Billions on Showtime Season 4, Episode 12: Extreme Sandbox

May I just say I will miss Sundays? Thanks to Showtime releasing the new episodes Saturday at midnight, I adjusted my weekend program this year. I have watched the show two times until 2am and took notes. Then I slept on it and wrote all day Sunday taking a lot of pleasure in putting together what I see, what I read between the lines, and my favorite part, speculating (I have hits and misses!) about what could happen next in this crazy ride! I give standing ovation to all brilliant minds behind and in front of the camera for surpassing all expectations! And special thanks go to my husband for bearing with me for the last couple of months and keeping my mother, who has been visiting for the last six weeks, entertained Sundays! ❤️

While the season is coming to an end, we still have so much to say about it. We are currently updating the dining guide which we will publish next week followed by a FUN Best of Billions Season 4 post, a locations guide and much more. Hope you stay with us between seasons!

Advance Warning: This is the longest episode review I have ever written. But I feel all the feelings and have to get them out of my chest. Thanks for bearing with me. Love to you all!

Well, I cannot imagine a better title than Extreme Sandbox for Billions Season 4 finale where Brian Koppelman and David Levien play their own extreme sandbox pulling twists and turns at every opportunity. Spanning over an intense 48-hour or so period, and going into history as the TV hour during which I yell the most at my TV screen, this is the craziest ride ever!

We know Chuck has told Wendy he would not live without his BDSM way of life and so we find him this evening on a medieval-torture-equipment controlled by the dominatrix who visited him at home in Episode 6 Maximum Recreational Depth. While a worm may always be ready for the hook, Chuck feels he has not deserved his punishment yet. And, man, does he earn it or what in the next 60 minutes? 😀

Axe, on the other hand, is having a romantic evening with Rebecca. Drinking wine. Looking at Gauguin’s “Two Tahitian Women” and talking about art. It seems the originals Margolis has promised Axe now hang on the walls and I cannot help wonder if Rebecca knows they are the originals and the reproductions are in “permanent transit” state at Margolis’ freeport 🙂

We already know, thanks to the last scene in the previous episode, Axe may be cooking something where Rebecca is the potential collateral damage. And the moment Axe talks about the greats suffering more than others, you know he will be coming for her. Axe kindly asks Rebecca whether she can organize a “state changer” for Wendy: Maybe a spa retreat? His chopper is at their service. Ah, what a gentleman, you may think… for a second! Ah the bad man behind blue eyes?! Isn’t “Behind Blue Eyes” an amazing song selection here? Kudos!

The moment Axe says he is asking Rebecca to do this for him because he knows Wendy will benefit from her insights more than his, I yell at my TV:

“Don’t do it, girl. He is doing this just because his insights are needed elsewhere to bury your business.”

But, of course, Rebecca is clueless about the information Victor has recently brought Axe to use and destroy Taylor’s business with some significant collateral damage! And who can blame her for believing the man she loves?

Chuck comes home to find his wife packing for her day trip with Rebecca. Chuck knows Wendy could still not digest the fact that she is losing her medical license and promises that since they have not officially ruled on it yet, he would still work behind the scenes to save her license. And the next morning he tasks Allerd with finding what makes Dr. Zhang, the chair of the medical board, lighten up! The thing is that he is late. Sean Ayles has already found out about what can lighten Dr. Zhang up in his own father’s wisdom:

“Elbow grease alone won’t solve what elbow grease and a few silver coins will.”

The institutional lubrication Axe needs to provide makes him feel like he needs the lube himself, but he will do it for Wendy. So, you may again think what a gentleman… for a second! But when you stop and think: Remember, in season 2, Axe told Taylor the kind of giving he loves is the one that gives him back. And this one will give him back. Because once Wendy’s medical license is revoked, she will still perform as a performance coach but not as a medical doctor. This means her sessions with Axe Capital employees will not be protected under “doctor – patient confidentiality” Too much of a risk for Axe to take in case the company finds itself on the wrong side of the law again.

And I am not saying Chuck would not be able to handle the medical board, I am 100% sure Allerd would find something in Dr. Zhang’s past because everyone has something in their past. It is just that Chuck does not have the time to deal with Wendy’s problem today because he has his own headache in the form of Jock Jeffcoat visiting him.

Since Chuck had warned Jeffcoat about the shit train coming his way, Jeffcoat is now returning the kindness: They have a case that will ultimately take Chuck down and so he is here to give Chuck a chance to walk away. And as Jeffcoat describes how the case will make Chuck “loud as a cow elk trying to squeeze out breached twins” Chuck responds with his maternal grandfather’s wisdom and at the AG’s face… in Italian. Like Jeffcoat, I do not know what Chuck says but again like Jeffcoat I get the general idea. Besides, I know Vaffanculo, the last word Chuck uses,  means “Fuck you.”

And, for those of you, that want to know more about Chuck’s rant to Jock, I asked Bryan Koppelman on Twitter:

But still Chuck moves the shit train to get his father, who Jeffcoat has almost kidnapped, back! The Rhoadeses know Jeffcoat is coming for them. What we do not know at this moment is how prepared they are! 😀

As Rebecca leaves the apartment for her day adventure with Wendy, I feel heartbroken seeing her smile in the elevator. Too bad she does not know Axe as good as we know him.

We have four years of experience with Axe and know that loyalty is EVERYTHING to him. Besides, we all caught the side look he gave to Rebecca in Episode 11 Lamster when she told him about her new partnership with Taylor, didn’t we?

I tweeted about my concerns that night!

And, lo and behold, Axe is on the phone with Sanford Bensinger who we find out likes a good breakfast!

