I admit I have looked up the dictionary for this week’s episode title Lamster. And as I was thinking that the lamster is probably Bryan’s brother Jackie, it turns out to be Chuck Senior of all people!
Chuck Senior, whose wife is enjoying weather and shopping in Palm Beach, is the new Dollar Bill – two families – with Roxanne and little Bess staying with him in his apartment. And who knew the dad had as rich a fantasy life as the son? 😀 Thanks to a “hide-and-seek” followed by drugs and sex, Senior discovers he is bugged and knocks on Chuck’s door in the wee hours.
While his dad tells him he discovered the bug while making a home repair, Chuck can imagine what was going on in the apartment. As they have a division of labor where Senior should become Whitey Bulger, and even better, D.B. Cooper, and Junior should speed things on Jeffcoat, Junior realizes if they have a bug permit on his dad, they may have a bug permit on him, too! Senior will now literally play “hide-and-seek” with the Feds and use a burner to let his son know he is fine every 8 hour.
Chuck gets his own burner out, goes into the bathroom, turns on all the faucets, and calls the people who owe to him: Eisen for his family, Halloran for his bankroll, and Brogan for his security. He meets the three musketeers at the hospital where Ira is waiting for Taiga giving birth to their first child. And he tasks them with finding everything they can between Jock Jeffcoat and Trent Fiske, the CEO of Bougle-Tek, a major voting equipment company. Chuck already knows Jeffcoat’s hatred for mobile voting has something to do with corruption, but now they have to find out what corruption it is exactly.
And what will Chuck do as the others go after Fiske?
“I myself will be doing my usual boogie – inducing mistakes through temptation, misdirection, obfuscation, conflation/corruption of the ideals that built this great nation. For good and noble purpose of course.”
Of course! 😀
Realizing that the shit train was just the tip of the iceberg, Jeffcoat tells Bryan to find Senior’s “wrinkly fucking ass” and is quite surprised by the response:
“Uh, I saw it once. And, actually, the old guy keeps it together.”
Besides, Jeffcoat is quite surprised Bryan has no idea about Carencia. Well, General, Bryan is not into Spain as he is into Japan after all. Carencia is the place in the ring where the bull feels safe and it is the matador’s job to keep it away from Carencia! So Bryan the matador should find the lamster who has recently used his credit card at a gas station on New York State Thruway and make him sing!
Axe and Rebecca are looking to buy a household appliance company to ensure Saler’s independence from Kling which Taylor controls now. And over lunch at The Lobster Club, they convince the CEO of Pearlsang appliances to make the factory up its production by 20%. It is fascinating that where Rebecca sees a premium payment for a mediocre company Axe sees a very good enemy that has made him compromise. Rebecca may not be that off when she calls Axe a “sick twist.”
Taylor, who reminds TMC employees about the comp day, has a non-traditional incentive structure in mind. They will not have meetings to force each employee to make a case for their value to the firm because the numbers tell it all. But they will pay the employees their bonuses in full only if they keep the money at the fund for 12 months. If an employee wants to be paid right away then they will be paid 60 cent out of a dollar.
Axe takes a private meeting in the kitchens of The Lobster Club with Chuck the fixer who needs Hall the ultimate fixer to unlock the biometric lock in Senior’s apartment! Axe does not shy away from reminding Chuck that he needs to put Taylor in a fucking cell for him as soon as possible and if Chuck thinks this business is not personal enough for him, Axe is happy to make it so! But yeah he is still willing to help Chuck so he does not end up in wearing the orange jumpsuit before Taylor does.
The most interesting part of their conversation though is the words spoken about Wendy who is about to go into her medical board hearing. It turns out she did not want either Chuck, the AG who may seem to try to influence things, or Axe, the boss who may seem like the person that told Wendy to do the stuff she is accused of — at the hearing. And while Chuck thinks Wendy may be better off without them, Axe disagrees:
“Yeah. For today. For a few hours anyway. And maybe still not.”
Seriously, Axe? You two are the reason why Wendy is taking her seat at the medical board hearing. And, man, does she ROCK it or what?
I KNEW IT! I said in last week’s recap that while I obviously did not know what Wendy would do at the hearing, if there was one person in Billions who had the balls to admit their wrongdoing and bravely face the consequences, it would be Wendy! LOVE YOU, GIRL! And, yes, in caps, too!
Wendy tells the board she is a medical doctor and Taylor was her patient, and that she violated doctor – patient confidentiality for her own ends. Doing this, Wendy does not only feel good about herself and steals my heart all over again but she also protects the company. Because she is a medical doctor, all her previous sessions with employees count as confidential and she cannot be subpoenaed. Yet, now that she is not a licensed doctor anymore, how will the sessions with employees work from this day on?
Wags, who operates as Wendy’s professional cuddler these days, is right that the fucked up Axe Capital employees will always need her as a coach and as a human being at the company, but can they still confide in her the way they used to?
