Welcome to Fight Night where we have two boxers in the ring and many characters on the street playing the game of La Dolce Scienza (Sweet Science) where they need to find the perfect balance between hitting and not getting hit. Finesse. Slickness. Swagger. Everything on the street is as strategic as it gets on the ring! The cameos of real-life champions Deontay Wilder and Stipe Miocic as well as the boxing references in this fun episode hint that Fight Night is Koppelman and Levien’s tribute to one of their favorite sports.
Fight Night opens with the two COOs agreeing on the terms of the match. And it seems they want more of a gladiator fight: No head gear and 16 oz. gloves to protect their heads. The winner takes it all. Wags and Sarah are in for a side wager for $50K. And while Wags believes Mafee’s jaw is as fragile as Murano blown glass, Sara thinks it will be a sad evening in Palookaville when Axe Capital’s washed up Joe Louis meets his Rocky Marciano.
Dollar Bill finds Axe, Wags and a guy who says he will turn him into a man standing at the foot of his bed in the early morning hours. He is still very sleepy that he confuses Versace with Cunanan. And while I thought they only had to fight dragons in Westeros, Bill learns everyone has dragons to fight and if one cannot feel their face, it just means they have to work harder. In the meantime, the dragon he needs to fight, Mafee, demonstrates his extensive knowledge about THC/CBD ratios as he is giving away all his “jazz cabbage” aka weed collection.
Wendy and Bonnie seem to bond over running even though Bonnie complains Wendy is less talkative than Forest Whitaker’s Ghost Dog. She wants to know how Wendy feels after Mafee did his “you’re a garbage person” speech in front of everyone at Axe Capital. Bonnie does not know what Wendy did but she believes whatever she did, she did it to protect Axe Capital. She admires her for holding firm. But the thing is Wendy is not holding firm. Not even close. If she starts to talk, she will collapse.
That said, Wendy holds very firm when she comes home to a yummy breakfast, courtesy of Chuck, complete with her favorite bread from She Wolf Bakery. Wendy has seen Mamet’s Speed the Plow like Chuck has – a Mamet play about how circumstances affect behavior 😀 And so she knows this breakfast is about trying to make her remember home and give up on selling the house. Wendy lets Chuck know that a couple seems to have liked the house and is coming for a second visit.
Something is cooking at Taylor Mason Capital. Taylor has been able to buy some lot at a live auction. And while it is expensive, it will be worth it if everything goes according to the plan.
As I am thinking about what this lot could be about, Taylor appears on CNBC’s Halftime Report talking about the refiners they have just shorted. There is a bill at NY State Legislature that will probably pass and ban fracking in the state. And while it will still be legal to refine natural gas products fracked elsewhere in New York, Taylor argues that fossil fuels are a dead end like their time was at Axe Capital. Axe Capital used to be successful like Celtics were, too, once upon a time. And, according to Taylor, Bobby Axelrod is no Larry Bird. While Taylor says they still have some nostalgic respect for their “teacher” they also know he is a dinosaur.
Axe knows Taylor is doing what they are doing deliberately and he has to get out of this keeping his refinery positions. So he tasks Wags with finding out how they can use lobbyists in Albany through regular political channels and Victor with finding out how they can use lobbyists his way. He will also be on Halftime Report tomorrow ready to chop the snake’s head off…
…while the snake, ahem, Taylor, is telling TMC team that Axe made them cut their dad’s head off and they will now go full Sir Tristram de Lyones until they drive their sword into Axe’s heart. And when they are the only ones left in the meeting room, Taylor confides in Sara they cannot get over how precise Axe and Wendy were in targeting them. Still, they do not want to attack now and keep their full focus on the refineries at the moment.
Chuck is on his way, with Allerd and T, to the State Board of Elections for a conversation about mobile voting. T favors mobile voting because it will increase electoral participation while Allerd, who has a framed hanging chad in his office, believes people that are “too lazy to vote” should not even be allowed to register.