Clueless about what is coming their way, Taylor is talking to their employees about their own mistakes. In contrast to Axe who they never heard say “I was wrong” or “I am sorry” Taylor owns their mistakes and they are sorry. But now they are in a business partnership with Rebecca that should end Axe’s animosity against Taylor Mason Capital. And so they will now go back to their mathematical model and put the Q back in the “Quantitative.”

Taylor is not a dreamer. They certainly know Axe still hates them. But having diagnosed Axe’s structural weakness earlier aka his commitment to Rebecca, Taylor assumes Axe will not take any action to hurt his girlfriend. WRONG!

Bryan, on the other hand, is a dreamer. He is running his own Kamikaze mission and trying to convince Kate to give him the privileged parts of the tapes. While Kate sees the Jack Torrance kind of look in Bryan’s eyes, the US attorney denies seeing creepy twins riding Big Wheels! As Kate insists that him not hearing the privileged parts of the tape is good for EVERYONE, Bryan is not listening. But when he knows Kate will not go along, he gives a call to Jeffcoat for help and arranges warrants for a search in Chuck Senior’s as well as Secretary Krakow’s personal safes. Kate will personally handle the searches.

After his breakfast with Bensinger, which we don’t see, Axe visits Chuck at home to talk about, well, Silence of The Lambs 😀

“Look I got Taylor in the well, it has applied lotion from the basket. All that’s left is skinning.

So is this Axe and Taylor? Creepy. VERY CREEPY.

While Chuck is willing to do the skinning for Axe, he needs Axe’s help because it is him who knows Taylor and how they will move when desperate. So it is Axe who should tempt them — maybe with some former employee that he has let go in the past approaching Taylor with an opportunity too good to pass — and Chuck will take care of the rest. And we all know the former employee who fits the description, don’t we? 😀

Rebecca and Wendy experience Extreme Sandbox — filed under things that I never knew existed until Billions — where they drive construction equipment to literally move dirt and crush cars?!?!  I have to say this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen — sorry, Rebecca! – but if it is working for Wendy’s healing then I am all for it! And later when they sit down for a few beers, Rebecca asks Wendy to read her:

“Most people let their childhood shit run them. You use yours to propel you.”

I cannot help wonder who Wendy has in mind as she talks about the people who let their childhood shit run them 😀 And one of them — I believe Axe’s obsession with loyalty goes back to his childhood where his dad left and never came back — is working behind the scenes  to sell Rebecca’s company.

Axe, whose face speaks volumes as Rebecca opens the board meeting with a big smile, is there for the ultimate betrayal.

It turns out Axe has Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, the executive chef at Butter, to make pancakes for Sanford Bensinger which signals to the latter they will have a serious conversation. And my jaw drops as the two men talk about getting the chest of gold before Saler’s sinks to the bottom of the ocean and saving “kind-hearted and good” Rebecca. And then they just pass the syrup!

Axe interrupts Rebecca in the board meeting to make his point. Saler’s locations will be closed effective immediately. The real estate will be transferred to a real estate investment trust controlled by him and Bensinger and will be sold off at market value. The brands the department store carries, from clothing to shoes, to autoparts, will be spun off for top dollar to private equity buyers. Last but definitely not the least, the toxic debt Saler’s has will be dumped to Kling’s balance sheet and Kling’s will be put to Chapter 11 bankruptcy immediately! Oh, and Rebecca does not have any power as the CEO anymore. Bensinger has converted the debt Saler’s  to him into shares with voting rights and he, together with Axe, convinced the other board members with a carrot — a one-time dividend payment from the sales proportional to your shares in the company — to move with them. Well, this is what Bobby Axelrod calls extreme sandbox! Why would you crush cars where you can crush people? Right?!?!

One minor detail that Rebecca genuinely cares about: How about the 50,000 employees? Oh they will settle with them about pensions and benefits. And Bensinger’s words speak volumes about why we are where we are today in America:

“I know people, and what those people will feel is: something’s better than nothing.”

And may I say Bensinger addressing Rebecca as “young lady” and sharing with her about him going from his paper route being stolen by a newspaper to owning that newspaper in the future (how similar his story is to Axe going from being insulted by Eads Senior to putting his own name on Eads Hall in Season 1 Episode 2 Naming Rights) makes me sick to my stomach? What a sexist expression implying that she is a woman who does not have the experience these two veterans have! So, pardon my Italian but Vaffanculo!

And now that I am done with Bensinger, I am turning to Axe! I do not know what the exact medical diagnosis is but I do not think Axe is right in the head. As a game theorist who studies rational behavior, I can certainly see his business decision to get rid of Saler’s is as rational as what Rebecca has made in her partnership with Taylor. But doing all this to the woman he thinks he loves in such a sneaky, cold and calculating way is SICK.

I do not believe Rebecca got into a partnership with Taylor only because she cared about her relationship with Axe. But I believe it was a significant factor in her decision since she saw early on that business is more personal to Axe than sex, and that a conflict of interest could shift their relationship quite quickly. Moreover, Axe repeatedly told Rebecca how much he admired Taylor. And finally Rebecca saved Axe from a professional suicide by getting into this partnership with Taylor because otherwise he was getting out of a lot of profitable positions just to help Rebecca buy her own house appliance company.

And how does Axe pay back? By lying in bed next to her and plotting his next move to ruin her business! Damian’s face alone deserves an Emmy here! I feel the cold that he talks about turning hot, to rage, there. He blows me away.

