Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME

In the case against Axe Capital, the only loose end left for Chuck is his father


S3 E4
Show Details
TV Show
April 15, 2018 at 11:00 PM EDT

Billions knows how to use time jumps and flashbacks better than most shows. The trick is that the show understands when to use them for maximum effect. “Golden Frog Time” might be the best example of the craft, but “Hell of a Ride” certainly ranks up there. The episode begins with Dake and Connerty offering Chuck Sr. full immunity in exchange for testimony against his son. They, or Connerty more specifically, want to know, on the record, that Chuck directed his father to use his trust money to invest in Ice Juice, therefore luring Axe into a trap before purposely sabotaging the IPO.

Then, the episode flashes back to three days earlier. It’s a wonderful setup, immediately establishing the stakes of the episode. What’s even more intriguing is that there’s truly no way to know what Chuck Sr. will do. We assume Chuck Jr. will find a way to sneak out of harm’s way, but considering how much the father hates the son in this moment, there’s no guarantee. Plus, Connerty is feeling more and more betrayed by his boss and mentor, and that means he’s seriously driven to combat his corruption.

Three days earlier, we see Chuck meeting with Dake in a parking garage, because that’s where all clandestine meetings are held (you’ve all seen All The President’s Men, right?). Dake, who’s extremely loyal to Chuck after getting the position on the case, tips him off about Connerty’s plans to interview Chuck Sr. at some point. There’s not much he can do at the moment, but now he’s in the know, and the Southern District continues to splinter.

Chuck does have some semblance of a plan though. It’s the day before the 25th reunion of the Yale graduating class, and that means it’s also the day before the anniversary for those that graduated 50 years ago. In other words, the Chucks will both be at Yale, and Jr. believes it’s his chance to perhaps get his father back on his good side. They’ve had no reconciliation up until this point, but with Connerty making moves, Chuck Jr. hopes to get out ahead of any potential disaster.

While the Chucks battle it out, “Hell of a Ride” takes some time to tell a more lighthearted story about Wags. Well, it’s about as lighthearted as you can get with a story about dying and cemetery plots, that is. You see, Wags has his sights set on a $350,000 burial plot in Manhattan, the last of its kind apparently. He can’t imagine a better place to be laid to rest, which makes it all the more painful when a sleazy personal injury lawyer manages to snag the plot before he does.

Is Billions ever better than when it’s pitting two complete sleazeballs against each other? We don’t need that in every episode, but I’m a sucker for these one-off stories where Wags or Axe gets to flaunt their arrogance in pursuit of something that seems rather meaningless. Wags, of course, eventually gets his burial plot, and all he has to do is get Axe’s “ninjas” (those guys monitoring his trading and such) to do a little digging on the lawyer and expose an affair. Wags knows that everybody in this world has a closet full of skeletons; all he has to do is channel his inner Randy Travis and get to digging up those bones.

While Wags secures his final resting place, Axe is trying to find his own way to influence the new “venture philanthropy” of Axe Capital. When a friend of his pitches him at a fundraiser, saying that the energy non-profit World Aid should own the company, Rayveon, that supplies solar panels for their charity work in Africa, a little light bulb appears above Axe’s head. He tells Taylor to find a way to buy into Rayveon, and since he sits on the board of World Aid, he believes he can influence them to buy the company, sending the stock through the roof.

The problem is, Axe still doesn’t understand that he’s damaged goods. His impending trial means that nobody wants to work with him, and the board is eager to vote him out. He doesn’t know how to get the board of World Aid to vote his way when he’s being ousted. That’s where Wendy comes in. She gives him a piece of advice that could change his trajectory for the whole season. (Recap continues on next page)

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