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Billions Recap: Because You're A Criminal, Bob

Bribery, and fake passports, and $5 million bonuses, oh my!
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Last night's episode, "The Conversation," ended the debut season of Billions. How'd things end for Chuck Rhoades, Bobby Axelrod, Wendy Rhoades, Lara Axelrod, and Bryan Connerty? Almost everyone starts out the finale feeling pretty chipper, but sadly, those feelings don't last. Billions giveth and Billions taketh away. Let's examine the evidence:

  • Chuck Rhoades begins "The Conversation" happy as a god damn clam because at the end of last week's episode, he'd broken into his wife's computer, read the notes from her confidential session with Bobby Axelrod, and saw that Axelrod had discussed that time he bribed a cop to make an assault rifle charge go away. +1
  • His buddy, Lonnie-- last seen digging up the dirt Chuck needed to make Judge Wilcox go away-- is back at the Southern District and, working on the lead he got from Chuck, puts together a case against Axelrod, one that will result in Bobby going to prison. It's all so easy!+2
  • Except, y'know, a few caveats: 1. Someone inside Southern office has been leaking information on Chuck's moves all season to Bobby's fixer Hall and now they know what's coming and can prepare -1 and 2. The bribery information came from a shrink session and can't be used in court. Chuck realizes they have to drop the case. -2
  • Oh, and Wendy, upon learning he obtained the info on Axe by reading her files, kicks him out. -5
  • And he has to stay in a room at the Yale Club that hasn't been redecorated in several decades.-10
  • Wendy Rhoades enters "The Conversation" having just finished a class at Soul Cycle, and in addition to all those endorphins, receives another nice high when Bobby gifts her with a $250,000 car as a thank you for their last session. +1 
  • Unfortunately, her next interaction with her boss has a slightly less celebratory feel to it, as he-- wrongfully-- accuses her of feeding Chuck everything he said about bribing a cop. -1
  • "If I'm going down, you're going down with me," Bobby tells Wendy but oh, he's not finished! Fixer Hall has prepared a smear dossier on Wendy that includes her web traffic-- apparently Wendy ordered a number of her BDSM accoutrements from her work computer-- as well as photos of her from the night she did a session with Bobby in a hot tub, wearing nothing-5 
  • Later at home, she confronts Chuck about the evidence he stole, and she's forced to suffer through his justifications about how he had to do it and Bobby is trying to ruin their marriage.-5 
  • Chuck also throws it in Wendy's face that her patients are criminals and that she's become "one of them." On the one hand: yes! The patients who are trading on inside information are criminals and the one who bribed a cop is definitely a criminal and unless she's modeling her career after Dr. Melfi, it's really sort of strange how she glosses over that aspect over her job. On the other, it's not nice when your husband calls you a criminal. -2 
  • Still, after proving to Bobby that she never gave the info to her Chuck-- because she was recording their conversation, naturally-- she scores a $5 million bonus +20, quits +5, and having separated from her husband, is maybe (hopefully?) on her way to meeting the hot headhunter from a few episodes back for drinks. +1
  • Lara Axelrod gets her bad news early on: she needs to get the ball rolling on her and Bobby's contingency plan they've had in place in the event he ever ran into some legal trouble, and that plan is to flee the country and enter some sort of fancy witness protection program. Lara packs their bags and and a bunch of gold bars, but she's not super thrilled about the idea of upending her and her sons' lives. -4 
  • The good news, of course, is that having found out Chuck can't use the evidence he stole from Wendy against Bobby, the Axelrods can stay in Westport.+4 
  • But for how long? Bobby tells Lara to not return the foreign currency she took out of the bank and keep it in the basement, just in case.-3
  • Because Chuck said he was recusing himself from the Axe Capital case and then immediately told his number two, Bryan Connerty, to keep him apprised of everything going on in the case, Connerty knows his boss just can't let this thing go. And that it's just a little too convenient that Lonnie is able to build a case against Bobby Axelrod on his first day back. Connerty's former mentor, a Skadden partner representing Axelrod, confirms Connerty's suspicions that Chuck got the dirt through unethical means and maybe isn't the great man Bryan thought he was .-4 
  • Assuming that he's become totally jaded at this point, Axelrod offers Connerty a 7-figure job on the dark side. +4 
  • Connerty still has a shred of idealism left in him, so he walks away.+2 
  • But he's sad and broken and it's kiiiinda all Chuck's fault. -2
  • Bobby, Bobby, Bobby. More than anyone in this episode, Bobby Axelrod goes from feeling like he's on top of the word to the bottom, back to the top and down to the bottom again. In the beginning of "The Conversation," he's fresh off his big session with Wendy and feels like he can do anything, namely get out there and raise fresh capital. +2
  • But then he gets turned down by everyone in the room. -2
  • Until he trades his suit and tie for a magical hoodie and lands a whale. +5
  • But then he finds out the Feds know he bribed a cop. -10
  • And that sucks for him, until he threatens Wendy that he'll go public with her dominatrix hobby/photos from the time they took a professional nude dip together, setting into a motion a chain of events that result in Wendy confronting Chuck about stealing the session notes, and Chuck dropping the case. +10
  • But then, after Wendy proves she never betrayed him and he gives her a $5 million thank you, the one woman who truly gets him quits. -5 
  • Still, he doesn't have to flee the country! +4
  • But Chuck Rhoades is nowhere near done f*cking with him, and feeding the false info that Axe Capital is bugged, which results in Bobby and Co tearing the place to shreds looking for wiretaps that don't exist, is just the beginning. -20


- Bobby's contribution to the conversation that ended "The Conversation" was a nice nod to the people who think that because they're "job creators" it's no biggie to bribe cops, and otherwise break the law etc, etc.

- I love Chuck calling Axelrod "Bob."

- But seriously, now that she's down one real husband and one work husband, what's next for Dr. Wendy?

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