Billions on Showtime, Season 4 Episode 7: Infinite Game

I could not be happier that a game theory term makes it to the title of this week’s episode: Infinite Game.

In finite games, like a tennis match, the players are known and the rules are fixed. The players obey the rules and play to win the game. In finite games, there is a clear endpoint. In infinite games such as politics or business, or life itself, players and rules may change. There is no definite endpoint. The goal for all players involved is to keep the game going.

And this fantastic episode is a deep dive into life, an infinite game, where human beings try to find the balance between their rational and emotional selves and keep it going. Hats off to everyone behind and in front of the camera!

Chuck gets an emergency call from Mr. Brogan, the man he had got out of his way to get a gun license for. It turns out, after a fight, while Mrs. Brogan leaves for a Baccarat retreat, Mr. Brogan tries to find comfort in a whiskey bottle. And when he hears a bang at the back door, the action man that he is, Brogan shoots for self-defense. The neighbor’s Belgian Malinois is dead and Brogan expects his “Michael Clayton” to fix it for him with the cops. Chuck advises Brogan to get a lawyer and takes control of the situation when the cops, who got a call from Brogan’s neighbors who heard the shot, arrive. And when he visits Police Commisioner Sansome, who is feasting on “Uova Picante Purgatorio” at home, Chuck finds out there is no “we” in this matter and he really needs to be Michael Clayton for a day. And I cannot help but add a little Michael Clayton trivia here: Billions co-creator Brian Koppelman also has a role in the movie.

Todd Krakow gets an emergency warning from Jeffcoat in the men’s bathroom of all places where he “discovers” Jock has got his nickname not for his athletic abilities but for his “size.” A self-declared tufted titmouse,  Jeffcoat shares with Krakow that Chuck has him in his sights.

And is it me, or Jeffcoat does not wash his hands after he targets the flies painted in the basin? Ewwwww.

There is an emergency “war room” meeting at Bruno’s where Axe is kindly asking Rebecca if she would be willing to help Team Axe. Douglas Mason’s aeronautical innovation has been carefully vetted and is solid. But, yeah, the main goal is to explode Taylor’s head like in Scanners! Axe wants Rebecca to make Brian Dana, the venture capitalist (VC) who supports the project at the moment, an offer that he would not be able to refuse. Once Rebecca takes control, Axe will buy it from her with a healthy profit.

Rebecca gets the ball rolling the next day over lunch at Eleven Madison Park and Brian Dana shows up at TMC with the exciting news that a big VC like Rebecca is in to ramp up the timetable for production. Taylor is cautious. But not because Axe and Rebecca are together. It seems Cook, Taylor’s Hall, does not know about our love birds!

Taylor is cautious because when they ask Dana about Douglas’ continuing involvement in the project, the answer they get is that Dana imagines  Rebecca will understand how crucialDouglas is to the project as soon as she sits with him.

“Imagine, me and you. I do.”

Taylor is right that Turtle’s “Happy Together” may sound like a love song, but “Imagine” is the key word there. The song is about a relationship that actually never happened exactly like Dana’s words about their relationship with Rebecca! Taylor will not move forward without any guarantee for Douglas’ involvement in the project. And while Sara thinks if they said yes, they would clear 38% of their investment in a matter of months, Douglas would walk away with $5M or so, and the market would talk about their returns for years, Taylor finds the “walking away” part problematic. Their priority is their father’s place in the project.

As they get word that Taylor has passed on Rebecca’s offer, Axe and Wendy know that standard solutions will not be enough to make Taylor betray their father, they will need to find a non-standard solution!

As Wags and Wendy leave, Bruno approaches Bobby with his own urgent business: He has his eyes set on a property in Florida, and now that they want to buy him out for close to a $1M, it may be a good time for him to retire in the sunshine state. Axe, who does not get it, asks if they will open in Florida. Oh no, Bruno says, the water is different there, you cannot make the crust, but Axe still does not get it. Well, they can fly the water down there — which is a real life thing! Or Axe can make an advance payment for the Florida property, so Bruno can have it, spend the winter there, train a replacement at the pizzeria, and he can make the sunshine state his home, say in 5 years. AXE DOES NOT GET IT! How does he know if Bruno will be in good enough health for beach time in five years? They shake hands and Axe is very happy with himself.

As he receives a text while at Bruno’s, Axe now needs to stay there for an urgent meeting with… Todd Krakow! Krakow knows the history between Axe and Chuck, now wants to become “blood brothers” like Tom and Huck (what a treat! The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is the first ever novel I read in my life!) with Axe and take care of Chuck together. Guess what? Axe can help if the Secretary of the Treasury is willing to introduce him to a certain Robert Beaufort who goes by the nickname “Hard Bob.” We all know Axe is looking at Beaufort for a non-standard solution!

