Billions (Season 7) Episode 6: Billions is like one of those old uncles at your family party who always cracks jokes and whose humour ratio is surprisingly high. It’s just that they are sometimes so reference-heavy and so dated that you get exhausted and just want to get back to the food you are planning to gorge on. Even with all of these working against Billions, this was a very eventful episode and even featured the return of Bobby Axelrod, which is always a good thing.

Billions (Season 7), Episode 6 Recap:

Episode 6 – The Man in the Olive Drab T-Shirt

Paul Giamatti’s Chuck Rhoades and Damian Lewis’s Bobby Axelrod are the new iterations of the rivals of television with unmatched chemistry—the new iteration of the Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder dynamic. Thus, when these two finally appear on a tarmac in the middle of Iceland, with the aurora borealis in the background, the visual beauty is incidental. The plotting is important. Turns out Billions (Season 7) truly is trotting out the greatest hits regarding its antagonists because apparently Axelrod, while on his European sojourn, had entered into business with Grigori Andolov (John Malkovich), his bitter antagonist, whom Chuck and Axelrod had teamed up to banish from the United States back in Season 3.

Now, though, Andolov wants to return to the US on a personal matter and is asking for Axe’s help because both Axe and Andolov had joined hands in supplying weapons to the Ukrainians (the man in the olive drab t-shirt), and Axe asks Chuck for a favour, such that Axe would be in debt to Chuck, something that is so appealing to Chuck that he accepts the assignment, even though, as Ira Schirmer states, doing this is an extremely bad idea, especially considering they are living in an era of “the second coming of the red menace” (Yikes, the wording is just weird here). But Andolov wants to come back to America because his wife is suing for divorce on grounds of abandonment, and Axelrod urges Chuck to follow the old combatants’ code and help his fiercest enemy out.

But then Rhoades’s attention is driven to another problem, which pointedly and hilariously deals with his father. Apparently Bunky Stevens, who had been dead for the last three months, is having a kid with his wife, Candy. It is apparently possible, according to Swerdlow (a hilarious Rick Hoffman), by “post-mortem jizz retrieval” (lots of weird wording here, I realise). Apparently, according to Rhoades Sr., Candy is beefing up her claim to the Stevens estate as she is the only one with a viable heir. According to Chuck Sr., Jr. should sue this fertility startup as a product of basic fairness, which even to Chuck feels completely out of left field.

Chuck, to sort this out, takes help from an unlikely advisor, the creative head of WWE, Triple H (yup, I couldn’t make this up even if I tried), and Chuck takes it as advice to do a double turn—to turn both a heel and a babyface into one move. So Chuck decides to bring in Andolov as an expert witness in America against a commodities fraud issue. The DOJ and the DHS would act as the questioners in this move. Conversely, Chuck also realised that Bunky Stevens had signed a consent form so that his children would be born posthumously.

Billions Season 7 Episode 6
A still from Billions Season 7 Episode 6.

This, Chuck prostelyses, is not about bunky at all, and as Rhoades Sr. points out, it is about Roxanne and Willow and how he found them praying and finding Jesus, and according to him, this “God shit” is strictly off the books, and if she wouldn’t agree to his demands, Rhoades Sr. will sue for a divorce. This finally forces Chuck to take help from another unconventional source, that of Tory, the dominatrix whom he and Wendy would use for his sexual proclivities. Through her, Chuck realises that all this is Rhoades Sr. battling for control against a flailing age, his own flailing body, and male insecurity.

Thus, Chuck has to solve both of his problems through unconventional means. Firstly, he understands after meeting with Todd Krakow that not only is Krakow bankrolling Andolov’s wife, but he is also sleeping with her. Secondly, Deguilo, Dave Mahar, and the Mayor are all antsy about Chuck alienating Krakow, who is one of their biggest backers (the situation in the financial world of hedge funders due to the absence of Axe and Prince stepping back is really bleak if Krakow is their primary backer). But as Chuck brings in Hunter Levesque (Triple H) to the office, playing his song on the speaker, he promises to craft a story that would benefit them all.

Speaking of benefiting them all, Chuck convinces Rhoades Sr. to actually ease up, as while domination can be an all-or-nothing proposition, it could backfire on Rhoades Sr.’s youngest daughter, and she might choose to rebel. Instead, ease up, dominate others, and show her the power of dominance when she is old enough to comprehend it, because according to Chuck, while domination by Sr. worked on him, it won’t work on everyone else. With that, the illusion of control is finally well and truly underway for Chuck Sr., as he agrees to ease up because “true power” allows the powerful space to ease up.

