A phone conversation between Chuck and Krakow lets us and the US Attorney’s office know that Qatar State Bank is going back to the restricted list 😀 This means Chuck Senior may lose his sweet deal with the bank and so Chuck and Krakow agree to meet on New Year’s Day.
New Year’s Day at Axe Capital
Helena and Peach had to cut their vacations on St. Barths and Turks and Caicos, respectively, short to be at the office on New Year’s Day. But they are still smiling since should they have not had these jobs, they would have seen those beautiful islands only on TV – if they could have afforded cable!
Axe Capital is running a mock hearing today with Wendy whose medical board hearing is fast approaching. As they wait for the rest of the team, While the only thing Wendy wants to hear about is whether she can win this, Bach warns Wendy that the stakes are high and the medical board hearing will be brutal so they need to make it hard for her today. He further explains that their strategy is to convince the board that Wendy’s sessions with Taylor were only performing enhancement sessions and not a part of her medical practice. Taylor was not a patient but a client. So there is no doctor – patient confidentiality to talk about. The billion dollar question is whether the board will buy this argument. It seems to depend on Wendy’s as well as Taylor’s performance at the hearing.
Next to arrive are Chuck, Ira and Spyros – a great scene for people who have thought Ari and Ira were the same person 🙂
LOL we can’t tell either so we made a cheat sheet after the table 302 readthrough. Ari (Kunken)left/ Ira (Shenkman) right. pic.twitter.com/rKnsZHtNtY
— Stephen Kunken (@stephenkunken) April 25, 2018
Chuck needs to start the mock hearing right away since he has another meeting (Krakow!) in the afternoon. And while Wendy is openly sour with Chuck, she has the biggest smile we have ever seen on her when Axe surprises her with an early return from his vacation with the boys in Fiji.
Wendy’s schoolgirlish smile speaks volumes. It is obviously Axe whom she trusts 100% in this. And while Axe talks about Gordie scraping his leg at a coral and Dean breaking his surfboard to explain their early return Wendy knows HE IS BACK FOR HER.
The mock inquisition starts with Bach asking Wendy the details of her sessions with Taylor. And as Wendy uses the forbidden word “patient” in her answer Axe comes up with an offer: How about them trying to stop Taylor from attending the hearing? What if he offered them something they needed and created leverage? Basically what he always does in business. All lawyers in the room agree it is not a good idea but this does not stop Axe from saying none of this would have happened should Chuck have done what was asked of him: he should be talking about Taylor Mason in a fucking cell. Crazy! And Chuck reciprocates that this is more about Axe’s gang war. These two are ready to resume the pissing contest anytime!
Helena interrupts the meeting with some unexpected news: They are delivering Picasso’s Boy with Pipe (last sold for $104M in real life!) and 17 other paintings Axe bought at Art Basel last year. It turns out while he is happy to pay over $100M for a single painting, Axe is not happy to pay Uncle Sam his share and so he does not want to accept the delivery. He pays the delivery guys $1000 each to sit around and watch the Rose Bowl as he looks for a solution and goes back to the mock hearing.
And while Spyros, fully in character as Dr. Rodizio wearing a doctor’s coat and carrying a stethoscope, provides comic relief, the hearing goes downhill when it is Chuck’s turn to address his wife. Wendy loses her cool and when Ira suggests she should not let the board see her sweat, she refers to The Usual Suspects:
“Only the guilty one can sleep through the night.”
Axe calls a timely time out!
Wendy is still pissed with Chuck, but she spills the beans: She is not comfortable that the case is based on Axe Capital employees being clients, not patients. If it is the case with Taylor, it is also the case with Dollar Bill or Danzig whose session notes are certainly not kosher! She is concerned that they can subpoena her at a later point. Ha! Wendy is putting Axe Capital over her own interests. Now we know why Axe calls Wendy Axe Capital’s spirit animal, don’t we?
