Here are the top 10 moments from the latest episode of “Billions” as Axe makes his play in the cannabis space while Prince and Chuck prepare the trap to catch him….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
There have been a number of intricate traps and maneuvers made over the course of five seasons on “Billions” — the Ice Juice set up still seems to stand above the rest — but there was no time wasting when it came to shutting down Bobby Axelrod and his desire to become a bank.
After spending much of the season attempting to best his rival Mike Prince and deciding that transforming his hedge fund into a banking institution was the best way to do it, Axe was ready to bring his new business plan to life but he didn’t see all landmines surrounding him.
The latest episode revealed how Chuck and Prince were setting up those traps and one by one, Axe started to fall into each one of them without realizing it.
By the time Axe figured out what was happening, he was already standing in the middle of a jail cell and he was just waiting for Chuck to slam the door shut on him.
There’s a lot to get to with this latest episode so let’s talk about the top 10 moments from “Billions” with the episode titled “Victory Smoke”…
1 ) Play The Hand You’re Dealt
Just because he’s got a new lease on life with his fresh kidney, Charles Rhoades Sr. is nothing if not cunning but even more so now that he’s not knocking on heaven’s door.
Fully installed as the trustee overseeing Axe’s bank, Senior knows he has the power to make or break this new financial institution before the first nickel gets deposited. With Delaware Attorney General Moody still squeezing them at Mike Prince’s behest, Senior knows that he’s got leverage to get even more for himself than just the organ that saved his life.
“I want to be 20 years younger. I’ll take money and power”
~ Charles Rhoades Sr.
With that, Senior asks Wendy to get him a piece of Axe’s new cannabis business or at least a huge chunk of the funds he’ll be banking from this new financial windfall.
2 ) A Chance to Fail
Mike Prince’s daughters come to town to visit their father with a simple request — they want the chance to fail on their own by getting to work.
While Prince implores his children to enjoy their youth and the luxuries his billions affords them, both of his daughters are eager to prove themselves in business with a real opportunity at success or failure rather than just being handed everything because they are his children.
Of course, both girls acknowledge that no matter what happens they’ll have a cushy landing spot provided for them because their father is Mike Prince but they want to build something on their own.
So Prince offers them a chance to work with his new digital banking startup called Hypercube — he’s trying to land a major client called Fine Young Cannabis to add to his portfolio and a youthful face to his company would be a great way to entice the owner.
3 ) The Auerbach Cigars
In anticipation of bringing his bank to solvency, Axe orders up a batch of Red Auerbach’s Punch Cigars — the same cigars the legendary Boston Celtics’ coach used to smoke on the sideline just before a victory was secured.
Axe is pulling out the big guns because he believes victory is imminent and he wants his troops on board to ensure this win is massive for the new bank.
“After bringing nine titles to the city of Boston, he could smoke wherever he damn pleased. But his favorite place was on the bench on the parquet of the old Boston Garden when victory was assured.”
The team at Axe Bank is preparing to light up at work but they might want to check these particular cigars because something might be blowing up before this episode is over.
4 ) The Rabbit and the Greyhound
After receiving word that the Supreme Court could be reviewing a financial services case involving the cannabis industry that could clear the way for banks to house their money, Axe realizes that time is running out for his time to secure a major company that will join his bank as soon as the order is handed down.
He learns that Prince is targeting Fine Young Cannabis and he’s set up a meeting with their owner Dawn Winslow — a former music producer turned cannabis entrepreneur whose company netted $1.6 billion in revenue last year. Axe also discovers that Prince is deploying his daughters to secure the deal and to make matters worse, Dawn Winslow won’t even consider dealing with Axe’s bank.
That forces Axe to up the pressure on his people to deliver Fine Young Cannabis.
Meanwhile back at the New York Attorney General’s office, Chuck is watching Kate Sacker prepare her brief to go before the Supreme Court and he’s meeting with Prince for the next stage of their plan.
Unfortunately, Prince is getting cold feet because he’s feeling awfully guilty about using his daughters to land Fine Young Cannabis as a business partner only because he’s setting up Bobby Axelrod.
Chuck offers him some words of wisdom that may help him with his parenting as well.
“You can’t safeguard your kids from pain. But you can protect them from evil. And we both know that’s what Axe is. And that’s what a world is that bows before him. They’re how he knows you’re serious. And that it hurts you to use them, that’s why you’re the man you are.”
