Categories Billions Print Media Recap

Billions on Showtime, Season 4 Episode 1: Chucky Rhoades’s Greatest Game

After All, Tomorrow is Another Day!

by Damianista | Fan Fun with Damian Lewis | March 17, 2019

What are the odds that the two most anticipated events of the year for yours truly fall on the same day? I got up at 5am to run NYC half-Marathon earlier today and I found out later that Showtime kindly released the Billions Season Premiere today which gave me time to watch the episode two times, sit down and write.

My one word review for the Season Premiere: WHOA.

Longer version follows. ENJOY!

Now that palace coup is complete leaving Axe paranoid and Chuck unemployed, what is next? As I love to say Billions loves symmetries! In Season 4 premiere, both Axe and Chuck have to do “diplomacy” which make them think about doing the “mature thing” but they are ultimately convinced by their inner circles to do the opposite! 😀

Having lost his throne to Bryan, Chuck has now opened a private practice but we all know he is looking for an opening to get back to the game! Ira has got word that the SDNY will look into Chuck’s prosecutions for any kind of misconduct with the obvious goal of trashing his legacy. And since everyone is lined up to “hang him from the yardarm” Senior thinks Junior needs to go on the offense and make the others defend. Well, all Junior wants is vengeance, too; but he is cautious for the right reasons. Chuck knows he may run for Epstein’s State AG seat and win. But he also knows the moment he makes a move he will find Jack Foley releasing what he has on him or at least threaten to.

Senior shows no mercy to Junior and gives us a golden Senior moment:

“I would slap your face and tell you to act like a man if I didn’t think it’d turn you on.”

Senior is ready to take care of Foley when the time comes. But Chuck, to be able to go back into the game,  needs to build a power base now! And when Wendy seconds Chuck Senior and Ira, Chuck has no option other than  becoming a honey bee picking up honey here and dropping it there 😀

Chuck now needs to go out of his way to get a gun permit for Mr. Brogan, a big gun in the city. It is almost impossible to get a gun permit as a private citizen in NYC: only the ex-cops and ex-feds can, well, almost! But Mr. Brogan needs one: he has horses, carries cash to and from the track,  and his wife, well, “the kid loves jewelry.” 🙂

So Chuck starts his greatest game like Billy Phelan did, going from one restaurant to another, making one person happy at a time!

Chuck finds the police commissioner Sansome at Barney Greengrass, an Upper West Side staple, who tells him he would not help Chuck to get a gun permit for someone else even if Chuck was the US Attorney. Next stop is E.A.T. where Chuck finds Mr. Eisen who needs a ticket to the Central Synagogue’s Children’s Hannukah Service in return for introducing Chuck to one Ambassador Suarez. Mr. Eisen wants to sit with his daughter but his ex’s brother is the President of the board and does not let him in. Well, Chuck is on it! He finds Donny D at Michael’s. Donny can provide Hanukkah tickets if Chuck can get him First Tracks Season Pass at Deer Valley. Oh my! Chuck gets this one with a little help from Wendy: The two lunch at The Pool and “bump into” Birchie to whom Wendy goes to talk for obvious reasons! And guess what? Birchie hurt his knee and his wife prefers the beach to the slopes anyway. So in return for a session with Wendy, Chuck has Birchie’s First Tracks at Deer Valley! So Donny D gets his passes and provides the Hannukkah tickets for Mr. Eisen. But there is a small problem: Mr. Eisen can only introduce Chuck to someone who can introduce him to Ambassador Suarez. Lucky for Chuck, the NYC Park-Anywhere pass he’s been offering everyone since early morning works for Nacho, the guy who can introduce him to the ambassador. But the thing is Suarez is not taking meetings because of a family issue. Can Chuck solve it?

Would we ever imagine Axe giving this answer when Chuck asks how much it would take to move a charter school a few blocks away?

“It’d take plenty… But who cares? If it matters to you, I can do it.”

But why?

We find out when Chuck and Sean Ayles meet with Suarez at Marea.It turns out Suarez’ stepson who is 20 was involved with a 16 year old and had to register as a sex offender. But now that this charter school is coming to Tribeca, his neighborhood, he needs to move out to be out of the buffer zone. Ha!