Yet another surprise interrupts the mock hearing: Wags is back from his vacation in Miami early with good news and bad news: Good news is he has brought Joe’s Stone Crabs which we learn is one of three reasons he would be willing to wait in line for. The other two? To have the first batch of his favorite drug off the assembly line and meet Ellen DeGeneres 🙂
Wags breaks the bad news when Chuck leaves the room to have a word with Wendy during lunch break. The CEO of Kling, a house appliance manufacturing company, whom Wags has bumped into at LIV, has told him that Taylor has bought a ton of company stock the last day of the year. Taylor probably traded last minute on the last day of the year so it would go under the radar. And it seems it did because Dollar Bill who covers the sector for Axe Capital is clueless about the trade!
Kling is the major supplier at Saler’s, the department store Rebecca has just taken over. Besides, it is the only cash-flow for the company at the moment — Kling sales account for 63% of the revenues. If Taylor cuts their supply, Axe and Rebecca may find themselves in a reverse takeover where Taylor controls Saler’s. Rebecca will now check if any of the major household appliance brands is on sale or ripe for a hostile takeover so they can have their independence from Saler’s. And when Dollar Bill feels the urge to tell the boss that any of those appliance companies will cost billions of dollars, the boss only tasks him with finding a cheaper alternative!
Is Saler’s becoming a professional suicide for Axe? He has got into it only to make Rebecca’s dreams come true. And having diagnosed his structural weakness, his commitment to Rebecca, Taylor has been pushing harder and harder.
As Axe is dealing with Kling, Chuck is dealing with Wendy who, I am 100% with Chuck on this, is expecting a miracle from this hearing! I find it very ungrateful of Wendy that she does not even appreciate Chuck pulled a few strings behind the scenes to get a deal for her. If she takes the deal, Wendy needs to give up on her medical license, say for 6 months to a year, and in two years it will be removed from her records. Chuck thinks it is the smart way while Wendy thinks it is the easy one. I am with Chuck on this. In fact, I am with Chuck on many things this season.
Is this the Wendy who advised Axe about giving up on his trade license in Season 3 Episode 1 Tie Goes to the Runner and even told him giving up his license could be another kind of freedom in Season 3 Episode 2 The Wrong Maria Gonzalez ?!?!Axe fucked up in Ice Juice and had to give up his trade license temporarily . Wendy fucked up with doctor – patient confidentiality and has to give up her medical license temporarily. What is the difference?!?! Axe did it. So can Wendy.
I think Chuck may be bringing the deal up to make Wendy know how it feels to lose her career. Because Wendy has, it is very hard to say this for my favorite character, hurt him badly: She told him to kill his career for her and then asked him to kill for her career. This is some serious double standard in my book. But I think, if shit hits the fan, Chuck would still use the “mobile voting” card to get Wendy out of this mess with her reputation intact.
We find out about the details of Axe’s “shitty new year’s present” as Ayles and Victor arrive at Axe Capital. It turns out that a Swiss banker, a friend of Ayles, was keeping Axe’s paintings because the Swiss Banks did not need to report art… well, until now. Now that they need to, the banker has done the courtesy of shipping the paintings to Axe.
The arrival of the delivery guy’s boss with news that his brother-in-law is a US Customs and Borders Protection officer further complicates the day. Ayles is now tasked with making the delivery guy’s boss happy so he keeps quiet and Victor brings in Danny Margolis who introduces us to a new concept: Freeport! Or just another way for individuals and corporations to game the system!
A freeport is a storage area at a private airport where one can store their art works that are permanently “in transit” so the owner does not have to pay customs duties and sales tax. Filed under things I never knew existed before Billions, this kind of outrageous stuff people do for tax evasion never ceases to amaze me! Margolis owns a freeport in Newburgh, and he is happy to store replicas while Axe can enjoy the originals at home. Margolis will get his medium fee and Victor will get his own shop if he keeps delivering like this for Axe! You can read about the role of freeports in global art markets here.
