.

Wendy is the boss lady.

Their patsy is at home wearing his Johns Hopkins t-shirt, watching TV with his family. As Dr. Gilbert is looking down on Fulbright and praising Marshall, Kate leads the FBI raid to his house. We find out Chuck talking to Gilbert in front of his house is part of the mission while the rest is accomplished by Mr. Adubo who has definitely earned some greens and US visas for his family in Congo. And it is mind-blowing how Chuck has given Gilbert the rope to hang himself:

“Not the ketchup!”

Dr. Gilbert finds himself in an interview room at the SDNY sitting with Chuck, who is now offering him the chance to say he is the one who planned the Ice Juice sabotage all along. He can take the plea and avoid the embarrassment of a public trial. While Dr. Gilbert is not willing to talk before his lawyer appears and he wants a trial where he can talk about whatever he wants to talk about Ice Juice, Chuck tells him the FBI will also be in the room when his lawyer shows up, and they will only be interested in the the slide as well as the profits he made out of Ice Juice. While Dr. Gilbert is confident he has not made any profits, we could only say YIKES!

It turns out Wendy has Chuck well-trained in psychological manipulation as well. Guilt is a state of mind and Chuck wants to put the doctor there. He starts with a question:

“What is the cost — the grinding, wearing, price — of carrying internal culpabilities even while escaping external blame?”

As Dr. Gilbert asserts he is innocent, Chuck kindly disagrees. Facts are only a place to start and they may well find a “great man that has transgressed” as they dig deeper than facts. Dr. Gilbert obviously provided his skills to help Axe in Ice Juice and benefited from doing that Yet, he is now more than ready to torpedo Axe’s life. What does this say about him?

When the new Halls are not able to hack Sky One Wireless to take care of Wendy’s phone call, Axe travels to Nova Scotia to find a certain “bluenoser” who can tell him not only where the closest Tim Ho-Ho’s is and more: Hall’s solution is simple. If you cannot hack a system, you hack a person. Given Hall does not trust the new Halls can pull this off as seamlessly as he could, he takes over. The hack turns out to be an employee at Sky One who sold access to the accounts of sixteen celebrities and politicians. He will either “massage” the phone records or go to prison.

The only reason Dake has got a position for Allerd at the Southern Disctrict is for the latter to feed him information from across the river. But he is mum about Chuck. We understand Allerd is a man “who recognize nuanced shifts in loyalty” when we see him sharing the 14-year old Oban Whisky Dake has given him with Chuck. Given Rhoades airlines traditionally rewards their loyal customers, I wonder what Chuck has promised Allerd.

As the “true day of reckoning” starts at the court house, Bryan’s confidence makes him go overboard presenting his case. And when he and Bach demonstrate neither of them knows the meaning of “respectfully” DeGiulio needs to stop the Animal House Toga Party and do what Wendy did with Bill and Spyros: a couple therapy of sorts in his chambers! It turns out DeGiulio is my kind of guy when pasta is concerned: Slightly undercooked is okay but overcooked is a no-no. Same with cases. But Bryan believes his case is al dente: He does not only have Wendy’s trading records but also evidence that she called to short the stock from Chuck’s office which proves she traded with her husband’s help and guidance. Moreover, they will call the executing trader as a witness. Trial it is!

While it is about pasta at the courthouse, it is about Acai bowls at Axe Capital. As Axe is testing the waters with Mafee to understand if he can take one for him and the company, he figures he does not know his employees as he did in the past. So he goes to Taylor who he believes has a special bond with Mafee. Bingo! Axe now knows Mafee has an old fashioned sense of honor and he would not do anything that would bring him dishonor.

“Do you think he’s consider lying dishonorable by its nature?”

“It would depend on the situation. He might lie to protect a friend. Or someone he loved. But that’s it.”

We understand Taylor is a true friend to Mafee when they find him drowning his sorrows in hot chocolate. It turns out Maffee grew up in Aurora, Colorado (big thanks go to Harlan York, one of our readers, for letting me know Dan Soder himself is an Aurora native) where he used to shovel driveways for pocket money. He is now here while his besties either have a weed shop or still shovel the driveways and always need loans that Mafee gives them. And when his friends joked what he did was worse since the weed was legal in Colorado, he always laughed along knowing he would never be the one  they would see on the news. Then he spills the beans: The FBI interviewed him about Wendy’s short. He has not said anything yet and is torn about whether he should take one for the team.

“It would depend on the reason and circumstances.”

And that is exactly what Axe’s team is working on 😀 While Wags wants to threaten Mafee that they could make him a “dead man walking” in the industry, Bach rightly points out this would only harden his stance. They had better leave it to the pro: Wendy remembers the session she had with Mafee in Episode 3 A Generation Too Late where the latter was scared the quants would replace them?

No word is spoken for nothing on this show… and Voila! Wendy will now take Mafee’s crush on her and run with it. But first she needs to go through a confrontation with Taylor who questions her motives and authority. My take away is that we may never want to hear another doctor referring to their doctor’s oath on this show 😀

The oldest trick in the book does the trick as Wendy proves she could be the most manipulative of all. And she pulls it seamlessly since, while seducing Mafee, look at his face when she drinks from his beer, she does not really tell a lie.

Wendy acted on what Mafee told her about Ice Juice and they will now paint it like a conspiracy at the court. And when Mafee asks how bad it could get for her, she tells him no one else at Axe Capital would ask her that. And THAT is what makes “Dudley” special.

“Really really bad.”

Enough said.

As DeGiulio is ready to set a date for trial, Bryan gets the news Mafee has told the FBI he had feelings for Wendy and when he saw a way to make money for her in Ice Juice, he did it on his own. Moreover, they now have the phone call records backing up Mafee’s story. While Bryan is right that it is all bullshit, he needs a recess to confer with his superiors.

The situation room is set with the AG Jeffcoat chairing the meeting, and I am telling you, he is a serious contender to Wags in his words of wisdom:

“Your case fell apart like a cheap bed at a La Grange whorehouse.”

Axe and Wendy walk away.

Mafee has perjured himself but since it is a civil case he is SEC’s problem. So Chuck has the green light to pursue Dr. Gilbert.

“Well, someone’s got to fry.”

Oh, and the law should make its own sacrifice, too:

“ Not you, Mr Dake.”

Bryan should now feel free to go back to the SDNY after going through the embarrassment of revealing he has nothing on Mr. Robert Axelrod at the court.

Case dismissed.

While Bryan says loudly he will continue to investigate until he puts the right man behind the bars, his conversation with Kate hints that he may not receive a warm welcome at the “barn” and the next few weeks could be a time of reflection for him. While he is constantly trying to do the right thing, Bryan is surrounded by people who push their own personal agenda to advance themselves at the cost of others. And now that Dake has vacated the seat, it is a curious matter who will be the new US Attorney for the Eastern District! I would laugh my ass off if it turned out to be Karl Allerd! Or could Chuck try to market another loyal soldier to Jeffcoat? But seriously where the fuck is Lonnie?

Chuck is leaving psychology for a second to talk game theory with Dr. Gilbert: Incomplete information. The doctor is in the exact same situation Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid were in minutes before their death: Had they known the entire Bolivian army was waiting for them, would they still have run out with blazing guns? And now that Chuck presents him with his trading records through Victor Mateo Capital, will Dr. Gilbert do it differently?

Once he has full information, Dr. Gilbert asks his lawyer to leave. And as he explains he is a cancer doctor so he knows all kinds of people go down and all kinds of people live and it never has anything to do with who deserves which, Chuck breaks the doctor: Is he sure he treats all his patients equally? How about Donnie Caan who was deprived of one last Christmas with his family? Was Gilbert’s payoff worth letting him die?

“I let Donnie die.”

As Dr. Gilbert is taking the plea for 5 years in jail and keeping the $11M in his account, Axe is settling the rest of the charges: He’s paying $390M in fines for a no-admit-no-deny settlement with the government, $181K for his “expenses” and $1M in strict crypto for stepping up for the company to Mafee.