And his arrogance as he talks with Rebecca? OMG. Axe talks about the market calling Rebecca a genius now because of what he did. He talks about his romanticism, his plans about marrying her and having kids with her (he is again unilaterally deciding these things — how does he know if she wants to marry and have kids with him?) He tells her now they are even, both fucked over, and so they can see what is left between them.

“What is left between us is nothing.”

I recently took my mom to see her favorite show “My Fair Lady” (with a feminist ending I applaud) at Lincoln Center Theater. And as Axe gives his outrageously bullshit monologue, all I can think of is Eliza singing “Without You“:

There’ll be spring every year without you
England still will be here without you
There’ll be fruit on the tree
And a shore by the sea
There’ll be crumpets and tea without you

Art and music will thrive without you
Somehow Keats will survive without you
And there still will be rain on that plain down in Spain
Even that will remain without you, I can do without you

Mr. Axelrod, Rebecca Cantu can do without you!!!! And I cannot wait to write about the anatomy of this relationship sometime in summer. Stay tuned!

The bad news travels fast to Taylor. Given that their investors will walk away once they learn about Saler’s debt being dumped to Kling, Taylor knows they may not have a firm by the end of the day.

While Mafee advises to go the “Dog Flutie” route for a possible “Miami Miracle” Taylor does not believe in miracles. But they remember a text they have received earlier from a good friend of Mafee’s. We all know at this point Axe is coming for them hard while the “Sun God” is sitting at Saler’s board room and telling the state AG that it is time to put the cuffs on Taylor, but no charges, because this is how he wants it.

The arrogance in Axe’s tone with Chuck is even more palpable than that with Rebecca. You know Axe has been rubbing Chuck the wrong way for sometime now. And not only because he has constantly been trying to teach him his own job.

Axe cutting his vacation short to attend Wendy’s mock interview as well as Wendy’s schoolgirl-ish smile when she saw Axe and her trust for him have all been very hard for the insecure Chuck to swallow. Axe and Wendy’s special relationship has always been Chuck’s vulnerable spot. Besides, now that Axe is telling him he should go arrest Taylor rather than wasting his time does not sit well with Chuck at all!

Upon her return to the office, Wendy takes the most surprising phone call from Dr. Zhang. Because she willingly came forward and took responsibility for her actions, the board has decided not to revoke her medical license and give her a verbal warning. Wendy thinks she owes this miracle to Chuck. And guess what? Her husband does not deny it. But when she sees in the news that Axe has donated $25M to the Pancreatic Cancer Research Foundation, Wendy knows who got her license back. While it is surprising that Chuck tells his wife he did not even try to save her, because he did —he asked Allerd to look into Dr. Zhang — maybe it is just that Chuck is too proud to tell Wendy he tried but Axe got there first!

But the person who is in for the biggest surprise of the evening is Bryan. Bryan, who seemingly did the old prosecutor work, and got warrants for Kate to search Senior’s and Krakow’s personal safes, is using the time Kate is out of office to get into her office and hear the privileged part of the tapes. And his smile turns into terror in the blink of an eye. Because he is THE IDIOT.

Oh my god! Chuck’s long game is everything!!!!! And I am sorry but Bryan gets what he deserves!

It turns out Chuck has almost programmed Bryan to do all he did! I remember Lewisto, my husband, finding Chuck and DeGiulio meeting at Economy Candy as a weakness in the script. He has said Chuck would never meet at a public place like that because he knew he would be followed. And now he is sitting next to me saying “WHOA” because it was Chuck who wanted Bryan to see that and get the wiretaps so he and Senior can feed him whatever they want — from Senior’s imaginary loan problems to Chuck digging into mobile voting.

Moreover, when Chuck meets Krakow at Bruno’s back office in Episode 7 Infinite Game, he asks the Treasury Secretary to be a part of a sting operation against a corrupt member of Department of Justice! 😀 The contract Kate finds in Krakow’s safe is his agreement with Chuck to take part in this operation and what she finds in Senior’s safe is a picture placing Bryan in Senior’s house! Can it get more hilarious than that?

Oh YES IT CAN! As I focused on the cufflinks Bryan’s brother Jackie got from the safe, I did not focus at all on the flag pin Chuck gave to Kate! I thought it was a symbolic gesture. WRONG! And I am loving it! It turns out the flag pin is a recording device which Kate was able to put on Bryan’s jacket before he left to see Jeffcoat where he held Chuck Senior. And, so Jeffcoat’s ultimate Nixonian “if I order it, it is fucking legal” is on record now. So yeah Chuck has got Jeffcoat “right in the onions.” Checkmate! Hats off to Clancy Brown who has brilliantly portrayed Jock Jeffcoat but I cannot tell you how happy I am that the man who is the depiction of everything I dislike in politics is now gone! And this is, folks, what Chuck would call his Extreme Sandbox.

And while Chuck is surprised that Bryan has been so eager for tricks and even crime, I am not. As I wrote earlier in my Episode 8 Fight Night recap, It seems to me that the U.S. Attorney seat is like the ring in Lord of the Rings. Whoever sits on it has an unhealthy obsession with the “precious” and wants to keep it no matter what. Accordingly, Bryan has chosen to be Jeffcoat’s pet and is now paying for it. I am wondering what will happen to him now. My hunch is even if he does not go to jail, and even if he can practice law, he probably cannot have a job in the public sector anymore. So comes my billion dollar question: Would Axe l make a lion out of him? 😀

Taylor and Mafee find Rudy aka “the weak former employee” singing “Nessun Dorma” — an aria that has long been associated with the late tenor Luciano Pavarotti. Rudy talks about Nigerian oil warrants that do not really have a market. Only a few brokers handle them and they can set any price they want. So if Taylor Mason Capital invests a few million, in a week, Rudy can have them revalued and help TMC turn a 10M investment into, say, $200M. While the always earnest Mafee thinks it could be profitable for the company Taylor is skeptical. The aria Rudy is singing is one about someone keeping a secret. Maybe Rudy subconsciously signals to Taylor they should say no? And they do. But even their answer cannot save them from Chuck!

