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Billions - Victory Lap - Review

2 Apr 2017

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Episode 7 was all about ethics. When the episode starts, Chuck is playing catch with his son in the park, when the reporter from season one, Michael Dimonda, walks up to them. He questions Chuck about the possibility of him running for office. Chuck vigorously denies it, then Dimonda takes a photo of them together and writes an article about Chuck’s victory.

Wendy learns about the photograph, and accuses Chuck of using their son as a prop for good press. The two of them have another argument about loyalty and their relationship.

Just when I thought Chuck was becoming likable, the writers decided to remind me why I hated him in season one. Now that he is out of hot water, he has become completely self-righteous again, and nauseating to listen to. However, while all of that is entirely true, it would be unnatural, and against human nature for him to change over night. As humans, we make progress, then we revert back to the familiar, then we might to another few steps forward. It feels like a never-ending cycle. I just hope that when it does finally end, Chuck is a better man, not a worse one.

Wendy tells Chuck that she wants to start seeing other people, and she does just that. She calls Craig Heidecker, the Elon Musk-esque businessman from a few episodes ago, and the two have sex. When they wake up the next morning he tells her that he wants to pursue something with her. Wendy isn’t ready.

I have to admit, the two of them really do have chemistry, but I’m really not that interested in a love triangle forming.

Chuck confronts Bryan for turning him in, and tells him that he won’t be promoting him any time soon. I feel bad for Bryan. He truly wants to do the right thing, he is just stuck in a world where those in power never will.

As the episode progresses, Chuck clearly decides that he wants to run for office, and starts laying the groundwork. That groundwork includes pulling string to get Black Jack Foley’s granddaughter a clerkship. Foley pulls many strings on the government while in the background. He is the reason that the casino didn’t come to Sandicot. Chuck has never been the type to reward undeserving people, but he puts what he wants ahead of what is right.

While what Chuck does it not necessarily wrong, it shows that he will do whatever he can for power.

Speaking of, Axe realizes the only way to survive financially from Sandicot not getting the casino is austerity. That means, taking what is owned to him by essentially taking all the resources from the town. If he chooses to do this, it will practically destroy the town. There is a very good chance they will not recover.

Axe spends much of the episode trying to figure out what to do. If he takes the loss, it would be a loss of nearly $500 million. If he takes what is owed to him, it will be a PR nightmare, and ruin the lives of the residents of Sandicot. He talks to his team. They are split in their opinions of what to do. He also tries to speak to Wendy. While she refuses to have a session with him, she makes it clear, she is against austerity. If the purchase of the Hamptons house in the season one premiere says anything, it says that Axe does what he wants, regardless of PR.

Bruno comes to Axe’s house to beg him not to destroy the town. He asked him to thing about the people, and to remember he was once one of them.

As they are talking, Lara is watching. When Bobby comes back inside, he asks Lara’s opinion. She tells him that no one ever helped them. They had to watch out for themselves. She told him to take what’s his, and donate money later for charter schools. She is vicious in the scene, and it is exactly what Axe wants to hear. She they finish speaking, he looks rejuvenated and goes through with essentially killing Sandicot.

This episode showed just how much Axe needs Wendy. Last season there was a strong partnership between Axe and Lara, but this season they can’t seem to get in sync. If he were on good terms with Wendy, I think there is a chance he would have listened to her, and taken the loss. But without her guidance, without that relationship being strong, Bobby becomes a version of himself that is not very likeable.

Then again, it’s Bobby Axelrod we’re talking about. Maybe he would have destroyed the town no matter what.

This was a strong episode that simply told the audience what they already knew. When it comes down to acting ethically, or looking out for themselves, Axe and Chuck will always choose themselves.