Chuck has Mr. Brogan and his lawyer Mr. Eisen — whose card Chuck apparently gave Brogan on the night of the dog incident — in his office. It turns out Mr. Eisen has convinced the neighbor to keep silent in return for $100K and a new Belgian Malinois puppy of show quality. The choice is clear for Brogan when Chuck tells him his options: Give $100K and a puppy to the neighbor or do time for illegal charge of his weapon and be remembered as the drunken dog killer forever!

Sadly, Chuck’s persuasion skills are not as successful at home as at work. He arrives home only to find Wendy with a real estate agent excited about the buzz this house will make on Zillow. So I think Wendy owns the house and so she can unilaterally make the decision to put it on the market. And while I completely understand that their family home may not feel like a home to Wendy anymore after everything they went through, I still do not think it is fair to put the blame on Chuck for bringing the professional dominatrix to home. It was Wendy who told him to do so.

Yet, Chuck understands. Because he knows what it is like for your family home not to feel like home. His “pancake eater” story from when he was growing up is solid proof that he has the spookiest dad anyone can have.

Spooky: Sunday mornings in Chuck’s family house. His mother gives the girl the day off and prepares a fantastic Sunday breakfast for the family complete with pancakes, bacon and freshly squeezed orange juice. Chuck Sr. sits at the table with his newspaper, appreciates his wife’s efforts and declares “this is living.”

Spookier: A few times a year, Chuck Sr, in a fit of rage, sweeps everything off the breakfast table and screams “what the hell do I look like, a goddamned pancake eater?” and leaves the house. And Chuck’s mom, confused, spends the whole day trying to figure out what she did wrong to set her husband off. And when he finally comes home, she apologizes.

Spookiest: After an episode of rage, Chuck Sr. comes to his 8 year old son’s room to give him a life lesson: He does what he does so that his wife does not take her life granted. He believes that women have a subconscious desire to be dominated. He tells Chuck to remember, and more importantly, use it.

Paul Giamatti deserves standing ovation for his performance in this scene. As Chuck begs Wendy not to put the family home on sale and kindly asks to work together and find their way back to each other, I am ready to hug Chuck and tell him everything will be alright. Wendy is not. She appreciates that Chuck has gone to a very difficult place to pull this story from but she cannot promise her husband anything at this point.

As Chuck and Wendy deal with their own family mess, Taylor is excited about his dad’s quote from a Peaches and Herb’s song: “Reunited, and it feels so good.” They have a fancy apartment at Madison Park Tower ready for their parents, and as they tell their new friend Wendy the next day — while the two of them check out furniture for Taylor’s parents at Poliform— their parents coming to NY is a brand new source of motivation for them. Wendy now knows Axe Capital is on the right track to finish Taylor off.

Senior needs his son to use his banking contacts and get some favorable terms for dad’s Elysian Fields as Bryan and Agent Dancshazy are listening with interest! Look at Chuck! He is so needy for love even when he knows “the pancake eater” does not say “I love you” for no reason! I cannot help feel for him.  And what are the odds that Chuck also finds his non-standard solution to dad’s problem thanks to Krakow?!?!

Krakow stops by Bruno’s only to find Chuck in the same room with his “blood brother” who seems to have sold him down the river: But Axe assures him that given the law enforcements has detected his adventures in the Caribbean, this is the best and only option for Todd.

Chuck will make sure Todd will keep his reputation intact, but we know there is no free lunch: So will come some favorable credit terms to Senior from the Qatar State Bank that is being removed from the restricted list!

As soon as Chuck gives his dad the good news, Bryan and Kate are ready to move: They will first check if the bank being taken off from the restricted list is legitimate. If it is, then they will need to look into why and how exactly it came off the list. And, most importantly, who is behind it? Well, if these two scratch the surface a little bit, they can get not only Senior and Junior but also Axe who we know had transferred money to Krakow’s Cayman Islands account in crypto currency last season. Yikes!

In the meantime, Robert Beaufort from the US Bureau of Industry and Security is crashing the party at TMC. The bureau exists to aid and support innovation in private sector but the patent office has flagged Douglas’ project as sensitive technology with implications for national security. The bureau will reimburse TMC for the R&D expenses they made on the project plus 8% on their investment for a non-disclosure agreement on the matter. Taylor knows Axe’s name is written all over this…

… while over at Axe Capital, put aside Wendy, even Hall seems to be slightly embarrassed by the adolescent giggling in the room over destroying Taylor! It was money and girls that Axe has solved the problem with. It turns out Mr. Beaufort is a classical film fan, well, sort of 😀 And I believe he has become “Hard Bob” when introduced to classical porn stars Lisa Ann, Gina-Raye Carter, and Audrey Joyce Leon (aka Cory Chase).

