Chuck and Bobby can hardly wait to either discredit or arrest one another, but patience is key. While Chuck’s going straight after Bobby by making a play against one of his business partners, to see if he flips, Bobby’s much more subtle. He’s circling the pond like a predator, first removing the people on the outskirts, like Chuck’s father (and his mistress).
Billions is all about inside information. Keeping that information inside, that’s the name of the game. Chuck Rhoades Sr (Jeffrey DeMunn, The Walking Dead, The X-Files: Fight the Future) has a dirty secret in the shape of a mistress. One whom Chuck Rhoades Jr (Paul Giamatti) knows everything about, apparently, father-son privilege and all that. The woman in question, Evelyn Benson (Kate Jennings Grant, Alpha House, Pan Am) is on the board of the candy company that produces ‘YumTime’. A snack Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) may or may not have fond memories of, who knows, this guy can lie through his teeth. Over the years, the quality has gone downhill, that’s for sure, so he makes his move and buys the company, to change back the recipe. As a bonus, he gets to throw out Evelyn. It’s to show Chuck he can get to the Rhoades family any time he wants.
While Bobby’s out making the deal, his wife Lara (Malin Akerman, The Comeback, Trophy Wife) has some cleaning up to do. June Raichlein (Melissa Errico, The Knick) is about the publish her memoire, called ‘9-12: The Day After’. She is – or at least used to be – in Lara’s inner circle. In the book, however, there’s a whole chapter about the Axelrods, and the shady business deals Bobby made post-9/11. Lara’s gotten wind of it, and weighs her options, because this cannot reach the public. Let June go forward, and then hit her with a lawsuit. Or just buy the publishing agency and postpone the book indefinitely. Or, the preferred option, go the Lara way. As far as bad guys go, Bobby’s nothing compared to his wife. She unleashes the seven plagues upon June, until she gets the hint. She shows up at Lara’s house, a copy of her manuscript – the revised version – in her hands. Lara, in return, gives her a non-disclosure agreement to sign. This is how Mrs. Axelrod rolls.
So what does Chuck Jr do? Walk his dog, that’s all. Walk his dog and point out the obvious to his fellow dog walkers, who don’t clean up their dog shit. It’s a showcase of how strict Chuck is. Last week, he wanted to be more human, now he’s back blowing things out of proportion – and making people pick up dog shit with their bare hands. Chuck does not let things slide; ‘let it slide’, those are ‘three devious little words’, he says. Before you know it, everything will be covered in shit – as his theory goes. I think I know what’s going on here. On one side, we have Bobby, who’s a likeable Tony Stark-ish millionaire – excuse me, billionaire, of course – who cheats, manipulates and intimidates (or lets other people do those things for him). On the other, we have Chuck, who’s the good guy, but a little too good, if you know what I mean. His sense of righteousness is so strong, he feels he needs to hit people over their heads with it.
Dog shit isn’t the only thing on Chuck’s mind. He’s finally caught a break, with a little help from Kate Sacher (Condola Rashad, Smash). Pete Decker (Scott Cohen, Gilmore Girls, Allegiance, Necessary Roughness), a business associate of Bobby’s, has been a bit sloppy, covering his tracks. Probably without them knowing, he’s put his own parents in harm’s way, and Chuck’s ready to bring them in and charge them with fraud. It leaves Decker no choice but to promise to come in, first thing Monday morning, and tell Chuck everything he knows? If they both play their cards right, this might be the thread Chuck’s looking for, to pull Bobby up onto the surface, to bury him.
Bending The Rules
If it is, it’s time for Lara to go a step further and get her Frank Underwood on. If the pressure gets too high, there’s no telling what kind of drastic measures Mr. and Mrs. Axelrod are going to take. And what role will there be for Wendy (Maggie Siff)? Professional as she may have appeared up until now, she’s starting to bend the rules a little, too. Knowing one of her patients/clients – Mike Wagner (David Costabile) – will be going after another patient/client – Maria Saldana (Kate Arrington) -, she makes sure the latter leaves the company before it turns into a living hell for her. Is Billions a show where something like this goes unpunished, or will Wagner come after Wendy next? That’s the nice advantage a new series has; you don’t know yet how far the writers are going to tighten the screws on everybody.