Well, a stick can make Wags dance like a Cossack but not Mafee. I think  the “strictly platonic” kiss Wendy plants on her “hero” may keep sweet Dudley in line, yet it is obvious Mafee does not believe he is the rock great companies are built upon 🙂

Chuck stops by his dad’s with the one-iron Ben Hogan used at “Miracle at Merion.” The gift is to recognize the impossible: They won. So it is time to put the troubles behind and move on like Hogan put the accident most thought would end his career behind him and continued to win. Yet, while his swing looked the same, Hogan should probably have felt beat up and older where wins became much more costly.  Chuck is not talking about Hogan. He is talking about himself.

And when he arrives home, neither he nor Wendy, who was planning to have a special show for him, have it in them to celebrate their victory. They know what they have done. They are consumed, if not reflective, but still holding hands.

I remember Bach telling Axe about the case in Episode 1 Tie Goes to the Runner  that “as is often the case, the longer you can hold off, the more likely you’ll be screaming in pleasure at the end.” And while Axe only bangs  his hand on the table when the case is dismissed, Wags will make sure “The Dauphin” will scream in pleasure tonight.

Heartfelt confession: While I have been right about a lot of strategic stuff going on this season, I have been completely wrong about one thing and I know why. Exactly like a trader, I failed when I let my emotions speak for me. Since my strongest attachment to Axe has been about him being a family man (with him being self-made a close second) I did not want to believe he would find his way to the bodily pleasures with people other than Lara so quickly. Yes, I now admit neither the young woman who showed up at the apartment in the season premiere or any of the young women at the party are yoga instructors! 😀

That said, and while he may have a riot at the party, does Axe look happy to you? Honestly, he looks like his blood pressure is falling and that he will pass out. As Chuck points out early in the episode, guilt is a state of mind. And now that he gets his life back, does Axe feel beat up? Older? Could it be that he is overwhelmed by his internal culpabilities? How many lives had to go away for him to get his way? And how about ignoring his family for so long? I know it is again my emotions speaking, but what the heck, if I were him, I would start pursuing Lara tomorrow. There are things no amount of money can buy. Family is one of them.

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!

134 thoughts on “Billions on Showtime, Season 3 Episode 7: Not You, Mr. Dake”

  1. Thank you for your amazing reap (as always). I need for you to catch the references I didn’t (which, thankfully, there weren’t too many).

    I think this may be one of my favorite episodes of Billions ever. No, not a lot of fin-speak, but oh my, lots of lost souls!

    I’d love to hear more about your thoughts re Wendy & Mafee. Axe and Chuck throwing people under the bus is par for the course; Wendy using Mafee like just felt dirty. I believe Taylor knows the deal (if not the details) and this will come up again later this season.

    I think you know my favorite scene: Taylor confronting Wendy. They said so many of the things I feel about Wendy. I want to see more of this! I’d love to know your take!

    And I can’t say I was thrilled about the last few minutes of the episode. Like you, I’m invested in Axe, and just didn’t see that whole bacchanalia as him. Jania’s post is going to be something, I can tell!!

    1. Thank you! Is it just me or this episode was not reference-heavy at all?

      I think my response will be a mash of our recent Twitter exchange but here it is 🙂

      Wendy clearly violated patient-doctor privilege when she took Mafee’s crush on her and ran with it. But as much as what Wendy has done is far from ideal, I believe we human beings are capable of doing things we cannot even imagine doing when stakes are too high to ignore. And she faced a serious jail sentence for a crime she did not really commit. That said, my remark about not wanting to hear another doctor referring to their oath applies! That is my take on the entire Taylor – Wendy scene. When Taylor confronts her about her motivations and authority, Wendy becomes defensive saying she starts from her oath which is bullshit in this particular case and Taylor sees through it. I think they may be more cautious with Wendy from now on. Methinks the power dynamics between Axe and Taylor could also get interesting in the company when Axe is back at the helm.

      I agree Mafee has certainly been manipulated and who knows he could permanently get scarred despite the “strictly platonic” kiss and the $1M straight in crypto. But, at least, he is not going to jail 🙂 I have to say I have a bigger problem with Wendy supporting to send a man who has not broken the law like Axe or Chuck did to jail. I cannot even imagine spending a day in jail for something I did not do and so I cannot accept these people stealing someone’s years. And not just that but what about the doctor’s family?

      As I have said on Twitter, I did not let myself accept the obvious regarding Axe’s new lifestyle and explained why in the recap. My big attachment to Axe has always been about him being a good family man — a good husband to Lara, a good dad, a good son to Bruno — and when all is gone, what is left there? Oh and him being self-made especially when he goes head to head with the blue bloods and ivy schoolers, and it is still there! I am clinging to the hope that Bobby Axelrod is not happy. There are things money cannot buy and family is one of them. And I hope he has already realized it or will realize it shortly!

      1. You are right – there wasn’t as much references this week. I guess there didn’t need to be since the episode was just plain good!

        I agree with you 100% on Wendy. But, that has been my take on her from the jump. I knew she had it in her to be just as devious as the boys. I don’t like that she did it to Mafee (anyone else I wouldn’t have cared as much). I am wondering if will take a toll on her or if she will feel remorse. Taylor knows what’s up, and if I were them, I would tell everyone in the office Wendy betrayed a patient’s trust in a session. How many Axe Cappers would go to her then? Without trust, what use is Wendy at Axe Capital? I guess I was hoping Wendy’s actions in this episode would get you off TeamWendy, since it’s lonely in the “I hate Wendy” club!!

        A reckoning is coming with Taylor and Axe and/or Taylor and Wendy. I don’t think Taylor minds breaking rules when it comes to trading (we have seen them do it). But messing with people may be a line they won’t cross.

        1. Totally with you about the reckoning! The last play Axe and Wendy did had a lot to do with business as well — thanks to what they did Axe Capital will live on as we know it and that they will be at the helm. So I do not think Axe would tolerate Taylor should they go around badmouthing Wendy. After all, the man was willing to go to prison for that woman! But I completely understand what you mean about Taylor. Let us see where they draw the line.

          Wendy has clearly violated the patient-doctor privileges that she has always been proud to keep confidential demonstrating how reckless she could be if needed. That said, I do not think Wendy would have done anything like this to Mafee if she had not been under that kind of pressure. Again, this is not an excuse, I just see where she is coming from.

          As a matter of fact, I do not think there is any character that I do not like in this show. I pretty much care about every single character on the show — wow, this could be a first! Maybe one character that rubbed me the wrong way for a while was Lara, especially during the Sandicot business, but she has grown on me as well especially after the separation. I hope Axe finds out sooner than later that he would be much better off should he get back into his marriage.

        2. Yes, Taylor and Axe. She’s in the room/she’s left out of the room. Untenable. Given her feelings for Mafee (and she has few feelings for those around her) I expect a run in with Wendy. Perhaps Oscar has woken her up emotionally?

      2. Thanks for the great recap. Curious how you can write such a comprehensive recap so quickly after the episode .

        This was my favorite episode of this season.

        Love the term Holy Triangle. All 3 of them are the same manipulative folks. I thought Wendy was above that. Or maybe it was a one time thing to escape jail.

        We know Brian will continue his pursuot of Axe. My big question – will Chuck now give up his Axe obsession?

        1. Hi Seemi! I know you from our Facebook page. Welcome to the blog! Thank you so much for reading and for your kind words! Comments like this keep us going and going! Here is my writing process: I watch the episode with all of you when it airs. I take notes. Then I watch it one more time. I take more notes. I sit down and write. And then I go back to the scenes I want to study a bit more and polish the write-up accordingly. I also look for the references, take screen caps, and go over the write-up several times to finalize. I am so glad you enjoy the recaps! Thanks!

