Billions (S02E03) “Optimal Play”


So here’s what happened:

Kate Sacher brought Rhoades a lead in their case against Boyd in the form of Flight Attendant McKayla, played by Gia Crovatin. McKayla overheard a stock tip from Boyd and made $24,000 off it, and while the action was perfectly legal Kate wanted play off McKayla’s ignorance of the law in order to bait her into baiting Boyd. While Kate paved the way it became clear very quickly that Brian seemed to have more chemistry with McKayla and Rhoades decided to leverage it. It worked and McKayla ended up producing some inflammatory video of Boyd sleeping with Shayleen McKinnon, his Managing Director’s wife played by Angela Marie Roy. McKayla revealed to Brian that while she checked and found her trade wasn’t illegal she did it anyway because of her attraction to him. Rhoades later showed the video to the injured husband and in order to enlist the husband cooperation employed some of the most vulgar metaphorical language ever heard on the show to date.

Meanwhile on the home front, the separation between Wendy and Rhoades is taking its financial toll. Since Rhoades cannot touch his trust fund while he’s in office, and with Wendy insisting on separate domiciles Rhoades ended up having to sell a collection of rare  first edition books written by Winston Churchill about World War II to the tune of $40,000 to make ends meet. Axe later found out about this sale and ordered his staff to buy up every first edition ever published of that series in the world out of sheer spite, of course.

After being passed over by Rhoades to handle McKayla Kate sought advice from her father on the office politics, the investigation into Rhoades and what to do next. Her father basically advised her to be transparent in her actions until the situation is more clear. Reason being, while Rhoades will not ever promote her to Head of Crim (Criminal Division) his successor might.

The annual Alpha Cup Charity Poker Tournament descended on Wall Street and of course, both Axe and Krakow owned seats at the exclusive event. In order to get a mental leg up on Axe Krakow decided to hire Wendy to be his Coach at the tourney. Axe decided to counter and awarded the seat Dollar Bill held for three years to Taylor. It was revealed that Taylor was a world-class online poker player back in college, but hated the competitive nature of it and eventually quit. Axe decided to use the bustle of the tournament to introduce Boyd to Hall with the preface: “(Hall) will lead you to the promised land.” Over a series of semi-dramatic hands, Taylor ended up winning the tourney for Axe Capital and is later lauded back at Axe Capital by the other brokers.

Wags is a walking trainwreck, and both Axe and Lara are concerned. During a break in tourney, Lara asked Wags how he made it out of bed every morning. Wags responded that he went to a “patient concierge” who stuck him with an IV and felt right as rain. This prompted the idea for the new business Lara wanted to start with her sister Mo, and the next day they visit their first set of clients: the brokers at Axe Capital.

Summary Thoughts:

The best line of the episode was delivered by Rhoades after he sold his collection of rare Churchill books. It was a set Churchill gave to General Montgomery with the  following transcription: “Dear Monty, never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, in nothing, great or small, large or petty, never give in, except to conviction of honor and good sense. Never yield to force, and never yield to apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” Axe and Rhoades in a nutshell.