The Calm Before The Storm
by Damianista | Fan Fun With Damian Lewis | October 21, 2023
In one of the best episodes of the entire series, which I would call “the calm before the storm” Axe, Chuck and Wendy finally set up the game to take down Prince. The key to the episode is the three of them discussing Prince’s strengths and weaknesses in Chuck’s SDNY office where Wendy does her thing:
“We’re facing an ambitious, competent, confident, charismatic, socially conscious strategic thinker with high emotional intelligence and deep sources. But he’s morally complex, which means he likes to think he’s more ethical than those around him. And he’s not immune from engaging in questionable tactics to achieve his goals. That is a slippery slope and once place he can be hit. And he believes his own infallibility above all else.”
Prince is a very difficult target thanks to his strengths Wendy lists in her assessment of him. However, his intense belief in his own infallibility, which Axe himself had before his own fall, will be of immense help to take Prince down.
Axe drives his Bentley to his new Axe Global Headquarters in his Guns N’ Roses T-shirt. The new office is an all-white, warehouse-like space where we get to see two familiar faces right away: Mafee is on the phone at his desk and Helena shows up to tell Axe that Prince is waiting for him in the conference room. Prince looks calm, competent and confident. He seems to have overcome the shock he had two days ago and he is here to tell Axe about what he did yesterday.
Prince, Bradford, Philip and Scooter, still in their tuxes, are sitting in Prince’s office in the early morning after the U2 concert. Philip thinks that Prince has tasked him with getting out of all their positions in the heat of the moment and now that he has cooled down a bit he would give it up on the “everything must go” sale. But he is wrong. Prince stands behind his decision. While Philip thinks that the market will think they are scared and moreover their investors may sue them, Prince insists on dealing with such issues if/when they come.
“You can’t keep anything. Get us flat. Everything becomes cash and exposure to Axelrod and his attacks go to zero. This is a guy who’s strip-mined towns (Sandicot), knocked out prominent families (Axelrod Hall), taken over boards (Yum Time), blown out firms (Saler’s), and sabotaged thriving companies. (John Rice Capital) Killed my ambassadorship. Exposure. Zero. And that’s not even considering Rhoades and all the curd he has the capacity to do to us.”
Fair enough 🙂
Prince now tells Axe about how closely he has been watching the MPC employees whom Axe calls his “kidnap victims.” Prince sees them differently. Some employees like Dollar Bill and Victor are in the “trusted category.” That is because they have met Taylor, who has been trying to recruit them at Axe Global, and made it clear they preferred not to have their feelings run the show and that they would stay at MPC. And when they go back to MPC offices, they talk to the high-ups, and explain the situation. Prince thinks Axe trained them well.
“They did the right thing. Like Henry Hill after the Air France heist (true story portrayed in Scorsese’s Goodfellas). They paid tribute. They kicked up.”
Meanwhile, Ben Kim and Tuk who have not even dared go meet Taylor because they would let their feelings run the show go into the “untrusted” category. Prince fires them on the spot with a recommendation to these “good guys, good earners” to join a 4H Club!
He probably does not share this part with Axe but Prince tasks his “trusted” employees with finding base hit trades, singles or doubles (with risk/reward ratio 1:1 or 1:2), with predefined exits, for when they will go back in. But they need to wait until Prince gives them the greenlight to take action. Prince is proud that Bill and Victor take him over Axe.
“Sadly, your move to hire back your people out from under me failed like nearly everything you’ve tried lately.”
“Not everything, Mike.”
We find out that Andy has packed her things and left for Colorado to be with Derek. While she will be back for the next campaign event, she does not feel like their original agreement stands because she knows why the tiger team effort to rescue Derek did not work out. Oh, and it turns out Derek sent a picture to Axe 🙂
Damian’s dead pan delivery is everything. I am still laughing!
Prince keeps up the appearances by sharing that he knows what Axe and Chuck want him to do but here he is to disappoint Axe: he has figured out their plan to distract him and chosen to focus on real business instead.
The first order of business at MPC is for Kate, and despite Spyros, to have Winston reset the parameters on the risk algorithm he has developed earlier at MPC and the company was able to get the algo back thanks to Wags’ “Winston, This is your life” presentation in Episode 3 Winston Dick Energy. And now they need Winston to reset the parameters to reduce profit as prime objective temporarily to go for low risk investments. And they would be happy to pay the 7-figure number Winston asks for if he took care of this today.
Then Kate shows up in Prince’s office to share some important news from…
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