The school moves elsewhere and Chuck makes the day’s last stop at Sparks Steakhouse: When Commisioner Samsone first likens Chuck to “turd remnant that won’t flush” Chuck should feel like shit! Ewwwww. But Samsone turns 180 degrees when he hears what Chuck has to say!  Chuck heard the conversation at Samsone’s table in the morning that the police commissioner had a pitcher who could not play in the Police Benevolent Little League Playoffs because of his age. Well, thanks to Ambassador Suarez, that kid can now be whatever age he needs to be and can play in the Little League.

Doesn’t it look like a beginning of a beautiful friendship when we see Chuck and Samsone lying on the pavement talking about the day Castellano was killed at the exact place they are now on orders from John Gotti? It is not surprising Chuck feels for Castellano given that he met his own “Gotti” at Sparks:

“Boss one minute, in the gutter the next.”

It is a brand new day at Axe Capital, too, with Axe going around with bodyguards for protection against Andolov. That said some things never change at Axe Capital.

It is Axe’s habit to don a band t-shirt on a “new day”: Think of the day he has got the naming rights for Eads Hall or the day he thought he would buy an NFL team, or the day he was free again. Axe arrives at Axe Capital today in a Motorhead tshirt with the band’s “Ace of Spades” (kudos to Lady Trader for guessing it!) playing in the background.

Sidenote: For those of you wondering if these tshirts are vintage or only vintage-looking, Brian Koppelman was very kind to answer our question on Twitter.

We know Axe has the capacity to reach high paranoia levels when faced with credible threats: Think of Season 1 Finale where he suspects Axe Capital was bugged. He tears down the company and turns it into Fort Axe with turnstiles, magnetic ID cards and what have you! And the current paranoia levels Axe has reached after Taylor left with Mafee and a big chunk of Axe Capital money including Andolov’s match the levels he reached in Season 1 Finale. He is now having every Axe Capital employee to sign no-competes so Taylor cannot steal someone else from Axe.

Axe also loves to make an example of someone at critical junctures so everyone understands what he is about to talk about is no joke. Think of the drill they had at Axe Capital in Season 1 Episode 2 Naming Rights which ended with Axe firing Victor.

Axe does not like the fact that Bonnie and Rudy are not the “incestuous ice dancers” he expects them to be.  Axe asks Bonnie why  Alex Ovechkin of the Stanley Cup Winner The Capital scores a lot and answers his own question:  Because he has a partner like Nicklas Backstrom. Bonnie’s answer is that while Ovi has the skill to put his shot into the net Rudy does not. And given Rudy has signed his non-compete:

“You’re fired.”

We first think he has fired Rudy because he has been underperforming. But no! Rudy has a picture with Mafee from a Taylor Mason Capital picnic and that is good enough reason for Axe to fire him.

He roars:

“We now live in a universe split down the middle. You gotta pick sides. If you’re not on mine, you’re gone.”

What I find most interesting here is Wendy, who is often the voice of reason at Axe Capital, seconding Axe, and forcefully, too!

“You get on with it, or get fucked.”

WOW. Knowing that she feels used by Taylor, Wendy will certainly be more involved in business than usual this season. We see her telling Axe she has already bought Taylor’s headhunter so Taylor is not  able to interview the best applicants in the pool. And as soon as they learn from the head hunter that Taylor is trying to recruit Mick Danzig, they hire him, too!

At this point I am not buying Axe firing Rudy at its face value. Couldn’t it be a show for others to believe Axe is firing him while he plans to use Rudy somehow as a mole in Taylor’s company? Maybe getting him to approach Mafee as a friend and extract information over drinks or something? Well, We know Mafee speaks his mind to people “out of family.”

While he is paranoid about who is on his side and who is not, Axe seems quite comfortable about the Arab State of Qadir’s pledge to Axe Capital. As Wags is headed off to their embassy to talk about the terms of their deal and warns the Kommandant “the competition” will have their top dog there, Axe is sure the Sheik would never sit with someone like Taylor.


Wags loses his cool and gets vulgar during the meeting with Farhad, the Sheikh’s representative, because he tries to dictate their own terms and insists on seeing Axe. And as he is leaving the Embassy Wags sees a “Kate Jackson hot” woman who is nobody other than Taylor!

Read the rest of the original article at Fan Fun with Damian Lewis