Billions (Season 7), Episode 3: With Axe out of the way (for a while, hopefully), Billions delves into three key characters and explores how they are currently lost and at a crossroads as the show trudges on in this final season to presumably put Prince’s plans for the presidency on hold while residents at Prince Capital try to figure out newer issues during all this while, Chuck Rhoades finds himself ginger-footed even when he has finally reached the hot seat and has to get his confidence. Interestingly, all of these characters have some sense of performance anxiety in these episodes, and how they recover from it is the crux of the mini-arcs.

Billions (Season 7) Episode 3 Recap:

Episode 3 – Winston Dick Energy

Michael Prince is a smart man. He prides himself on keeping several moves ahead of his opponents so they don’t resort to their base stage and become a problem. Thus, he chooses to test this permutation on Chuck Rhoades by professing a filing on super PACs (independent expenditure-only political action committees that may engage in unlimited political spending like advertising independently of the campaigns and raising funds from different sources), knowing it’s juicy bait for Chuck Rhoades to chomp his bit on. Surprisingly, Chuck Rhoades doesn’t bite.

But that is what is going through Chuck Rhoades as he sits in his seat of power, with a horde of employees dying to be under the tutelage of the “great man”; the man of a combination of sizable intellect and unbridled emotion, which has both made him, as Ira Schirmer, his newly appointed deputy DA, brings up and unmade him, as Kate Sacker, his former protege turned Mike Prince’s attorney, analyses Chuck Rhoades. The fact that Chuck Rhoades is hesitant to take up an opening case that would also hammer home the same message by which he had inserted himself into the office in the first place (to serve the people) frustrates everyone, especially Amanda Torre, this season’s version of Kate Sacker, who believes she has a great slush dump case on her hands and it is a sure-fire win for the SDNY, but Chuck Rhoades is hesitant. It irritates Ira because, contrary to what Chuck operates on, he isn’t in a vacuum but has an office full of employees, and as his father, Chuck Sr., so colourfully regales one of his numerous sexual exploits to bring about an example, Chuck is the one who has to leap. This is Chuck Rhoades’s performance anxiety.

For Wendy, her “performance anxiety” stems from the fact that her clients and patients have been seeing a new psychiatrist for “real” therapy. She takes solace in knowing that Wags has confidence in her skills, but there is a sense of jealousy stemming within her at being called a “performance coach” rather than a “real therapist”, and how she isn’t considered while talking about emotional closure for her clients. She takes Wags’s thoughts to heart and finally makes an appointment with the “interloper”, Dr. Meyer. But as she tries to “psyche” Meyer out, it turns out Meyer already understands her far better than she had understood. She correctly deduces that her performance-based therapy leaves her clients in a hamster wheel, which they try to get out of while coming to Dr. Meyer, which leaves Wendy completely flummoxed.

The main plot, from which the episodes name is taken, is intrinsically connected to Wags’s performance anxiety. Feeling completely lost and humiliated at the “Liar’s Poker” soiree because he is now an assistant for a politician rather than an attack dog for a badass. Thus, his having “herbal tea” at the office the next day is enough of an alarm bell for Wendy to invite him out for drinks and then, in typical Wendy fashion, instruct Wags to be the best version of himself and not ask for permission.

That might not have been the best advice, but considering the threat Mike Prince Capital is dealing with, Wags’s strong-arm approach does make sense in the long run. An ex-MCP employee and ex-core team member of Taylor-Mason-Cap Winston (Will Quant), and a mostly irritable comic-relief cum twerp, quits MCP and, within a span of eight hours, gets into business for himself, designing risk management software for future stockholders. The software’s name is WDE, or the episode title name. The problem is that it is made using proprietary technology as well as billable hours from Michael Prince Capital, so obviously Prince isn’t happy and instructs Sacker to bring that proprietary software back by any means necessary. Both Taylor and Philip ask for a personal meeting with Winston, to which they are allowed a leeway of 48 hours before Sacker goes guns blazing.

Billions (Season 7), Episode 3
A still from Billions (Season 7), Episode 3.

Philip and Taylor do manage to meet Winston but they are unable to convince him about the ramifications of his deed. Not Wags, who, following Wendy’s advice, enters like the pitbull of old and threatens to destroy Winston’s life if he doesn’t comply with their orders. Wags’s real purpose, however, was to plant a bug on behalf of Axe’s personal investigator, Hall (Terry Kinney). Hall manages to not only listen in on which companies Winston is planning to sell off his proprietary technology to but also hack into every online search history and every illegal and unsavoury deed the one-time hacktivist has been a part of.

Wags, with Taylor, Philip, and a bemused Sacker, presented all this evidence in a PowerPoint presentation in the meeting room where the sale of the technology would occur. Barging in before the sales meeting, Wags reveals that like every hacktivist has an artist whose inherent narcissism allows them to leave their signature, every hacktivist has a unique signature, and Wags (with the help of Hall) has figured that out, and he threatens to destroy Winston’s reputation and all his finances unless he hands over the software to MCP, with the software being sold to the public as an inferior version and the mainline version safely ensconced at Axe Cap. Effectively becoming an indentured servant, Winston is forced to sign, while Wags apparently has his mojo back.

Billions (Season 7), Episode 3 Ending Explained:

Dr. Meyer exits after seeing her final patient, only to find Wendy Rhoades sitting on her couch outside her office. Having seen her ex-husband, Chuck, already acting far unlike himself, has an epiphany where she realises, and Meyer reaffirms, that she feels like an “errand girl” doing her boss’s work to ensure the cash flow while being stuck in a hamster wheel herself, almost sacrificing her own soul in the process. She thus, becomes one of the good doctor’s patients.

As for Chuck, he is invited to Grant’s tomb by Ira, Chuck Sr., and Hank for what he thinks is an intervention. Like typical Chuck, he attributes the location of Grant’s tomb to far grander and more holistic reasoning for intervening in his actions than what actually happens when he enters the tomb—a personal meeting with ex-Laker Kareem Abdul Jabbar (as himself). I have to admit, like Chuck, I did not see that coming, and Chuck getting a pep talk about choosing one’s battles and learning from experiences from Abdul-Jabbar is again one of these weird celebrity flexes that Billions loves to make but doesn’t succeed at. This one feels especially out of place. However, it works. The next day, while Chuck bites into the bait that Prince’s super PAC is (which makes Prince happy), Chuck instructs Hank and Ira to look down low because he is aware that this is a trap. Instead, Chuck goes to Amanda Torre and expresses his support for taking over her case, his first real win as the new DA of SDNY.

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Billions (Season 7), Episode 3 Links: IMDb
Billions (Season 7), Episode 3 Cast: Paul Giamatti, Damian Lewis, Maggie Siff
Where to watch Billions

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