If Bookworm had not given me the heads up, I would have been totally clueless: The title of this episode refers to two fundamental shots in Squash, a fast-paced racket sport that is also known as turbo-charged chess: the more skilled a player is, the more strategic the game becomes.
A boast shot is any shot that hits a sidewall or back wall before hitting the front wall. There are two types: The best time to use the attacking boast is when you are in front of your opponent. A good attacking boast forces your opponent to run the full diagonal to be able to return it. The best time to use the defensive boast is when you are behind your opponent. A good defensive boast gives you time to recover and sometimes can win you the point, too.
A rail shot is when you hit the ball, parallel to the side wall, to the front wall and back into the corner. It is useful when your opponent plays you into a corner.
So… Who is boasting? Who is railing? You decide!
Bryan is obviously not happy with the drive he received from Donnie at the end of last episode. The FBI breaks into Donnie’s house in the wee hours and takes him to the US attorney’s office. Why does Donnie frantically hide his prescription drugs as the FBI gets into his bedroom? I bet he is seriously sick. Is that why Axe gave him 200K shares of Rubinex? I remember Donnie saying “game changer for the family.”
Donnie makes a case for himself. The drive has their internal audit on Kemlot, a biochem company that is not doing great. So, when Axe longs Kemlot, the audit, which Axe has personally sent Donnie, will be key evidence about Axe having insider information because he is going against the numbers. Bryan wants proof that Axe is “trading material nonpublic info” within a week.
Chuck and Wendy are VIP guests at the Big Apple Circus with their kids. Kevin is a big fan of Mark Teixeria of the Yankees who is currently having a conversation with Bobby who scores by having Teixeria make time for Kevin: “Never woman and children.” While Wendy is happy that all the shit has not got in the way, Chuck feels like an idiot as he looks on Bobby “being Santa Claus and Bob Costas all rolling up into one.” Chuck confesses to Wendy he cannot stand her working at Axe Capital and she finally tells him about Chase the headhunter… well, only the relevant parts — no mention of the lucrative job opportunity at the blue chip consulting firm. Chuck makes $185K a year and Wendy taking a new job means she will make a quarter of what he is making now and there is no way they can send their kids to that 70K a year private school that Chuck Sr. and Chuck Jr attended. Brooklyn Heights Elementary seems to be a viable option but Chuck seems so sensitive about school. He talks about continuity that bridges generations. Ha! So Chuck works for the public good, preaches to Bryan about how their work protects the good citizens of America from the likes of Axe, but he does not want his kids to go to school with the kids of those good citizens. And this should be the reason why Wendy raises the school issue. And, hey, maybe Chuck should be looking for a job. Wendy tells Chuck she will quit Axe Capital the day he gets that BIG JOB he always talks about. Is she talking about the governor’s mansion or what? 🙂
As I was thinking June herself might bring Chapter 10 to Chuck it is Kate who once again catches the big fish: She meets a “Tiger Inn” friend at a Goose Quill (June’s publisher) book event and Chapter 10 lands on her lap!
We know 9/11 lingers in Bobby Axelrod’s mind. He survives because he is out of the office on 9/11. Chapter 10 now gives us his whereabouts that morning: Axe is in his attorney’s office going over his severance package. WTF? Yes. It turns out his trades are over the line and may be illegal that the company is about to kick him out. What follows is bad. It may not be illegal but it feels wrong. Very wrong. Axe, when the first plane hits the North Tower, goes ahead and shorts aviation stocks followed by hotels and shipping. WHOA. And, worse yet, after the second plane hits the South Tower, everyone he works with is dead. And their deaths save his career. Axe takes the money he has made from those shorts and the rest of what his dead partners had and, as the only surviving partner of Wachtel, Raichlein and Rice, renames the company as Axe Capital. So, is it THAT money paying for all those scholarships for his dead friends’ kids?
Chuck seemingly does not even want to hear about Chapter 10 due to his recusal; but he, in fact, has a hard time containing himself. He tells Bryan he will personally give the story to Dimonda. Chuck meets Dimonda at Saigon Vietnamese Sandwich Deli and makes him his guy!
Hall has a new mole — a janitor — in the US attorney’s office and word travels to Axe that they pulled up an informant from Axe Capital last night. Wags cannot believe Axe sat on this for half a day and still has not fired anyone.
