While I stand behind my words that Axe and Chuck have so much in common that they could be BFFs in another life, this episode finds them at opposite ends of the generosity scale. While Axe does not even want to hear the word accommodation when it comes to people helping him make money, Chuck goes out of his way to accommodate his old pal Ira.
The opening of Kompenso makes me smile and laugh for different reasons. It makes me smile because the opening song “Wicked Game” brings back sweet prom memories. It makes me laugh because it features Nusret Gokce, a Turkish chef and restaurateur, whose Instagram videos of slicing and salting steak went viral and made him an international star overnight! Nusret now owns several restaurants, including one in New York, called Nusr-Et because Et means meat in Turkish! And while his dramatic serving skills seem to turn Kate Sacker of all people on, Kate prefers to look at the eclipse through the cereal box when Chuck offers to order the Tomahawk and have Nusret perform at the table 😀
While the food at Nusr-Et does not disappoint, the fact that Allerd is back from Texas with nothing but a cowboy hat for Chuck is. While anyone that knows a thing or two about Jeffcoat’s brother and the cable company is not willing to go on record, anyone that is willing to go on record does not know a thing. Chuck reminds the team that they will either get to the other side and dance over Jock’s grave or it will be Jock doing the Tush Push on theirs. Since the only witness they have is a confessed liar, they should dig deeper and crack someone at the cable company. Preferably someone at the lower level who would not give Jock a call.
Guess who else is having the “Salt Bea Tomahawk” at Nusr-Et tonight? Chuck is surprised to find out Ira is now married and disappointed the best man at the wedding was Shapiro. Seriously, Chuck? We find out Ira is here for a business dinner where he is trying to make a good impression because Taiga is expensive! She wants to build a Yoga empire and Ira has already gone as deep as he could into his pockets for her…Well, we all figured out what Taiga was after in her relationship with Ira when she went for the truffles Season 3 Episode 3 A Generation Too Late, didn’t we? And, Chuck, who seems to think along the same lines, goes and finds Pete Decker, with whom he played Prisoners’ Dilemma in Season 1, who is now running a fitness center.
Chuck offers to have Decker’s record cleaned so he could go public with his new fitness center business should he give Chuck a hand to follow Taiga’s money trail. Decker delivers for Chuck with a quote from House of Games:
“The bitch is a booster. The bitch is a born thief.”
Firstly, there is no business and Taiga has transferred everything Ira gave to her into her “business partner” Anthony Radaelli’s account, and secondly, the two of them are about to close on a very expensive apartment! It turns out Ira is not as love blind as I thought he was, and has suspected some of this, but since there is no prenup he would be halved financially should he get a divorce. Chuck is now keen to make things right for the brother he chose and then betrayed.
Well, who knew Wags was into Esperanto? It is “Kompenso” Day at Axe Capital and Axe kicks off the festivities with an annual ritual of his.
Axe finds Bill McGann of McGann Commodities, who did not give him the bonus he deserved years ago, at Regency Bar and Grill. Axe is here to thank him for not bonusing him right but also to remind him that McGann could have owned the hotel they are in right now should he have bonused him right. While he has had a good run, McGann thinks, Axe cannot stay clear of switchblades forever: He is not a “Greaser anymore” but a “Soc” now. Well, if you are Generation X, you know all about The Outsiders. Feel free to take the quiz and find out whether you are a Greaser or a Soc!
Now that he does not have the outside money he used to have and is paying out of his own pocket, Axe is not at his most generous about the comps which reminds me of Mr. McGann and reminds Wags of his childhood prayer that goes…
“… and if I did before I wake, I pray that all my toys should break. So my fuckin’ brother and sister can’t play with them!”
And when Taylor suggests Axe delay comps until the capital raise, Wags brings his wisdom about things you cannot delay in life:
“Calling a doctor when gutshot. Finding a toilet when traveling in India. Paying your people.”
Taylor’s earlier promise to the employees to keep them at the company while Axe was indicted that no one would make less than what they made last year stands, but Axe wants to know there is anyone deserving to make more. Wendy believes Ben Kim deserves promotion to PM and Taylor thinks promotion should be Ben’s bonus since more could overwhelm him only to have Axe get sarcastic with them.
