Season four, Episode 7: ‘Infinite Game’
Wendy Rhoades actually cares about her husband. In spite of his greedy ambition and her place within the crossfire throughout his now-ended struggle along with her boss, and regardless of how Chuck outed them each as sadomasochists, she needs him to be joyful. She hates that he has been made to endure.
But Wendy is struggling, too, which is one purpose she needs to promote their residence. When Chuck responded by divulging a narrative of emotional abuse from his childhood — during which the lesson from his mercurial father was that each one girls crave domination — Wendy was horrified, after all. She isn’t out to compound Chuck’s anguish by destabilizing his residence. She is promoting the home to not punish him, however to maneuver past her personal painful reminiscences. And she’s in all probability doing it for his sake, as nicely.
But Wendy’s thoughtfulness doesn’t prolong to everybody. Indeed, her thoughts is usually a fairly darkish place.
One individual she isn’t fooling is Mafee (a never-better Dan Soder), Bobby’s ex-employee who’s now the lieutenant of his nemesis, Taylor Mason. He sees totally now that what was behind her smile wasn’t the benevolence of “some serene and wise teacher.” He screamed as a lot in full view of Bobby and everybody else at Axe Cap.
“It hid a sick, vicious phony,” he shouts. “Now I know what you really are: a [expletive] monster.”
As safety halls the livid man away, partly to maintain him and Dollar Bill from coming to blows, he closes out his tirade: “You’re a rubbish individual, Wendy! That’s what you’re! That’s what you all are!”
It was very, very tough to come back away from Sunday evening’s ruthlessly merciless episode with out drawing the identical conclusion.
For as soon as, the plot of “Billions” was truly fairly easy to summarize: By faking an opportunity encounter with Mafee and renewing her therapeutically pleasant relationship with Taylor, Wendy found out in final week’s episode that the Mason household dynamic was its weak hyperlink. Turn Taylor towards Doug, she surmised, and the entire edifice would collapse.
So Bobby and Chuck this week fashioned a form of bucket brigade of again stabbing, bribery and blackmail. Aided by a collection of very humorous cameos — the sight gag during which the towering Clancy Brown and the tiny Danny Strong stand at adjoining urinals is one for the ages — they induce the Bureau of Industry and Security Secretary (Chelcie Ross), a person referred to as Hard Bob, to close down Doug’s aerospace mission on national-security grounds.
And all it took to influence the secretary — an grownup movie fanatic, after all (see: Hard Bob) — was the assistance of some real-life porn stars: Lisa Ann, Cory Chase (Audrey Joyce Leon), and Rayveness (Gina-Raye Carter), including three extra cameos to the checklist.
The selection left to Taylor was stark and easy: Mason Cap might keep dedicated to Doug’s mission, mounting a quixotic problem to the paperwork whereas hemorrhaging different purchasers who needed no a part of the battle; or it might pull the plug on the mission, and on Doug, sending him packing with a verify whereas promoting his life’s work to the federal government.
Taylor selected Plan B. Doug retreated in rage, livid that his goals meant nothing to a baby who had grown chilly. Taylor was livid, too, taking his response as proof that he acquired again in contact solely in hopes that his mega-rich and mega-smart child might additional his personal ambitions.
The agency is undamaged, however everybody concerned is damaged. It was pure disgust that moved the often laid-back bro Mafee to storm into his outdated workplace and go berserk on the girl who helped manipulate all the affair.
Bobby being Bobby, he sees Mafee’s meltdown as an indication of success; the banquet he throws after shopping for out his outdated pizzeria boss, Bruno, takes place later that evening. That’s one method to course of being a rubbish individual.
But not everyone seems to be so inured to her personal garbage-ness. When the assembled merrymakers (together with Axe’s estranged good friend Freddie Aquafino, performed by Noah Emmerich) chew into their slices, Wendy isn’t there. She has put her residence in the marketplace for actual this time, full with a freshly baked pie to, you guessed it, manipulate potential consumers.
Chuck, who spends the episode embroiled in a cover-up over that gun allow he secured for a bigwig earlier within the season, is instructed by the true property dealer he can’t eat the pie. But he certain will get a mouthful of the symbolism.
What does Wendy do as a substitute of celebration? She runs by means of the evening, compulsively, till Mafee’s phrases and her personal guilt and ache catch as much as her and he or she clutches a railing to cry. It’s terrible to see this preternaturally composed and good individual break down. It’s additionally an incredible payoff for the work Maggie Siff has achieved in creating Wendy’s aura: She could not have been invulnerable, however she at all times did come throughout as invincible. Not anymore.
Directed by Laurie Collyer from a script by the collection creators and showrunners Brian Koppelman and David Levien, Sunday’s episode confirmed the “Billions” crew at its worst. Often, we really feel compelled to measure these characters by their greatest conduct, even once we know we shouldn’t — a testomony to how well-drawn and well-acted these characters are. But this week challenged that good religion. Perhaps we shouldn’t be giving them a lot advantage of the doubt in spite of everything.
Right earlier than Taylor lastly noticed by means of Wendy’s ruse and instructed her the place to stay it, Wendy mentioned that working for the “toxic, corrosive” Bobby was like working for “Shiva the Destroyer.” This was virtually actually an unconscious self-indictment. Like her boss and his minions, like her husband and his father, Wendy smiled, and smiled, and was a villain. She can’t outrun that.
Can any of them?
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