          Episode 7 is one of the best episodes in the entire series, isn’t it? I think Episode 6 is my favorite this season thanks to the fast-pace and the surprise meeting at the end but Episode 7 is a deeper examination of the characters we have got to know over two and a half seasons. Brilliant writing and wonderful acting!

          Isn’t it surprising to see Wendy could be as manipulative as the two men? I still give credit to her that she has done that only when there was no other exit. What she has done is outrageous, she has clearly violated her doctor’s oath by using information she received in a confidential doctor-patient session… that said, I really think we human beings may be capable of doing things we cannot even imagine when stakes are very high. We will have to wait and see but I think Wendy will have a hard time living with this.

          I agree Bryan will not stop here. Honestly, I personally think he should not 😀 I do not know though how much resources and help he could get in his investigation. Now that he is back to Southern District, Chuck is his boss, and we will see how the boss will treat the one-upon-a-time protege. I also wonder how Chuck’s run for the governor, if it happens, will impact the power dynamics and relationships in the office. Your question is certainly the billion dollar question. Not that I know a thing about where the show may go next, I think if the writers choose to go back to the obsession quickly, the show may be repeating itself. I have a hunch both men will need to deal with others at least in the rest of this season… I cannot wait for more!

  2. As usual I read the other recaps and then yours… Thanks for the deets.. FYI Soder is a big wrestling fan from Aurora Colorado although Mafee never spouts out the quick witted and sometimes filthy comic lines that make Dan a great standup.. his evening show on XM Sirius is nothing like his character.

    Onward And upward we go with 2 adversaries exhausted from the battle neither lost…

    1. Thank you very much for reading and THANK YOU for letting me know about Soder being an Aurora native. I will add it to the recap giving you appropriate credit! I need to catch up with his comedy show. As much as I know he is an established stand up comedian, I confess I have never heard or seen any of his shows.

      Both Axe and Chuck are consumed. We will see if they will resume the pissing contest again soon or the plots will diverge from here on.

        1. Thanks! And I added Soder being from Aurora with proper credit to you. Thanks for the info and your input!

  3. I predicted Hall would return soon. He had a great bedside chat with tech guy. I see one hole in the plot. It’s not that easy to fabricate an 11 million dollar shot sell. As in, how was this account funded and by what bank. It is much harder to mess with bank records because there are paper backups and paper statements being sent out. Dr Gilbert folded too quickly under Chucks evil-clever psychological bombardment, so will get to think about this in prison. But he should think about it now and withdraw his plea bargain. Surely a same day as arrest plea bargain can be taken back.

    Hall’s beard was fake, pasted on like a Halloween beard. The last three sexy scenes ending with the hot tub party boys were good and will pull in even more viewers. AG Jeffcoat’s scene was very good…why he had to fly private gov’t jet to get to NY immediately! Yes, he is Wags’ long lost Texas brother.

    1. Thank you for reading!

      I also thought Hall would be back but not before Axe had his name cleared in the court. But the mentor could not trust his students pull it off as seamlessly he could. I thought Hall looked like Robinson Crusoe! 🙂

      I think, as much as the show does it best, and succeeds at, being as accurate as possible, we should cut them some slack for the drama factor. They do not have the time for the $11M dollar shot sell to work out or for Dr. Gilbert to get broken over several episodes. It all has to come together in an hour and I think the writers are doing a brilliant job with it.

      Clancy Brown is FANTASTIC as Jeffcoat. Yep, he is Wag’s long lost Texas brother and he seems to have the best lines this season!

    2. My guess is that Axe himself funded that 11 million. A roundabout way to pay off the doctor, using his old friend Victor Matteo to fabricate the short sell transaction. As Chuck said, the money is real and it really is in the doctor’s name now and will be for when he gets out of prison. The account is a pay-off disguised as state’s evidence. Having never engaged in such chicanery myself, can’t speak to how possible it is. But it seems folks come up with creative ways to launder money all the time.

  4. After not being happy with the last few episodes. I just loved this one. One commentary I read said lots of Wendy, but I thought ,we saw less of her, at least in her bossy role. Actually, it seemed like Taylor knew more of things normally in Wendy’s line of work. It also seemed like the writers are setting up for a major conflict between Axe and Taylor. What I didn’t buy was that Taylor claimed to know more about Axe’s employees than he did. I doubt Axe really believed that either. This whole episode had the feeling of a season finale, but of course Billions’ finales leave us up in the air, so this was just a turning point apparently. The end scenes didn’t surprise me. Axe was finishing the day with Wags after all!

    1. Thank you for reading, Connie! Do you think you may have enjoyed this episode also also because this episode was not reference-heavy at all? 😀

      I also think we had lots of Wendy, but you are right, even when she was manipulating, Wendy was more vulnerable than authoritative.

      I completely agree with you that there could be major conflict between Axe and Taylor when Axe is back at the helm of Axe Capital. I think Axe was genuine when he went to Taylor to ask about what motivates Mafee. I think it is reasonable Taylor NOW knows more than Axe about Axe capital’s employees at this point. Because as he also accepted Axe who knew his employees’ spouses as well as the sports they did in high school quit caring at some point! Besides, they and Mafee have had a special relationship from the get-go.

      Hahaha so true! What else would Wags give to his friend that was just reborn from his ashes?

    2. Oh I think Axe believed it. The company has gotten bigger and Bobby has had his eye on his own situation for a long time now.

      1. Yes, I agree. He’s not a great people person, our Bobby Axelrod. He’s got Wendy for that. Taylor, on the other hand, is a people person and a numbers person. So in that respect Taylor > Axe.

  5. I personally think that the final look from Bobby at the end, which just goes to show what an amazing actor Lewis is for conveying so much with just a look, is for Mafee. He knows he basically whored Mafee out to save his hide and he feels guilty about it – just like when he sacrificed Donnie back in season one. He doesn’t mind sacrificing someone for the sake of the company, he is prepared to make those hard calls all the time. But it goes to the inherent goodness that lies underneath that when he does wrong by one of his good guys, that he feels genuine remorse and questions his own character.

    1. Thanks for reading! Mafee is certainly someone Axe personally knows and, I think, likes, and so he should feel uncomfortable about what he just did to him. Still, I find what Axe did to Dr. Gilbert who has helped him A LOT over the years in his crazy dealings more unacceptable. He basically sent someone to jail for a crime he did not commit. Yes, Dr. Gilbert broke his oath, but so did Wendy! Axe just stole the doctor’s five years exactly like he stole Donnie’s last Christmas. And what about the doctor’s family? Are they expected to collect the $11M and be happy? And then I remember poor Maria Gonzalez who was a total cannon fodder in this game. I think there is so much for Axe to reflect on next to Mafee.

      1. I would think he would feel far more guilty about what he did to Mafee than Dr Gilbert or certainly Maria Gonzalez. Mafee is one of his employees, one of his people – someone who makes money for him – he is going to be far more attached to Mafee than the others there. And we in the audience are more invested in Mafee as well because he is part of Axe Cap. This was a wonderfully deep episode – makes me wonder what the heck the Entertainment Weekly people were watching. (Did you read their review?)

        1. Of course, I’m with you about Mafee but if Axe starts to ask himself what he has just done… he sinks deep. I never read any recaps even after writing my own so I don’t get affected at all. But now that you’re asking I’m tempted to read.

    2. True, he did whore out Prince Dudley, but more than that he’s whoring himself out, every day. And that has to catch up some how. I don’t think his remorse, if there is any, will last long. I think the damage he’s done to his own humanity will. I tend to not rely so much on inherent goodness in him. It’s fine if he’s not a good guy. What’s more interesting (to me) is him recognizing that he’s not a good guy. That’s where the drama lives. And that’s what Damian makes us feel when he’s playing the characters he plays. A rapist, a terrorist, a cheat, all deeply flawed men…who, thanks to Damian’s skills, we are able to empathize with. Not “like” necessarily but for sure feel.