Before they start their one-on-one with Axe, Wendy tells Taylor to be bold while Wags asks Axe if he has been able to talk to Lara… so we find out WHY Axe was waiting for Lara before going to Regency this morning… Lara has always been Axe’s Catskill with Cus come the comp time and now he needs to do it on his own. While Axe believes he has his Kevin Rooney in Wags so he will be fine his comp talk with Taylor does say otherwise.
Axe is ready to give Taylor $20 million whereas they are pushing for $50 million. The net profits is about $700 million and Taylor believes, as the person who kept Axe Capital alive while Axe was away, got them through a natural disaster, closed on the Kansas City people before Ben Kim’s elevator performance and paid a very high personal cost at the Peyton Breen play, it is fair they receive a bit less than 10% of the profits. Yet, Axe is not only giving them less than half of what they are asking, but also he does not want them at the raise meetings. And as if this is not enough, he provokes further.
“But you don’t have your own shop. If you were ready for that we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I’d be looking at a Taylor-shaped hole in the wall.”
Just you wait, Henry Higgins, ahem, Bobby Axelrod, just you wait…
It turns out the “sweet quants” have left the project thanks to the “arrogant quant”, who believes he is the Yngwie Malmsteen of coding, being a dick. Taylor does not care if the guy is a dick, they only want to know if he can add $20 billion to the algo and see if it can reliably generate more than 8% returns in a year. And while the arrogant quant knows Bridgewater may have 50 Phds working on this kind of algo, he is ready to go for it solo.
Axe is at his cheapest on one-on-ones. Bonnie is new so she will do with her job-signing bonus, Mafee does not want a pep talk and only wants to know how much he is being paid, while Ben Kim is over the moon to get promoted to PM with no raise. How about Spyros? Well, Spyros knows there is no comp for compliance but he believes his extracurricular in “Bill’s other garage” merits bonus. But when Axe makes the calculations for how much Spyros’ “Wendy play” cost him in fines, bonuses and the jet fuel to Nova Scotia, Spyros plays Signor Roberto to Axe’s Don Vito in Godfather Part II:
Wendy, in the meantime, has a series of meetings to make sure Axe does right by Taylor.
She meets Taylor at Seaglass Carousel. Taylor does not know whether Axe is trying to punish them but they need forward momentum, above all things, even money. They can live with the bonus Axe is willing to give them but they cannot get over the fact that he took them off the raise team. While Axe has never changed his decision on comps before, Wendy will talk to him.
Wendy finds Axe, who feels like an Electrolux salesman, while meditating. She understands giving up trading, taking Andolov’s money and paying his people out of his own pocket should feel like death to Axe. But he chose Taylor for a reason and not only for their mathematical ability. Making them feel like a partner is not an accommodation, it may be the only thing that would make him stronger.
Finally, Wendy meets with Lara, the single biggest Axe Capital investor at Black Tail Bar over Casamigos. Even though Lara is not willing to help Axe to sort his business, she agrees to do so since the consequences will affect her financially. So she goes and tells Axe, who calls Wendy’s move a good one, they need to keep Taylor happy and earning.
They share a bottle of wine and have a little moment where Lara, who has grown on me enormously this season even though she did not have much screen time, does not let things get sloppy. Way to go, girlfriend! And while Axe does not get what he wants, he is still grateful to Lara for coming in, and to Wendy for making it happen. He doubles Wendy’s profits in Ice Juice as a bonus.
Axe then removes the hierarchy, the desk, between them when he talks to Taylor about comp. His words about Taylor needing forward momentum, above all things, even money, brings a smile to Taylor’s face since these are their own words which Wendy has fed Axe, and he is now repeating them as if they are his own. Taylor seems genuinely happy about being back on the raise team.
The only person whose comp has not been decided yet is in Axe’s office uncorking a bottle of Don Julio with his mouth. Because he has served different masters and almost lost Axe this past year, Wags is getting a special gift, old issues of Oui ,and a bonus equal to the age at which he discovered the magazine! Well, I should say 9 should be true otherwise Wags could have said 14 to make it a larger bonus. But I mean, nine!?!?
