Chuck Rhoades is a man who is incredibly great at his job, and as a result of that, he’s also somewhat of a realist. He understands that the longer that he goes without arresting Bobby Axelrod, the harder it is to charge him with a significant crime.
This is what made Sunday night’s new episode of “Billions” so fundamentally fascinating, because the longer that the episode went on, the more and more apparent it is that this is going to be one of the most complicated cases in Rhoades’ history taking down the biggest titans in Wall Street history. This is why he came up with a deal during this episode with the help of Wendy, one that could ensure that both men get a little bit of something that they want. Chuck finds a way to ensure that the steamroller known as Axe Capital is slowed down, especially since Axelrod would be forced to go into a “family office.” It was in his mind a perfect plan to get a little bit of justice.
Unfortunately for him, Axe is about as proud a man as you’re ever going to find, and he proved himself by the end of this episode. He was willing to accept many penalties, but the last thing he would ever want to do is have the company plead guilty … at least at first. He even decided to accept that at the end. We thought we would be spending the end of this article talking about his greed, but instead, let’s transition over to talking about Rhoades, whose ego and desire to destroy Axe led to him determining that a family office was even too much. He wanted to ban him for good, and Bobby through that deal right in his face. Why do that? Chuck was provoked, and in turn Chuck’s people had provoked him. The insane amount of chest-puffing in this scene caused just about everything to fall apart.
Before we conclude this review, let’s take a minute to once again praise the true star of the series in Maggie Siff, whose Wendy may very well be the show’s most-powerful character. She dictates the thoughts of those around her, and even is willing to confront Axe in a pool wearing very little clothing. It was meeting him at his level, and having him think she was on his side. She had set it up so that everything would be okay for her … but then the guys just couldn’t keep their ego in check in the room.
In the end, maybe Wendy gets a little bit of relief in that Chuck claims he has recused himself from the case … or does he? Chuck still wants to be in the know, which is yet another blunder that could doom more than just his job. “Billions” became tonight a show about blunders, and we couldn’t be happier about it. The best of the season so far. Grade: A-.
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