When Sara goes around to talk to their lawyer, she finds out TMC can fight the government but it can take 2-3 years. And while Lauren spun like Katarina Witt in Sarajevo (I LOVED KATARINA WITT!!!!! I was glued to TV whenever she was on ice.) she could not find any other big money source that would invest with TMC right now. Besides, NY Firefighters Fund has its reservations about what is going on at TMC. And when Taylor sits with Ken Shaddock, the chair of the fund, they learn Shaddock was in the military before the FDNY and he knows a thing or two about two-front wars: Even when your army is strong, more people die. He does not want Taylor, a leader, act like an infantryman, zero-in on one target while they need to scan the big picture. The Firefighters Fund is likely to withdraw their money from TMC.

As soon as he gets the news, Axe is ready to send Wendy over to Taylor and put the last nail on their coffin!

Wendy lets Taylor know that Axe knows they chose their dad over business and lost the Firefighters. Wendy appreciates that Taylor put their dad over business, something Axe could never do. Yet, Axe is now coming for them, and nothing can stop him. Wendy calls Axe names: Single-minded. Toxic. Corrosive. Shiva the Destroyer. While Taylor seems to buy Wendy’s words about their dad  they certainly know Wendy is not there as a friend when the latter says she thinks about quitting. Who quits in Billions? Maybe Bruno!

Ken Shaddock is right. There is no rational justification behind Taylor’s decision to keep the project going when the government says no. It is an emotional decision on their part since they still want to keep their father’s dream alive in this impossible situation. Sara is also right when she reminds Taylor about their responsibility towards TMC.

And now that they have also lost Brian Dana, and the banks ask Taylor to put up the money for this project themselves, there is no other option for Taylor other than the one rationality dictates: Sell the project to the government and cut dad a big check… And where Douglas sees true betrayal, I see a child that has done everything in their power to make their dad’s dream true. I find Douglas who  is still talking about his life’s work while his child’s company is at risk extremely annoying. And no wonder Taylor makes the final decision to sell the project to the government after they see their father’s true colors. Douglas takes his $1.3M and walks away.

As soon as Team Taylor figures it was Wendy all along who manipulated them, Mafee goes to Axe Capital and gets it out of his chest amidst protests from Team Axe. As the security kicks Mafee out, Axe is happy to know they hit the right target. But Wendy is the one to swallow those words.

“I trusted you. We all did. Because you charmed, manipulated,   us to. All with that bullshit Buddha smile. And now I know that what was behind that smile wasn’t some serene and wise teacher. Hey! It had a sick, vicious phony. Now I know that’s what you really are a goddamned monster.”

And given that the next episode is titled “Fight Night” I wonder if we will actually get to see Mafee and Dollar Bill in the ring! A modern day duel, if you will. How about a charity box match? 😀

Now that he has solved the problem called Taylor, Axe can focus on the only father figure in his life, Bruno. And thank God for Rebecca who understands Bruno! She tells Axe earlier in the episode that Bruno seriously wants to work on his tan in Florida. Axe may not understand it, but after a lifetime in front of the oven, a quiet life in Florida may be the ideal life for Bruno.

Axe, surprised how come people may give up on fighting, visits Bruno to ask WHAT HE WANTS. This could be the first time Axe asks someone what they really want in the history of the series! Bruno wants to start his morning at a cafe sipping espresso, then catch a Pompano in the afternoon, and cook it for dinner and maybe share it with a nice widow he will meet. Ok then Axe is buying him out. Tonight. While Bruno believes Axe’s childhood is not in the hot oven, I love it that Axe cannot give up on probably the only place that feels like home.

So it is full house at Capparello’s where the family is celebrating Bruno. But Two absences deserve a mention: It is likely that Spyros is not invited like he was not to Bonnie’s birthday party but the family is missing Wendy, too.

If you have been reading my Billions reviews for a while, you know Axe broke my heart when he broke Bruno’s in Season 2 when he fucked Sandicot. So it is truly beautiful to see “the son” making amends to “his father” now. And believe it or not, I was extremely lucky to see this happy scene being shot at Bruno’s. Visit us for that story tomorrow!

Brogan’s neighbor, who seems to have taken Chuck’s picture at Brogan’s door after he shot his dog, tries to threaten Chuckthat he will go public with his photo unless Brogan paid him $250K for his silence. Mr. Eisen makes sure he is in Chuck’s office with the two of them so he can witness the neighbor threatening a public official! This, along with a $100K check, a new Belgian Malinois puppy, and his story about loyalty between a dog and its owner, is able to convince the neighbor to keep silent. Brogan owes Chuck a big one!

Chuck comes home to a yummy looking pie after his very long day. But the sweet surprise is not for him but for the potential buyers who will arrive soon to see the house. The only person Chuck cannot convince these days seems to be Wendy. Is this the beginning of the end for these two?

Wendy has got the sneakers out again for a run. She may be running to calm herself down but ultimately crying over her life: I imagine she cannot recognize the person she has become. Wendy has certainly violated doctor – patient confidentiality several times for her own interests. And when you think about it, Wendy has not been that different from her “pancake eater” father-in-law in the way she has manipulated Taylor.