Chuck is not the only person after the Krakow contract. Jackie does not want to take the job because Bryan is one of the two things he is proud of in his life — the other one is when he cropdusted a pedophile priest — and this safe cracking business could jeopardize his career. But Bryan is confident his “Bill Belichik” of a brother — a compliment Jackie does not like — will do it right. And since the timeline is tight “long stick goes boom” tonight 😀
The deal Axe and Rebecca have made with Pearlsang is dead only a few hours later thanks to Cook, Taylor’s Hall, who leaks to the press information about Pearlsang’s “child labor” practices. Temple of Doom indeed. And Rebecca, who used to go from one profitable deal to another until teaming up with Axe, is obviously frustrated. She holds Axe responsible and looks at him to save, in Axe’s words, her “Barbie fucking dream house.” It turns out there is another household appliance company, Cardinale, they can buy. But Saler’s has no cash readily available and since there is now one fewer rival, Cardinale’s price will go up! Ken agrees to buy Cardinale for Barbie. But he first needs to free up five billion dollars.
Axe asks Dollar Bill to get out of their position in Corwell Pharmaceuticals which the latter sees as his stock pick of the year (big thanks go to Lady Trader for translating this for me!). Bill is adamant to protect the position with the most vulgar analogy of the year that even Axe, who uses “fuck” at least once in every other sentence, considers washing Bill’s mouth out with soap:
“Pimp 101: You don’t sell your best girl till she loses her hip flexion.”
While he does not approve the analogy, Ben Kim, who breaks in hives when he lies, admits to Bill that Axe is making a mistake getting out of Corwell Pharmaceuticals. But can they stop Axe from doing this?
When they get the news about Wendy, Taylor does not want any celebration. Wendy did the right thing and everyone should move on. But Taylor obviously knows the conversation they had with Wendy has contributed to what Wendy shared with the medical board and understands why she did it.
On the other hand, Chuck does not understand why Wendy did what she did when there existed a better option. Wendy turns his offer to open a bottle because she does not want to risk turning her evening into a Cassavetes movie full of drinking and yelling. It will probably be a long night for her digesting the fact that she is no longer Dr. Rhoades and for Chuck fixing the problems so he can stay as State AG Rhoades.
It takes a magnet (for the building door), a manicure set (for the apartment door) and Bryan’s connections in the FBI (for the apartment’s alarm system) for the Connerty brothers to get into Senior’s apartment and a few more minutes for Jackie to locate the safe. I honestly did not know one could take a copy of the safe owner’s fingerprint and use it to unlock the biometric lock. And lo and behold, Bryan has a photo of the contract and Jackie has the cufflinks! Well, Jackie warned his baby brother earlier that he would not leave without taking something — almost like a souvenir. And it keeps me wondering: (i) Does Hall understand someone was there before him or does he think the painting does not hang properly thanks to Senior and Roxanne messing around? (ii) Could the cufflinks somehow come back and bite Bryan in the ass in the season finale or later?
Chuck’s musketeers are back at the hospital in the early morning. It turns out Jeffcoat is giving a shocker — the hand gesture one — to all Americans: He is landing government contracts for Fiske’s voting equipment company as well as protecting him from investigation while Fiske pays him back in an unorthodox way: Rigged elections: Two governors already and one senate election in Texas coming up! And while nobody will come forward as a witness, the raw vote totals are certified and buried. They are there waiting for someone to take a good look…
…enters Kate. Would Sade’s “Smooth Operator” help Chuck by digging into the raw vote totals in the allegedly rigged elections? Seeing Kate wearing the lapel pin Chuck gave him at the hospital in her meeting with Jock hints to me she is on Chuck’s side. And sharing Chuck’s phone call and their conversation with Jock can definitely make it easier for her to go under the radar. And her request to become the Head of Civil Rights Division? Probably the best place to dig deep into the elections.
As Kate is holding the lapel pin in her hand in Bryan’s office, a phone call brings news that the FBI found Chuck Senior by following Roxanne whom they linked to him through the college fund set up for Chuck’s little sister! And Kate is wearing her lapel pin as Bryan is leaving to see Senior.
“Good luck finishing off The Rhoadeses.”
Bryan has become a teacher’s pet this season. In Kate I trust as the one with the balls who will take down Jeffcoat — not just to help Chuck but also, and more importantly, to ensure elections are clean across the country.
Axe arrives in the office to close the deal on Cardinale only to find a protest in his office. Spyros talks about the deal being very risky, Bach talks about by-laws, Ben Kim talks about the opportunity cost, Wags talks about Axe having no financial stake in Rebecca’s noble cause and Bill suggests Axe should tell their investors that he has been p-whipped. But Tatanka has an ego the size of a tatanka— a Sioux word I know thanks to Dances with Wolves — that he has no intention to back down. Spyros will modify the risk model, Bach should paper the new by-laws, the positions are all his and the PMs who talk about not being able to pick up returns should go fuck themselves. Axe finishes with a megalomaniacal statement:
“I am the sun that warms you and the air you fucking breathe. Don’t forget that.”
