“Taylor and Axe Meet In The Middle, Or So He Thinks” Plus Condola Rashad Interview
by Dana Feldman | Forbes | June 3, 2018
The third season of Billions has been quite the ride and the show’s best yet. The eleventh episode entitled “Kompenso” was the perfect lead in to what is sure to be a fantastic season finale next Sunday! As Showtime’s No. 2 drama series, Billions averages 4.5-to-5 million weekly viewers across platforms and the show’s viewership has grown season-over-season.
Throughout season two, the series grew on Sunday nights by more than 35% from premiere-to-finale. And, the season three premiere was the show’s highest-rated ever with the March 25 debut up 23% from last year. A fourth season is in the works and seeds have been planted in the last few episodes that can definitely lead to very exciting storylines for next season. The writers are apparently already working and filming will resume in the fall.
Chuck Advances Plans To Destroy Jock, While Saving Ira From His Wife And Her Lover:
Chuck (Paul Giamatti), alongside his team Kate Sacker (Condola Rashad) and Karl (Allan Havey), realize the takedown of Jock Jeffcoat (Clancy Brown) might be a tad more difficult than originally anticipated. “We have embarked on a one-way mission,” Chuck says, after Karl tells them no one of any value was willing to go on the record down in Texas. He wasn’t able to substantiate what they already know about Jock’s brother and the cable company. Chuck advises them to “reach out to people you feel dirty talking to and play tactics you wouldn’t confess even to a priest and find a way to crack someone inside the cable company.” He needs to investigate the money trail to make his case of obstruction of justice against the Attorney General of the United States. Together, they hatch a plan to bait Jock to play right into their hands: they’ll go after his brother knowing full well he’ll try and stop the case before it comes to him.
Chuck loses focus, however, when he runs into Ira (Ben Shenkman) and sees that his now-married ex-best-friend might be in over his head. His wife is a thief and all the money he gave her to start her own business was transferred into the account of a supposed business partner, though there is no business to speak of. This business partner is actually her lover. Chuck cannot allow Ira to be taken again after what he already pulled. He tells Ira the money he gave his wife for a commercial property went into a very expensive apartment she’s about to close on with her lover. As it turns out, Ira already suspected much of this, though Chuck has given him more than he bargained for. However, Ira tells him, there’s no prenup and New York is a no-fault state, so he’s screwed. He thinks it’ll blow over, that she’s young, and he doesn’t want to give up on his marriage. “She’ll get whatever it is out of her system,” he tells Chuck. “And, she’ll come home.”
Chuck tells Wendy Ira is the brother he chose, and he knows he’s the cause of the rift between them. He has to intervene now that Ira is in jeopardy. This is his chance to put things right. He finds Ira’s wife’s lover and threatens him with a federal case. “Our conviction rate is 97% and there is no parole,” Chuck threatens. All of the money is returned to Ira.
Chuck then meets with Ira’s wife and gets her to sign a post-nuptial agreement, entitling her to just $50,000 for every year she stays in the marriage. “I liked him, and I really did try to love him,” she says after signing. Chuck Rhoades, Sr. (Jeffrey DeMunn) convinces her to stay, knowing this is what will make Ira happy. All is well that ends well?
It’s Year-End Comp Week At Axe Cap:
Ever wonder if you’re in the right career? With yearly bonuses more than most people make in a lifetime, it’s a fair question to ponder as Axe determines his employees’ worth at the year-end “comp” meetings. As he discusses comps with Wags (David Costabile) and Wendy (Maggie Siff), Taylor (Asia Kate Dillon) suggests delaying comp decisions until after the cap raise but is told they can’t delay. Taylor then tells Axe of the promise they made to the employees in Axe’s absence. “No one makes less than last year,” adding that’s why they all stayed onboard.
Taylor and Axe argue over Taylor’s place and worth at the firm. They go head-to-head when each comes up with a number that is very far off from what the other is thinking. Axe offers Taylor $15 million, but Taylor feels they deserve $50 million. Taylor points out that the firm made $929 million this year and they ran the place most of that time period and that less than one-tenth of the profits seems more than fair. “I did more than just run your money, I kept us alive,” Taylor says, defending their position. The incident with Oscar Langstraat (Mike Birbiglia) is top of mind, but Taylor stands firm that they made sure people knew there was always someone at the helm and protected the firm.
Axe swings back saying that Taylor purposely bombed their first raise meeting with Andolov’s lieutenant. Taylor refuses to back down and accept the number Axe is offering. Tensions between the two continue to boil over as he adds that he never made this much at their age. To that, Taylor says they’ve accomplished more than Axe had. Axe counters that Taylor doesn’t have their own shop. We come to learn that Taylor is setting up their own shop. Good thing they secretly continued with their quant project! “Twenty is as much as anybody has ever gotten out of me,” Axe says. This, however, is not good enough for Taylor.
Recent Axe Cap hire Bonnie (Sarah Stiles) asks for $500,000 because, hey, “you rarely get what you don’t ask for”, Mafee (Dan Soder) gets $1.3 million, Ben Kim (Daniel K. Isaac) is ever so careful in his negotiation, saying he should probably not throw out the first number, “because I have a tendency to under-value myself.” Axe offers him the role of PM, aka Portfolio Manager, to which he seems excited. Then Axe lets him know the new salary is the same as the old; that’s ok, Ben loves the title.
