Top 10 Moments in ‘Billions’ Season 5, Episode 2: The Chris Rock Test

Here are the top 10 moments from the latest episode of “Billions” where Axe makes a play against Mike Prince, Chuck visits his dark passenger and Wags fails the Chris Rock test…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

“My only job in life is to keep her off the pole. Keep my baby off the pole. I mean they don’t grade fathers but if your daughter’s a stripper, you fucked up.”

~ Chris Rock

If you were wondering about the origins behind the title in the latest episode of “Billions,” look no further than the classic Chris Rock stand up special titled “Never Scared.”

That’s where he talks about raising a daughter and serving as the model for all future relationships that she’ll share with men. Ultimately, Chris believes as long as he keeps her away from the stripper pole, he’s done his job.

Sadly, Wags finds out that he didn’t make the grade in his own parenting duties after we are introduced to his daughter Mandy (sort of) for the first time. It’s not clear if Wags’ daughter will reappear again this season but it’s hard to imagine that she won’t pop up now that she’s made a brief appearance at the start of the season.

Elsewhere in this episode, Axe heads to ‘The Mike’ — an exclusive resort where Mike Prince hosts a whole lot of rich folks to exchange ideas and decompress for a weekend — but there are ulterior motives at work with this particular retreat. It’s where Taylor also reconnects with their former flame Oscar, who is teetering on the brink of pulling his money out of their fund.

Back at Axe Cap, Wendy is once again left to run the shop while trying to put out fires of her own at home after Chuck decides to contest their divorce by getting the courts involved. His declaration of war comes as Chuck is trying to make real substantive changes in his own life to stop cutting down his friends for the sake of his own vengeance.

With that said, let’s get to our top 10 moments from the latest episode of “Billions” titled “The Chris Rock Test”…

1 ) A New Kind of Therapy

In an effort to become a better person, Chuck begins EMDR therapy —  “a unique, nontraditional form of psychotherapy designed to diminish negative feelings associated with memories of traumatic events” — and he’s got plenty of those.

In fact during the session, Chuck remembers the day he sent authorities to arrest Bobby Axelrod but his joy in that moment was taken away after watching his wife run to him and the two of them embraced just before he had handcuffs placed on his wrists.

When asked to describe the emotions he felt that day, Chuck can only seethe with rage, sadness and jealousy. He believes the path to true enlightenment will come after he finally vanquishes Axe, who he sees as the Joker to his Batman but the therapist wonders if perhaps Chuck could find some relief by just letting go of the negative emotions that are drowning his every waking moment.

In other words, couldn’t Chuck just find peace in being Bruce Wayne?

2 ) Law and Order

Now that Axe knows Chuck is coming after him again, he’s got to get the New York Attorney General away from the cases that matter most to him — specifically the crypto-mining firm that he was funding. While Chuck saw fit to knock everything down to civil charges, Axe decides to sick a pitbull on him instead by cutting a deal with Manhattan District Attorney Mary Ann Gramm, who has a particular distaste for crime and the criminals who commit them.

Chuck is summoned to the Governor’s office where his boss dresses him down for not punishing those crypto-miners appropriately. As a result, the governor decides to hand all criminal cases in New York City over to the Manhattan D.A., who promises mug shots, perp walks and prison sentences rather than handing out monetary fines.

It’s clear D.A. Gramm isn’t one to be messed with as she reminds Chuck when he decides to pull the election card about his status as the attorney chosen by the people of New York.

“They elected you so they could feel good about their sex lives and think of themselves as liberal and fair. The people of Manhattan, however, elected me to punish predators.”
~ Mary Ann Gramm

Now that all of the criminal cases have been taken away from Chuck and handed to Gramm, he’s no longer in a position to go after Axe with the full weight of his office. Of course, Chuck realizes all too quickly that it’s Axe pulling the strings on this situation.

3 ) The Dark Passenger

In addition to his new therapy, Chuck has been reading “Darkly Dreaming Dexter” at nights and he’s entranced by the relationship Dexter Morgan made with his own dark passenger.

Rather than giving into his most voracious urges to kill, Dexter developed a code through his father Harry where he would be able to satiate his thirst for blood by only by murdering those who deserved it most. Dexter wouldn’t kill the innocent — he would only draw his knife on the criminals who slipped through the cracks of the justice system.

Now Chuck is beginning to realize he needs a code of his own to follow but it’s going to require systematic changes to the way he does business. No more backstabbing his best friends or betraying his father to find a means to an end.