While Axe tells Wags that he just came across the magazines, we find Axe where we left him at the end of Season 3 Episode 10 Redemption looking for them: In his mother’s basement where she has stored his dad’s stuff for 34 years. His mom tells Axe his dad was his first great enemy. And while I cannot blame Axe for seeing the man who abandoned him at age 12 as an enemy, according to his mother, he did not like him before he left, either. And she also thinks she should have taught him not to talk like the way he does. Yeah maybe he could still have talked like that, but he would have that voice in the back of his head that would tell him not to. Does Axe have that voice at all?
Chuck invites Taiga’s “business partner” Anthony Radaelli to the SDNY. It turns out he is an old boyfriend who pops up whenever things are going well for Taiga, like the James Woods character in Casino. As Chuck effectively tells him why he does not want to get involved in a federal case, Allerd believes Radaelli will now disappear like a fart in the wind on the Ponderosa.
The last step in Chuck’s very personal operation is to use Chuck Sr’s apartment to meet Taiga and have her sign a postnuptial agreement that would entitle her to $50K every year she stays in the marriage. While Chuck saves Ira financially, Chuck Senior saves his marriage.
Senior, who believes monogamy is a form of socialism, shines as a family values advocate! Taiga should give her marriage at least 7 years before thinking about divorce. She should get rid of her birth control pills and make a baby. If Ira does not how to fuck her, she can teach him. Oh, and, she should take the lime test not to bring any STD to her husband because it is uncivil.
As Chuck and Ira have the Porterhouse at Peter Luger, arguably the best steakhouse in New York, we find out Taiga is back home and Ira, who has always lost sleep over the possibility that his young wife could leave him for some other man, is now thinking maybe the worst thing happening is not that bad… We see the look on Chuck’s face and know he is already plotting.
Chuck has Kate arrange a meeting with NY State Attorney General Alvin Epstein. While he has so far been thinking that the worst thing that could happen is for Jeffcoat to find about their investigation, Chuck is now thinking it may be a good idea for the NY State to open an investigation against Jeffcoat’s brother Zeb and Texas South Cable. Yes, their witness is weak but the existence of the case alone would make Jeffcoat move behind the scenes to stop the investigation. And once Chuck & Co can prove obstruction of justice, Jeffcoat is done and Epstein is THE man. Chuck and Epstein shake hands.
What Chuck does not know is the FBI New York office has received a visit from the AG asking the director to track emails, text messages and what have you in the bureau to figure out who is loyal and who is not. The director thinks a court order may be a good idea to kick this off, but Bryan jumps in to direct the operation on his own which is the “Si, se puede” approach Jeffcoat has been looking for 😀 While director Lynch thinks Bryan may be doing this to get a letter from the AG in his file, Bryan’s only goal is to have access to the “Chuck Rhoades Special” he heard about in Season 3 Episode 10 Redemption. But he needs someone to convince him that he should go after Chuck. Bryan travels to Charlottesville to visit Dake who is now teaching at UVA with his perfectly professiorial look.
Bryan wants to know why Dake accommodated Chuck in the Axelrod investigation which the AG likened to cleaning the intestines before eating them, a complete total waste of time, earlier in the episode. We find out Bryan believed in Chuck while Dake did not believe in himself. But they both believe Chuck has to be stopped. Given what Bryan will find in the “Chuck Rhoades Special” I cannot wait to see if the former “Eastern boys” will end up joining forces with their former boss to take down Jeffcoat.
When the algo is ready, the arrogant quant is beyond excited that Axe, once he has the algo, will be able to take human decision out of the game and move in micro-seconds. What he does not know is the algo is not Axe’s to use. The closing scene is what I have been living for the last couple of weeks! But, hey, what is Andolov’s guy doing here?
“It looks like you’re ready to get into business.”
“I need a meeting with your boss, Grigor Andolov.”
WHOA. Is Taylor seriously parting ways with Axe? Or are they only trying to demonstrate they have the capacity to get Andolov’s money and do better than Axe if they wanted to? But then again Taylor never wanted Andolov’s money. I am confused. Taylor going against Axe is theoretically the worst thing, a switchblade if you will, that could happen to Axe in business, but who knows, it may be a wake up call helping him put everything in perspective.