Last night's episode, the penultimate of the season, was called "Magical Thinking"; in addition to the magical thinking it would take to see a Wendy-less Chuck Rhoades doing well for himself on Tinder, it left all of the shows character's in precarious places in the lead up to the finale.
On the Bobby Axelrod front, he blows a huge trade, losing the firm what will ultimately be around $1 billion. It didn't have to happen that way and, in fact, Axe Capital could've made 10%, if Bobby had listened to one of his traders who begged him to sell before the company's conference call. Axelrod was already digging his heels in on this one but when he heard that every one of his analysts disagreed with him, he refused to back down. How did he f*ck this one up so badly? It's shocking, perplexing, and downright disturbing. Luckily, he has a licensed psychiatrist on staff who is on call to unpack all the various reasons he does and doesn't do things. Wendy Rhoades is interviewing with a competitor when she gets her boss's request for a session, thinking about taking a job at a firm whose female-dominated staff would offer a different sort of patient and whose owner, by virtue of the fact that she is not Bobby Axelrod, would remove the very awkward conflict of interest currently present in her marriage.
First though, she needs to fix Bobby. Over the course of the night, there's a lot of talk about Axelrod needing to prove himself, how he cries during sentimental commercials and YouTube clips, and a sprinkling of "am I this way because my father didn't come home?" But Wendy knows from last week's episode that something went down with Donnie Caan and keeps circling back to the recently deceased trader. Finally, Bobby admits that he "used Donnie as a shield" and also that he never mentioned an experimental drug that could've bought the trader a few months but might've kept him alive long enough to testify against Axelrod and the firm. Also, he just really never cared about Donnie. Does that make him a sociopath? Wendy says she'd put him at somewhere between "normal" and "sociopath"; now that he's feeling all these feelings, he needs choose which direction he wants to head towards.
In last week's episode, we saw Wendy coming to the realization that Chuck was full of sh*t when he claimed to have recused himself from the Axe Capital case. In "Magical Thinking," it's Chuck who's become suspicious of Wendy. When he takes a car out to Westport to talk to her, he sees his wife and his arch-nemesis talking and laughing on the balcony and it sends him into a tailspin that can only be treated by visiting a sex dungeon and being handcuffed and humiliated by a leather-clad dominatrix. As things are getting underway though, Chuck is forced to yell his safe word, because he didn't get permission from his wife to be there. Hilariously, the dominatrix urges Chuck to see a marriage counselor with Wendy.
In other marital strife news, Lara Axelrod is pissed that her husband has blown her off to have a session with Wendy, who, at this point, Lara deeply mistrusts. She spends the evening attempting to prove to her sister that she's still Lara From The 'Hood, taking a joyride (in a helicopter) and simulating the times they used to shoplift from the mall (by having the owner open it up for them and charging the spree to her card).
On other Chuck fronts, the episode began with him furthering the plan he put into motion when he eliminated Judge Wilcox last week. Next, with the help of Adam DeGiulio, who he'll install in Wilcox's place, Chuck needs to get a friendly face in the Attorney General's office so he can restart the case against Axe Capital. First though, he needs Daddy Rhoades's help with a Senator who can ensure DeGiulio sails through his nomination. Chuck Sr is happy to help-- all his son has to do is grovel at his feet. Later, Chuck unloads on his pal Ira over drinks about how horrible it feels to have to rely on his kind of a$$hole-ish dad. Chuck and Ira are drinking at some sort of terrible lounge where Ira likes to pick up women when he's not impressing them with pictures of his Ferrari on Tinder, which brings up another uncomfortable topic: with the Rhoades marriage on the rocks, how would Chuck fare on the singles scene, particularly with twenty-somethings? Not great!
But here's a thing that a guy who wants to save his marriage probably shouldn't do: open up his wife's computer, read the notes she's compiled about a confidential session with her boss, see words like "bribery" and "payoff" and email them to himself, to use against his wife's boss in the criminal sense.
- Wendy tells Bobby that she's not "disgusted" with him, after hearing about what he did with Donnie, because when it comes to him, that's "just not on the table." Um, really? Sure, Donnie had pancreatic cancer, which Wendy says "takes everyone," but does she really have zero disgust about the fact that Donnie had a chance to be with his family for a few more months, and Bobby didn't let him have it because it didn't jibe with his scheme to screw the Feds? We're veering into very weird doctor/patient territory here.
- After Chuck abruptly ends his session with the dominatrix, we find out a guy has been following him all night, taking pictures. Who is investigating Chuck? Is it someone on the Axe Capital payroll, or does that feel too easy?
- If Chuck were to end up on Tinder, what do you think his profile blurb would be? "Swipe right or I'll ruin your life"?
Earlier: Billions recaps