The Worm is Always Ready For the Hook
by Dana Feldman | Forbes | June 9, 2019
All good things, as they say, must come to an end. The fourth season finale of Showtime’s Billions, “Extreme Sandbox,” definitely left off with an intriguing cliffhanger. The 4.5 million weekly viewers of the show will have to wait until next year to see what happens, but in the meantime, can ponder this question: Is it better to lose and do the right thing, or win by doing the wrong thing? Each of the main players in the show seem to have a different answer to this question.
Chuck Earns His Punishment:
The finale opens with Chuck (Paul Giamatti), clad in BDSM leather barely-there attire, as he hangs from a cage-like contraption. His dominatrix cranks a lever and he’s pulled in painful directions. But, he hasn’t earned his punishment quite yet. He tells her he isn’t ready but she keeps on cranking until he yells his safe word, which is “red.”
She tells him not to come back until he’s ready for her. By the end of the episode, after he’s taken down all of his enemies, he does return and he has definitely earned it. Literally, no one is left standing. Well, Axe (Damian Lewis) is but their reignited desire to destroy one another is for next season.
Chuck’s two main enemies have been successfully squashed. Both Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore) and Jock (Clancy Brown) clearly didn’t anticipate their enemy. We’ll get to this in a moment.
He does, if even for a few moments, make things up to Wendy (Maggie Siff). Let’s just say he has a way with words and medical boards. When Wendy gets a call from the board, she learns that her honesty paid off in spades. Telling the truth when she could’ve lied proved to the powers that be that she truly cares for her patients. The board also received dozens of letters supporting her character and work.
The board has decided to put aside the findings from the proceeding and give her a verbal warning. The matter is concluded and she gets to keep her medical license. Wendy is grateful to Chuck for helping with this matter but catches him in another betrayal and leaves their home. Chuck asks if she’s coming home and she says she doesn’t know. She instead goes to Axe’s place and stays the night. It almost appears as though something might happen between Axe and Wendy. Maybe it will next season…
Axe Is The Bad Man Behind Blue Eyes:
The first time we see Axe in this episode, the classic hit by The Who “Behind Blue Eyes” is playing. As the lyrics go, “No one knows what it’s like to be the bad man, to be the sad man behind blue eyes.” It’s the way he looks at Rebecca (Nina Arianda) that reveals the imminent destruction of this relationship.
He sabotages her business venture and takes down Saler’s. This was a company she wanted to run for real. This one wasn’t about the money but he knew that. If it isn’t bad enough that he annihilated her dream, it’s the cold and calculating way in which he did it.
The moment she cut a deal with Taylor (Asia Kate Dillon) their relationship was essentially over. It was just a matter of time and Axe details exactly how things fell apart from his perspective. And, the way in which he humiliates Rebecca at the board meeting she thinks she’s about to head, is painful to watch.
Fully trusting Axe, Rebecca arrives at the meeting ready to get to work. She quickly realizes something is off when she sees Sanford Bensinger (Richard Thomas) in attendance. She begins to tell the board Saler’s has taken ownership of Kling appliances, the company Taylor at first used to try and gain control of Saler’s.
Axe stands and explains they’re not going to sell Kling products and that instead they’ll be using Kling to move toward profitability in a different way. He’s liquidated the company out from under her and we find out how he did it.
Axe was able to pull this off by getting Rebecca to take Wendy away for a day of female bonding. They meet up with Mark Cuban and after an afternoon spent moving the Earth and bulldozing cars, both briefly feel better about their lives.
However, Axe had a reason for sending the women off for the day. He met with Sanford behind Rebecca’s back and told him he had a way to save them all from the eventual fallout of Saler’s toxic debt. Are you seeing a pattern here? Whenever Axe plans fun day trips for people, he’s usually planning a takedown of their business. Remember when he took John Rice (Seth Gabel) for an afternoon of fishing and within the span of a few hours, Axe had put $741 million of John’s $1 billion into play, taking his business down by 70% to 80% on assets under management?
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