5 ) Fair Warning
Chuck does his best to warn his father to do the right thing when it comes to his duties as the trustee overseeing Axe’s bank.
Of course, Senior brushes off his warning and reminds his son that he’s been at this game for quite a while and he’s not ready to hang up his glove just yet.
While Chuck believes his father is setting himself up for failure and a sad exit like Willie Mays playing for the New York Mets at the end of his career, Senior isn’t ready to leave the field until he’s forced out of the game.
“You play until your feet break and they carry you off the field in a box. And if that’s not convenient for you, like Billy Joe Royal sang ‘I never promised you a rose garden.”
~ Chuck Rhoades Senior
Against his son’s wishes, Senior goes to visit the Delaware A.G. but rather than telling him all the bad things Axe is doing with his bank, he reports that everything is above board. In fact, Senior tells the A.G. to life the probationary terms so Axe can move forward with his bank.
Needless to say, A.G. Moody warns Senior that by giving Axe a free pass, he’s wrapping himself up in the business, which means if prosecution comes swinging down like a hammer, he’ll just be another nail along the wall.
6 ) Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing to Fuck Wit
In order to secure Dawn Winslow’s business at Fine Young Cannabis, Axe pulls out all the big guns.
He sends Wags to meet with her along with a gift — the one of a kind Wu-Tang Clan album “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” that was auctioned off as a single copy for $2 million to a wormy pharmaceutical executive, who ended up in prison.
Axe presents it to her as a gift along with the present her company really needs — television advertising.
Because cannabis is still illegal on a Federal level, TV networks won’t touch advertising involving the drug but Axe believes it’s all about to become legal so he calls in a favor with an old friend to ensure he’s got a major partner on board to promote Dawn’s business.
Enter Franklin Sacker — Kate’s father and a titan of the TV industry.
Franklin agrees to help Axe get the cannabis ads on his networks thanks to the inside knowledge that his daughter is about to argue a case before the Supreme Court to see the drug legalized but even more important — Axe offers to personally fund her upcoming run for Congress since she’s refusing to take a dime of his money.
Of course, Axe will make it all seem like grassroots fundraising but he knows delivering a Congressional seat to his daughter is the perfect enticement to bring Franklin on board.
With that, Dawn ditches Prince and decides to go with Axe.
7 ) A Trip to Fiji
With victory smokes in hand, Wendy calls Axe and congratulates him on the nice gesture to get his team ready to celebrate but she wonders what he’s doing to reward himself with this latest venture.
Axe then asks Wendy if she’s ever been to Fiji — and she has not.
It turns out, Axe went there himself last year but he returned home early because he said his kids didn’t like it but it seems much more likely that he was getting lonely there without a beautiful woman by his side.
Axe then entices Wendy to take a trip with him once this deal closes while tempting her with a fact about the air and the water around that island.
“The ocean there’s the exact same temperature as the air. And so when you walk into the water, you don’t even feel it.”
The bond between Axe and Wendy is continuing to grow and evolve as they look to transition their relationship from friends and professional allies to something much, much more.
Sadly it seems that trip to Fiji might get put on hold thanks to Wendy’s ex and his plan to bring Axe back down to Earth once and for all.
8 ) Father of Mine
After learning that her father was teaming up with Bobby Axelrod with his plans for the weed business, Kate Sacker doesn’t want to see him go down in flames with everybody else.
But Chuck warns her that she can’t alert Franklin to what’s coming next because if he ducks out unexpectedly, it could alert Axe that something is wrong.
So rather than warn her father to stay way, Kate goes in another direction by making a call to the Manhattan D.A. Mary Ann Gramm and offers her a high profile case that will get her national headlines. She turns over evidence that her father has been involved in price fixing, which will land him in jail but eventually the case will end with some hefty fines and a legal slap on the wrist.
She does all this behind Chuck’s back and he finds out by watching Franklin Sacker get taken away in handcuffs on the news.
When Chuck confronts her, Kate doesn’t deny her involvement but tells him that she just couldn’t stand by to watch her father end up in a jail cell next to Axelrod. Rather than disobey his direct orders, she found a way around it by taking her father off the board with a completely unrelated legal problem.
