Billions on Showtime, Season 7 Episode 4: Hurricane Rosie

Hurricane Rosie is a great episode demonstrating all kinds of hurricanes, literal and figurative, a billionaire businessman can face when he decides to run a presidential campaign! And the experiences he goes through in the episode makes Mike Prince realize that he cannot make casual decisions as he pleases anymore. Every single thing he does, in fact every single thing any of his employees does on behalf of the company, now matters in a way that it did not before. Prince comes out of the episode, having averted three major crises, as the apparent winner, yet he is clueless about a Cat 5 hurricane coming his way. Its name is Wendy.

Hurricane Rosie:

MPC employees seem to have too much time on their hands that they hang out in front of the TV betting on the potential name and category of a hurricane! And it is simply surreal to see that the bets start at 2-3K and go up to 10K which they send like 10 bucks on Venmo and Zelle! And I plan to give Ben Kim the “Et tu, Brutus?” Award in this week’s MVP awards since even he seems to have a clear conscience betting on a disaster because he will donate a portion of his wins to charity – attesting to the fact that philanthropy is a way to make rich people feel good about themselves. SIGH.

And here come the killjoys! Taylor and Philip are concerned that they will categorize the hurricane as a Cat 5 . MPC holds several billions worth of catastrophe bonds issued by Southern Property and Casualty, one of the major insurers in the hurricane region. And if they grade the hurricane as a Cat 5, this will trigger the MPC bonds to pay out claims, and in Dollar Bill’s words, MPC will be Southern Property and Casualty’s bitch! Philip’s recommendation for everyone is a reference to yet another Kevin Costner movie:

“So, make like Costner in Waterworld, and start praying for dry land.”

The only person who is incredibly confident, as though he is reporting from a Hurricane Hunter, about the hurricane not being a Cat 5 is… Wags! And as Rian thanks the mythical deities Thor, Zeus and Isis when Hurricane Rosie is graded as a Cat 4, Taylor and Philip know that the real God behind all this could be Wags!

Wags had a cracking comeback last week. He now quotes “It’s a miracle. Praise the Lord” from the scene in which Andy Dufresne disappears from his cell in The Shawshank Redemption. But Taylor and Philip saw the movie and they know that Dufresne’s escape was meticulously planned and so could this hurricane category be!

It turns out Wags who visits Chelz at the gym is actually there to see the man who knows it all about hurricanes! And no wonder Wags is all smiles when Al Roker, everyone’s favorite weather anchor, tells him that it is ultimately a real person who decides the category of a hurricane.

“Anywhere human error is in effect, that’s where I get busy.”

In short, the woman who makes the final category decision about the hurricane is now very rich.

Even though Wags saves the company an amount equivalent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Bhutan,Prince is furious. So is Bradford Luke who says it does not take a Kasparov to see the problem Wags has caused. Thousands of people have lost their homes, the insurance company is up to its neck in claims and Prince’s bonds are pristine. Terrible optics! Besides, Prince is convinced that his presidential run will go down the toilet if someone finds out about what Wags has done.

As Wags gets defensive, Wendy asks him to change gears because the people in the room feel they should fire him for cause. Wags behaves and apologizes. Prince calls his home state to have the Indiana National Guard send units to areas hit hardest by the hurricane and wins brownie points!

Hurricane Kai Huang Liu:

It turns out one of Karl Allard’s favorite pastimes is to spend time at GA meetings to find an interesting case… and he is lucky tonight. A GA member called John G. talks about a Taiwanese scamster who cheated him in an NFT scheme. Karl’s quick Google search says Kai Huang Liu is a Taiwanese tycoon’s son and dad does business with Mike Prince of all people! So Karl and his samovar are all ears to hear John G’s entire story and take it to Chuck as a kicker who calls it a “Tom Dempsey.

When they have a warrant to arrest hi,  Liu vanishes into thin air. Chuck tells Karl to task Amanda with finding Liu and what she finds brings a slight Russell Zisky smile to Karl’s face! Well, it turns out that the young Liu is flying home on Prince’s personal jet, I mean, can it get better than that for Chuck?

While Ira asks Chuck to wait until the plane lands in Taipei because Taiwan is typically cooperative in extraditing to the US, Chuck is determined not to get international authorities involved in this. Instead he calls Kate who tells a surprised Prince that he should ground his plane right away.