Because guess what? Thanks to a  video malfunction(!) the state AG has only seen the parts of the video where Taylor and Mafee are listening to what Rudy has to say! But Chuck does not arrest Taylor because he now has other plans in mind.

“When I look at the shambles my life has become From my firing, to my public disgrace, to my election with strings attached, to the destruction of my marriage, to my family falling into disrepair Ah, did I make mistakes to cause it? Perhaps. But a truer reckoning is: it all tracks back to one source. One man. A man so corrosive, so virulently infective as to strip me of every good quality I ever had: my kindness, my empathy, my sense of justice. Maybe even my ability to love.”

Huh? As a guy who lets his childhood shit run him, Chuck is extremely insecure on one hand, and too arrogant to accept his mistakes on the other and the combination is quite unhealthy! Yes, Axe has been rubbing him the wrong way for the last couple of episodes, but it is Axe saving Wendy’s license through a $25M donation that brings Chuck to the edge. If Chuck wants to know who is responsible for the situation he is in, he should look at the mirror. He had better grow up and take responsibility like Wendy. And then he may magically feel like his old self again.

On the contrary, Chuck is determined to stay the course and makes an offer to Taylor! Axe wants Taylor to go back to Axe Capital and work for him again. How about Taylor accepting this job offer and helping Chuck to take Axe down once and for all? Ha!

Axe visits Taylor at the State AG office to tell them they are coming back to him. Taylor, even with their small company, was able to win against Axe several times, cost him his relationship and Axe wants them on his side. They do not have to be best friends, they do not even have to be friends, he only needs Taylor’s brain. Taylor can bring along their team and they will have will have a pre-set bonus so they will know where they will land from the get go. They will also have a signed document with Chuck that will have a timeline for the state AG to make what he has against Taylor disappear. And, no, Chuck is not a friend, he is just a useful tool.

Now that they know both men are lined up to get rid of the other, Taylor wants to use their sort of hostage situation for their own benefit. They will do their best to get both men get their guns out, and then get out of their way, and let them kill each other. And understanding that Wendy may be the biggest friction between the two men, I wonder if Taylor will use her to initiate and escalate the conflict.

Without knowing about Chuck’s thrilling victory against Bryan and Jeffcoat, and Axe’s seeming victory against Taylor, Wendy goes to the one person whom she trusts the most.

Axe has just deleted Rebecca’s number from his contacts and Wendy has just learnt her husband did not even try to save her license. They are both at their emotional lows  — assuming Axe has emotion somewhere deep inside! And I am at the edge of my seat, maybe more so than I am during all other crazy shenanigans, as Axe and Wendy explore what options Wendy has to sleep in Axe’s apartment. And I am yelling at the top of my lungs:

“No, no, no, don’t do it!”

They do not. These two are true friends and I hope they  stay the way they are. That said, while I do not get any romantic vibe from Axe when Wendy is concerned, I am not 100% sure about Wendy at this time. It could of course be her gratitude that might bring her to him but I just get some vibe from her that I cannot interpret.

Is she missing or longing for certain someone on the other side of the bed? And if it is her once strong marriage Wendy is missing, her husband, who has earned his punishment, is enjoying the pleasures, or should I say pain, of the medieval torture equipment!

As Axe welcomes Taylor and their team to Axe Capital with Elvis Costello & The Attractions’ “Peace, Love and Understanding” playing in the background, I cannot help think about his words to Rebecca earlier about Gauguin: That he was broke all the time with his creditors chasing him, he had a bad case of syphilis, and a tendency to marry teenagers. I just hope Axe does not end up like him. I am not talking about syphilis or teenagers.

It will be delicious to see Taylor doing their best to beat Axe and Chuck in their own game in Season 5! Best of luck! And yeah the wait will be long but we all know it will be WORTH IT!

It’s a wrap! Source: @kellyaucoin77 Twitter

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!

34 thoughts on “Billions on Showtime Season 4, Episode 12: Extreme Sandbox”

  1. Loved it!!!! The only thing wrong with the finale is that it was just that. So, now we contemplate and wait, for months on end! It would seem the main plot will move back to what it was in seasons 1 and 2, which I have long felt were the best. I cannot help but wonder how many episodes it will take until Axe realizes he and Chuck are not really in cahoots and Taylor is helping to destroy him? I do agree that the little segment with Wendy and Rebecca and their earth moving machines was silly, not as bad as Wags’ hug, but close. Happy to see the end of Rebecca, but is it? Will she return next year for revenge? Oh, and did Axe really mean to hire all of Taylor’s employees? (Mafee is the only one I like in that crowd.) Did anyone else notice that Sandy’s pancakes were a tad burned? Or maybe they were supposed to be, but I wouldn’t want them that way. I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts throughout this week as I view this finale several more times. Will have my fingers crossed that season 5 brings us lots of Bonnie, Ben, Bill and Spyros, and of course Wags. Thank you Damianista for a season of wonderful blogs. What a great deal of work you and the others have put into this effort. Yes, I often disagreed, but hey, if we all thought alike, what a boring world this would be!!!

    1. Thank you for reading, Connie, and for your kind words! I LOVE the season finale, too! And Damian’s performance in the episode blows me away. He plays on this thin line between love and hate and delivers it perfectly.

