Respecting Your Adversary
by Damianista | Fan Fun With Damian Lewis | September 15, 2023
In one of the best opening scenes in Billions, Robert and Charles, as they call each other, meet at an airport in Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands) in Iceland and set the tone for the episode. This one is all about respecting your adversary. As Grigor Andolov rightly points out one should have the greatest respect for their fiercest adversary, because that is the one who believes in your abilities the most. And the title of the episode is a clear tribute to President Zelensky and the people of Ukraine to whose resilience and determination Russian President Vladimir Putin has had zero respect whatsoever.
So we seriously missed Robert and Charles’ niceties, didn’t we?
Chuck: I always wanted to see Vestmannaeyjar in the dark.
Axe: Best way for a newly installed U.S. attorney not to be tracked.
Chuck: And for an international fugitive not to be extradited.
Axe: Something for everyone.
It turns out that Axe has invited Chuck to Iceland to ask for a personal favor. It is a difficult matter but he is confident that Chuck can do it. And, honestly, I do not think Chuck has come all the way to Iceland just because Wendy is very persuasive but because: first he is very curious about what his fiercest adversary will ask him, and second because he is flattered – which becomes obvious over the episode – that Axe needs HIM.
We actually kind of knew that it is Grigor Andolov who Axe partnered with to provide weapons for Ukraine. And here he is in a room with Axe and a few other Russian oligarchs watching a thank you video from Zelesky aka “the Man in the Olive Drab T-Shirt” for the support they gave to the Ukranian defense forces. Once the other oligarchs leave the room, Grigor sits next to Axe. He is straightforward with his demands and threats. A number of oligarchs who stood against Putin’s policies are dead (the people Andolov mentions are real and were found dead in apparent suicides! You can read about Avayev, Menlikov, Protosenya and Tyulyakov.)
Andolov wants to live so he asks Axe to help him get back to the U.S. In return, he can get him tickets for the Bolshoi ballet or make sure he keeps walking freely in Europe. While Axe tries to downplay the threat, Andolov is not smiling. So Axe is on it.
While Chuck is concerned about the reason Grigor wants to return to the US, whether it is for some kind of narcotics deal or to mess with the next election, Axe explains: Grigor’s wife is still in New York. She is suing for divorce on basis of abandonment. And if Andolov cannot show up at court, the court will make a default judgment giving the wife whatever she asks for in divorce papers (read: billions of dollars!)
Knowing that Chuck may not want to do this personal favor for him, Axe talks about the “old combatants’ code” in the example of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, one of the biggest rivalries in the sports history. And remember Axe and Chuck likened their rivalry to that of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in Season 5 Episode 12 No Direction Home.
Axe reminds Chuck that when Ali was broke and needed help, Frazier hauled him into his limo and gave him a thousand dollars in cash. Yes, Axe is doing well enough to have Chuck travel on his new G800 but this one is very important – about his physical safety for God’s sake! Moreover, Axe adds, if Chuck helps him, he will owe Chuck a debt and will be there for him whenever Chuck needs him. And that is, ladies and gentlemen, what seals the deal right there and then. Chuck will do it but only in his own special way 🙂
Ira finds a commodity fraud case in the oil industry that they can use Andolov as an expert witness. However, bringing Andolov to the US is a complex federal matter that gets Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security as well as Governor Sweeney, State AG Dave Mahar and the Solicitor General De Giulio involved in it.
Chuck also finds out from Ira that Grigor’s wife has a backer – Todd Krakow, not only a billionaire hedge-funder but also the former Treasury Secretary of the United States! And as word about Andolov spreads in political circles, Chuck finds Krakow himself in his office. And it doesn’t take long for Chuck to figure out that Krakow is not only bankrolling Andolov’s wife but he is sleeping with her!
“Oksana is a very soulful woman.”
Read the rest of the original article at Fan Fun With Damian Lewis