And Chuck… well, I bet Chuck was the best in his debate team in high school… The man who says mobile voting should be considered only after the security issues are adequately vetted, turns 180 degrees seconds after he finds Bryan and Kate in the room with Harvey “Hap” Halloran, the commissioner of the electoral board. It turns out Jeffcoat is against mobile voting and so Chuck is now its biggest advocate. Democracy. Voting rights. And while Hap may turn down Chuck’s proposal for a pilot program now, Chuck has no intention of letting it go. He needs to find why Jeffcoat is strongly opposed to mobile voting in the state. There is no question mobile voting is in our future. And, for your information, Denver will allow its overseas voters to use a mobile voting app to vote in the upcoming mayoral elections! Besides, several cities such as Moscow, Seoul as well as the Catalan government revealed plans to use blockchain technology for voting.
Another person who does not want to let mobile voting go is Kate and her exchange with Bryan looks like a turning point this season. When Bryan says he is only doing what his superior asked him to do, Kate’s answer is a true punch in the gut: Adolf Eichmann made the same argument when he was caught in Argentina. Bryan has to say no to Jeffcoat and protect the weak — exactly like Dawson and Downey should have done when they received the “code red” order from Colonel Jessup in A Few Good Men.
Chuck finds out Hap is trying to bury mobile voting not because he likes Jeffcoat but because he dislikes Chuck. Hap and his wife used to go to Aruba every year for the last 23 years to reconnect. But now that Chuck has indicted thirty of his best friends in the state senate who did not do anything else but trading favors for “the betterment of the state” Hap and his wife are lucky if they can catch the bus to Belmar. I cannot help wonder if Jeffcoat has already arranged an Aruba trip for the commissioner.
Enters Chuck Senior. Senior has partnered with the indigenous communities (who he insists on calling “my casino Indians”) around his casino business and these communities favor mobile voting. So thanks to Senior, Chuck does not only meet the Cayuga councilwoman Halftown but also, well, his baby sister who seems to have her father’s chin! What can I say but hats off to Viagra! And now we know Jack Foley was right when he implied Senior had other children in Season 2 Episode 8 Kingmaker.
While there are a few hiccups in the meeting like Chuck using Cherokee Wilma Mankiller‘s quote to convince Haudenosaunee Townhall, he ultimately succeeds in getting the councilwoman to cooperate. Result: Chuck gets his pilot program, Hap gets tickets to Aruba, the indigenous community gets a better deal from Senior in Kingsford and a 529 college program is being funded for Chuck’s little sister.
As Wall Street gets deep into the holiday season when the NYSE president Stacey Cunningham introduces Wags to turn on the NYSE Christmas Tree, Mafee and Dollar Bill get deep into their training season with a song that is second to none when you want to feel competitive.
If I feel like Rocky, and I do, as I run to Eye of the Tiger, so should Mafee and Dollar Bill who end their training day in ice bath and with a massage in the garage, respectively. And I really cannot help share Kelly AuCoin’s fantastic BTS video where Dollar Bill is, well, being Dollar Bill! 😀
— Kelly AuCoin (@KellyAuCoin77) May 4, 2019
Bill has a meltdown when he has a sparring session with Bonnie who Axe believes could knock Mafee out in the first round. Good news is hanging out with Wendy pays off for Bonnie who tells Dollar Bill that if Mafee has younger legs Bill has his big heart. He is the Sugar Ray Leonard who will beat the fuck out of Mafee’s Donny Lalonde.
Rebecca is determined to take over Saler’s, the department store Axe likened to “a wheezing elephant ready to stumble to its knees” in Episode 7 Infinite Game. She now has 8% of the shares but needs to go over 10% to force the takeover vote so is pushing her broker to find her the shares she needs. And when Axe says maybe this company is not for her, we find out why Rebecca is so determined to do this.
As a young girl growing up in a small town, Saler’s catalogues served as her window to the big world out there and now she knows why she has become very rich:
“Show young girls that they don’t have to just dream about shopping at some department store. They can buy the whole company.”