With Franklin Sacker and his media buys no longer enticing Fine Young Cannabis to go with Axe Bank, Bobby has to figure out a new way to keep that business. A call from Mike Prince gloating like he was responsible for Franklin Sacker’s arrest only pushes Axe’s buttons that much more but it’s another bit of deception that really puts him behind the 8-ball.
At Chuck’s direction, Taylor takes a meeting with Lawrence Boyd — the disgraced former head of Spartan-Ives, a company that was dismantled and he was sent to prison by Chuck Rhoades with some gentle nudging from Bobby Axelrod. Taylor tells him about Axe’s plans for the cannabis industry, which gets Lawrence Boyd very interesting in swooping into steal it right out from under him.
Rian — the morally confused trader working under Taylor — then goes and reports this news to Wendy while complaining that she doesn’t want to work at a company fueled by secrets and backroom deals. Except she’s setting one up right now.
9) Fine Piece of Daughter
For the past couple of episodes, Wags has been wining and dining a young woman named Chelz and after looking for engagement rings, he finally decides it’s time to meet her family — in particular her father.
So Wags and Chelz arrive at his house for the meeting but he asks her for a big kiss before coming face to face with her dad. When the door opens, the man standing on the other side is Mick Nussfaur — the businessman who Wags took a burial plot from a season ago only to be embarrassed when he tried to join an exclusive men’s club where dressing up as a woman is part of the initiation.
The only problem was Nussfaur orchestrated the invitation to Wags in order to embarrass him as revenge. Wags promised to pay him back and it turns out balling his daughter was the perfect plan.
“Hey there dad! Is it too soon? I look forward to long talks, throwing the ball around.”
While Chelz promises bloody revenge of her own at first, Wags eventually reveals that despite his desire to get back at her dad, the feelings he had for her became all too real. Despite those feelings, Wags had to go through with his planned vengeance for her father just because he fucking had to — but now he wants to build something real with her.
Chelz agrees and she kisses Wags, much to the horror of her father who is still standing in the doorway.
10 ) No Way Out
After learning that Taylor was seeking a deal with Lawrence Boyd behind his back, Axe deploys Wags to sever ties with them by essentially telling his former prodigy that they will no longer be able to do any deals without extreme oversight including scrutiny from Hard Bob, Spyros and Victor, who will be setting up shop in their office from this day forward.
Meanwhile, Manhattan D.A. Gramm figures out after arresting Franklin Sacker that this was all part of a major orchestrated sting from Chuck to finally get Axelrod. Rather than warning Axe, she decides to work with Chuck after he agrees to clear all criminal cases through her office from here on out — except for one very important case.
He wants to take down Dawn Winslow and Fine Young Cannabis as well as the dominoes that will fall behind her, which means Bobby Axelrod.
Thanks to his desperation to beat Mike Prince at his own game, Axe not only gives Fine Young Cannabis an interest rate on the money the company will house at his bank — an offer he flat out refused to give earlier — but he also gifts her his summer home free of charge. That’s more than enough for Dawn to sign on the dotted line as she begins shopping pallets of cash to be deposited into Axe’s bank.
The only problem is Dawn Winslow is on her way to jail.
It seems in order to flourish with her weed company, Dawn was also quietly running a criminal enterprise with illegal drug money. Chuck knew this because he combed through every weed company out there until he found one that would go down hard once he prosecuted them.
Knowing that Dawn Winslow will do anything to save her own ass, he’s counting on her to flip on Axe and that will put him in the jail cell that’s had his name on it since season 1.
Back at Axe’s shop, Taylor celebrates privately with Rian, who followed through with the plan to reveal that information to Wendy in order for her to run it directly back to Axe.
And then finally Wags tells everyone in the office to extinguish those victory smokes because Dawn Winslow is going to be taken into custody for drug trafficking and because Axe was banking her money, he’s going down with her. The entire team is ready to deploy at his orders but there’s only one problem.
Axe has no clue how he’s going to get out of this one.
Wags: “What do you want us to do?”
Axe: “I have no fucking idea”
By all accounts, Axe will be sitting in a jail cell very soon and he’ll have Chuck, Mike Prince and Taylor Mason to thank for it.
Next week is the “Billions” season finale so don’t miss that and don’t forget to come back for the top 10 moments from that episode!