Well, Douglas’ behavior is not quite different from that of the “pancake eater” either. Douglas seems to place himself at the center of the universe and Wendy is right that he has exploited the need Taylor has for parental approval. And now he leaves his child, who has done everything in their power to make their dad’s dream come true, falling into pieces, possibly thinking about what they did wrong.

One thing that has stuck with me is Rebecca noticing early in the episode how smart Axe’s ex-protégé is. She is impressed that Taylor has been able to figure out the trap they set up for them. I wonder if Axe and Rebecca’s relationship will survive the season but I have noticed her shaking her head in disbelief when he talked about how rewarding it will be when they Taylor makes the smart business decision to crush their father! So I wonder if the war that has turned from the ultimate pissing contest between Axe and Chuck into a sectoral and generational war this season may turn into male versus female and gender non binary at some point.

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!

48 thoughts on “Billions on Showtime, Season 4 Episode 7: Infinite Game”

  1. I’m so glad someone finally called Wendy out on her manipulative behavior. I could understand her manipulating Mafee before because it was self-preservation but now she’s just as bad as Axe. Also, has Axe gotten more devious and crueler this year? Seeing them all laugh about using porn stars to lure Hard Bob was kind of disturbing. I’m really rooting for Taylor now. I hope she has a genius trick up her sleeve.

    Speaking on cruel, Chuck Sr. is a nightmare. He’s an abusive, manipulative, conniving sociopath. I can’t imagine growing up with a father like that. However, I’m starting to understand Chuck’s attraction to Wendy. It’s not just the domme thing but her personality is a little like his father’s. I wonder if Wendy will change or keep getting darker like Axe?

    1. Thank you for reading! I think we’ve started to see that Wendy could get as bad as her two boys in Season 3 Episode 6. The thing is Axe and Chuck could be bad just for the fun of it while Wendy has done it for survival. Last season, she manipulated Mafee to save her ass from jail, and this season she has manipulated Taylor/Mafee when she knew those two tried to throw Axe Capital under the bus by changing the agreement between Axe Capital and Victor’s firm. So Wendy can be a monster when the stakes are very very high. The thing is Axe and Chuck do not even think about what they did after getting done with it, and Wendy does. She probably cannot even recognize herself right now. We’ll see how her storyline evolves.

      Oh God! I think even Hall was disturbed by Axe, Wags and Bach’s adolescent laughters about Hard Bob and the porn stars! His facial expression spoke volumes! I think Axe can’t accept Taylor’s betrayal (I don’t think they betrayed him but he does!) and he is determined to make people understand that you can leave Axe Capital only with Axe’s blessing and not on your own discretion. He has a quite unhealthy obsession over destroying Taylor at the moment. But I think Taylor will make a come back!

      It is official. Chuck has the spookiest dad anyone can have!

  2. I can understand why so many people are rooting for Taylor. These fragile looks, this perfect mind, sadness of this androgen creature, etc. But to hell with all that!
    They are after the big money, aren’t they? Not after the humanitarian aid to poor and ill, not after the noble service to the homeland. They are in the word of the ruthless and heartless men now. It was their free choice and they need to bear the consequences of this choice, to “face the music”, grow the hell up.
    In this world of big money and big ambitions is one rule and one rule only: “eat or be eaten”. Lifelong social Darwinism. “I feel blood in the water. Let’s kill someone.” Nothing more and nothing less. If one hasn’t stomach for that, then go home, lick your wounds and do something less toxic in your life. Be a math teacher or whatever.
    Besides, I think it is not fair to accuse neither Axe or Wendy in Taylor’s sly actions. The first signal was their coldly calculated proposal to squeeze this small town dry, then betrayal of Axe with Grigor, then dirty trick with Victor against Axe, then their activity with hacking of Axe computers, etc. Is it moral, is it Axe/Wendy to be blame of? Taylor isn’t a child, isn’t a slave, they have free will to do the things up to the moral highness. But they have not. All these malicious actions are their own. It hurts? Yes, we are all humans, but so what? Taylor has nobody to blame but themselves. Even if your enemies are playing dirty, it doesn’t make your own dirty tricks any purer, or does it?

    1. Thank you for reading! I do think people are rooting for Taylor because Axe suffocated them at Axe Capital to a point that they had to leave and work their ass off to stand on their own feet. And knowing that Axe would aggressively attack them, they took precautions to protect themselves — for example securing Andolov’s protection at least for a while. We call it rationality in game theory. No emotions. Making decisions only to maximize their utility and yes Taylor is one of them, that is what they have learnt at Axe Capital — from Axe and Wendy. And I personally do not look for morality in business decisions. Like Axe shorting airline companies on 9/11. It is a rational decision. No emotions attached. It is not a crime. But when someone gets into a pissing contest with someone else just for the fun of it, and suffocates this person to a point they have to leave — this is not rational, this is emotional and it is a bad business decision. And this is how Axe lost Taylor. And then he became obsessed over destroying them because he believes nobody can leave Bobby Axelrod without his blessing. He is a control freak. And I do not think Taylor is blaming anyone. They told Axe in Season 3 Finale he had to do what he had to do and they would do everything in their power to protect themselves. It is just that when they left Axe Capital, Taylor has overestimated their youth. I know, as a middle aged individual, that life experience is as valuable as the energy in youth. And we have seen it dominating last night. That said I believe Taylor will make a comeback.