  6. Axe becoming more and more like Tony Soprano with this last episode I just realized. (and Chuck is just as bad) . . . still I float the Bob v Rhoades for Governor theory — altho now that temporarily they worked together, who knows how Axe will impact optics?

    1. If they worked together, that ticket would make it to the White House! #AxelrodRhoades2020 😀

  7. UM, just pointing out that the good doctor did develop a poison that was used to make people sick — plus he gets 11M and
    does Club Fed time — and he was complicit in Donnie not getting the drug — his hands were far from clean

    1. They had the toxicant develop at a lab, then the doctor verified it would not be fatal. I am with you that his hands are far from clean and I was mocking with the doctor when he referred to his doctor’s oath! 😀 I am completely fine with his career ending because he violated his oath. That said, he is not as much a criminal as Axe or Chuck are in my opinion. Yes, he did get $11M in the end but he never asked for it.

  8. right he only signed off on its nonlethal toxicity … IDK who is more of a criminal anymore & I am a lawyer for more than 2 decades … and that 11M may not have been requested but Axe & Chuck conspired to let him keep it –> serious cash

    1. Question for the lawyer 🙂

      Wendy getting Mafee to lie about the call – could that be considered witness tampering?

      1. Wendy never actually asks Mafee to iie about the call. I just rewatched it – she skirts the line but never actually does anything that is illegal from what I can tell. It certainly is unethical given her position at the firm. I think this is the writers attempt to bring Wendy down to the level of Bobby and Chuck. Up until now she has been able to more or less claim some sort of moral high ground, but once she did this she reached that same point of no return Chuck mentioned to the doctor. It is truly amazing and a credit to the writers how they weave a common theme throughout an entire episode. Now many of those characters reached a point of no return this past week?

        1. She never asks him to lie about the call, but if a mob guy says “be a shame if something happens to your family” they are not asking you to lie, but it would still be witness tampering, no?

        2. I think the fundamental problem is Wendy violates her doctor’s oath in going to Mafee with information she received from him in a session with him. Other than that, yes it is true that she never really asks him to lie for her. I find this fascinating. I agree with you this is an attempt to make Wendy’s ability to be as manipulative as Axe and Chuck. She cannot claim the higher moral ground as she has so far. And I really think this will catch up with her. I think Wendy will have a harder time dealing with what she has done compared to Axe and Chuck.

          1. I 100% agree with you that this will take a toll on her! This is not who she is. She has been surrounded by men who lie and cheat, but she has had clean hands until now.
            Again, I don’t like her as a performance coach, but I was disappointed she went this low. I totally get why she needed to, but just seeing it was sad. I think she may question if being around this bunch is worthy her moral high ground.

          2. That is exactly what I think she will question about herself. Can’t wait to see where Wendy will stand at the end of the season.

    1. You should see all the minor violations that we may miss, too, since you are an attorney.

      1. well it is a TV show after all — and one that Lewis himself called a super hero show — I watched Daredevil (where I first saw Toby Moore) w my teenage son & the Marvel Universe in Netflix NYC is about as realistic & entertaining

  9. I searched for the Entertainment commentary. Lackluster??? Were those people watching the same show we were? Maybe you are right Damianista and it was the lack of references that made me enjoy #7 more than the couple preceding. Didn’t think of that at the time. It is interesting on the different takes we have on that last expression on Axe’s face in the hot tub. My immediate impression was that he was regretting the loss of Lara and the boys, since in last few seconds he didn’t seem thrilled with his surroundings. Remember his comment about cannon fodder. although we know he is perfectly capable of lying to his wife.

    1. Maybe I am taking this recapping thing a bit too seriously but I do not read the recaps not to get affacted. I am surprised EW has found the episode lackluster. Maybe they have not been paying the attention we did… This was a DEEP episode. Even though I like Episode 6 better — I cannot stop myself going back to watch the last few minutes again and again, I LOVED IT — but I think Episode 7 is a deeper examination of the lost souls that these people are.

      I do not think we have different takes about the bathtub moment. I listed Lara and the kids as a possible thought Axe might have. “He might be saying what the hell am I doing here?” I think now that he is back to LIFE, he turns off the famous automatic pilot and all of a sudden may see the shit he has done. To other people but particularly to Lara and the kids, you are absolutely right, have been sort of a cannon fodder, completely ignored in this mess. I was thinking early in the season he might be keeping his distance from the family strategically but no it was not a strategic choice. I hope he sees sooner than later that there are things no amount of money can afford and family is one of them.

      By the way: Gingersnap is posting the recaps from EW, NY Times, Vulture, Refinery29 and maybe a few more every Monday on

    2. EW, NY Times, Vulture, Forbes, Ringer Superlatives, Ringer Podcast, Fan Fun, occasionally Uproxx and anything Billions/the writers retweet as significant, like that one Buzzfeed article that spoke about toxic masculinity. I stay away from Refinery 29 since they had 2-3 facts wrong and character names incorrect. Remember, I had to correct them on Twitter and they changed it, but still. EW is and always has been their harshest critic. That said, they still gave the episode a B-. I think last week’s episode was the first “A” grade handed out.

      Others I stay away from: Decider Reality Index (for the most part), AV Club, GingesBeCray, TV Fanatic, and CarterMatt.

      1. Whatever you say – you know the best about the quality of the reviews published — that is why I referred it to you 🙂

        1. Well thank you for thinking that, but I actually learned about the quality of reviews from you, and little from JaniaJania and Lady Trader when we were discussing that error-fraught Refinery one.

  10. was like 1 episode ago that he & Wags reminisced RE celebrating by fishing all night — not partying w drugs & other debauchery — does not seem like Axe to drop Molly & dive naked into hot tub but back to my Tony Soprano Bada Bing thoughts

  11. I think sending Dr. Gilbert to jail and manipulating Mafee will eventually take a toll on Wendy overall, not just in the bedroom, and she will eventually choose a side and leave Axe Capital to support Chuck in the Governor’s race and be the First Lady. The two titans’ story lines will diverge, taking their own respective paths and we will see Chuck fighting other forces in that ring and Axe fighting new forces in his ring. Albeit, I’m sure their paths will cross again in some manner.

    I’m disappointed the writers flipped the script in regards to our Black Swan’s behavior – having him behave like the typical, generalized “bankster” we read about from that 1% of the 1% world. I get it, I know they wanted to showcase that world for us to see, but I also feel the writers/creators played into their viewers/audience lifestyle, perhaps a core fan base. I am seeing more and more Billions acknowledgment on Twitter from players in the sports and entertainment industry. Great! But Sho_Billions and the creators seem to really retweet and promote tweets heavily from blue checkmarks.

    That lifestyle never has been Bobby Axelrod. He’s not a baller. Hell, he left his own birthday party Lara threw for him because he’d rather be at the race track, where he came from, the core of who he is. The party Wags threw and Axe abiding was such a character departure for me. Sure, I understand one departs their true self when life changes all around you, but man writing that into the scene didn’t seem genuine. The only genuine part was the very end scene where Axe laid back (probably the molly? kicking in) and contemplated how unhappy he was.

    I do understand the writers/creators wanted this season to be balls-out, showing how power and corruption sickens the healthy like a virus, turning them into street punks. I get that. And agree with Buzzfeed’s article “Billions Has Become TV’s Sharpest Critique of Toxic Masculinity” and that’s what the writers and creators wanted to showcase this season. But the character departure for Axe didn’t read genuine. So writers/creators listen when we say, the rabid fans aren’t always the accounts with blue checkmarks.

    There is also a fair amount of redundancy this season:
    1. trou dropping scenes
    2. elevator scenes
    3. Yale club revisited with tux-wearing Senior and Junior, again

    I also feel the writers/creators listened to viewer complaints about not understanding all the subliminal references and analogies by having characters explain a few of those through the dialogue this season. While I understand we don’t all get the references, I surely didn’t, I enjoyed researching and hunting for those Easter eggs, re-watching the episodes with closed captioning on, and then watching the episodes a third time to bring it all home for me. That is what sets Billions apart from other shows. What show do you WANT to watch 2, 3, 4 times over and over and never get sick of and find something new about it each time? Only Billions. That’s Billions being Billions and they changed the formula this season. Stick with what you’re good at, don’t change for the audience.