      Extreme Sandbox is one of the most ridiculous recreational activity I have ever seen. There is no way I can understand how come people have fun crushing cars 🙂 But tastes differ so what do I know? I admit though I like it that Billions shows us silly stuff that the rich do because they can do it, e.g. hiring professional cuddlers or playing in extreme sandbox!

      They have again reset the show, haven’t they? While Bobby does not see Chuck as a friend, but a useful too, he does not know the offer Chuck made to Taylor. I am so curious if Taylor can use especially Wendy to initiate a conflict between the two men. Talking about Taylor, I think Axe has allowed Taylor to bring their team, and he said he would walk away soon and Taylor would have their company again. And I think Rebecca may return but I do not think as a girlfriend but only a nemesis!

      It seems they will start filming in November this year — two months later than their usual September so I am guessing we will have them back on TV sometime in May. So the wait will be a bit less than a year – I hope!

  2. I called it last week. Bryan and his brother just waltzing into Chuck Senior’s apartment and breaking into that safe was unbelievable because it was too easy. Bryan was also dumb to accompany his brother on a safecracking mission. He wasn’t cut out for life as a rule breaker. He just wasn’t going to good at doing whatever it takes to get the guy. Chuck, on the other hand, is a pro at it. I really like Sacker. She was a true friend to Bryan but also helped Chuck and most importantly herself. She tried to save Bryan but he just couldn’t see it. Being blinded by rage and a need for revenge is always a weak spot for the men on this show. Letting things become personal is always going to be a problem for them. Bryan let rage and a quest for vengeance corrupt him. He should have known better because he saw what happened to Chuck when he got that way.

    I felt really sorry for Rebecca but I knew Axe would have no problems screwing her over. That sexist, condescending fake “keep your head up and learn from this young lady” pep talk from Sandy was the cherry on the shit sundae. Axe has always been ruthless but now he’s just downright cruel. He’s always been an antihero type like a lot of other great tv characters (i.e. Walter White, Don Draper, Tony Soprano, etc.) but now he’s irredeemable to me. He basically told Rebecca and us that he feeds off of non-stop hostility and vengeance. He may have said it was about Rebecca’s disloyalty but it wasn’t. She took a kill away from him when she made that truce with Taylor. He’s a bitter, petty, angry and deeply disturbed man who always needs an enemy to fight. He needs that more than he needs anything else. Including a family and a relationship.

    I like Taylor and I hope their plan works out. Taylor was smart enough to sense a trap, something Axe and Chuck couldn’t do. I hope she can kill them both or let them bloody themselves enough to where they can escape.

    I called the reignited war between Axe and Chuck several episodes ago. As Axe said, Chuck was a useful tool who stopped being useful. He never really liked or respected him and vice versa. I’m sure Axe knew that Chuck’s insecurities over his marriage were his Achilles heel and used that to torment him. I think Axe is too much of a schemer to not try to drive a wedge between them.

    I really wish the Rhoades’ marriage would die already. Their fights and awkward conversations are annoying. I sensed Wendy was vulnerable and needed someone to give her some real love and affection. She knows Axe loves and values her. I’m glad he didn’t take advantage of her vulnerability and sleep with her. I hope they don’t become romantic. Axe just isn’t good at romantic relationships and Wendy is not even sure what she wants out of a relationship. Sometimes she wants to be a domme and other times she wants the man to take control. Axe is too much of an arrogant, control freak to want to switch things up in his personal life. Just ask Lara and Rebecca. Here’s hoping Rebecca really comes back strong and screws Axe over.

    1. Thank you for reading!

      Yes, you called it! I thought Chuck would somehow take Jeffcoat down but was thinking he could be more merciful against Bryan, but yeah Bryan has become Jeffcoat’s pet and gone too far to catch Chuck. And since he has also violated the law, he deserved what he got. I am very curious about what will happen to him. Will he still be able to practice law? If yes, probably he can’t have a government job again. Maybe he can be Axe’s new attorney or something hahaha!

      Oh My God. Sandy is the BIGGEST hypocrite. Their breakfast conversation was so sexist, too: “Let’s save the kind-hearted princess” kind of thing. It made me sick to my stomach. And it is the reality, even in 21st century, these men exist, and the way they see women is quite different than how they see men in business. Shame on them!

      I think Axe is not right in the head. I don’t know what the exact diagnosis is but he really needs help. I think Wendy was talking about him and also Chuck when she was talking about men who let their childhood shit run them. Axe’s obsession with loyalty is coming from the fact that his dad walked over on him and his mom when Bobby was 12. And he is ready to ruin his personal life for it. Incredible. I knew that Axe would screw Saler’s the moment Rebecca told him about her business with Taylor — the side look he gave to her was incredible. What he has done may be a rational decision — Saler’s is a sinking ship after all BUT doing this to the woman he supposedly loves and behind her back is unacceptable. I do not even know if he has real capacity to love. But I still think Axe is in a gray area. How he said “fuck Axe Cap” when Wags was held hostage at the Qadir Embassy, the kind way he sent Bruno to retirement in Florida, he finally accepted that he should let Lara and the boys move to California and he donated $25M to save Wendy’s license (I think this last one also works for him because all sessions at Axe Cap will now have “doctor/patient confidentiality) so he has done good things, too, this season. But yeah that last one coupled with how he ruined John Rice’s career in Episode 5 is unacceptable and when you think about it, it is always about disloyalty in his mind and he has to take revenge from anyone that has been disloyal to him no matter what.