While Taylor wants their team’s undivided attention at the refineries, Sara unilaterally kicks off an attack on Wendy. Wendy, who thinks Dr. Zhang would ask her to speak at a conference, faces questions she has not expected: what is her exact title? does she prescribe medication? how personal are the sessions she holds with the employees?
I have pointed out in earlier posts Wendy certainly violated her doctor’s oath. She used confidential information she had on her patients against them and for her own benefit as well as for the benefit of the company. But I was thinking there could be no legal discourse since there is no concrete proof that she did what she did. But now that Sara has filed an official complaint, Dr. Zhang talks about accusations of malpractice against Wendy. Her medical license is under review and she will ultimately have to appear in front of a medical board and make a case for herself.
Axe’s reaction is not surprising:
“You are Dr. Wendy Fucking Rhoades. Noone’s getting your license. And if it did — what does it matter? You’re still the best at what you do.”
But things are not as simple as he thinks they are, are they? Wendy may still be the best performance coach in the world, but even Birchie who gave Wendy his First Tracks Season Pass at Deer Valley in return for a session with her in Episode 1 Chuck Rhoades’ Greatest Game is now running away from her like the plague. So it seems even the question about her medical license may be enough for the street to avoid Wendy, and in turn, Axe Capital.
Wendy not being in the mood to prepare Axe for his TV appearance does not help, either. Axe starts with saying Taylor has a bright mind and that is why he cultivated him. And OMG I wish people really grew Pinocchio noses when they lied. He says they showed Taylor the door when he did not like their ethics. LIAR. He says he did not want Andolov’s money because it was not clear where the money was coming from and Taylor did not hesitate to grab it. LIAR. He says there is a rumor that Taylor has sold their dad out. LIAR. And yeah Taylor may call him a “dinosaur” but he still believes in loyalty as the essence of his business… and it goes well for him until…
…Taylor calls in and the two have their own “Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn moment” on TV.
Their exchange turns personal in two seconds. Axe is annoyed when Taylor says he pretends he fired the employee who bested him in every way and then he loses it when Taylor refers to him making billions out of 9/11 tragedy and his crown jewel Firefighters Fund moving to TMC— hats off to Lauren! Axe talking about crushing the S&P since Taylor was in their footie pajamas is beyond hilarious. And he does not stop there! He now bets Taylor $1M that Dollar Bill will beat Mafee, and $2M if it is a knockout. How about Taylor? Well, they do not negotiate with bullies! 😀
Having wasted his time on TV, it all comes down to the governor if Axe wants to salvage the fracking refineries. Listening to his new bestie Chuck, Axe pretends he is inviting Sweeney to a donor dinner with 12 guests and $100K a plate. But what Sweeney finds out when he arrives at the penthouse with his entourage is 3 plates on the table and a $1.2M check for his Super PAC ready to be cashed out as soon as he helps Axe with the fracking bill.
As soon as he finds out Chuck is also there, Sweeney knows he may find Khartoum‘s head in his bed if he does not comply with these two. Well, governor, this is not Godfather, this is Billions 😀 Axe and Chuck provide political justification, from tax revenues to upstate jobs, for the governor to legalize fracking in the state. Besides Axe is ready to give him whatever he needs: And a keynote slot at the next National Governors’ Association Meetings it is!
As super fans Ben and Tuk are taking quite different selfies with Mafee and Dollar Bill’s life size cutouts, we see real-life finance guys like Jim Chanos and Jeff Yass arriving at the charity match.
And I spy with my little eye, Mr. Charles Koppelman, Brian Koppelman’s dad, who we had earlier seen at the idea dinner as one of the financial heavyweights in NYC. Mr. Koppelman is certainly a heavyweight, too, but in entertainment industry.
When Wendy arrives at the fight and confronts Taylor about them reporting her to the medical board, Taylor pretends they know all about it. And while Wendy is right that no one is blameless in this, who can contest Taylor’s argument that Wendy used their intimate family secrets and ruined their family? While Bonnie blames Taylor for going to the principal’s office crying, the blows she has suffered from Birchie and Taylor back to back force Wendy to call an Uber and get home.
