Ax continues to let his emotions guide his decisions. And now the consequences combine to bring him down.
Season 5, Episode 9: 'Implosion '
"He isn 't dead until I say he is dead," Bobby Axelrod says of his decabillionaire rival, Mike Prince.
"Bobby Axelrod must be wiped from the face of the earthe, ”says Mike Prince of his decabillionaire rival, Bobby Axelrod.
Damn, says I.
" Billions "is never better than when its fighters (often a more apt word than" characters ") have indeed joined the battle against each other, concocting complex plans and construction towards dramatic outcomes for their rivalries. As this week 's episode drew to a close, not one but three worthy adversaries: Mike Prince; Chuck Rhoades; and, sort of a surprise, Taylor Mason - had all joined forces to take down Bobby Axelrod.
Will this stick around? Probably no more and no less than all of their past attempts, including those that took place in this very episode. Will it be fun to watch? I would bet the daily ill-gotten gains of a decabillionaire.
This latest round of hostilities began in last week's episode when Bobby reached out to the still grieving mother of the elder Prince's partner, whom he convinced to detonate Prince on national television. It was one of the most effective reputation destruction maneuvers worms in recent memory of "Billions", and in addition to removing his post as Ambassador to Denmark, it has led to many clients, business partners and Prince 's charitable partners to head for the hills.
Of course, he can convince some of them to stick with an intimidating one, Van Halen citing one or two monologues. But the handwriting is on the wall, in letters so big that even Prince can read them.
So after a meeting with the mother of his ex- partner, he does what he considers the right thing to do. Rather than lTo shake up his plummeting reputation sinking the impact investing industry, he is disposing of all of his holdings for good so that they are not tainted with his sociopathic stench.
Naturally this is seen as good news in the Ax Cap lanes, especially the Taylor Mason Carbon wing of the office. Taylor realizes that they can buy out Prince's old stakes cheaply, bolstering both the industry and their own control.
'Ax? He wants to offload everything Ax Cap has in the industry, making Prince's good deed the first domino that will sink the entire decarbonization market. Why? Just to make Prince look even worse than he already is.
Taylor, of course, is appalled by the idea, which is both immoral and - this devrbe the most important consideration for Ax - a money loser. So Bobby bypasses his semi-autonomous lieutenant and orders Taylor's underling, Mafee (Dan Soder) to trade. There is the sector, and there are all of Prince's attempts to restore his reputation with them.
For Bobby, it 's just about 'a sequel to Prince's attempt to get Ax by beaching at sea the first shipment of his frozen pizza pet project. On the advice of his star pizza maker cousin, Paul Manzarello (Domenick Lombardozzi), Bobby buys a bunch of Italian-made pizza ovens and recreates the entirety of the cargo in the country, allowing his right-hand man, Wags, to show Scooter, his counterpart at Prince, in a supermarket. For Prince, this is the last straw: Axelrod delenda est.
Chuck, meanwhile, continues his machinations against his ancias a rival - while he's not busy helping his dying father choose to come out of the coffins. Recognizing that his schemes unwittingly handed Ax the banking charter he was seeking, Chuck reaches out to Drew Moody (an incredibly sinister Michael Cerveris), attorney general for the state of Delaware, a tax haven, with the goal of to nip the problem in the bud.
Moody blows it. “I don't believe that businesses are people,” he purrs. "They are better than people, because they don't wake up when they're so obsessed with something they can't see reality. "I'm not sure this follows Ax Cap 's behavior, but okay of course.
Chuck designs a new solution for bypass for this particular stone wall. He has his father, Charles Sr., appointed special administrator of the new bAnque d 'Ax, ready to mount the herd and make the life of the fledgling operation hell, while he's still alive to do so.
And this is precisely the vulnerability that Axelrod is dealing with. Using secret employee files compiled by Wendy Rhoades before her big ethics investigation some time ago, Ax discovers that her servant Danny Margolis (Daniel Cosgrove) is a compatible donor for the kidney transplant Charles needs to stay alive; By the time Chuck gets wind of it, the operation is almost underway. Now Bobby can say he did the one thing Charles 'own son couldn't: he saved the old man's life.
Too bad for this punitive guardianship!
But Prince is surprisingly optimistic. Acknowledging an excess of emotion in Ax's decision to cut its pizza partners under unusual conditionst supportive, Prince sees the new bank as a blessing in disguise. Without someone in place to stop him, says Prince, Ax will become reckless and make mistakes - "fatal mistakes ". All they have to do is let him run with it, keep cutting shortcuts and waging war on Prince until he makes a blunder from which he cannot recover.
So when Taylor walks into Chuck and Prince's conversation and asks, point blank: "How are we going to take out Bobby Axelrod?", The last one piece of the puzzle falls into place. If these three together can't do it, no one can.
But what if it was just - what if no one can? Consider the plight of Ax Cap artist-in-residence Nico Tanner. His relationship with Bobby has effectively ruined his artistic drive; he is now both too committed to earning success. money and aholding a grudge against his boss's control over him. So he cuts the canvas from the final painting he was hired for with Bobby and ends up destroying his relationship with Wendy in the process. Picking up the big pennies only made him painfully aware of his need for big pennies, and the result is an omnidirectional disaster.
But not for Bobby. Sifting through the rubbish of Tanner's ransacked studio, he retrieves the sketch of Wendy Tanner drew after a night together, then decides to hang up a painting that Nico appears to have disfigured with an entire pot of black paint. This ruined painting is not ruined at all, as Bobby sees it - it has the power and emotion he has been looking for from the start.
And why would he see it any differently? Profiting from a disaster is Bobby Axelrod's method. Or, as Chuck puts it elsewhere in the episode, "Every Faiths that I move I make her life better and mine worse. "Is Chuck 's alliance with Prince and Mason any way out of this dynamic, or is she just going to dig the hole deeper? ?
Prince refers to himself as" the atomic punk "to a recalcitrant investor, thus harnessing the power of Van Halen (this is a reference to a song on their debut album ). Chuck paraphrased Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth in last week's episode. Here's hoping that 'Ax is doing karaoke for "Hot for Teacher " or something like that next week.
Something to note: Rian, one of the rising stars of Mase Carb, almost left the company due to the sales debacle before being dissuaded by Taylor. always have the impression that there is a bond developing here that will go beyond the boss and the employee.
Don't think for a second that Chuck 's alliance with Prince makes him friends." Because I am so rich, I am inherently guilty ? ”Prince at one of their first meetings. “ This is what I've built a good part of my career on, ”Chuck replies. Prince responds by saying that the mega-rich can't not be controlled by outsiders; the only way for them to really do good in the world is to “demand it of ourselves.” Given his track record, I'm not confident.