In our ‘Billions’ recap with the top 10 moments from the latest episode, Axe damages Taylor where it hurts the most, Chuck has to fix a dog problem and Wendy faces an angry Mafee…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Any time it seems like a person is having too much go right on ‘Billions’, it’s almost assuredly being built on a house of cards that will soon come crashing down around them.
The two biggest instances of that this season have been the relative success both Bobby Axelrod and Chuck Rhoades have found since deciding they worked better as friends rather than enemies.
Axe helped Chuck get elected New York State Atttorney General and in turn Chuck managed to rid Axe of his Russian problem by sending Grigor Andolov packing back to his home country.
While both of them face other issues — including a serious marital problem at home for Chuck — the majority of the season has seen both of them winning quite a bit.
Judging by the latest episode titled ‘Infinite Game’, that trend will continue as Axe manages to strike an awful blow to Taylor Mason by hitting them where it hurts the most — exposing the frayed relationship they shared with their father. Meanwhile, Chuck has to prove that he’s a real fixer after one of his clients “accidentally” shot a dog roaming around his backyard while he was about six whiskeys deep and carrying a firearm.
It all goes so well for both of them in the end — but with Bryan Connerty tapping all of Chuck Rhoades’ phones and Axe’s obsession with Taylor dominating his every move, it would appear they are going to be in for a rude awakening before this season is finished.
With that said, let’s get to our ‘Billions’ recap with the top 10 moments from the latest episode titled ‘Infinite Game’…
1 ) Target Acquired
“Yeah, men need targets. Keep things neat. Sometimes, men become targets. No one likes to get pissed on. You should know that you are a target. Chuck Rhoades has you in his sights.”
~ Jock Jeffcoat
A friendly meeting at the Capitol Hill pisser brings a conversation between Attorney General Jock Jeffcoat and Secretary of the Treasury Todd Krakow where a friendly warning is extended.
Jock knows that Chuck has information linking Krakow to some illegal banking happening in the Cayman Islands and that could be very bad for him but more importantly it could be a stain on the administration as a whole if a sitting cabinet secretary is indicted.
With Krakow targeted, he turns to the friend he believes would want to bring down Chuck as much as anybody — his old pal Bobby Axelrod.
2 ) Scanners
“Vetted for making money or for making Taylor’s head explode like in ‘Scanners’?”
~ Rebecca Cantu
In Axe’s neverending grudge to bring down Taylor Mason, he enlists his new girlfriend Rebecca Cantu to offer to make a massive investment in the project they are putting together with their father’s aerospace innovation.
The idea is that Rebecca will buy into the company and then sell her shares to Axe — at a considerable profit — and then he will wield the power over Taylor and their father.
Despite her best attempts, however, Rebecca is unable to secure what Axe wants after Taylor shuts down the offer after discovering that the purchase would allow the investor a lot of decision making ability — including the possibility of removing their father from the project all together.
Taylor shuts it down by quoting the track ‘Happy Together” by The Turtles while revealing the true nature behind the lyrics.
“Imagine me and you. I do. Happy together’. Most folks think that’s a love song but if you listen closely, you’ll hear it’s about a relationship that never actually happened.”
3 ) Take the Deal
The episode starts with Chuck being summoned to the home of Larry Brogan — the powerful Empire state player who employed him at the beginning of the season to get a concealed carry permit — after he accidentally shot and killed his neighbor’s dog while sipping whiskey and thinking there was an intruder at his backdoor.
Chuck is able to stave off the police from arresting Mr. Brogan and he enlists his pal Freddie Eisen (an attorney we met earlier in the season when Chuck was trying to secure that gun permit in the first place) to serve as his lawyer.
Eisen is able to get the neighbor to agree to a $100,000 payoff along with a brand new show-breed Malinois puppy to replace the dog he just lost.
Brogan scoffs at the idea but Chuck reminds him what the repercussions would be to turn down the deal and play his cars in court.
