This Is How The Axelrods Roll

In Billions episode 5, ‘The Good Life’, Bobby Axelrod has taken James Hetfield’s advice to ‘just play, man’. That means some x-rated action in the swimming pool, watching Inglourious Basterds, and go on a boat trip to the Galápagos Islands whenever you feel like it.

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Freedom
Everybody’s convinced it’s a midlife crisis of sorts. Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) lost it. He’s out of the game. Left Wall Street behind. Wants to travel the world, wherever his self designed yacht may take him. Clearly signs the man isn’t thinking clearly. Bobby thinks, knows, it’s got nothing to do with any form of mental breakdown. At the Metallica concert, he tasted freedom. Why work for something you won’t be able to enjoy because you’re working all the time? The 21st century dilemma.

Sell Sell Sell
The woman who flirted with him, before and after the Metallica show, told him you can’t go through life not having seen Citizen Kane. First thing he should do when he gets home, is watch it on the big screen. And so he does. In pieces, because he’s constantly interrupted. Wags (David Costabile) tries to get a read on him, while managing everybody back at the office. He’s told them to sell everything. Slowly, not to scare the market. Now they’ve done that, they’re getting bored. And when competitive people get bored, it won’t be long until Wags has got a full blown rebellion on his hands.

Feeling Good
Bobby’s not saying anything. Doesn’t explain, just tells his right hand man that ‘he’s out’. In a last attempt to keep him from making a mistake, Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff) comes over. As his psychologist, he can say anything to her, right? There’s nothing much to say. Bobby’s feeling good. It’s as simple as that. Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) gets wind of it, through ambitious reporter Michael Dimonda (Sam Gilroy). Bobby’s jumping ship? Then Chuck’s got to act fast.

Meet the Team
Chuck and his team are working around the clock to find dirt on ‘Dollar’ Bill Stearn (Kelly AuCoin), one of the Axe Capital employees. It’s not easy to find something. That gives us time to see who these people actually are. We know Bryan Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore) has found a friend with benefits in Terri McCue (Susan Misner), and Kate Sacher (Condola Rashad) is trying to work her way up the food chain, but that’s about it. The latter’s actually got quite a career in mind. Last stop: White House. She’s got money, too. Her own money. Because she offers Bryan to help him out, as a credit guarantee so he’s able to buy a new house, their relationship deepens a bit. Their scenes together don’t really go anywhere, but it’s nice to see a friendship unfold at the bar. O, and Dale Christo (Frank Harts) used to word ‘dude’. In Chuck’s face. That might come back to haunt him.

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Plunge
Then, out of nowhere, executives of Mundia-Tel are being indicted. Stocks immediately start to plunge. Axe Capital just sold all of its assets in the company. It seems like the whole ‘midlife crisis boat trip’ was another one of Bobby’s smoke screens. Somehow, he’d obtained insider information. Made everybody believe he was going all Galápagos on them. No way. As much as he loved the sense of freedom, he loves the game even more. He arrives back at work like a hero. The cheering doesn’t last long, though. The FBI barges in and takes ‘Dollar’ Bill Stearn in custody. Another win for Chuck. Another sheep taken out of Bobby’s herd.

The Call
Chuck isn’t just into S&M, he’s got a bit of a problem with it. Watching an S&M club from his car, trying to keep himself from going in. He can’t resist the call; that’s what an obsession or addiction’s usually made of. Luckily, he’s got a wife who understands. However, if anyone were to find out, he’s in big trouble. I’ve got a funny feeling that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

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