      1. Thank you for your answer! Axe message to young Taylor (or to anyone around): There are always strings. Cut them at your own risk. For all main and even secondary characters (Bruno is a lovely exception!) the primary motive, the “arousal template”, the distinction in life isn’t True or False, but rather sucker or nonsucker. Koppelman & Levien are the co-creators of “Rounders” 20 years ago, aren’t they? “If you can’t spot the sucker in your first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sacker”.

        1. It is a pleasure to respond to comments! And I really need to watch Rounders one of these days for a refresher.

  3. Could you do a post about acting? Favorite moments memorable expressions movement? I enjoy reading these posts. Well done you !

    1. I’ve got one coming up later after the season ends that looks closely at how Damian has defined Bobby Axelrod, particularly this season. Stay tuned!

      1. DAMIAN is the only one I’m interested in reading analyses. I’m here for him not really Billions. FanfunwithDAMIANLEWIS

  4. Great recap!

    This episode was fantastic for those of us who’re here for the drama, the darker the better. Me!

    I think the revelations about Chuck Sr. came out of nowhere though. We knew of his philandering ways, but there was never any indication that he was such an abusive husband in the last two seasons. In fact, remember when he was giving marriage advice to Wendy and said something like “in my day, unless there were broken plates and knives out, you stuck to it.” Guess that applied to broken plates and knives out in hands that weren’t his own. I think there may be an issue with continuity here…like soap writers who have a hard time keeping track of everything their characters have already said and done. Anyway, Junior’s revelation certainly paints a bleak picture over Senior, doesn’t it? I wonder if Senior is still your secret crush after this reveal?

    The extent of Axe’s cluelessness over Bruno’s ask was crazy. Now, to add to my picture of soul-less Bobby (on the boat with the 9/11 kid), I’ve got a picture of clue-less Bobby, when he’s genuinely perplexed as Rebecca schools him on Bruno’s real motivations. Damian’s doing a stunner of a job this season with all of this though. Which I’m looking forward to writing out when the season ends.

    Do you really think that Wendy violates doctor patient confidentiality? She’s trained as a medical doctor, but she’s not really working as one. We attach a lot of nobility to the medical profession, but doctors aren’t bound by those ethics when they aren’t working as doctors. She’s more like the HR person whose allegiance is to the company above all. All information she gets about the workers at Axe Cap are the property of Axe Cap. So there is no violation when she shares her insights with her boss. This would be an interesting question to ask Kopp. I have a feeling he’ll say that sure, she’s violating her personal ethics, but she’s still doing the job she signed up to do and therein lies the drama.

    And color me grateful as heck that Wendy is given such drama this season. Love Maggie Siff getting the material to let her shine. And so far, in that respect, she’s the biggest star of the Billions galaxy.

    1. Thank you for reading!

      I know I have always said Chuck Sr is my secret crush! 🙂 It is all thanks to the writers giving him some of the best lines and the brilliant Jeffrey DeMunn bringing him to life. I mean, yes, Chuck Jr is deeply flawed but I think he turned out quite alright considering the kind of father he’s had! Oh My God. You are right we did not know he was an abusive husband, but also him coming to his 8 year old’s room to give him a life lesson about women… One word: SICK.

      Damian has had some wonderful acting moments this season. My favorite is probably his conversation with Lara in the previous episode. His cluelessness with Bruno was off the charts! Thank God for Rebecca, she is a keeper indeed 🙂 And I am looking forward to your post at the end of the season!

      Yes, I believe Wendy is violating doctor – patient confidentiality. She has always been the performance coach, she has taken over also as the head of HR this season. That is why she has two offices now. I think that is why we also see her in all meetings with Wags and Hall. She has never been to that territory earlier. Otherwise, all Axe Capital employees are her patients. And I think those people, when they come to talk to her, trust her with their personal information. They are open and honest with her assuming that the information will stay in her office. A concrete example: In Season 2, after the $5M check story, Oliver Dake asks Wendy about how she got that check. And Wendy tells Dake the money she received from Axe is compensation for a complicated session for Axe, and she, as a medical doctor, cannot share any privileged information about it. And Dake can’t push her further about it. And last season we saw Taylor reminding Wendy of her doctor’s oath as they felt something fishy was going on about Mafee.

      Maggie Siff is incredibly talented! She aces it every single time.