    1. I get a lot of those easter eggs bc like the showrunners / writers I grew up on pro wrestling & usually I pick up on the obscure references to pop culture, film, heck I even saw Seth Godin lecture (Twice!) live …. so this show has been Everything to me & any time I caddy my son at one nearby golf course he knows we are driving by Axe Cap in Orangeburg NY … I hope they go back there on the show

      1. I get a majority too, since I grew up in the late 70’s/80’s. I sure hope they go back there on the show, too.

      2. My husband and I took a detour to see the original Axe Capital HQ in Orangeburg last December on our way to Woodbury 😀 It was FUN! But it was a working office as much as I could tell. People strangely looked at us as we took pics of Axe Capital-written entrance, etc.

        This show has been everything to me for different reasons. I also get some of the references because I am an ’80s kid, too. And even though I grew up in Turkey, it is incredible how much I know about TV and movies — not sports though 😀 Anyway, the show is everything because of Damian, because of NY appearing as an actor — my favorite place on earth — and the heavy use of strategic moves and game theory which is what I do as a job in real life 🙂

    2. I’m totally with you , there is something different about this season against the two previous one. Episodes are good, last week episode and this one were amazing. Apart for those two I’m not enjoying it as much as the past seasons ones.

      Don’t get me wrong the show is still great but maybe it is the storyline with Axe and Chuck trying to save their ass that bring this change. Hope with the new “arc” starting next week we will venture into what we used to love ??

      what’s a ” trou dropping scenes” I’m not getting this slang (cause “trou” it’s a hole/gap for me ^^).

      I get some references about sport (mostly the ones about basketball), and some other about popcultures / film but there is a lot I don’t get, and thanks for Damianista, Jania and Lady Trader clarifications and that is where the fun to watch is as you said <3

      1. Thanks so much for reading! This season is definitely different than the other two. I think the show is more of an ensemble cast now rather than focusing only on its lead characters – which is great since the so-called supporting actors are as remarkable as the leads – and I think they are making bolder choices this season. I personally was so rooting for the possibility that Axe and Chuck would cooperate and I am so glad they did that on the show — which I LOVED. I think Episode 6 is my favorite episode so far even though I think Episode 7 is a deeper examination of the lead characters. Damian was saying both Axe and Chuck will have snipers constantly firing from all sides so I think we will get to see that kind of action in the second half of the season. They may not resume the pissing contest with each other, and there is not much need for it right now, but fight their fights in their respective domains. Who knows maybe Axe could even donate to Chuck’s gubernatorial campaign? 😀

    3. Oh My God how come I have seen this comment just now? Sorry for that! This looks like a post on its own! 😀 Thanks so much for reading!

      I completely agree with you regarding Wendy. From the very beginning, the show creators said Wendy would ultimately make a decision that would change her life forever. That could be leaving her practice altogether. Maybe she will not be able live with what she has done with doctor-patient confidentiality. It would be exciting to see a political campaign on the show. I am in!

      To give credit to the show creators, Axe did not want any party to celebrate his freedom. It is all Wags. And what else could Wags give to his friend who was just reborn from his ashes? That is why I think the party is realistic, and Axe, in line with your description of him, is unhappy there. We see him in his eyes. He may even be in disbelief that he is not happy. Because a single guy with everything in the world should be happy with 200 20 something models at his penthouse, right? I think he only abides to make Wags happy. You are right Axe is certainly not that kind of guy. And I think he will see sooner than later that he is missing his family more than he thought he would.

      Hahaha I did not really pay attention to the elevator scenes but now that you are saying… you are right! I agree there has been a little bit too much trouser dropping for some reason.

      And you already know I agree with you that they do not need to explain the references — as someone that does partially get the references I find it FUN to look them up. On the other hand, there is also a crowd, in our readership too, that do not enjoy the references as much and I can understand they may not want to look it up, they may want entertainment, and not homework. We are sort of geeky viewers that look for the easter eggs, love solving the puzzles, and enjoy speculating what could be next. TV is a medium where feedback affects the outcome and my hunch is the references being explained may well be the outcome of viewer feedback to the show.

      1. Axe give in to peer pressure for Wags? Nah. I have to agree with Harlan. One episode ago Axe and Wags reminisced about their celebratory fishing trip back in the day, skipping baller parties with drugs and debauchery. But then again, Bobby wasn’t single then either. More food for thought – the viewers have never actually SEEN Axe follow through with another woman. Hot tub ladies – he was looking but not touching. I know, I know…wishful yoga thinking.

        1. I’m think the fishing trip was euphemism. Heh. I have no doubt in Bobby’s ability to follow-thru. He never cheated on his wife and he’s single now, so why the hell not? He doesn’t dive into it willy-nilly….without adorably offering them dinner first. It’s clearly all new to him, but, sheesh, he’s a man with a penis. What’s there stopping him? It’s just sex. It’s not his family or his life.

          1. Axe having a pro, or having sex now that he is separated is fine. I just think the skank-factor in that whole scene was pretty high. I felt like I needed a shower! It was something out of Caligula!

          2. I think the show runners may have wanted to throw the excess behavior in that world at us 🙂 I am pretty sure some people live like Caligula today. And I cannot be happier that I have a life that is as far away from them as possible.

          3. JaniaJania-My issue lies with it being so soon after his separation, not spending time with his sons, casting his wife and family aside, and probably moreso with the writers not showing us (yet?) their breakup conversation.

      1. They are referring to Taleb like they did several times in the show. Black Swan event is a rare event. I think Wags called Axe once a “Black Swan” when he said he never lied to Lara in their marriage. A rare occurrence. A rare species.

      2. Notlinda – When Axe told Wags that Lara had left because he lied to her, Wags asked how he knew which lie? Axe said he’s only lied to Lara once. Wags then said, “you truly are a Black Swan.” Axe typically deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation, in other words, a billionaire is often known to not be so loyal in a marriage, with women all around them, etc. I wanted Axe to stay that Black Swan, especially so soon after splitting from the mother of his children 🙁

    4. Interesting I wasn’t as bothered by the molly and the tub. Mostly because I don’t think of Axe as an inherently good guy. He came from humble beginning, but gave all that up. “Fuck Bruno”. We may be sentimental about where he came from, but he’s not. When we first found out that the Axelrods were separated I mentioned the possibility of seeing Bobby in one of Wags’ T & A bars and Bobby not seeing the point…a bad return on investment. Well, Wags brought the T & A bar to Axe. And presumably he paid for the whole set-up. So Bobby did the polite thing, took the pill, got in the tub. He probably still doesn’t see the point of it all, besides the obvious. These aren’t the vices he’s the most attached to. His thing is the game. But enjoying Wags thing for one night is just one night.

      1. “So Bobby did the polite thing, took the pill, got in the tub. He probably still doesn’t see the point of it all, besides the obvious.” I completely agree with this.

      2. JaniaJania-Interesting. I feel the opposite. I think Axe is inherently a good guy doing bad things. I think Wendy would think the same thing about Axe. And the “Fuck Bruno” I feel was more Lara’s agenda pushed on him during his decision making process. He didn’t know what to do. If he was a “Fuck Bruno” type deep down, he wouldn’t have thought about it twice, but he did. When he was sitting in their closet pondering what to do about Sandicot, you could see it on his face…the torment. It was Lara’s comment that helped him get there.