Wendy knows Wags is not back early from vacation because he already drank a lot and had a tan. And why doesn’t he have his precious Phillippe Patek on? Wags confesses: he went to a hotel with a 22 year old in Miami and when he woke up, not only the girl but also his Patek Philippe, which his dad had given to him, were gone. Wags seems to be in such a weak emotional state that the only solution Wendy could think of is not a session with her but a session with a professional cuddler! A WHAT?!?!
Yes, there exist professionals who provide people a safe space to feel accepted, respected and worthy for exactly who they are! 😀 And it seems this is exactly what Wags needs! FYI: Anyone can book a therapeutic cuddling session at cuddlist.com!
And Wags is not the only one having a cuddling session today 🙂 Wendy points out it is wrong to make people work on a holiday. Axe capital employees kill it every day for Axe and they deserve to relax a bit. What is the point of being very rich if you are not able to enjoy life? While it is never easy for him to admit a mistake, Axe tells Wendy this is exactly WHY he cannot let her lose the hearing. He needs her more than anyone at the company.
And, FINALLY, we find out about their backstory that we have been dying to know for years: It turns out they met when Wendy came to the company after 9/11, on loan from the Sports Psych Place she was employed at, to help with the survivors as well as the families of the employees who died on 9/11. Axe, the only surviving partner in the company, was determined to do the impossible: pay for all the funerals, the school for kids of the colleagues who died in the attacks and the bonuses for the next three years. The company did not have a book. It did not have personnel. Every advisor Axe talked to told him to shut it down but he did not. And it was too much for him to take when, at one of the funerals, some families questioned his integrity as well as called him a thief. And when he was not able to handle the situation, someone else put herself between him and the families.
“Shut the fuck up. You lost family. So did everyone else here. And this man is the only hope you or any of you have of paying for the rest of your lives. And I’ll tell you another story. I have begged him not to. Because I think it’ll destroy him next. He doesn’t need it. He can move on clean and in a couple of years he’ll have enough wealth for 20 lifetimes. But if he’s really too slow for you, if you really think that he’s stealing from you, say another word, and I’ll make him shut it down. Otherwise, shake his fucking hand, say thank you, and we can all mourn together.”
But the moment Axe knew she would be his partner in this for life came later when Wendy came to his car and told him:
“Bobby, you better fucking deliver for those people. Or I won’t just make you quit. I’ll kill you myself.”
Wendy being loyal to him in public and her holding him accountable in private and her dedication to the greater cause sealed the deal for Axe. Now we know why Axe calls Wendy the company’s spirit animal and why he was willing to go to jail for her.
And while I think everything Axe says is sincere, but I also think it is strategic of him to talk to Wendy about her loyalty to the greater cause. And I believe it is Wags that gives him the idea when he points out earlier that Wendy feeling guilty means she cares while most people do not.
Axe knows that, when he suggests Wendy should go to Taylor and say she is sorry Wendy will do it only if she feels this is for the greater cause. These two have built Axe Capital together and they will protect it valuing the cause more than their own personal interests.
So Axe lets his employees go home and send everyone a case of champagne with a tin of caviar. And Wendy is on her way to Taylor. Perfect Team.
New Year’s Day at Taylor Mason Capital
Team Taylor has their own mock hearing on New Year’s Day. Sara has done her homework and brought in Lonnie, who was “brought close just to be expelled like Sammy Hagar in Van Halen” by Chuck. And he will now help Taylor prepare for the hearing. And exactly like Bach warns Wendy, Lonnie warns Taylor: There will be leaks from the hearing and their character and conduct could be questioned by the market as well as their investors. So they have to come up with a careful script.
The questions follow: Why did Taylor see Wendy? Psychological problems? Gender identity issues? A confusion? A crisis?
None of the above. Taylor’s book was good and the conversation was not about their gender identity. The point is that there was a private topic they wanted to discuss with Dr. Wendy Rhoades. And the doctor did not keep the information private but rather used it against them.
“The whole wing of medicine is based on confidentiality.”
And that is exactly why Axe Cap team is trying to make Taylor look like a client rather than a patient.