Axe will find that rat. He tells everyone to put their phones down and attacks the only person who is still on the phone: Mafee. There is a fishy Antigua number on the phone (how come Axe knows about Antigua’s country code?) that he calls only to hear Mafee’s high school girl friend saying “you should not call me.” Axe declares “everyone is on notice” at Axe Capital and it will be so until he finds out who the quisling is.
If Axe Capital was, in Wags’ words, Lord of the Flies when Axe was AWOL in The Good Life, it is now becoming 1984 in his imposing presence in Boasts and Rails. Axe is now with a tech guy reading his employees’ emails about him: “He knows I’m typing this. He’s having this email read aloud to him right now.” Axe has a smile until the tech guy flags three employees for deleting their hard drives and overwriting them with new data so that deleted files are not recoverable: Butch Probert (Pouch). Channing Feldt. Donnie Caan.
Kate’s big catch brings her yet another: A dinner date with Bryan 🙂 Since she has a dinner date with her parents, Bryan tags along and meets the parents! It turns out it was Mr Sacker, who tells Bryan to call him Frank, who told Kate to share June’s book with her superiors… even though something unethical could happen with it later. Mr. Sacker knows a thing or two about “doing bad to do good” and Bryan is listening.
As Lara is celebrating their recent Michelin star with her restaurant “family” she notices Tito does not have a real smile. Some guys have been watching the farm for the last couple of days. Tito cannot lie to Lara about everyone’s papers being in order. Lara has a tiny little “illegal immigrant worker” problem in her hands.
As Bobby opens a Veuve Clicquot to celebrate Lara’s Michelin star, he notices she does not have a real smile. Oh, it’s the FBI. Oh, they are watching the house, too, but Bobby did not see the need to share it with Lara. Bobby is in denial about their new reality that he just wants Lara to “fuck them” and not change a thing in her life. Planning a vacation and then canceling it for no reason. Picking up kids from the camp without mom’s approval. Seeing no need to tell his wife FBI’s been watching their house. Well, Lara has SOME patience. But these may accumulate and come back to haunt Axe later.
Chuck is sitting on his exercise ball to deal with his lower back pain and is “looking into the abyss beyond conventional morality” to deal with Axe. He now suggests Bryan that Axe knows there is a mole and he will not stop until he has him so Bryan needs to give him one asap to protect Donnie. It seems Bryan has learnt a thing or two from Frank that he now describes framing an innocent man as “erosion of principle” just to get a cold shrug from Chuck: “There is no innocent man. Not on Wall Street.” Chuck is the master of justifying dirty means for noble ends, isn’t he? And he starts to think Bryan may not be up to this mission: He cannot just eat his salad and remake the world! Read: It’s hard to pull his strings.
Maybe Chuck should really go for the big bucks. Chuck plays squash with his friend Ira who has worked on his boasts and rails with a $300 an hour pro. Chuck does not want that pro’s number “You already gave it to me. And it’s too much.” but he wants Ira to check the number Horvath, the BEST Supreme Court litigation firm, would offer to Chuck. In a few days, he lands the job with an “if you want to be a rainmaker, you can make rain” guarantee.
The inquisition starts at Axe Capital with Donnie feeling sick so they will pick it up tomorrow. Donnie comes home to find Bryan sitting there. He cannot keep calm as Bryan tells him to “get the trade, make the trade, testify and we’re done.” Donnie is scared of Axe and his “Laura Mars” eyes. He cannot even imagine testifying against him. Bryan seems a bit softer on Donnie as he tells him he will get through this. Is he still under Frank’s spell?
Chuck butters up Adam Degiulio a little about his almost certain future as Justice Degiulio and then tries to sell him his new brilliant idea about assignment shift in the Axe Capital case. Bryan has a very heavy case load and Tonelle Burton has better skills to take on the case. Adam is not buying it. This is a high profile case with Washington watching and an assignment shift from Bryan to Tonelle may imply some serious string pulling. So, if there is an assignment shift, the shift will be all the way to Eastern District. Chuck now knows he is stuck with Bryan. How will he have Bryan protect Donnie?