      1. Yes, she couldn’t share the info with Dake. Because Dake is not a part of Axe Cap. She’s beholden to Axe Cap and she’s shared other insights with Bobby, not as overtly as the Taylor stuff, but about Wags and Danzig and yes, even about Mafee. She helps the guys, sure, but she also acts on the info they share with her always for the benefit of their employer, Axe Cap. The guys come to her as employees, even when sharing personal life stuff, they share their stuff in order for Wendy to offer her insights on how they can fix things AT WORK. It’s always about the work. It’s not the same thing as seeing them as a psychiatrist outside work. And ultimately Axe Cap owns her records. That’s the way HR works.

        I just don’t think that any employee of Axe Cap has a legal leg to stand on if she tells Bobby about what they’ve shared with her. Ethical yes, but legal, no. In today’s world, more than ever, it is crucial to understand that distinction. Again, I’d love to hear the writers take on this.

        1. Let’s agree to disagree. If Dake knows Wendy is not legally bound by her doctor’s oath, I think he could push her further about the session details. And if she is, then I think she is still performing as a medical doctor. I wholeheartedly agree that you should ask the writers about their take on this.

          1. Yes, let’s. 🙂 Just to clarify, I didn’t say that Wendy is not bound legally. She is by the contract she signed with Axe Cap. Likely some sort of NDA. Whatever happens in Axe Cap stays in Axe Cap. That legal contract supercedes her oath as a doctor.

          2. I don’t think though we are thinking very differently. Your point is about legal violation. I am just talking about doctor’s oath being violated in the post — legally or not. The contract she has with Axe Cap may supercede her oath, the oath is still violated. Sharing insights with Axe is one thing, but using patient information against those patients and for her own interests is another. So I am not implying that Wendy can go to jail or anything like that for what she has done. I am just saying what she has done is not in line with the doctor’s oath she has taken and it is now taking its toll on her.

  5. This episode hit right in the feels I have to say. That said, there is no way on earth that Chuck would waste his leverage on Krakow just to help his father’s real estate venture. Not when Krakow can provide him a direct link to his real target, namely Jock. This has to be a trap, I am calling it right here and we’ll see if Chuck can followup Axe’s act of destroying former protégés next episode I hope

    1. Yes, it could certainly be that Chuck did not only get Qatar State Bank but more from Krakow. The thing is I am not sure if Krakow knows anything that would implicate the Attorney General. But he may do research and find out 🙂

  6. The high points for me were>
    The ending with Skate Away by Joni Mitchell playing over a few scenes. Starting at the end of Bruno’s great going away surprise dinner. Bobby comes through after a bit of R counseling. “If you love somebody, set them free”- Sting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFaDaT25I5U
    The various scenes with Hard Bob especially with the porn stars and the stacks of cash. Rapper style stacks o cash, baby!
    The big laughing, gloating scene “Hard Bob really really likes the classics” Ripped from Ray Liotta – Good Fellas

    Wendy is bottoming so will reconcile with the whipped (in so many ways) Chuck. You cannot have two big divorces in a series like this. Has a man ever looked so defeated as when Chuck was not allowed to eat that fresh chicken pot pie? This is Chuck’s low point for his marriage. He will now be ascendant with Wendy starting next Sunday.

    Dollar Bill is right about Mafee and Taylor. They are traitors and were engaged in sabotage for a long time. I have no liking or sympathy for them.

    Sting more — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2o4zxtqNZ4

    1. Thank you for reading! I didn’t know “Hard Bob really likes the classics” was a nod to Goodfellas! Thanks for letting us know! I think even Hall was a bit embarrassed during that big laugh scene! And I agree with you that even though putting the house on the market does not sound like a happy marriage, they can also use this opportunity for a fresh start. There is no question about Chuck’s love for Wendy and vice versa. I always thought that was a stronger union than Bobby and Lara.

  7. Another amazing recap! And I know you had family obligations this weekend, so for you to still pump out this gem, I tip my cap!

    As always, thank you for all the references, although I don’t think I wanted (or needed) to know who those women for Beaufort were. I just assumed the were prostitutes. When I read who they really were, well, eww.

    I like your male vs female/non binary angle! I can see that, and what fun would it be! The ladies would be all brains, and the fellas all emotion and brawn. I know what side I’d put my money on, and since I do that for a living, I think I’d have a nice profit!

    Maggie Siff and AKD are hitting it out of the park this season. Those last frames – no words but all the emotions!

    One Q: any idea of the building where Taylor’s parent’s apartment was? That view was stunning!

    1. Thank you for for reading and for your kind words! My mom has finally found out about the blog! I had to come out of the closet since she will be staying with us for several weeks and I am glued to my desk and then to TV and Twitter all day Sunday 😀

      Hahaha I did not know why those women were, either… until the woman in the middle said she was Lisa Ann. She was Rudy’s former password so I immediately knew they were real life porn stars 🙂 The way Bobby talked about Hard Bob was hilarious: “Hard Bob is a film fan. He really loves the classics.” 😀 😀 😀

      I agree that Maggie and Asia are storming Billions this season. BK said on Twitter the episode builds towards those two frames at the end. This was one of the best episodes in the history of Billions.