True power also lies in knowing how to pick up the pieces once your ego is smashed to bits. In the Michael Prince Capital subplot, Luke plans to hold a feedback meeting with the MCP employees about their appraisal of Prince as a boss. As expected, the employees all state positively, feeding on Prince’s ego. Wendy points out that this is a zero-sum game unless you introduce a bit of anonymity within, and this, she argues to Wags and Taylor, is honesty, which can break Prince. And as she expected, it does. Because under the veil of anonymity, the employees all lambast Prince (that South Park reference is particularly hilarious), and while Luke argues that this is only going to inhibit Prince’s killer instinct, Wendy argues that the mark of a true leader is to lead from the front and convince his soldiers that he is the one to lead, and unlike Patton, Mike asked for their employees’ criticism instead of slapping them in the face. As she states, anytime one runs for president, they either become Superman or Lex Luthor; it is all about how they are viewed, and sometimes quitting shows wisdom rather than the propensity to capitulate.

The final subplot here is the Sacker subplot, and I give credit to the writers for taking Sacker’s congressional ambitions seriously. Knowing how efficient Sacker is as Mike’s attack dog, Wags successfully corners her in the elevator and manages to plant doubts about her congressional ambitions on Mike Prince’s wagon. It is further compounded by Luke’s own doubts regarding Prince’s handling of criticism, and as he quite cleverly remarks, there isn’t much of a wall to build off of if Sacker chooses to. As such, she chooses to distance herself from Prince’s campaign and gives him a list of alternate attorneys while she chooses to resign. But her conversation with her father, who had been a successful music manager in his heyday, manages to convince her that while hanging in with Prince Capital makes her a liability and makes both parties at Congress freeze her out, it is harder to survive alone without a name attached to her waggon, bringing her back to her original plan of hitching herself to Prince’s waggon.

 Billions (Season 7) Episode 6 Ending Explained:

Andolov finally meets Karkaow in a well-lit tunnel, where he gifts him Gossamer wings and not-so-succinctly threatens him to try them out and fly out of the 29th floor. And Malkivich himself is threatening in a deadpan voice that Krakow breaks very easily and agrees to stop funding the divorce action and stop meeting Andolov’s wife. To which Andolov successfully admits that this clears the way for his own divorce action on grounds of adultery.

As Andolov gets out of the tunnel, he meets with Chuck, and they both plan on doing “the turn”. The turn being that as Andolov gets in a car, police cars surround him and drag him out, and in front of the media, Andolov renounces the US judiciary and pronounces himself the proud citizen of Putin’s Russia, thus putting himself off the “dead oligarch’s list” as he had been talking about to Axe while also turning into both a heel and a babyface at the same time. It goes off so well that even Krakow is impressed with the “work”, though Chuck admits that Andolov’s threat was a “shoot”, completely on his own dime, and thus Krakow isn’t out of the crosshairs yet.

As for Mike Prince, Wendy’s plan to destroy his ego backfires because Andy meets him at the basketball court and reminds him that searching for unvarnished love isn’t his style because he has always operated under the assumption that the path to greatness lies through him. Thus, unvarnished love could only occur when he convinced people to be under his leadership. This is what he does, as Mike Prince, in a live broadcast, announces his intention to run for president and asks “the hard questions”. Nice PR spin, and like most Billions episodes, it manages to bring everything back to square one, but not entirely.

For one, Wendy proves that Prince is easy to break. Secondly, while Sacker chooses to run as an independent under Mike’s ticket, she is sufficiently disillusioned. And finally, as the final conversation between Axe and Chuck proves, the old combatant’s code is still applicable for them because no one respects you more than your fiercest adversary. And as Chuck promises that he will call on Bobby for this debt, we all know that the reckoning for Prince is going to be inevitably satisfying when both Chuck and Axe team up, and as the show reaches its halfway point to the finish line, that more and more feels like the teased endgame.

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Billions (Season 7), Episode 6 Links: IMDb
Billions (Season 7), Episode 6 Cast: Paul Giamatti, Damian Lewis, Maggie Siff
Where to watch Billions

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