A Bloomberg alert before the fight brings good news to Axe Capital. The governor has just confirmed fracking is legal in New York. Yet the moment Axe believes he has the last laugh, he realizes Taylor is still smiling. WTF?
“What’s the one thing you need most when fracking?”
Taylor has learnt from the best. It turns out the lot Taylor purchases early in the episode is nothing but water rights in the fracking areas. Their short on the refineries was small, they did it only to get the ball rolling. They ultimately provoked and used Axe to get the fracking bill passed. Yes, Axe will make money but Taylor will make even more! Now, if this is not a boxing match, what is? And this round goes to Taylor! But, I mean, can you imagine if these two join forces again? No one can stop them!
Neither Axe’s promise to Dollar Bill that he would buy two houses for each of his wives nor Taylor telling Mafee they are so proud they took him with them to TMC can stop the match from going into history as the most pathetic charity boxing match 😀 Mafee could be the same weight as Tyson in his prime but he is no Tyson. Dollar Bill may have a big heart but he is no Sugar Ray Leonard. And when the boxers have no chops, even champions like Wilder and Miocic cannot make them fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee on the ring. Well, yeah, I am more of a Mohammad Ali fan 😀
As it feels like Dollar Bill and Mafee hold onto each other just to be able to stand up, Bob Menery delivers the best commentary on the match:
“This looks like an audition for the fucking Walking Dead.”
The ring turns into a concession stand, and the match ends in a double loss making Winston the winner 😀 Since I did not understand why people were all over Sean Ayles asking for refunds, I did a little research and found out that the straight bets on the winner of the fight are refunded if the match ends in a draw.
Chuck should seriously consider sending “thank you” cards to Birchie, Sara and Taylor. Wendy now needs her family more than ever and she does not feel like selling the house anymore.
“Like it or not, this is our home.”
And while we have not seen her sharing her medical license trouble with Chuck, she, at least subconsciously, knows Chuck will do everything in his power to help her.
Is it the holiday spirits or is it L-O-V-E that makes Axe help Rebecca with her business venture? Axe buys the shares Rebecca needs to force the takeover vote on Saler’s. Now they will combine the shares which would also give Axe a board seat. But I honestly do not think he is doing it to get a board seat, he is doing it for her because he now knows why she is doing what she is doing. Sweet.
One person that is not happy about Chuck’s pilot program is the AG. Jeffcoat, who thinks the Native Americans have been dealt with by Sam Houston and Texas Rangers 150 years ago, is very frustrated. I bet he is getting some serious money from lobbyists that do not want high turnouts in the elections. And now he asks Bryan to introduce an infected blanket like Lord Amherst and Bryan is still listening?!?!
Commissioner Sansome gives Jeffcoat what he wants when the latter threatens to move the prestigious NYPD task forces, including counter-terrorism and drug enforcement, to New Jersey. And, lo and behold, Chuck Senior’s construction site is closed until further notice and seeing Bryan on location, Chuck knows why. And if this is not a boxing match, what is? This second round goes to Jeffcoat.
I am VERY disappointed with Bryan. From Jose Lugo to Federal Day to mobile voting, when will Bryan see that Jeffcoat is the depiction of everything that is wrong in politics? It seems to me that the U.S. Attorney seat is like the ring in Lord of the Rings. Whoever sits on it is obsessed with it and wants to keep it no matter what.
That said there is still someone that could end up doing what I have been expecting Bryan to do: Kate.
We see Kate talking to her dad about SDNY being as stuffy as when Chuck was the US Attorney. Besides, she tells her dad to get into media technology utilizing alternate uses of blockchain when he asks her advice. Why? Because Chuck Rhoades has an interest in it! I think Kate will take her dad’s advice as well:
“Take the blindfold off. Wait till the brain-fog lifts. Choose your target. Swing as hard as you can and take its head off.”
I am hoping Bryan will take the blindfold off along with Kate and they will take Jeffcoat’s head off together.