Wendy, who dismisses Spyros earlier in the day because he was talking about a non-existing problem — can you imagine Spyros holding office hours? — to make her feel good about herself, is now dismissing Wags for being an even worse actor than Spyros! But when Wags talks about Axe being in the Colonel Kurtz territory (Apocalype Now, anyone?) he means it.
“This isn’t a fire drill. It’s the Fyre Festival.”
Wendy diagnoses the situation right; however she is not able to stop the biggest festival flop from happening, either!
“You need an enemy. Or you think you do. Like without that gravitational pull, you’ll go flying off into nothingness. No edge, no drive, no Axe.”
Axe, who, exactly like Chuck, cannot understand why Wendy voluntarily let her medical license go, does not even listen to her. He thinks the two of them are built differently and revenge may not work for Wendy’s system, but does for Axe. Based on experience, Wendy knows that the exact time Axe fucks up is when he narrows his whole gaze to retribution. And she does not even have to say that. We all know about Ice Juice, don’t we?
At Taylor Mason Capital, despite Winston’s long monologue about Taylor using hedge-fund social pressure on them, taking their employees for granted and what not, all employees end up in deferring their bonuses. The only person who will be paid right away is Lauren because she likes Taylor too much to be there if they broke up with her. Cute! And I bet she gets her full bonus 🙂
It is ultimately Rebecca that saves Axe from committing a professional suicide. It turns out Taylor has reached out to Rebecca with a white flag in hand. They offer to supply the household appliances to Saler’s at the old rates and also agree to Rebecca’s deal that the latter will have control of Kling, but will not buy Taylor out so they will have stakes in Saler’s future well being. Rebecca is now grateful for Axe’s help but does not need him to buy her Heart of the Ocean anymore.
I think Axe is right that Rebecca has not cut a deal with Taylor just to keep Barbie and Ken together but also, and maybe more, for her company. But wasn’t it Axe himself who said Taylor Mason was so good earlier in the episode? 😀
We witness first hand the exact moment Axe narrows his whole gaze to retribution!
“You also let my arch fucking foe off the hook.”
Well, Bobby Axelrod values loyalty above all and I am not sure what Ken thinks of Barbie’s loyalty to him at the moment.
And why has Taylor reached out to Rebecca? Because they think Rebecca will be their shield in business? Because Axe is committed to Rebecca he would never attack someone whose interests are aligned with his girlfriend? OH MY GOD. Then neither Taylor nor Sara who believes Taylor ended the war with “mastery” really know Bobby Axelrod.
Similarly, Jeffcoat does not know Chuck Senior. As soon as he lets Senior know he does not want either Senior or Junior to get arrested, but the only thing he wants is to break Junior, he gets his answer:
“Where you come from, maybe you sell your progeny because there’s not enough polk salad to feed all the little mouths.”
Neither carrots nor sticks can make Chuck Senior say a thing that would hurt his boy. And, moreover, he does not buy Jock’s Prisoner’s Dilemma bullshit when the AG tells him — upon request by Bryan — the man who helped him get the land rights aka “the idiot” is in the next room singing like Hank Williams the elder about Senior’s cheating heart.
When they cannot go further with Senior, Jeffcoat and Bryan regroup. And Jeffcoat knows what the Lord wants them to do as soon as Bryan explains they have the information about “the idiot” on the tape recording but they are not allowed to listen to those parts:
“The Lord doesn’t put knowledge before us so that we remain ignorant.”
Well, according to Jeffcoat, and I guess late President Nixon would agree, if he orders it, it is fucking legal.
Seeing Ira with Taiga and their little baby — yes, folks, this is NYC where people need to start planning pre-school the day a baby is born! — should make it inevitable for Chuck to think about his marriage and possible new beginnings. Chuck now knows Wendy does not want him as a package. We saw him not remembering the moment he knew when he needed to marry Wendy in the previous episode. We have heard him telling Axe Wendy might be better off without them earlier in this episode. And now this… God forbid may Chuck be thinking about a new beginning for himself? A life without Wendy?
While I hope Chuck and Wendy can start a new chapter together, I suspect Axe and Rebecca will not be an item by the end of the season.
Victor, who wants to have his own shop again, finds something that would work for Axe Capital but not so much for Rebecca: The only hint is that Saler’s now has a place to put their toxic debt (loans with a low chance of being repaid with interest) to and we all know what this place is. Axe is coming for Taylor. And when Wags asks about whether the potential collateral damage (read Rebecca) is worth it, Axe’s answer is clear. He would not still be wearing his armor if it was not. WHOA.
As he plans his next move, knowing he has done wrong with Wendy earlier in the day, Axe sends Wags to Daniel in order to get drunk with the only woman he has ever enjoyed drinking with.
“Two Carte Blanches.”
And Wendy, who has chosen not to open the bottle with Chuck is ready to get properly drunk with Wags. Hmmm. No, I am not implying anything romantic. It is just that Wendy seems to feel closer to Wags than to Chuck.
As Dave Haus’ Saboteurs closes the episode, who do you think will be the saboteurs and who will get sabotaged in the season finale? One thing I know is that it will be explosive!