“Feature me in a beret and I’ll paint you a picture. You’ll do time for an illegal discharge of a weapon. My public service career will be burnt toast. And you’ll be known the world over as a drunken dog-killer”
4 ) Pancake Eater
Chuck returns home to find a realtor scoping out the house after Wendy requested an estimate for what they could get on the open market. Wendy explains to Chuck that she’s not sure she can live there any longer after his betrayal — first by revealing their bedroom activity and then by inviting a dominatrix into their house to serve his needs.
Chuck decides to offer a story from his childhood to attempt to help Wendy understand his need to satiate these desires to be dominated and it largely stems from a few brutal lessons he learned from his father.
Chuck tells her the ‘pancake eater’ story, which was the closest his dysfunctional family ever came to normalcy.
Every Sunday he would wake up to a house smelling like fresh, homemade pancakes and bacon and inevitably he would sit down at the breakfast table to enjoy the delicious food his mother made while his father would read his newspaper and comment how ‘this is living’.
But once or twice a year instead of enjoying the ‘living’ part, Chuck’s father would explode in a fit of rage, smash the breakfast his wife just made for them and then storm out of the house. He would inevitably return and it was Chuck’s mother who would apologize for whatever she did to set him off.
“You know why I did what I did, Sonny? Keep things fresh and exciting for her. So she doesn’t take it all for granted. And to make her appreciate the Sundays I don’t break it all apart. A woman has a subconscious desire to be dominated. Remember that. Use it.”
~ Chuck relaying the advice he received from his father
5 ) Hard Bob
In a game of bait and switch, Axe turns the tables on Secretary Krakow but only after he sets up a meeting with a guy named ‘Hard’ Bob Beaufort, who works for the government in a section called the bureau of industry and security.
Axe uses this meeting to put ‘Hard’ Bob onto Taylor Mason and their upcoming project with their father, Douglas Mason. As part of the bureau of industry and security, ‘Hard’ Bob can essentially call imminent domain on any piece of technology that could be deemed a threat to national security — and that’s exactly what he does to pull the plug on Taylor’s project with their father.
Because of the weight the government carries, Taylor’s project is essentially sunk or they can choose to fight it in court, which means the technology is made public and the entire process usually takes two and a half to three years to play out in court.
And how exactly did ‘Hard’ Bob decide to do this favor for Axe?
Axe: “You think about how to entice a man. What he loves. Of course, it all starts with girls and money but it gets more complicated from there. Yeah, cars, property, jobs, access to special doctors, schools for their kids, life dreams, goals. You know sometimes it even gets spiritual, Vatican tours with the pope washing their feet, meeting the Daila Lama, whatever.”
Bach: “And in this case?”
Wags: “Was it Vatican City?”
Axe: “This case? Oh no. This case it turned out to be girls and money.”
It turns out ‘Hard’ Bob is a film fanatic — particularly those movies starring Lisa Ann, Cory Chase and Rayveness — a trio of porn stars more than happy to discover how Mr. Beaufort earned his nickname.
6 ) Vengeance
As Axe celebrates his plan to topple Taylor by forcing them to decide whether to back their father at the risk of their own hedge fund or crushing his dream, Rebecca realizes that her new boyfriend is not one to cross.
“Remind me to never stab you in the back”
The reason why this interaction is important is because Rebecca can’t help but be impressed by Taylor after trying to buy into their new project and getting shot down because they sniffed out the ploy to take away an invaluable ownership stake.
There’s something about Rebecca that seems like she might eventually turn on Axe and perhaps these are the seeds of deceipt being sewed into their burgeoning relationship.
7 ) The Trap is Set
“What don’t you know?”
~ Bryan Connerty to Kate Sacker after she rattles off some facts about Kosher rules.
The wiretap placed on Chuck Rhoades’ phones pays off when he makes an ill-fated deal with the Secretary of the Treasury on behalf of his father, who needs a sizable bank loan to start his new construction project.
In exchange for burying his prosecution on the Cayman Island bank accounts, Chuck gets Secretary Krakow to lead him to a bank just coming off the restricted list who will loan his father a big chunk of money at a considerable discount.