Scooter casually explains that Prince and Mr. Liu are close business partners and they borrow each other’s jets when needed. It seems these people borrow planes like we the mortals borrow cars hahaha! So, when asked, they lent the plane without prior information that the passanger would be youung Liu who seems to have committed a federal offense.

Bradford and Kate push Prince to ground the plane, but it is not such an easy decision for Prince. He and Mr. Liu made billions together and have contracts to make more! So Prince calls the pilot to check on their fuel status and tells him to make a loop, big enough, so young Liu cannot feel a thing, stay in the US air space and hold that pattern until Prince figures what is happening.

Prince  needs to figure out what Chuck wants from him right away. He first sends Kate to Chuck’s office – obviously staged for a visit from MPC with the “murder board” for Mike Prince out in the open!

The conversation between Kate and Chuck is a very enjoyable duel of words. Kate is confident that they can prove Prince had no prior knowledge of the fugitive flying on his plane and Chuck is convinced he can make Prince go down like Julius and Ethel Rosenberg or Aldrich Hames.  I believe everybody knows about the Rosenbergs. But if you want to learn about Hames then see Spy Wars Episode 4 A Perfect Traitor narrated by the one and only Damian Lewis on ParamountPlus.

Chuck gives Prince two options when they meet at Hudson River Park with Little Island in the background: He either gives Chuck the young Liu in cuffs on American soil or withdraws from the race…

…which makes Prince do something shocking! He calls his Taiwanese business partner and promises him trade privileges and his son a pardon (if he ends up in jail) within 100 days of his presidency. Huh? A president using presidential powers to further his business interests is unacceptable, and when coupled with the confidence Prince has in being the next POTUS, it is mind-blowing! Look at Bradford’s face as he hears Prince’s phone conversation. He may be having second thoughts about a potential Prince presidency.

So Prince orders his plane back, meets the young Liu in his plane and gives him to the authorities, and tells the press that his plane was borrowed under false pretenses there is nothing more important for him, as a US citizen than obeying the law and thanks Chuck for bringing this to his attention. I wonder if anybody is buying his bullshit.

Oh and as they wait for Prince’s private jet to land, Karl remembering the empty chopper from Season 5 Episode 12 No Direction Home makes me laugh!

Hurricane High Culture: 

We find out that Scooter’s wildest dream is to conduct the NY Philharmonic and Prince is determined to make it happen as a reward for his most trusted and loyal man. According to Bradford though classical music is for pussies.  Only Al Capone can pull it off in The Untouchables because first he is having Malone killed at the same time and second it is Robert De Niro 🙂 Anyone else is pussy.

Wendy, who has ulterior motives, pushes Prince to hold his stance by positing that Mike Prince is a maverick who rewrites the rules, and hey, HE IS THE BUCK! Perfect. Bradford teases Wendy that she has just given him a brutal injury like the one Lawrence Taylor gave to Joe Theismann as Prince makes the big announcement about Scooter conducting the NY Philharmonic in two weeks.

As a big  fan of classical music (I am listening to Bach’s Solo and Double Violin Concertos as I am writing this!) and a political scientist, I would like to say a few words about Bradford’s observation: He should be right about voters thinking classical music is for pussies. They probably think it is elitist which is no different than when people thought Obama was elitist when he said his favorite green was arugula! Like one understands political issues better when you prefer lettuce 🙂 So while I am not a  fan of Prince having a presidential run, I applaud his taste in music and his love for Marin Alsop, too! She’s an incredible conductor. And it is the great Leonard Bernstein, whose baton Prince gifts to Scooter, who inspired Alsop to become a conductor. Love it!

However, at the end of the day, Prince realizes he needs to listen to what Bradford  says even when he does not feel like it. And when he goes to Scooter’s office, the latter already knows that he has to wait for a bit longer for his dreams to come true. Scooter will not conduct the NY Philharmonic in two weeks but a promise will conduct the National Orchestra after Prince is inaugurated. Scooter agreeing to this so graciously hints that this kind of behavior (not fulfilling promises he gives) may be Prince’s signature.

So, where is Wendy in all of this?

Well, Wendy referring to assassin-themed films/plays such as Grosse Pointe Blank and Shakespeare’s Richard III attests to the fact that she feels like an assassin. And she finally spills the beans to Dr. Mayer about her mission to stop Michael Prince’s presidential run. Wendy believes that the damage she intends to impose is justified but she does not know if she can live with the collateral damage because she will hurt some people she cares about in the process.