        1. I commented so much on the hot tub so I am skipping that part not to repeat myself 🙂

          I definitely saw the torment on Axe’s face as he broke Bruno’s heart. But, after all, he fucked Bruno. And so far we have not seen any attempt on his part making amends to the man who has probably been the only father figure in his life. That is one single issue I am very sensitive about. Axe broke my heart as much as he broke Bruno’s! 🙂

          1. Damianista-Again another theme (Bruno) not followed up on by the writers IMO 🙂

          2. True. But I do not see it as a problem. It may be that we may never see Bruno again which means Axe really cut him off from his life. Or they may re-visit him at some point with Axe apologizing to him like Chuck apologized to his dad. So I guess I am more flexible about themes put aside to be re-visited or not later in the show/

          3. Damianista-Even so, doesn’t have to be about Axe apologizing to Bruno. I’d be happy with a 15 second scene of seeing Bruno making a pie for Lara and the boys 🙂

          4. Oh I just gave an example off the top of my head to highlight that I am flexible either way because it is the writers’ choice to re-visit a storyline or not. So it is fine with me if they never talk about Sandicot again or if we never see Bruno again. That said, Bruno deserves an apology! 😀

          5. Damianista-I know it’s the writer’s choice. Doesn’t mean I care for it. Characters just gone in the void without closure. As Connie said, themes just dropped and not explained. The storyline doesn’t necessarily need to be re-visited, but rather, explained and closed.

          6. Yeah, I guess we diverge there. I don’t think every story line should be fully explained or we need to know the fate of every single character we met. That said, patience could be key here. I am pretty sure they will re-visit some characters and themes they seem to have put aside this season to pursue other characters and story lines (exactly like how they came back and referred to Ionosphere or how they went back to Victor Mateo).

  12. here is a different egg which you all prolly saw —>>>>
    my kid sent me this weeks ago bc he saw it on instagram… and our whole Family watched The Office on Netflix last year
    after never really seeing it in real time —

    1. I did see that photo on social media! Never watched the Office, but loved Rainn Wilson on Backstrom (canceled).

  13. Here’s arguably my favorite one minute of Soder. Especially hilarious if you remember the late Macho man Randy Savage.. so many wrestling references in Billions. Even the subtle use of Next Big Thing for Taylor (and I met The Dictators 20 yrs ago) …

  14. Great review! I didn’t understand something: was there any negative consequence affecting Maffee for lying besides that fine (that Axe paid for anyway)?
    I mean, it sounds like the wise move for him was to go along with Axe’ and Wendy’s plan

    1. Thank you so much for reading! I think the formal consequence is the SEC fine which has been covered by Axe. The rest of the negative depends on a person’s personality. Dollar Bill would not mind in my opinion. But it seems Mafee has an old fashioned sense of honor where reputation is everything. Now he has been marked with “fraud” by the SEC which probably is not ideal for him.

  15. I certainly may have missed a comment regarding this, but has anyone else noticed the table where Axe and Chuck were sitting to make their plans? Clearly divided by a fairly wide space with Wendy at one end, squarely in that separation. Rather symbolic. So who has a table like this in their house?

    Are we offended or surprised or what by the trou dropping and the partying? If anything offends me, it is the language but that is the case with most Showtime offerings. But alas I am a child of 40s/50s. Good grief I feel quite aged right now!

      1. I was certainly not offended 🙂 What else would Wags give to his friend who was just reborn from his ashes, right? 😀 I was surprised that he got into the mood pretty quickly but I still think he thinks he should be enjoying that lifestyle — otherwise why did he move to the city? He is single, he can have all the 20 year old models that are interested in having him, but I think he also sees it does not make him happy.

    1. Hi Connie. I’ve seen tables like that. Made from one big slab of wood, with a crevasse down the middle. It’s sort of a “natural” look. I think people put tea lights in the crevasse, it’s not a space that goes all the way down. Not something just anyone would have in their house, but certainly something Bobby would. No one has such valuable paintings up on their walls either. 😀

  16. Got a chance to watch yesterday (Monday). My thoughts were with Connie a) the pompadour is gone and b) Wendy’s turn. I think Wendy’’s story is MAJOR from”Who’s the patsy?” to that horrible Judas’ kiss. Platonic my ass! She’s a made man now however the writers deal with her. It seems to me there’s no going back for her. Taylor knows too.
    The good doctor was guilty as hell. Not for the crime charged but – Donnie died.
    The last shot of Bobby didn’t speak to me of guilt or regret but existential despair. Yeah I think he’s going to touch someone tonight. Why the fuck not, there’s nothing left. He’s gambled it all away.

      1. Lugo was the black kid who could not make the bail but then killed the guard who abused him.
        I don’t know what Pagoda Blackjack is but since Wags said it when Mafee got his $1M award, I thought it could be the big prize in blackjack or something – total speculation 🙂

    1. Oh I am not even close to making a case for the doctor. As I have said in the recap, I don’t want to hear any doctor referring to their doctor’s oath on this show ever again 😀 That said, the doctor got the 5 year jail sentence for a profit that he did not make even though he is keeping it now. Sending someone to jail in your stead like this is very smart but deeply immoral that I cannot accept it. That said, I of course know where they are coming from and besides I know human beings can do things they cannot even imagine doing to protect themselves and their loved ones. Axe and Chuck will live with it, I am not so sure about how Wendy will come. You are right. That is the point of no return for her.

      Well said. Nothing is left. Oh I am sure Axe is having a riot at the party but when it is all done, he is unhappy and lonely. So the existential despair you are talking about has nothing to do how he has been ignoring his family for so long or what he has done to people to save his ass (he had regrets after what he did to Donnie – Season 1 Episode 11 “Magical Thinking”)? Axe turns the switch to autopilot (his words) when to deal with a stressful situation and comes back to his senses when the trouble is over and switch is turned off…

  17. The despair has to do with all the betrayals you cite and more. It’s not one single instance eg Mafee. His family values, his roots are the greatest loss imo. If by having a riot you mean indulging in every opportunity à la Wags then we agree again. I’m reminded of the convo re addiction and need we had here recently. If satisfying addiction = happiness then junkies would be the happiest of people and they’re not. Bobby has won and lost everything.

    1. I completely agree with you. Yes, that is what I mean when I say he will have a riot – he will enjoy himself at the party 🙂 What a great sentence: “Bobby has won and lost everything.” Very very very well said.

  18. Ginj – goodness, you & D’ista humble me! I’m truly a White Swan. Lies of omission or commission, mine are legion.

  19. What do you think DiGiullio (sp?) is going to ask Chuck as his promise to honor? I wonder if he’ll ask him not to run for governor. Oh – and watch out for the Bobby-Wendy-Taylor dynamic – that just got way way way more confrontational.

    1. First thing that comes to my mind is DeGiulio may be asking Chuck to resign his position before running for governor.

      Oh, absolutely. I look forward to a confrontation especially between Axe and Taylor. The power dynamics will be absolutely different now that Axe is at the helm of the company! 🙂 And Taylor is conflicted about Wendy’s motivation as well as authority. FUN!

      Addendum: Do you think DeGiulio is impressed by Bryan in the courtroom? Yes, he failed, but his enthusiasm and persistent search for justice is there. Could DeGiulio ask Chuck to recommend Bryan for the USA of Eastern? 😀

  20. This show has gone off the rails. For some reason, the writers think we’ve either forgotten the past 2 seasons and the character’s histories or they’ve forgotten about them. Doesn’t Mafee have girlfriend that works at Axe Cap? Doesn’t he worship her and she’s way out of his league? We’ve never seen anything that would suggest that Mafee likes Wendy or that Mafee would sacrifice everything including his relationship, just to save her? Also, why didn’t they have Wendy do something smarter and more subtle to manipulate Mafee? Her going to her apartment in a skin tight dress was cringeworthy and her behavior was totally out of character.

    I don’t understand how Axe was willing to walk away from his family and sacrifice his freedom just to save Wendy? Everything about their relationship is strange and unrealistic. I also don’t understand how Chuck could sacrifice his relationships with his father, best friend and his entire inheritance only to work to make sure Axe goes free? All he scheming and breaking the law was for nothing. Also, there is now way that an AG like Jeffcoat keeps Chuck on after finding out that he was neck deep in the Ice Juice fiasco. Think about Jeff Sessions keeping Preet Bharara on in real life. Makes zero sense. Just like this show now.