      It will be very interesting to see how Taylor will scheme to have two men go at it again. We know Wendy can create the biggest conflict between them —as you say it is Chuck’s Achilles Heel —so I wonder whether it would be tempting for Taylor to use the special relationship between Axe and Wendy in some way to initiate/escalate a conflict between them.

      I am so glad Bobby and Wendy did not go there. They are good friends, and they could have regretted what happened later. And, honestly, I did not get any vibe from Axe that he is interested in her, but I got it from Wendy — maybe it was a combination of being grateful and emotionally weak at that point. I find Axe possessive and macho in romantic relationships, even when he said last night that he was thinking of marrying Rebecca, and having kids with her, I mean, he is unilaterally deciding that?!?! The feminist in me cannot stand that kind of talk! Anyway, I do not think the writers will ever take Bobby and Wendy to bed but they will create some sexual tension which I think is delicious. And, oh yes I am also hoping Rebecca to take her own revenge from Axe!

  3. This may be your longest recap, but it is one of the best! You know I don’t pay too much attention to the Chuck/Bryan/Jock story-line throughout the season (I just don’t care enough about the characters!) so I always need your recap to tell me what is going on. I like your thought of the possibility of Bryan working for Axe. If/when Axe realizes that Chuck has him back in his cross-hairs, having someone like Bryan (who can be a “consultant” without having to practice law) could be of help.

    I am also sad at the thought of seeing the last of Rebecca. I really loved her character. but something tells me she’s not one to roll up into a ball and die. I’m hoping she’s back some time in S5.

    What Axe did to Rebecca was brutal, and the worst part was it was a choice! He knew what he was doing – giving up a chance at a “normal” life, but his hatred is more important to him that love or happiness. I’ll always be Team Axe because I relate to many things about him, but this I just don’t. He is beyond broken, and I do hope at some point we see why (it’s got to be his childhood). I don’t think we’ll ever seen him change – he is who he is (getting arrested at the WTC didn’t change him at all!!), but I’d like to understand why he’s this way.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who got the vibe that Wendy was possibly willing to cross that line with Axe. And I’m glad he was a gentleman with her. She was looking for a port in the storm, and if anything would have happened between them, I think they both would have regretted it. Question: if Chuck went bananas when he found out about the $25M “donation”, what is he going to do when he finds out Wendy went to Axe’s apartment in her time of need?

    1. Thank you!

      Ha! I didn’t think about a consulting job for Bryan but yeah why not? He may just follow Spyros to Axe Capital in some capacity. Honestly, I do not know what will happen to him. Will he be brought in front of a court somehow? Will there be a verdict? Or a plea? Can he practice law again? But whatever happens — I do not think he can work in the government ever again. That part of his life is over. Maybe when Axe understands that Chuck is chasing him he may go hire Bryan haha that would be FUN!

      I agree 100% with you about what Axe did to Rebecca. He chose to do it in a cold and calculating manner and behind her back. He could have sat down with her and shared his feelings and see how she responded. But, no, Bobby Axelrod does not negotiate with “terrorists.” I am sure Wendy was talking about him and Chuck when she talked about people that let their childhood shit run them. I think this is about his dad leaving him and his mom when Bobby was 12. Loyalty is everything to him because his dad was disloyal to his wife and his son. My two cents. It okay that he is beyond broken but he is hurting others and this is unacceptable. I think Rebecca was shocked — well, after all, we know Bobby for much longer than she does. I agree that she will return to the show at some point but not as a girl friend but as a nemesis. I also wonder if she knows the paintings on Axe’s walls are the originals — if I had been her, I would have let the government know and make Bobby pay that $75M tax…. for starters! 😀

      Oh yeah I got a “vibe” from Wendy. Maybe it was just a combination of her gratitude and her emotional weakness that made me think that way but I saw a different Wendy there. I am so glad though they stay the way they are and I do not think the writers will ever take them to bed. They are perfect the way they are. There is some delicious sexual tension at times but after all they are good friends and partners for life. Love them!

      Do you remember Chuck’s pain when he saw the two of them on the Axe Capital balcony back in Season 1 Episode 11? I think after that he violated Wendy’s privacy and got into her private session notes. Wendy’s special relationship with Axe can always trigger some impulsive reaction with Chuck. I wonder if Taylor will make use of it in Season 5 to initiate a conflict between the two men!

  4. Great final episode that will be a good lead in into next season. We sure saw Bobby’s dark side! He threw Rebecca overboard in order to get at Taylor, He chose vengeance and domination over love. But Saylor’s was just not viable, no matter how much Rebecca wanted it to be…for her own childhood and self-affirming, egotistical reasons. So lots of clashing mega-egos here including Chuck Jr’s.
    Many thanks to D and her insightful women confederates for this blog. Speaking of unreconstructed Confederates, it sure looks like Jock is done and gone. Probably Bryan too. Kate is taking over Bryan’s niche. Rebecca might be back. Maybe.
    Wendy and Axe will not be consummated next season. Their sexual tension is too important.

    Elvis Costello & The Attractions’ “Peace, Love and Understanding”…. this is a Nick Lowe tune. He was in Rockpile with the great Dave Edmunds who is known for >>>

    Axe is no fool. He will be monitoring Taylor and her gang very carefully. He knows she is almost an Axe level schemer. It will be impossible for They to get one over on Axe despite the Chuck-Taylor alliance. Remember that at the end of this season Axe basically won over Taylor. I can see next season Chuck demanding lots of sabotage with Taylor unable to deliver.

