Billions (S02E06) “Indian Four”

So here’s what happened:

The episode picked up soon after Boyd’s arrest and was released an on bail. He and Axe discussed that somehow Rhoades flipped one of his managers, Michael Arendt played by Jake Robards, and they needed to flip him back. Axe offered Hall’s services again and told Boyd he better listen to him this time.

Ira and Rhoades met at Rhoades’s townhome and discussed all the difficulties Rhoades faced: 1.) his marriage, 2.) his job 3.) the lawsuits from Axe, and their  resulting weight on Rhoades’s finances since he cannot touch his trust fund whilst holding office. Ira asked if Wendy knew about what was happening with the job and the lawsuits, but a prideful Rhoades wanted to keep it all away from Wendy.

Boyd and Hall met and Hall recommended that Boyd pay $2.5 million dollars on a regular schedule to Arendt’s wife via an off-shore account. Boyd asked if money was enough to silence Arendt and Hall insinuated threatening Arendt’s children as psychological warfare would ensure Arendt never talked. This recommendation from Hall actually made Boyd visibly cringe.

Rhoades wanted to pursue jail time for Boyd as part of the plea agreement and both Brian and Katie bucked. They argued pursuing jail time for Boyd would sink a plea agreement and lead to a jury trial that no one really wanted. However, when Boyd failed to show for the plea agreement meeting with Rhoades and sent his lawyers instead Rhoades knew that he had lost Arendt as a witness.

Axe and Wags met with their middle man about that horrible Sandicott deal, the one Axe stupidly went into having been warned by Taylor not to. They needed to secure a prime piece of property owned by Hank Flagg in order to make the deal work. Flagg initially wanted $1.5 million for 200 acres of land and got what he asked for but then suddenly backed out. Axe realized Flagg knew something was up, but Axe wanted to move fast to seal the deal and decided to meet with Flagg himself.

Wendy stopped by the townhome she and Rhoades’s shared to check in on Rhoades and chatted about routine domestic things when Rhoades received a called from Ira that he took in another room which made Wendy suspicious. Afterwards Rhoades and Wendy had a close moment but then both backed away and Wendy left.

Later that night Wendy went to visit Ira and Ira spilled the beans about the weight and impact of Rhoades’s troubles.

The next day, Wendy met with Axe at a public park and said she would return to the firm if Axe dropped the class-action lawsuits against her husband. She also wanted a higher salary, a stake in Axe Capital, and her sessions with clients remain private even from Axe. When Axe agreed almost too readily to her demands it suddenly dawned on Wendy the class-action lawsuits were a ploy to get her to return to Axe Capital. When Axe admitted to it Wendy, as punishment, banned Axe having any counseling sessions with her. So for the first time in Axe Capital history a contract was drawn up between Axe and an employee of his firm, and of all employees it was Wendy Rhoades. This this the first time I think as viewers we have ever seen Axe NOT trust Wendy. Right afterwards, Axe called his wife and told her he wanted to take her out to dinner – via a helicopter.

Daddy Rhoades was at it again. His private investigator followed Axe’s associates up to Sandicott and reported back that something was brewing. Daddy Rhoades did some further digging and learned about casino deal. He called in a favor and asked an old friend to award the gaming license somewhere other than Sandicott.

During dinner, Axe broke the news to Lara about Wendy’s return to Axe Capital. Lara was pissed. Here she thought the dinner was about Axe apologizing for chastising her for being underprepared for her capitalization meeting with Spartan-Ives. (My eyes furrowed at this because there was no reason why Axe should apologize. She was underprepared. Grow a thicker skin, Lara). Suddenly, Axe received a call and stepped away to take it. When he turned back he saw that Lara had left in the helicopter.

Axe and Orrin met and Orrin was impressed with the contract deal Axe made with Wendy for it prevented Rhoades from pursuing Axe, especially whilst he and Wendy were estranged. As a viewer, I was surprisingly reminded that Dake’s deal was still on the table to re-characterize the $5 million dollar bonus as a bribe, but Axe wasn’t interested in putting Wendy in jail and instructed Orrin to inform Dake. He also instructed Orrin to drop the lawsuits against Rhoades.

Axe met with Hank Flagg played by Shawn Doyle who also happened to be a fellow motorcycle enthusiast. It was learned during this scene that Axe had bought up all the town’s debt, but if the town defaults on the bonds Axe will lose millions if the casino failed to materialize. Axe offered $5 million to Flagg for his property and Flagg throw in the Indian Four motorcycle he owned. Flagg too k the deal. I couldn’t tell what made Axe grin wider: The deal he made with Flagg or the famous Indian Four motorcycle her scored.

Just before Brian is about to head into jury selection for the Boyd case Brian informed Rhoades they needed to have a discussion about his future. During jury selection, it was clear that Boyd’s case would not engender a sympathetic jury so Boyd instructed his lawyers to settle with Rhoades. During the second plea deal meeting Rhoades turned down Boyd’s plea offering and walked out the room in a flourish. Boyd decided to make a call.

Soon thereafter US Attorney General called Rhoades and Rhoades suddenly realized that call was a “do or die” call for him. During a witty exchange, and for certain associations not to come out into the open during jury trial they agreed Rhoades would accept the plea deal from Boyd in return for keeping his job, and Dake was out. Victory for Rhoades.

Dake finally cornered Watley for a meeting and was just about to get Watley to sing when he received a call from the US Attorney General and after the call abruptly ended the session. On his way out Dake paid a visit to Rhoades and warned him not to remain too “fucking” comfortable. My eyes actually blinked when he added the expletive deletive. Not too ‘fucking” comfortable? Gosh, is this personal Dake?

Axe learned of Boyd’s plea deal from Wags and was not happy.

Brian received a call from Orrin who congratulated him on the Boyd plea and advised Brian to think over the next several weeks about what he would like to do next. I smell a job offer coming from Orrin.

Later Axe and Lara argued again, and Lara admitted her issue wasn’t with Wendy per se, but Axe exposing his strategic thinking to her during counseling sessions given that Wendy exposed clients session notes to Rhoades due to her lack of proper security. Axe lied to his wife and offered that he wouldn’t have any sessions with Wendy, even though it was Wendy who had already drew that line with him. Lara was appeased and they made up.  This is the first time we as viewers have seen Axe lie about anything Wendy-related to his wife. Hm.

Daddy Rhoades and Ira took Rhoades out for a victory lap drink and in course, Ira informed Rhoades that Axe dropped the lawsuits.  Rhoades realized something was not right and quickly excused himself.

Hall called Axe to inform the gaming license had been awarded to another town in the Catskills, and the Sandicott deal was dead. Axe hung up the phone perplexed. Why do I get the funny feeling Axe is about to run over Daddy Rhoades before the season is over?

In the last scene Rhoades confronted Wendy outside their townhome about Axe dropping the lawsuits and whether she a hand in it. She admitted she did it for his sake and told him she went back to Axe Capital. Rhoades was furious and said that while it worked out for her it was “deal-breaker” for them and stomped off into the night and so did the story arc right back to square one of season one, episode one.

————————

The best line of the episode was from Orrin to Axe: “So this is detente?” Yes, it is. For now.

 

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