Axe invites Wendy to his one-on-ones and starts with Donnie: “Tell me about Fedex.” “Uh, that’s not my sector.” “No, somebody saw you in there. Mailing a package. Who was it to?” No. Wendy will not act as Axe’s human lie detector. Axe moves on to Channing whom we hear say: “I don’t know what my wife has to do with this.” I wonder what Axe just asked him! Bryan is frustrated with Donnie’s abysmal performance in his one-on-one with Axe. Can this justify doing bad to do good? It seems so. Bryan will fuck the Pouch.
Axe drives his vintage Dodge Charger to a private meeting with Dimonda. He is running his 9/11 piece titled Blood Money and the only comment he could get from Axe is “Congratulations.” Pat Kiernan, oh, what a NY moment to see him, breaks the news on NY1. Wags is frozen in the gym. Chuck has a smile on his face. Lara is pulling kids out of school so they do not find out about dad from somebody else. Axe is adding security and he tells her he loves her. She does not say anything back. Lu could just ask: “You knew?” Lara says: “Of course I knew.” And her justification is Bobby did not know her or their brother back then. Lu is not buying it. Who would for God’s sake? I have a feeling Lara may be losing her world class chef.
Team Axe regroups at Axe Capital: Wags says they have his back. Sheryl has all his denials written and will share the real story with Forbes. Orrin Bach is going for a defamation suit and will find a ghostwriter to write a best-seller about the real Bobby Axelrod. Axe simply says no. The guy who burns the world over The Punch video now keeps calm as the world finds out about what he did on 9/11. He says he never lies about this. He justifies his means for the ends. He did those trades before he knew it was a terror attack. He saw an opportunity in making 750 millions dollars that day. He knew the firm and the surviving families would need that money. He’s not proud of himself. But it is what it is. What will Raul Gomez of NYC police pension fund say to all this?
Axe just moves on with his work day. He calls Pouch and fires him for selling him out to the SEC. He will make sure Pouch will not have a job in this country.
Chuck turns down the job offer from Horvath the second he finds out about Bryan throwing Pouch under the bus. He will now teach his protege about how to cope with his feelings: #1: He’s probably dirty. #2 Fuck the Pouch. #3: He’s working at a dirty shop. He’s like the haberdasher making uniforms for the Nazis. Bryan’s favorite? #2. WOW. It’s either Bryan is now on the same page with Chuck or alcohol is doing its job. But, at least for now, Chuck and Bryan vow to make the world a better place together.
We see Axe receiving a check and putting it into his pocket earlier in the day. It turns out the check is from Bruno for his share of the profits from the Pizzeria. Axe tears up a check for the second time this season. But with a smile. Even though he says he did not have the time, Bruno seems to have seen the news. And his nod means the world to Bobby.
Chuck comes home to tell Wendy he just turned down the big offer. He knows that she knew he would turn it down. But then why did Wendy push him for it? She just wanted him to FEEL it. So he could understand her. Chuck tries to understand. He just cannot take the “special” relationship between Wendy and Axe which we have witnessed in the scene Wendy comes to tell Axe “You have nothing to be ashamed of, in a relativistic sense.” There is intimacy. No, it is not necessarily sexual. Yet it is DEEP as Chuck rightly observes. And am I the only one that sees Chuck grimaces when Axe plants one on Wendy’s cheek at Big Apple Circus? Anyhow… We find out a bit about why Chuck hates Bobby this much in his conversation with Ira and it could be the best line delivered in this episode: “Bobby Axelrod could run through the Serengeti and not break a sweat. I go down in the subway and gotta change my shirt.” And, besides, he cannot stand that Axe’s “looted gold” is paying for his kids’ private school. Chuck feels like he is THAT haberdasher.
As we agonize over what to make of Bobby, he throws his latest punch and knocks us all down: “Loyal soldier” Donnie Caan is, in fact, loyal, and he’s been playing the game with Axe. Believe it or not, Donnie seems to be Axe Capital’s Brian Doyle! But why do I still feel uneasy about this? Donnie is not giving Axe to them. Would Axe give him to them? Was this part of Axe’s game all along since he gave Donnie 200K shares of Rubinex? Or did Donnie come to him crying when he was flagged by the SEC? And in the light of all this, did Axe really fuck the Pouch or it was just a show (Feds are listening) and Pouch, in fact, knows about what’s going on? Who knows what? This show drives me crazy! 🙂
Axe still seems to be a couple steps ahead of Chuck & co. Some turbo-charged chess indeed.