    1. Thank you for reading and for your kind words!

      What a finale! Oh, man, I had thought we saw Axe’s dark side and now we saw his darkest side and if this is not the darkest then I am quite scared!!!! Loyalty is everything for this man, and I think it has something to do with his childhood issues. Wendy was talking about him and Chuck when she was talking about people that let their childhood shit run them. Axe’s dad was the first person who was “disloyal” to him when he left him and his mom and Axe will never let anyone ever again be disloyal to him. He can do incredibly kind gestures to people that have always been loyal — Wags, Wendy, Bruno come to mind. But then he can bury the business of the person he is supposedly in love and thinking about marrying with. CRAZY.

      I agree Jock is probably gone. I do not think Bryan is gone. I am curious what will happen to him now. Will he go on trial? Can he go to jail for what he’s done? Can he negotiate a plea? Can he ever practice law again? But even if he can practice law, there is no way he can get a government job ever again. So…. my prediction is he can follow Spyros’ footsteps to… Axe Capital!!! Something that he would never consider doing earlier… it would be fun to see his transformation!

      I hope Axe and Wendy stay the way they are. I love their relationship. Yes, I do not think Axe trusts Taylor 100% but at least assumes they will fall in line so that Axe walks away soonoer than later and they have their own company again… One thing I don’t agree in your comment: I don’t think Axe won over Taylor in the season finale. Taylor just acted like they were happy to be going back to Axe Capital but they are determined to take both men down once and for all. You think Chuck will ask them for sabotage and they will not be able to deliver because they are loyal to Axe? We will see but I think Taylor is revenge mood, too, right now. Ahhh it will be long wait, isn’t it? Thanks for the chats every Monday here!

  5. Wow, nearly 5000 words!

    Now we know what Damian meant in his tweet earlier this year about the cold and hard heart of this show. Can’t find the tweet but have a sense he tweeted that just after filming this episode. He’s doing so much to add some layers to Bobby and will always be watchable to me. The scene in the board room, in particular, could’ve been played an entirely different way. But Damian chose a specific way to do it. And it was stunning to watch. Regardless, gotta say, if Damian were not playing Bobby, I’d call it quits just about now. What a heartless cruel beast he is. The only way to insert some humanity in the character is to know what made him this way. But, if it hasn’t done it already, I sense the show will never give us the back story we need so badly.

    They sewed up all the lingering threads in this one episode. The rush to place everyone on different spots of the chess board was palpable. Along with the pop references, switching everything up at the last minute seems to be a hallmark of the show. Maybe the very last episode of the series will similarly rush to give us the full back story. That’d be funny, very very frustrating, and totally on brand for this show. Anyhoo, on to the next!

    1. Thanks for reading! Yeah, like Axe saying “F*** it” i also said it when the post got longer and longer — since it is the season finale, I let it go, said everything I wanted to say.

      Oh I remember that tweet… Hang on (D goes to find the tweet…and finds it!)

      His look in the bed lying to Rebecca followed by him telling her about the process in his mind and how he decided to screw her business was masterclass. The things he can do with words as much as without words are unbelievable. I believe Wendy was talking about him as well as Chuck when she talked about people who let their childhood shit run them. Axe’s obsession with loyalty should be about how his dad left him and his mom when he was 12. And he probably promised himself that he would not allow anyone to be disloyal to him. But I agree we do not know the exact backstory and what happened and under what conditions and so on. I believe they will give us the backstory when they feel it is the right time exactly like what they did with Axe and Wendy’s backstory. I love it that all the mysteries are being revealed all the time. We know that Billions ties all the loose ends and my hunch is by the series finale we will have all the answers to our questions.

      I think even the way the two of us call the character gives us our feelings about him. You call him Bobby desperately trying to find some humanity in him while I call him Axe — he is a machine that shows a glimpse of humanity once in a while (like when he gave the perfect sendoff to Bruno). I think what is happening to you about this show is what happened to you with Mad Men. I remember our chats and you hated Don Draper and so quit watching. Remember Mad Men is Koppelman’s and Levien’s favorite show. So is mine. I think I don’t mind watching gray characters getting grayer and grayer and sometimes being complete jerks like Don and you are more sensitive. I may be wrong. But this is my two cents.

      Since they are starting to film 2 months later than usual this year, I guess we will have Season 5 in late May 2020 or so. I have to familiarize myself with VPN I have a feeling I will need to watch at least the last few episodes in Turkey! 🙂

      1. Love your optimism!

        It’s precisely my dissatisfaction with the Axe Wendy back story that has me doubting that, IF, (that’s a big if), they ever tell us about Axe’s childhood it’ll be a similar non-event.

        I don’t think Wendy knows all about Axe’s childhood either. They already hashed out his daddy issues off screen, so I don’t think Wendy included Axe in “people who let their childhood shit run them.” It’s pretty clear that Axe is divorced from whomever he was growing up. He rejected his dad before the dad left. This bit they did already reveal when he went to visit his mother. He was shut down before anyone else shut him down it seems. But it still has to come from somewhere.

        Chuck, on the other hand, is still mired deep in his history. That’s one big thing that makes them different. The American Dream (which Axe symbolizes) is never meant to look back, to address history and make peace with it. It’s meant to forge on at top speed, never pausing for self-reflection. So, it seems fitting that Axe will never get a back story. Chuck is anchored to “law” however twisty it gets to enforce, his whole being is about looking back to what is right and just.