Chuck will now go by the book in order to take down Bobby Axelrod, which means his job is that much harder but the satisfaction of beating him without cutting any corners will feel that much better when it’s done.

“I am committed to this course. To purge the world of villainy. And myself of … I guess villainy, too.
~ Chuck

4 ) Let’s Go to War

With Wendy releasing a public statement acknowledging the divorce from Chuck, it’s time for him to fire back his own shot in the ongoing war. Chuck files a motion with a judge to freeze all of Wendy’s assets while the two of them sort out their differences in court.

That means Wendy’s plans to purchase an upscale apartment goes belly up when her check bounces. Needless to say that doesn’t leave Wendy in a very good state of mind and she’s ready to duke it out with Chuck until there’s only one of them left standing.

But her attorney advises that she needs to play the long game, especially given Chuck’s relationship with judges in the state where he serves as attorney general.

So after turning to Axe to allow her to stay in his spare apartment for the time being, she plots the next course of action because Chuck may have won the battle but she wants to win the war. Axe offers her the advice she needs.

Axe: “One more thing — gut him.”
Wendy: “That’s the plan”

5 ) Can You Hear Me in the Back?

 

It seems “Dollar” Bill Stearn is having a bad run with his portfolio.

In fact, “Dollar” Bill is struggling to maintain his third relationship with Bonnie because the typically aggressive and testosterone laden portfolio manager has been more interested in crying in her arms than removing her clothes.

In order to balance his bottom line, Bill turns to Taylor’s quant genius Winston to cut him into a secret program he’s been running with his own funds. Bill demands that Winston figure out his algorithm for bigger returns than just six-figures in order to grow his portfolio after a bad run of investments.

After turning in his best Benicio Del Toro impression from “The Usual Suspects” to threaten Winston, he gets his wish but doesn’t receive the returns he wanted.

As Winston warned him, the program makes bad bets when trying to earn more than six-figures and ultimately the money was lost. Mafee does his best to explain this to Bill in terms he’ll understand but none of this is sitting well with a man who is already behind in the race.

One bit of good news, however, is Bill realizing that Winston never actually invested his money in the first place. He knew the added capital would throw off his algorithm that’s currently earning him a healthy bottom line on the side so Bill returns, calls him out and demands the money back or this time he’ll cut him.

For real.

6 ) Investor Relations

A surprise visit from a representative of the Ontario Educators forces Wendy to make a creative play in order to solve a potential problem where Axe Capital could lose $1 billion in money from their fund.

She promises Axe that it can all be handled without his return but unfortunately Bonnie’s investor relations skills didn’t grow much during her cross country trip to meet with clients. So Wendy is forced to once again turn to Lauren — Taylor’s girlfriend and the best investor relations person in the business.

While Sara objects to a Taylor Mason Capital person being pulled into an Axe Capital problem, Lauren ultimately decides to be a team player.

She schmoozes the client with a nice dinner sent to her hotel that night and then the next morning she rolls out the red carpet with a personal introduction to the teams that will be looking over her sizable funds. Meetings with people like Victor Matteo and Ari Spyros help convince her that the Ontario Educators’ money is exactly where it needs to be.

The pitch works perfectly but more importantly Wendy is convinced that Lauren needs to be the person running investor relations at Axe Capital. So she offers Lauren the job, much to the chagrin of Sara, who is lost without a purpose at the new Taylor Mason Capital.

7 ) Water Boarding

Judge Adam DeGiulio is once again looking to advance his career with the end goal being a spot on the Supreme Court. He’s now been targeting a job as a second circuit judge, which is a very important lifetime appointment where he will rule on cases in the appellate court that could eventually land him that coveted seat on the Supreme Court.

Unfortunately, Judge DeGiulio’s potential job is in peril thanks to a particular Senator, who discovered that he was the person who wrote a controversial brief a few years earlier that backed up U.S. military forces using torture as an interrogation method. Needless to say, Chuck undergoing a brief water boarding demonstration from Karl — who seemingly has an intimate history with this particular brand of torture — tells him everything he needs to know about Judge DeGiulio’s chances to convince this Senator that he deserves a lifetime appointment on the second circuit.

In fact after arranging the meeting, the Senator shuts him down and walks out before Judge DeGiulio even had a chance to argue his case.