In personal news, Taylor and Lauren seem to be an item now but they are still trying to keep their relationship under cover. While Sara sees through them, Mafee is utterly clueless that he is considering to ask Lauren out 😀
As they are getting ready to call it a day at the office, Taylor has a visitor. And since they perceive Wendy’s apology transactional, they make Wendy directly tell them not to come to the hearing. So if she thinks she should keep license, Wendy has to convince the board about it. Taylor will not be there to tell them anything different.
The ball is in Wendy’s court now.
New Year’s Day at US Attorney’s Office
As Judge Funt points out “even though court is closed, justice never slumbers” at the SDNY. Bryan and Kate let the judge hear the phone conversation between Chuck and Krakow and convince him to step up the surveillance. Judge Funt grants permission for bugs at the two Chucks’ residences — home offices and living spaces only. Headphones will be off for anything not related to the case and the recording will stop if an attorney is present. Agent Dancshazy will plant the bugs and Kate will put together a taint team to protect the attorney – client privilege. Knowing Bryan well, Kate feels the urge to warn him: She will not violate any rules.
In personal news, Bryan has Dr. Gus in his office expressing his frustration in Kung-fu terms:
“Do you think that, uh, Grasshopper left Master Po waiting in the dojo?”
It turns out Bryan sent an email to let him know that he would not be able to make it to his appointment but he still cannot escape Dr. Gus’ ultimatum:
“You find me tonight or never find me again.”
And I wonder if Dr. Gus is using Eau de Loser as a metaphor or Bryan is in need of emergency deodorant again? 😀
Another visitor brings good news to the US attorney. Agent Dancshazy who has done “same-day delivery” for both Chucks’ residences is now getting a top shelf whiskey from the boss.
New Year’s Day at Chuck Senior’s House
Both Chucks know they will need to give Krakow a chunk of the development project, 5% to be precise, before he tells them in sign language 😀 Hats off to Krakow for being extremely cautious! I am quite sure this is not his first time cutting a deal as Mr. Secretary 🙂 And I love it that Senior makes a copy of the contract Krakow has them sign so Krakow cannot make changes later.
What Chucks do not know though is that (i) the US attorney’s office is listening and (ii) Krakow’s caution and Ira’s presence in the room as their attorney after the secretary leaves save the day for now.
What Bryan and Kate could only learn is that there is a piece of paper which is now placed in Senior’s safe! Rules are rules and Kate will not let Bryan see the redacted parts. Good call.
New Year’s Day at Dr. Gus Office
OMG! I was hoping Dr. Gus would help Bryan get his shit together but what he is doing is creating a “Kamikaze” out of him! And look at Bryan who first mocks with Doc’s “Kids’ Karate Class.” Now he wants more!
New Year’s Day at Chez Rhoades
Chuck not remembering the exact moment he knew he needed to marry Wendy seems to further dissolve the Rhoades marriage. But I do think Wendy compares apples and oranges here. Love is quite different than a business partnership. When you are in love, you are in love. The relationship evolves and you come to love this person as a package like Chuck pointed out in the previous episode. So I am not sure if there exists a “Eureka moment” in a romantic relationship. That said, I sympathize with Wendy who is obviously an emotional wreck. She cannot recognize herself or her life anymore. Where is the professional cuddler when she needs it?
Taylor’s point about the board hearing being Wendy’s chance to reclaim her old self is spot on. The billion dollar question is whether anyone in Billions can admit they did wrong publicly and face the consequences. I do not know the answer but if anyone has the balls to do it, it is Wendy.
New Year’s Day at The Assembly Bar, Glendale
Lo and behold, Bryan kicks off his Kamikaze mission. And who knew he had a brother who took quite a different path in life than him? Jackie’s eyes are lit when he finds out there is a safe he can play with! Welcome to Billions, Michael Raymond-James!
Does Bryan understand he is not different from Chuck at this point? He is taking an illegal but also a VERY RISKY action to get what he wants! I am now hoping Chuck will catch Jackie in action and use it as leverage against Bryan to take down Jeffcoat! Oh yeah I am as obsessed as Chuck about taking down Jeffcoat 😀