Connerty and ace prosecutor Kate Sacker hear this entire conversation and realize that somewhere in this sweetheart deal, Chuck and the secretary likely violated all sorts of banking rules that could land them in hot water.
8 ) Father Figure
Douglas: “You know what kid? You are just like me — only colder”
Taylor: “Yeah, so maybe I’ll actually win”
Axe sends Wendy in for the kill but Taylor sniffs out her deception and turns the tables by selling her project to the government — along with an 8-percent profit — and then handing over a check to their father as a payout.
It takes this interaction for Taylor to realize the bond they thought they were feeling with their father was really just placating to what he wanted most in life — advancement after he had previously been fired from a company after developing another piece of innovative technology.
They hand Douglas a check for $1.3 million and he lashes out before saying that he’s leaving because he has no reason to stay in New York now. That just serves as the ultimate remind to Taylor that their father was never there for them in the first place and it helps sever ties once and for all.
In the end, Taylor bids farewell to their father while simultaneously keeping the firefighter fund they were nearly ready to give up to back him.
9 ) Man’s Best Friend
“Do you know what happens when a solo pet owner dies alone? Oh you don’t want to admit to yourself that you know but you do. At some point, the pet decides that its own survival matters more than its fondness for its owner. And what do they do? Well most often they go for the nose or the cheek flesh first. Now is that because their love is so great that they want to be one with their former best friend? I don’t choose to think so. No, I just bet those are the most delicious morsels.”
Chuck concludes his business with Mr. Shelby, the neighbor who tried to extort him for more cash after Larry Brogan killed his dog. Chuck relays this chilling story while reminding Shelby that his dog is dead, nothing will change that, but he is the one starving this time.
A not so subtle hint that Chuck would prosecute him for attempting to extort him would be an open and shut case ultimately convinces Shelby to accept the $100,000 and a new Melinois puppy as payment for his pain and suffering.
Chuck then visits Brogan to return his gun and pass along the assurances that Shelby will no longer be a problem. Chuck then tells Brogan that at some point he’s going to call upon him for a favor — and no matter the size or the depths he must travel — it must be repaid.
Brogan agrees while thanking his own personal ‘Michael Clayton’ and says he now knows that Chuck is a true power broker and crossing him would cost too much.
At this point, we still don’t know exactly what Brogan does or what makes him such a powerful figure in New York but something tells me we’ll find that out when Chuck calls on that favor before the end of this season.
10 ) Rumble in the Jungle
“Do you have any fucking idea what you’ve done? I used to think you were this idealized version of a person with all the answers and the ability to make each of us the best of who we could be. I trusted you, we all did. Because you charmed, manipulated, worked us to, all with that bullshit Buddha smile. And now I know what was behind that smile wasn’t some serene and wise teacher. It hid a sick, vicious phony. Now I know what you really are — a goddamned monster”
After what happened to the start up company courtesy of Axe and Wendy, Mafee shows up unannounced at his former place of employment and unleashes on the counselor who used her psychiatry training to manipulate both him and Taylor.
Mafee explodes and his words cut like glass because by the end when he’s calling Wendy a ‘garbage person’, it’s clear that she’s feeling the brunt of his attack.
“Dollar” Bill then decides to get in Mafee’s face while calling him a ‘traitorous motherfucker’ and the two are ready to throw down right then and there.
The fight doesn’t happen but judging by next week’s preview, it appears Mafee and “Dollar” Bill are headed for a ‘Rumble in the Jungle’.
As for Wendy, she is obviously torn apart by the way she used what she knew about Taylor to hurt them and Mafee only confirmed the confliction she’s been feeling. In the end, Wendy goes for another run to clear her head and Chuck returns home to find the realtor about to hold an open house.
Wendy appears to be moving forward with breaking up her family while struggling to come to grips with what she did to Taylor in service of Bobby Axelrod.
The song closing the episode is “River” by Joni Mitchell
‘Billions’ returns this Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET with a brand new episode on Showtime