Well it turns out that the Senator in question was the person who also nominated Chuck to become the sitting U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York. But rather than help his old friend get this appointment, Chuck actually sent that memo to the Senator to ensure it would sink Judge DeGiulio’s chances of getting that job.

You see Chuck would never really gain much by having his friend sitting on a New York appellate court. But instead, Chuck maneuvers with the Senator to get Judge Degiulio a different job instead — as the acting Solicitor General for the United States government.

In that role, Degiulio become the fourth-highest ranking member of the Department of Justice and he acts as the government’s attorney in any case that goes before the Supreme Court. He also decides who argues in front of the Supreme Court.

Now that Chuck had his criminal powers taken away by the Governor, he can go big game hunting for the kinds of cases that might eventually end up before the Supreme Court. Thanks to the new Solicitor General, Chuck will have a chance to make those arguments as well — it’s the kind of moment every lawyer dreams about during their career.

8 ) A New Capitalism

Axe decides to tackle Mike Prince on his home turf at “The Mike” during a fireside chat where the two of them chop it up about a new kind of capitalism.

It seems Mike Prince believes more in giving back than taking and he’s determined to pay homage to the many people who helped him get on top. Meanwhile, Axe feels like he earned the right to play conqueror after he vanquished all of his enemies on the way to the top.

The argument ends with Axe being invited to participate in Mike’s latest charity drive but in reality that’s exactly where he wanted to be in the first place. Axe’s entire purpose at “The Mike” was to meet with a pair of important figures that could help him secure a position in a new pharmaceutical project he’s developing after spending time in a sweat lodge in Alaska.

It was there where Axe befriended a shaman, who taught him the valuable role ayahuasca can play in enlightenment. In reality, ayahuasca — a psychotropic drug that actually gained a lot of popularity in Silicon Valley a few years ago. For this purpose, Axe wants to buy shares in a pharmaceutical company while striking a deal with the head of a group of hospitals that will be able to do the testing necessary to turn ayahuasca into a viable medical product that can be sold on the open market.

It seems this is a particularly important project because Mike Prince has targeted the same sector for his own business needs.

Axe gets the hospitals on board while Wags works on the member of the pharmaceutical company that will sell them his shares before he moves over to become part of the FDA. There he can help push through the medical approval for ayahuasca and everybody gets rich.

Unfortunately, Axe’s plan goes kaboom after Mike Prince pulls a fast one while closing out his conference by introducing his old friend Shaman Bram Longriver as his new partner in an investment to make legalized ayahuasca for the medical establishment. Longriver is the same person who took Axe on his spiritual journey in Alaska but it seems he was already partnered up with Mike Prince.

Mike: “Like I told you when I compete, hell, I’m there to win.”
Axe: “Well hear me — the game’s not over, buddy boy. Not by a country fucking mile.”
Mike: “I’m aware.”

9 ) Making the Grade

In the midst of his job to convince the pharmaceutical representative to sell his shares to Axe Capital, Wags takes the guy to a strip club where they will chat over drinks and lap dances.

But sadly Wags gets scared straight after a dancer named “Brandi” is introduced to the main stage. He takes one look at the girl and realizes that’s actually Mandy — his daughter.

The next morning a still shaken Wags tells Axe about his horror from the previous night where he saw his child on the pole, which means he failed her as a father.

Axe decides to shut the place down as payback but Wags has much bigger issues to deal with after seeing his daughter as a stripper.

Meanwhile, Taylor deals with their own emotional fall out after confronting Oscar at this same retreat. The plan was to find out if Oscar was going to keep his money with Taylor Mason Capital or not. It turns out Oscar’s problem was their association with Axe Capital and so he pulls his money but not before Taylor takes a jab at him over his fast chess playing skills where he got bested by a grand master.

10 ) Too Big to Fail  

After being bested by Mike at “The Mike,” Axe decides he needs a new course of action if he truly wants to become a power player that’s unbeatable. Rather than gambling on the next risky investment strategy, Axe decides he wants to become the house instead.

“There’s a systemized machine out there sucking capital from localities and injecting it into the global markets where it can be used to speculate and manipulate and if something goes wrong, there are bailouts and bail-ins, federal aid and easing. Where the government doesn’t hunt you down but instead gives you a nice soft net to land in.”
~ Axe

Axe tells Wags that he wants to become a bank that way he doesn’t need to gamble any longer because all the money will belong to him already.

“Billions” returns for a brand new episode next Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime. Check out a preview below:

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