      I believe the building where Taylor’s parents’ apartment is Madison Park Tower. I will add it to the review, others may want to know about it, too!

  8. >>>>This episode was fantastic for those of us who’re here for the drama, the darker the better. Me! — via Jania>>>>

    Same here. I like the cleverly done dark and nasty in Billions. Always done with (need I say dark) humor.
    Skate Away by Joni Mitchell was the best ending for this episode. Bruno gets to skate away while Wendy and Taylor wish they could.

    1. Yes, things are just more fun when they go deep. The lighter funny bits are funny no doubt. Like Spyros’ “rumble in the jungle’ M. Ali stuff. But they seem like a gag, an easy way to bring a quick chuckle. There’s an audience for that kind of stuff too, of course. To me, the deeper stuff ends up not only more dramatic but more fun in the long run. My tweet when I heard that song: https://twitter.com/zarqa/status/1122680399354892288

  9. Great summary as usual Damianista! This episode was 100% more to my liking than last week’s. A happy Axe was absolutely the best part, but as always, I am biased. I will never be Team Wendy, so her collapse is not upsetting, but Maggie S. did a magnificent job in this episode. In the end, Douglas Mason turned out to be more of a cold fish than Taylor. That surprised me. Those short, quick nods of Taylor’s (and also Sarah’s) really annoy me, almost as much as Carrie’s quivering lips in Homeland. We didn’t see much of Wags or some of the others from Axe Cap this time around, but there is only so much they can do with one hour and I’ve always thought they, meaning the writers, successfully cover a great deal in each episode. I enjoy some of the smaller parts and think they are well cast, think “Hard Bob” here. Last thought, this could well have been a season’s finale, or at least the lead up to it. The shot of Chuck in front of his house after the pie scene reminded me of Axe’s release from jail at the end of season two. Happily, there are 5 more episodes!

    1. Thank you, Connie, for your kind words! And it’s always a pleasure to hear your take on the episode. I think there is a universal agreement (I am relying on fan comments on social media) that this has been the best episode of Billions this season and one of the best in the history of the show. Happy Axe is a beautiful thing especially when he is happy while making others happy. Axe broke my heart along with Bruno’s in Season 2 and I am so glad that he finally made amends to Bruno. He is the only father figure in his life.; So I am glad Axe did right with Bruno with huge thanks going to Rebecca for showing him the way!!!!!!

      Maggie Siff hits it out of the park this season. I was very lucky to see her on stage in nYC a week ago. She was a tour de force on stage. Most of Billions cast are stage actors through and through and it really shows on screen! They may have the best cast ever in any show – seriously!

      Yes, Episode 7 felt like a season finale. Billions writers like half-season lasting storylines. They did similar stuff with Episode 7 last year. They shoot first seven episodes up until Xmas break and then they take a break. I think they deliberately shoot Episode 7 like a season finale, and then they start fresh in the new year with the last 5 episodes.

  10. >>>>>I didn’t know “Hard Bob really likes the classics” was a nod to Goodfellas! Thanks for letting us know! I think even Hall was a bit embarrassed during that big laugh scene! <<<<<<

    D – What I meant was the laugh and gloat scene was reminiscent of the famous one in Goodfellas with Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci

    Then during the gloat session you have Axe saying, "Hard Bob is a film fan, turns out he really loves the classics". This means the porn classics from (really only) 20 years ago, which these three women were in.

    1. Ah okay. I thought maybe the exact line was somehow in Goodfellas. I saw it once many many years ago so there is no way I could remember a thing about it. I need to watch some BK & DL favorites at some point to get a refresher — Godfather, Goodfellas, Chinatown, and such.

      The porn part I was able to get thanks to Lisa Ann being mentioned as Rudy’s former password!!! So I checked the names of the three women at the end of the episode and googled them. Bingo! And put it in the post as well 🙂

    2. Yes! When I saw that obnoxious laughter, I recalled the laughter from Goodfellas too when they were all laughing at that other guy begging for his life, culminating in Pesci cracking a bottle over his head. Knowing the writers, I think the call back to Goodfellas was intentional.

      Also ditto on Bob’s film tastes. The three ladies were “classic” porn stars. And like the ethics vs legality stuff, this also calls back to current events where we’ve witnessed a porn star try to take down a powerful man.

  11. Hola, senioritas. Long-time lurker, post-time poster. Until now, some of you were familiar with me from the “Billions” live-tweets (or, as I like to call them, tweet-riffing). If you’re not familiar, my backstory is here.

    https://twitter.com/KerrAvon4/status/1066759186023940101

    I currently work a dishwashing job, and I get through my shifts by letting my brain go on autopilot while my physical body carries out the routine of the job. I daydream about random things, including new episodes of “Billions” after they debut. And last night I find myself mapping out a theory of how Season 4 (and quite possibly the series overall) based on Wendy’s arc during the season so far. Take this with a grain of salt, because I have come out with bad theories before, but I think it stands on its own as a plausible scenario for how things *could* play out. The theory is this:

    Wendy will flip on Axe and Chuck.