    1. Ok. Here’s my effort to make you think maybe the show is not as off the rails as you think 🙂

      Mafee’s girl friend was Axe’s secretary but she left the show and so she probably left Mafee, too, at some point. Wendy had a session with Mafee in Episode 3 if I am not mistaken (I don’t know if you read my recap but I put the exact reference there) where Mafee sort of confesses to Wendy that he has a thing for her which we see Wendy using in Episode 7. No word is spoken for no reason in this show, whatever you hear and may interpret a s a filler comes back at some point! I think Wendy can be as manipulative as anyone when stakes are too high to ignore and that is exactly what she has done. She violated the doctor-patient privileges which she has always been proud of keeping confidential. I think human begins are capable of doing things they can never imagine doing when they face dire situations like a serious jail sentence.

      I agree that Axe and Wendy have a very special relationship. I don’t find it unrealistic. It is not a romantic relationship but there is a very strong bond and attraction there. They are real partners that built Axe Capital together and Axe knows he loses his way without Wendy. As he says to his lawyer in the last episode his men come unglued and she puts them back together and they become better than they ever were Axe is in fact talking about himself and what Wendy has done and is doing to him. Making him better than he is. I think Dake got it right about Chuck. It was a crime of passion that felt great at the time, because his rage blinded him, and then his finder prints were all over the place in addition to ruining his dad and his best friend. I think both Axe and Chuck do crazy things when they have emotional spikes. Remember Chuck started the whole Ice Juice thing the moment he heard from Kate that Axe bought all editions of Churchill’s WWII books in the world… Big enough to trigger Chuck to do what he did! I think Jeffcoat keeps Chuck for a reason, he may believe that he can bend him and will have him do things he wants him to do. We will see. In real life, The Trump administration may have thought the same thing about Bharara that they could keep him and have him do things their way but it seems it did not work. One of the strengths of Billions is that the show is very timely and derives a lot from real news in politics and finance.

      1. Is Wendy making him better than he is? If that was the case, he wouldn’t keep falling apart. Axe is middle aged. At a certain point, he has to ask is Wendy really helping him and why is he so codependent on her? Also, Bharara got fired with all the other AGs. None of them stayed on because there was a chance they would do what Chuck did in the show: set up a shadow US attorneys office that ran counter to the administration’s wishes. I really don’t see a guy like Chuck doing an about face so easily, especially when you consider all he risked and gave up to get Axe.

        It’s weird they didn’t mention Deb’s departure. It’s weirder they have Wendy doing some half assed seduction of him and him falling for it so easily.

        1. SMT,
          You and I agree on a great many things! I’ve never understood the lure of Wendy, but I have learned to dislike her character, point out things I think don’t make sense, and go with the flow. The writers have recently said they consider Wendy a “hero” so she is an important player. The ladies and I have gone back and forth re Wendy and Axe’s need for her. I say he has had his natural abilities without her, they say that she helps keep him focused and grounded. I think that the debate will continue, but that is what makes this show great – they have written characters that we care about, are invested in, and are complex enough that we can have a 3 season long discussion about them!

          1. I agree with you completely on Wendy. Everyone loves her. The show has set up Lara as a villain and Wendy as the hero, the good angel to Lara. But Wendy is a master manipulator and at a certain point, I would have to wonder why Axe isn’t fixed? She’s been helping him for 20 years and yet he is more codependent on her than ever. That’s not a healthy relationship and not a normal one you should have with your therapist. Also, as you pointed out Axe is still doing illegal stuff! Nothing is going to stop him from breaking the rules. Not even Saint Wendy.

          2. Most people love her. There are a few of us (the loud minority!!) who don’t see her value. Being a trader, I totally don’t get what she does for the employees at Axe Cap. I’ve been in this business since 1988, and I don’t know one person who would go to a “performance coach” or if they did, would ever admit doing so. That being said, she’s a main character and an integral part of the show. I agree with you too: if you are in “therapy” for almost 20 years and are still doing the same things you were doing before, maybe it’s just not working. But since this is a show about excess in so many ways, we have to suspend what we would do in real life, and enjoy the journey the writers are taking us on. I’ll still call out her crap, and call her useless, but she’s not going anywhere. I just wish they would make her a bit less annoying, and on a personal note, stop trying to make her into this “sexy” therapist. She’s the least sexy, attractive person (beside Chuck) on the show.

          3. As this thread shows everyone does not love Wendy 🙂 I do not really think anyone is completely good or bad on Billions. That is the signature of the “golden age of TV” isn’t it? That characters are closer to real life, nobody is black or white. Wendy is not an angel. She talked to Taylor about this last year. She knows having worked at Axe Capital for so many years, she condoned some of the shady business going on there. She may not have done it herself but she knew what kind of stuff was going on… and she still knows, and she condones… And Lara is not a villain. I always find myself sympathizing with one of the characters soon after I find myself not liking what they just did. It happens to me with almost all characters in this show. And i think of this as an important strength in the show.

        2. I think Axe fell apart when Wendy was not with him. Even though she was at the firm starting Episode 7 in Season 2, she was committed not to have a session with Axe knowing that he tricked her (law suits against Chuck) into coming back to Axe Capital. And this is the period he did the crazy Ice Juice play. And that is why he asked her if she would help him find his way back, in other words, if she would be willing to work with him again in Season 2 finale and Wendy agreed to do that and has been helping him since. And if they are out of it altogether now, it is again thanks to Wendy orchestrating the entire cooperation.

          I think Chuck reacts on an emotional spike only when Axe is concerned. If he had reacted to everything like that he would never have ended up as the US Attorney of the Southern District.

          In the end, even some viewers may not find the some storylines realistic, this is how the writers bring the story to life, a bit over the top, it is how they write the show with almost everyone on Billions is a larger than life character… So I believe viewers should be able to appreciate the show as is but I can totally understand and respect it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

          1. Axe asked for Wendy’s help at the 9/11 memorial, but then we have seen him doing all his back door deals this season. So, has she helped him? You can say these are things he is doing behind her back, but if he truly wanted to change, he would be 1)seeking her advice on those things or 2)not doing them in the first place since he knows it’s wrong.

          2. I believe she has helped him. He constantly has had Wendy around for sessions, he has constantly been asking for help, including a midnight call when he knew he would not be able to live without trading (that is one thing he did not listen to Wendy because he just could not) and a midnight session when he was not able to have a read of the doctor. I think we saw Axe listening to Wendy more than ever and he also made her stay around and help Taylor whenever necessary knowing Wendy would make Taylor better than they are as well. And both he and Chuck listened to her and cooperated in the end. I totally buy into her powers and, unlike you, I wish I had my personal Wendy! 🙂

          3. I do love how you are Team Wendy and are loyal!
            Axe is doing all sorts of things Wendy would tell him not to do (the other funds, the whole setting up the foundation to invest in the solar panels) and doing some of the things Wendy has told him to do (put Taylor in charge).

            I don’t think he is 100% committed to the whole “change” thing he was when he was caught by the FBI. It was more of he was sorry he got caught, than sorry he did what he did.
            And, I’m OK with that. That is who he is, and that is why I love Axe. He’s not being truthful to Wendy, so how can a “therapist” really help if they are not being told the truth?

          4. Let’s just agree to disagree about Wendy. Because even if we wrote to each other 100 times, neither of us would change position 😀

          5. OK, but I think we finally agree on something re Wendy: this is going to take a bigger toll on her than it will on Axe or Chuck.
            See – we can agree too!!

    2. SMT,

      I, too, would like the show to explain some things. That’s just my personality. I like answers 🙂 Is it too much to ask from a show? Probably. But that doesn’t change my preferences.