Dr. Mayer refers to the well-known Trolley Problem:

Here’s the most basic version of the Trolley Problem: There is a runaway trolley barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You have two (and only two) options: Do nothing, in which case the trolley will kill the five people on the main track. Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person. Which is the more ethical option? Or, more simply: What is the right thing to do?

Everybody knows they need to divert the runaway trolley if more people will live, but when you learn nice things about the potential victim on the side track you may start thinking differently… That said, some of the people Wendy needs to hurt, as she works to stop Prince from being the President, are Dr. Mayer’s patients. So Dr. Mayer stops their session due to conflict of interest…

…only to refer her other MPC capper patients out to other psychiatrists so she can work with Wendy on her mission!

And if Dr. Mayer had not raised the issue of Wendy blushing when she mentioned a certain man with a bright future who would be hurt in her operation, I would have!

As Bradford and Wendy tease each other about how to help Prince in the campaign, I feels some chemistry there. And now that Bradford has heard Prince making trade privilege promises along with a pardon for his business partner’s son, I wonder whether he may be having second thoughts about a possible Michael Prince presidency. I always come back to the opening scene in the final season in which Prince is desperate enough to throw a computer through Wendy’s glass walls and storm into her office! What did Wendy DO to make Prince throw a tantrum?

BUT… If Wags knows about Dr. Mayer, Scooter knows about her, too; and so does Prince. Given that Prince gave rings to MPC employees to follow them closely (remember how they saved Wags from a Peloton heart attack in Season 6!) he may also want to follow their lives through their psychiatrist. In the light of this, would Wendy really trust Dr. Mayer with her secret mission? So is the blushing real, or is she feeding Dr. Mayer false information until she trusts her completely?

It goes without saying that I hope Dr. Mayer is not compromised and is there to help Wendy.

Bradford saying it does not take a Kasparov to see the problem Wags has caused is a hint for us to realize that Wags has not acted impulsively to have the hurricane graded as a Cat 4. Yes, Wags can be impulsive but he is also smart and strategic. He certainly knows about the potential consequences to Prince’s campaign if the word got out about what he has done. But the only person that could see that Wags has done it to sabotage Prince’s campaign is Wendy. So she finds Wags late at night to tell him that nobody can do it alone. This operation should be full-on Murder on The Orient Express, one of my favorite Agatha Christie books in which a group of people collectively take care of a murderer. Wags is in!

Scooter will not be able to conduct the New York Philharmonic But I trust Wendy will conduct a Cat5 Hurricane to bring Prince’s presidential campaign to an end.

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!

4 thoughts on “Billions on Showtime, Season 7 Episode 4: Hurricane Rosie”

  1. Damianista – Instantly thought of you when Costner and Waterworld was mentioned! Smiled and said, “ahh, I bet she’s happy” 🙂 I completely forgot that Hames was covered in Spy Wars. Good catch! And on Paramount+ along with Billions no less! This episode was so good – assassins, murders and sabotage…oh my! lol

    1. I was laughing when they mentioned Waterworld – a rare KC movie I didn’t like! I still remember that Lewisto and I were dating at the time and he was in his first year in the US for graduate school ( I joined him a year later in 1996) and so he watched it before I did and told me about it.

      There was also a reference to The Untouchables with Capone listenining to Pagliacci in this episode! I have to count the number of movie references that I can credit to Kevin at some point. I remember Untouchables (multiple times), Field of Dreams, Dances with Wolves, Tin Cup off the top of my head and now Waterworld!!!!) And hey Chuck was called Robin Hood in a previous episode and KC is the only Robin Hood for me!!! :)))) And yes Spy Wars is now on Paramount+ I had no idea!

  2. Great recap – as always. I love how you got to Hurricane Wendy! The last time Wendy would have been used as a hurricane name was 2019, but there were not enough storms that year to get that far into the list, so it’s good to see it being used here!
    I’m convinced the writers know of your Keven Costner association because his movies are referenced so often!

    1. Hahahaha about Kevin Costner aka “my ex “as Lewisto calls him! My close friends still say it is Kevin’s loss that there was no internet when we were in college otherwise Kevin would have a blog dedicated to him! :)))) Just off the top of my head Billions referenced Dances with Wolves, Tin Cup, Untouchables (multiple times), Field of Dreams and now Waterworld. I suspect there is a fan in the writers’ room 🙂

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