Spyros (Stephen Kunken) approaches Wags, pointing out that his comp meeting isn’t on the books. Wags walks him right into Axe’s office. He’s dismayed when he’s told compliance doesn’t get performance related comp. Not one to know when to say when, Spyros points out that before he came onboard Axe Cap was “dirtier than the Porta Potty outside a third grade donkey show” with arrests, fines, investigations. Spyros credits himself with cleaning things up and thinks he should be rewarded. He then reminds Axe what he’s been working on with Dollar Bill (Kelly AuCoin). Axe counters that this reminds him of where Spyros was just before that, hence fired. “Your comp is getting your job back,” Axe says. “If we were to do a little accounting of how much you meant to Axe Cap, we would first have to look at what you cost me by turning Wendy in. The consequences of your chaos grenade,” Axe adds, “to say nothing of the nightmare that you plunged her into and the unthinkable acts I had to perform in order to set things right.” Spyros looks mortified, like, well, when you put it like that…
Axe then points out the fines, bonuses and jet fuel to Nova Scotia, that he paid and concludes that Spyros owes him $1.195 million. Spyros, at this point, says he doesn’t think he needs a comp meeting. Do we love Spyros? Yes, we do. And, Wags, the last of the comp meetings, gets $9 million and a stack of Oui magazines that Axe got from his mom’s basement. As we flashback to the scene with his mom, we get a little history on Axe and his turbulent relationship with his father, a man he says abandoned him.
Connerty Takes On A New Assignment At The FBI:
Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore), now Special Counsel with the FBI, and his boss get a visit from Jock, who says it’s come to his attention that there are people within the bureau that are undermining their “sacred purpose” by leaking information to the press, among other things. He wants “a hard-target search of every email, text message and online footprint” so they can determine who is trustworthy and who needs to be purged. Connerty offers himself up for the assignment. His boss warns him not to be too zealous in finding wrong doing within the bureau.
Later, Connerty makes a visit to Oliver Dake (Christopher Denham), who has now become a professor. Connerty tells Dake there’s an FBI agent that didn’t opt for Chuck, off the books. “I don’t know where this ends, but I have a start,” Connerty says. He’s seeing if Dake will help him go after Chuck. Dake says Chuck must be stopped. A new alliance is formed.
Taylor Seeks Counsel From Wendy:
“I really have to watch what I tell you,” Taylor says to Wendy. “It’s like you’re listening to every word.” Wendy can tell the comp meeting didn’t go as Taylor wanted and she’s right. “He said I was off the raise team,” Taylor answers. “Is he punishing me for doing exactly what he asked of me?”
Wendy explains that Axe doesn’t punish people unless they’ve wronged him, to which Taylor says, “I won’t stagnate, not for Axe, not for anybody.” Wendy tells Taylor that Axe has never changed a comp decision. Taylor is able to compromise on the number, but needs “forward momentum” above all things, even money. Wendy says she’ll talk to him within a day.
Wendy keeps her word and approaches Axe while he’s meditating. She lets him know he has personnel problems with one person in particular, Taylor. She explains it’s not just about the money, that there’s something more important. “With someone like Taylor, what they need is forward momentum above all things, even money.” Axe listens to what she’s saying. “Taking on Taylor as a real partner isn’t going to kill you,” Wendy adds. “It may be the very thing that makes you stronger.”
Lara Admits Wendy Was Right:
Lara (Malin Akerman) admits Wendy was right about her son needing help. Wendy also tells Lara she needs to help Axe with comps, that she’s his secret weapon, telling it to him straight. “Without you, I think he’s going to make some big mistakes,” Wendy says. She reminds Lara that she’s the largest single investor in Axe Capital and she needs to do this. “You’re going to want to do it for your own sake.” Lara listens and talks to Axe, convincing him to do the right thing by Taylor. She wants Taylor “happy and earning.” The spark is still there and it looked like they were going to have a moment but sadly, Lara leaves. Let’s hope they get back together next season!
Taylor And Axe Meet In The Middle, Or So He Thinks:
Realizing how valuable Taylor is, Axe says, “You’ve been effective in every meeting you weren’t deliberately trying to sabotage” and offers $25 million, an amount he’s never paid before. He also adds that he understands Taylor’s need for forward momentum above all things, even money. “I’m putting you on the raise team,” he says. Taylor is ecstatic. “There’s going to be $30 billion on the table,” he adds. Taylor is ready for it.
Taylor’s quant project takes them to another level with an algorithm that removes human decision-making from the game and helps make plays within micro-seconds. Taylor wants to go live within one week. We then see they already have plans: Taylor meets with Andolov’s guy and there’s a sign in the background that reads “Taylor Mason Capital.” Taylor demands a meeting with Andolov. Are you seeing an amazing fourth season in the future?
Condola Rashad Talks Kate Sacker’s Character Arc This Season:
Read the rest of the original article at Forbes