      My first unanswered issue was about Ionosphere. We saw the birth of Ionosphere in season one, then nothing about the subsidiary in season 2. I tweeted at the creators of the show a few times last year, asking them to just give us something, even if it was 30 seconds of Wags slamming down folders on Axe’s desk and saying, “End of day Ionosphere trades.” I finally got the resolution I was seeking in season 3 with the small Ionosphere update. Perfect! That’s all I needed, something small.

      I’m starting to acclimate to the idea that this show doesn’t always give you answers, at least, not right away. Still, I wonder about the following:

      1-Why Deb left. I know she’s on another show IRL called Deception, but I’d like to see the explanation worked into the storyline. Mafee was so loyal to Deb it’s odd he’s not mentioning their (assumed) break-up. Remember the scene of Wags and Mafee at the club where Wags was getting a lap dance and Mafee said he has a no touch policy? To go from that to nothing, zilch, nota, I’m craving resolution.

      2-Why Axe Capital moved to Manhattan. At first I surmised it was due to the legality of his pending criminal case, not traveling past certain jurisdictions, leaving Connecticut off the table. But we’ve seen him travel to Nova Scotia now. Of course the logical answer is he is a bachelor now living in the city while Lara is in the burbs of CT, so move the office close to his residence. But could we get a little peek into that backstory?

      3-Axe and Lara deciding to split. Where’s that conversation? This I’d like to see most answered.

      4-Spyros at Axe Capital. I know the why. But how did it come about? Where’s that conversation?

      I agree with you that the character departures we saw in Axe and Wendy in episode 7 were tough to believe, given that we’ve come to know these characters over the past 2.5 years. I do understand people will take drastic measures and depart from their true self when they are compromised and threatened, so I get that. However, the departure did not come off as genuine to the storyline IMO. And maybe that’s because not so much of WHAT Axe and Wendy did in their character departures per se, but moreso how fast the storyline leapt to that. Does that make sense? In other words, I think a slower build up to those character departures with more instances peppered into the storyline over the episodes leading up to episode 7 may have felt more realistic to me.

      Talk about warp speed – I truly believe Chuck and Axe working together could have been 2 episodes worth. How fantastic would that have been? We viewers love their on screen chemistry together, seeing these two Titans go at it, whether opposing or not! And that’s why I feel the writers/creators should have taken full advantage of that.

      And you have a point, is Wendy really making Axe better? Sure he comes unglued without her, but with her, his behavior can be just as diabolical. Is she doing more harm than good at this point? Is she his crutch? Let the baby bird fly from the nest and use his own wings….he’ll adapt soon enough with all the learned skills she’s given him. Sure, he’ll fail like he did last season, but eventually, that is what Axe is best at…adapting.

      1. Even with her around, he can’t stop doing illegal stuff. I don’t know why I’m supposed to root for this toxic relationship. He begged for her help last season only to have his life spin out of control in other ways. I think it’s weird that his marriage to Lara dissolved so quickly without us finding out why she really left him. Was it the lie about coming home for a hug when he really saved his last hug for Wendy? Was it the arrest? Also, why didn’t Wendy encourage him to go to couple’s counseling to save his marriage? I think it’s weird she never mentions his divorce and doesn’t at least try to get him to go back to Lara. He begged Wendy so many times last season but let his wife and kids go without blinking. It’s just odd.

        1. SMT – It is weird that his marriage to Lara dissolved so quickly. The writers like to fast track storylines. People are saying “divorce,” but I thought the paperwork said “separation agreement.” I could be wrong. Either way, it seems to be a culmination of things: the way he spoke to her about Hangover Therapy business and then taking her to dinner to supposedly apologize for that only to break it to her that Wendy was coming back to Axe Capital, the lie about not working with Wendy, not coming home before going to jail, going to jail, always turning to another woman for emotional support instead of your spouse, and now not putting the children first (spending time with them while he wasn’t working). I’m hoping some of these answers will be addressed before season end. You never know, Billions could surprise us.

  21. Billions is a fantasy and has always been one … I know plenty of former AUSAs & hedgies … they all say none of their work was
    ever this exciting — as I like to remind myself, Lewis calls Billions a superhero show — the acting, scripts, and every other detail are all superior but it is still Hollywood. If anyone ever pulled half the shit these characters did in real life … come on … entertaining & one of my favorite shows ever but not meant to reflect true life even if the showrunners do their homework so cases & plotlines seem like they could happen in some (alternative) universe.

    1. Absolutely. There is always the drama factor. And I don’t think the show creators ever said they tried to depict the real world perfectly. As you also suggest the real life in law and finance may not be as thrilling as in Billions 🙂

  22. I guess I am coming in on the side of SMT and Gingersnap, and of course, as always, Lady Trader, as I would like to see a few answers to some story threads that seem to be floating in the wind out there in Axe/Chuck land. Now I could go back and re-watch seasons 1 and 2, and probably will when season 3 is over and find some answers that I don’t recall right now.. But what has happened with Lara mostly? How about her restaurant and her farm? Has the attitude toward her efforts changed now that we hear nothing about Axe’s activities on 9-11? How about the hangover thingy she had going with her cousin? What about Sandicot? That theme just vanished. Did they “rebuild” the town or what? Perhaps the writers will revisit all of these things and maybe that was the intent. but in the meantime, some ideas are a bit disjointed. I think I just want more Axe, more Axe, oh yes, did I say more Axe?

    1. I agree Connie, themes vanish! I have also thought about Sandicot in that I just want to know if the town was rebuilt or what. We know they were going to implement charter schools and the Remington is at Axe Capital, but I want to know about the town and it’s people. All we know is that Chuck visited that area on his pre-Governor stakeout, so perhaps we will get more information as time goes on.

      Lara shut down her restaurant and the farm in season 1. That was her way of “fighting.”

      The cash Lara took from the vault to avoid the FBI seizure was given to the cousin in season 2 and thus flushing the Hangover Therapy business. But aside from that, we don’t know if it’s up and running, if Lara is part of it, nothing…

      I don’t think the attitudes have changed in favor of Lara since the 9/11 reveal, but perhaps shifted for a different reason. In fact, Lara said at the baseball game (while giving advice to another baseball parent), that all the connections and friends she thought she had were nothing more than defined by who her husband is. And now that they are no longer together, she’s basically chopped liver.

  23. Forgot to add this. I will never look at the jar of ketchup in my fridge the same way again!

  24. RE Unfinished Storylines — that was obvi how Sopranos ended

    And to this day ask David Chase RE the Russian guy —

    Tony Sirico (Paulie Walnuts) “We had a scene this season when Chris and I are talking in the bar about whatever happened to that Russian guy. And in the script we were supposed to go outside and there he was standing on the corner. But when we went to shoot it, they took it out. I think David didn’t like it. He wanted the audience just to suffer.”

    Chase “They shot a guy. Who knows where he went? Who cares about some Russian? This is what Hollywood has done to America. Do you have to have closure on every little thing? Isn’t there any mystery in the world? It’s a murky world out there. It’s a murky life these guys lead. And by the way, I do know where the Russian is. But I’ll never say because so many people got so pissy about it.”

    1. Ha! It’s hilarious Chase says he knows where the Russian is but he’s not giving it away.

  25. Does any one think there is some reason for Wendy to wear only black or dark blue? Can’t recall seeing her in anything else.

  26. Hoy, viernes, termino de verlo.(Netflix LATAM) El mejor episodio hasta ahora…y el culo de Damian como plus!!! jijiji

    1. So glad you’re enjoying Season 3, Analia! I’m sorry to break the news, but that is a body double 🙂 I know it because I saw the following casting call on Twitter or Instagram as they were shooting Episode 7 in December.

      NUDE BODY DOUBLE: Male, Caucasian, Age: 25 – 35, Hair: Blonde, Dirty Blonde, Red, Height: 6′ 0″ to 6′ 1″ Talent must be comfortable being fully nude on set and showing backside nudity on camera. No tattoos.

      Sorry 🙂

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