        Don Draper had a great back story which I loved. But, yeah, his asshole behavior wore thin. “gray characters getting grayer”? That would make them not gray anymore, no?. And pure unadulterated assholes? So, no, I don’t think my disappointment with this season of Billions is exactly the same as my disappointment with Mad Men. I think if Damian had been Don Draper, I wouldn’t have so easily closed the door on him. Damian has a way of adding layers even where there are none on the page. Not just showing humanity, but showing the truth of the character, in ways that the writers may not even realize. Like he said, he has to play advocate for this character. He takes that job seriously no matter how much of an asshole is written on the page. Don Draper at the end was a drunk and alone, but still on top of the world, literally. He ended with a smile telling us he got away with it all. I don’t think Bobby will end that way. If he does, the smile will mean something else on Damian’s face. He can do gray like no one else can. And so he’s Bobby to me, still, and not Axe the machine, yet. 🙂

  6. “You think Chuck will ask them for sabotage and they will not be able to deliver because they are loyal to Axe? We will see but I think Taylor is revenge mood, too, right now.”

    In no way is Taylor loyal to Axe. I am just saying that Taylor sabotaging Axe will be difficult. Remember those deep hidden bombs They and Macfee inserted into Axe Capital contracts. That is some very low down shit in my book. Bobby has not forgotten. Thus Taylor helping out Chuck will hard for They.

    Next season Bobby is going to be getting a cut ($$$) of all Taylor and crew’s action. He wants Taylor and her crew working for him, under his umbrella, because they are *earners*. Also wants them so he can lord over them rather than Taylor having her own independent shop.

    1. I think Taylor’s plan is prepare the conditions for the two men to grab their guns and kill each other. What they need to do is just to provoke them against Chuck and provoke Chuck against them. That is the brilliance of their plan in my opinion.

  7. What fury behind those blue eyes. It was nice to hear Pete sing instead of Roger. Even the music has a twist.
    The finale was so stressful, OMG. D you truly outdid yourself, great, great recap. And thank you all in advance for keeping our interest until next season.
    The storyline I’ll touch on is Wendy. My take is that she liked not having Chuck next to her in bed. I agree with almost everyone that her relationship and flirtation with Axe will continue, with it’s ups and downs, but no further.
    I could go for the Extreme Sandbox, totally. My vacation choice would lean toward a boot camp rather than laying on a beach.

    Side note: Asia was a fascinating villain in John Wick 3.

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I know it is a long review but I had to get everything out of my chest 🙂 It was an explosive finale. And yes we will certainly keep the conversation going!

      Wendy: Oh! So maybe she was checking to make sure that he was not there! Quite a possibility!

      Asia is certainly going places!!!!

  8. That was Pete Townsend singing? Look on youtube for Eminence Front live with Pete sweating profusely and all coked up.

  9. “I think Taylor’s plan is prepare the conditions for the two men to grab their guns and kill each other.”
    D– Don’t read that so literally. The writers have an entire next season to write. Some of what Taylor says will pan out. I say 25% and the rest will be the usual scheming, take downs and skulduggery we have grown to love. But now this is a three way with T added to Chuck and Bobby.

    1. And I am only saying Taylor has an advantage in that three way. But of course there will be twists and turns.

  10. A thought on the final scene with Axe and Wendy. There was a lot of emphasis on those white sheets and pillow cases. Ummm, white for purity, symbolizing the Axe/Wendy relationship; it hasn’t gone beyond business and friendship……yet! Seemed like Wendy would have been willing to have Axe spend the night with her. Maybe Axe was just a little leery of being rejected though. Oh, and in response to one of the comments, he is always “Axe” to me, never Bobby. I think I stated way back in season one that Bobby is fine for boys and maybe teens, but an adult Robert should be “Bob” in my opinion.

    1. I am so glad Axe and Wendy did not go there. They were both emotionally weak and they may have regretted spending the night later on… But it seems we all felt like Wendy did not go there only for a sleepover. I wonder if Chuck will find out about Wendy having a sleepover at Axe’s!!!!

      In my case, Bobby is very human to me — maybe because my first love was Bobby Ewing in Dallas when I was very little — and Axe describes the character much better than Bobby does.

      1. Agreed, Axe is very much an axe when he wants to be. Another thing in common, my first love was also a Bobby, actually my only love. But by the time we married he had become “Bob”, the child was gone. On second thought, perhaps Axe really is a Bobby and has never quite grown up in some respects. In some ways Wendy too needs to grow up. Who in the heck takes care of her children? She is never home and when she is they are not in evidence. Why did the writers even include them at all? I don’t think she and Axe will ever become a couple… two alphas, bad mix.

        1. Wondering why my last comment (about Axe being an axe and Bobby not Bob) showed as Anonymous? I must have done something wrong.

  11. “I have to familiarize myself with VPN I have a feeling I will need to watch at least the last few episodes in Turkey!”
    Damianista — I doubt you need any VPN in Turkey. To see Billions you use the utorrent program to download torrents you find on EETV or the Asian version of Bay. >>>>>

    1. I know about Torrent programs but (i) I don’t think they are safe to use, they may bring virus to your computer, and (ii) it is violation of copyright – the work the creators and the cast put in. So I am subscribed to Showtime and that is how I will watch the show over summer in Turkey next year. My hunch is they will be back in May 2020. Everything being moved two months or so.

  12. Awesome analysis! Personally, I think that Axe and Chuck are setting Taylor up for another fall. #Billions

      1. My only problem is that do all the episodes have to come out in 12 straight weeks? Why not just film 3 episodes at a time and then eave a 2-3 week gap between episodes? That way the first 2-3 episodes could come out sooner.

        1. I think they need to reserve a window to shoot all episodes – actors do other jobs outside the window – other series, film and theater. And Showtime probably wants to market the show like it markets (and like all other channels do) all other shows.

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