Mark Schafer/SHOWTIME

Old enemies become new friends in 'Elmsley Count'


S3 E12
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TV Show
June 10, 2018 at 10:00 PM EDT

Chuck, on the other hand, thinks he has Jock in his sights. He delivers a target letter that labels Jock’s brother Jeb as the focus of criminal prosecution, and that sends Jock into a tizzy. But the AG doesn’t start obstructing justice the way they’d been hoping for, so Chuck gives him a little push, telling Epstein to call for a grand jury. That gets the ball rolling, and sends Jock right to Chuck.

He asks Chuck to, essentially, make this all disappear. He wants a few minutes alone with Cutler to “change his mind.” Chuck asks for full control over what cases Southern goes after in return, to make it look like he’s not eager to do this work, and the trap is set. Chuck sets up a meeting between Jock and Cutler in a spa, the room bugged to get all the evidence they need against the attorney general.

While Chuck awaits that evidence, Axe has his own decision to make. In the episode’s best scene, Axe confronts Taylor at the newly formed Taylor Mason Capital. After he humiliates Mafee, he moves on to Taylor, saying that they have no idea what’s coming. Axe compares the world he deals in to the top of Everest, the “death zone.” He says Taylor will run out of oxygen soon enough. “Young lungs, so we’ll see,” replies Taylor. Their exchange is imbued with history and anger and resentment and even a shade of respect, and that bodes well for the future of Billions.

The decision Axe has to make, though? It’s a big one. Grigor offers up what he terms “pest control,” which essentially means he’ll have one of his guys kill Taylor and make it look like an accident. Axe seriously contemplates the offer, for two reasons: Firstly, because it would take care of his problem, and secondly, because there are typically consequences to refusing a man like Grigor. I mean, this is the same man who slaps Hall during a meeting. Hall is the scariest dude of them all, and he’s put firmly in his place by Grigor. Not a guy you want to mess with.

Thankfully, the show doesn’t go down that path, which would be a difficult one to recover from. Axe turns down Grigor’s offer, and in the process loses all his investment money to Taylor. So Taylor Mason Capital is off and running, and now Axe Capital has a new threat to assess. Taylor says their firm will surpass Axe’s in three to eight years, depending on market forces. That’s a number that Axe doesn’t like hearing.

Now Axe has a new enemy, one who’s his former protégé. It’s time for the tables to turn on Chuck too. Epstein tells him to meet at the Southern offices to go over the recording of Jock obstructing justice, but when he gets there, he finds Jock, Epstein, Kate, Connerty, and Dake all standing around as if they’re on the same team. It’s the end for Chuck. He’s been outmaneuvered, as Jock fires him, and Connerty takes his place as interim attorney. It’s unclear how this all came together — did Kate’s meeting with Connerty change things? When did Epstein flip? — but for now all that matters is that Chuck is out of a job.

That all leads to a final, thrilling scene. The scene itself is simply Wendy, Chuck, and Axe sharing drinks at the Rhoades’ brownstone, but it’s still electric. Wendy, having turned down a recruitment offer from Taylor, is more loyal than ever to Axe, and angrier than ever at Jock Jeffcoat. So, like she did earlier this season, she brings Axe and Chuck together. They sit at the dining room table, glasses of wine in hand, and start to form a new bond. Axe wonders if Chuck has any ideas about how he’s going to take down Jock; he does. Chuck wonders if Axe knows how he’s going to go after Taylor; he has a few ideas. As the episode fades to black, the former enemies are sharing stories about how they’re going to get back to the top, and once again Billions has ended a season on an incredibly promising note.

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