    I think it’s pretty clear that Wendy. and Chuck are on the outs after she became completely disillusioned with him, and this thing with Taylor’s father may be the beginning of a similar process between her and Axe. Mafee cut deep with his speech to Wendy (which *felt good* for me to watch because I’ve been wanting to say something similar to certain manipulative members of my own family), and the trailer suggests she’s starting what TV Tropes would call a “heel realization”, which Axe isn’t on board with. Axe will probably do more terrible things to Taylor later this season that Wendy will think is overkill.

    At some point, Wendy looks back at the events of Season 1-2 and thinks: “I walked away from these guys before. I left Chuck the *first* time he violated my trust and I left Axe when he tried to blackmail me. I was getting along nicely with a solo public speaking career before I moved back in with Chuck and Axe enticed me back to his fund. Since then I’ve nearly been prosecuted, I’ve been turned into a vulgar Internet meme, and I’ve broken my Hippocratic Oath several times, for which I feel like shit now. Why the hell did I give these two assholes a second chance?”

    So what’s the best recourse Wendy has? She approaches Connerty and turns state’s witness. She agrees to blow the whistle on both Axe *and* Chuck — on Ice Juice, on the Axe-Mase War, on everything — and accepts Connerty’s condition from Season 3 of giving up her license (given she’s likely doubting she still deserves) in exchange for immunity for the sake for her kids. Such a betrayal would probably drive both Axe and Chuck off the deep end, since Wendy would be an even bigger threat to the both of them than Taylor, Connerty, Dake, Jeffcoat, etc. ever were. It would be an “I’m fucked” moment worthy of the Mueller Report.

    Will it happen this way? I think it’s plausible, but I would love for Koppelman to prove me wrong.

    1. Welcome to the blog! Hope you visit often and give feedback. Also, thank you for sharing your story on Twitter!

      Your theory is certainly plausible — I would say this could happen towards the end of the series. Because if Wendy flips and sends Chuck and Axe to jail and what is next? 😀 I think the two boys will be in the game at least until we approach the end of the series. But, of course, there could be more hiccups on the way that can make them have close encounters with the law enforcement! You are right that in case Wendy flips, she is a bigger threat than anybody is to Axe and Chuck — she knows EVERYTHING! The good news is whatever direction the writers choose for our characters, it will be a thrill ride as long as it lasts!

    2. This is a neat way to tie things up, but I don’t think this series is heading towards neatness. Good prevailing in the end isn’t the way most “prestige” series have ended. And Billions certainly aspires to be one of the elite. Tony Soprano landed on top as did Don Draper. And even the Mueller report: has it really fucked anyone? Time will tell.

      Maybe the soul-less winner is the new normal? Maybe stories (and reality) need to adapt other ways of being “good”. What a treat it would be for the show to really explore this quandary fully, like FULLY explore what it means to be soul less and heart less vs. ethical, the way philosophers explore such things. Granted this may be setting the bar too high. I guess we’ll see!

  12. You want a real 1950s blast, then re-visit the the first season of Mad Men and only that season/ The famous rap is that after Season One the female writers and directors got in there more/
    Bob Mueller- Zero Russian collusion. This was always a fake investigation that was actually a cover up, to obscure and bury the spying by Hillary-Obama-allied Deep State ops in FBI and CIA. John Brennan etc.

    1. Mad Men is my all-time favorite show. I watched all seasons three times.

      Re Mueller investigation: it seems you and I are on the opposite sides. We try to keep the blog politics-free as much as possible because we are all here to have fun and no argue. But, of course, it is inevitable that our world views come out at times.

      1. Jania got me going with the mention of Hard Bob Mueller. Best Season of Homeland was season five taking place in Germany so was exotic to me in America. But I understood all the sub ethnic politics going on. Very brutal and maybe a guy type season…little sensitivity in it. But lots of scummy guys done in. I have not watched Homeland since. I can tell where it is was going.
        Peter Quinn was peak Homeland.

        1. I honestly don’t know what a “guy type season” is. I still watch Homeland. I think the last two seasons (6 and 7, I think 5 was Germany) are quite good.

          Homeland Peak = Season 2 (tastes differ, you know)

          1. I love The Carousel but my favorite is The Suitcase (Season 4, Episode 7, I think).

        1. ???? I was responding to Kerr Avon: “It would be an “I’m fucked” moment worthy of the Mueller Report.” So, yeah, I’m not the one who brought it up first.
          No worries, the folks who’ve actually not read the report fit in quite nicely on blog.

      1. Yes, our divergent views are bound to show, it is inevitable. But everyone is so on the edge these days politics wise so we are trying, to the best of our ability, to keep Fan Fun politics-free! Thank you for your understanding.

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