One man goes rogue, creating problems for everyone

By Ray Rahman
March 21, 2016 at 02:52 AM EDT
Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME
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The pressure is starting to come down on everyone, and all from different angles. Activists, firefighters, judges, performing-arts custodians: They’re all mad at someone on Billions.

But perhaps the person causing the most trouble for everyone is one man named Donnie Caan. Donnie’s the trader who Team Rhoades thought they had flipped on their side but, in actuality, was just a double agent working for Team Axe to dupe their opponents.

But now Donnie’s gone rogue — the man is missing, and neither camp knows what to make of it.

Team Rhoades

Let’s start with what’s going on with this side of the equation. The most notable development is the fact that everyone — the attorney general’s office, Lara Axelrod, the FBI, even his own wife — is more or less aware that Chuck Rhoades has not really recused himself from the Axe Capital case like he says he has. It’s become a sort of wink-wink joke that everyone’s in on. But that’s very bad and scary news for Rhoades (not to mention the rest of his team, whose reputations are on the line, as well). If someone is ever motivated to expose this canard — and at the moment, you could imagine many people who might be motivated — it could be the end of not only this case, but also Rhoades’ career. And maybe his marriage, as well: Wendy has found out that he’s been lying to her about not being on the case, and she seems none too happy about it.

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Then there’s Connerty, the man who is, at least nominally, in charge of the case at the moment. It’s…not going well for him. For one, he’s lost his key informant, Donnie, who’s absconded to God knows where. Second, the wire he had on Donnie couldn’t pick up a crucial piece of information he needed — Donnie and Axelrod had the relevant conversation that would’ve pointed at insider trading in a room that Axe apparently specifically designed to scramble any digital communication, cell phones and wire taps included. Also tricky for Connerty is his romantic life: His FBI girl Terri has decided to end their little tryst. Why? Well, it’s become obvious to her (and everyone else) that his young colleague Kate has become the real apple of his eye. They even decide to set a date for dinner, so at least there’s one bit of good news for him today.

NEXT: The sky is still falling on the Axelrods 

Team Axe

Ever since that journalist published the 9/11 exposé last episode, the sky has been falling on the Axelrods. There’s a small army protestors picketing outside the offices of Axe Capital every day. People are spray-painting graffiti like “Greedy Pig$” on his car. The fundraiser for Axelrod Hall — formerly Eads Hall, until Axe changed that with a revenge-fueled investment — is asking to take Axe’s name off the building because public sentiment is just that bad.

But worst reaction is coming from Lara’s own people: the firefighters of New York City. They’ve turned on Axe hard, and Lara’s ex-boyfriend from her old neighborhood seems to be leading the charge. Lara’s sister’s restaurant, Axe Farms, has been a primary target: First the department stormed and shut the place down due to “fire safety violations” that didn’t exist. Then they trampled the actual farm that the Axelrods use to grow their food via firetruck, creating long-term damage to the land itself.

In addition to this farm-to-table assault on the family, Bobby is experiencing an uprising of his own. There’s Donnie’s disappearance, of course, but also five employees left the office under the cover of night with important files and documents with them. They’re leaving Axe Capital to start their own fund because, at this point, Axe seems doomed.

Team Donnie 

That’s right, I’m giving him his own team now because the dude has officially gone rogue. He skipped town, much to everyone’s dismay, creating a scramble on both sides to anticipate what he might be doing and why. Donnie’s internal struggle has been evident throughout the episode — he nearly broke down in front of Wendy in the Axe Capital break room — and now the pressure and guilt of all this lying and manipulation has finally gotten to him. It’s not the kind of guy he is; it’s not the kind of life he lives.

So he runs away. Where to? Cleveland, where all New Yorkers go to get away from the pressure of their regular lives. He went there specifically to see a well-known spiritual guru in an attempt to save his soul. The guru hugged him and told Donnie that everything was going to be okay. And for a minute, it was. Donnie headed back to the tri-state area with a clear mind. He knew what to do next. To come clean.

But upon his return, when he gets scooped up by Team Rhoades, something goes wrong. He is (seemingly, though probably not actually) cooperating and giving them all the correct information they need to build their case until, all of a sudden, he feels ill. He starts coughing up blood. Soon, he’s on the floor, passed out. It almost looks something’s eating him up from the inside.

Bank Notes:

  • Rhoades is trying to dig up dirt on a respected judge who’s played by Anthony Edwards (ER), so you have to imagine that story line will become pretty significant. 
  • Axe sending the protesters home via limousines after their bus breaks down was a brilliant play. Imagine how that will look in the press.  
  • Chase the headhunter has returned to the picture and is still trying to persuade Wendy. But it seems as though his ambitions have become more romantic than professional…
  • Axe spending three minutes in a cryotherapy chamber to boost his energy is pretty goofy — and amazing. I think there should be even more silly billionaire-specific stuff like that on the show! It is called, you know, Billions.
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