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S05.E03: Beg, Bribe, Bully

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Chuck returns to his alma mater to pursue an opportunity; Axe's big venture is sidelined by a family crisis; Taylor asserts independence with a risky play; Chuck puts Wendy in an awkward position.

Original air date 2020.05.17

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This seems to have been turned into the Axe and goofy sidekick show.  Axe wants something, there’s resistance, axe gets it because he has billions of dollars.  Repeat repeat repeat.  So boring. 

The storyline with Axe’s homely little mini-me turning into his father was as stupid as it was not believable.  Implausible is an understatement on the whole thing.  
 

also Wendy is showing fewer and fewer redeeming qualities.  Why would she be dragging her kids to some trendy new apartment in Manhattan instead of letting them at least stay in their Brooklyn neighborhood?  She’s becoming more like Axe and that’s not a good thing.  

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OK, so this is the episode where they have the token appearance of Axe's family.  Lara is offscreen though, only spoken to on the phone.

If she had custody, why is Bobby flying all the way across the country to deal with the school issue?

And why is the kid trying to make money, like he needs any?  Of course Axe says it was the right thing for him to do, to try to "earn."

Who is Bobby now, Tony fucking Soprano?

Bobby didn't have an elite education IIRC.  He was pulled out of dog racing by some Wall Street guy so it's strange that he cares if his kid gets into Harvard.

Hell as valuable as his time is, the 5-6 hours each way it takes to fly across the country isn't worth it for him to bully the bowtie headmaster guy who was trying to instill ethics in Axe's son -- quel horreur! --as well as other students at this elite prep school.

I guess the writers wanted him to do this new Gordon Gecko speech to the students that badly -- it isn't Darwinism and natural selection which made him a deca-billionaire, it was HIS selection to become so rich!

For the purposes of plot symmetry, they have Chuck go back to teach at Yale Law where he finds out Chuck Sr. hasn't been keeping up with his pledged donation.  Turns out Sr. is sore that Chuck, Wendy and the grandkids won't come and meet his new child with his child Navajo bride.

The other plot in this episode is that as boorish is Axe is, he knows art, can spot greatness, etc., despite being a money-counter and hoarder. So they have this fake Jackson Pollack, with shoes covered by paint splatter, at some froufrou art gallery exposition of his works.

Bobby was going to snap up these wannabe Pollacks but Prince again beat him to the punch so Bobby is going to set him up in some expensive Manhattan custom studio with a dedicated pizza artiste -- Pollack worked in some modest garage or barn IIRC.

Bobby tells fake JP that it's going to be like how the Medicis were patrons of MichelAngelo and Mozart was commissioned by the Austro-Hungarian court. But what hooks in fake JP is some great pizza and some fucking Merlot!

The real rebel painters were fueled by coke and hard liquor, weren't they?

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This episode had a small uptick since the last two. 

Taylor taking the $10 from Wendy was funny.  

The dueling “may I speak freely” was also funny.

That pissing contest over the art was so expected and predictable.

There is no way that Taylor would explain NLP after they watched that video of the Lawrenceburg University chancellor.  That was just extraneous, “well, as you know, Bob,” dialogue.  They could have talked about NLP and then watched the video, which is how people interact in real life.  

Why is Wendy always accessible?  She’s always just sitting at an empty desk or clicking around on a laptop bored, as if waiting for someone to storm into her office to advance a plot point.  Wait...

The headmaster of Gordy’s school never would have opened the door to the office by revealing confidential information about Axe’s kid in front of the other kids.  It’s very unprofessional.  The headmaster also would never have told Axe that he found him to be a deplorable person, especially in front of his son.  It doesn’t matter that Axe said Gordy could be there.  School administrators are essentially politicians.  Even if the headmaster thinks Axe is a piece of shit, the kid could grow up to be president, and make it his mission to take the headmaster down.  The headmaster didn’t get to where he was not knowing that.    

I do like Axe bringing his kid into his corruption:  “Now we have to ruin a headmaster.”  haha. 

What caused that guy from the governor’s office to go to Sacker to pick up the $5 million check?  She is just sitting there, lawyering.  It’s not like she’s a secretary or anything.  Contrived much?

I like Chuck Sr’s new wife.  I think new blood on this show is the way to go.  God knows the old blood isn’t quite working out.

Why was Axe staying at a flea bag motel?  As if there wouldn’t be a fair share of luxury hotels for visiting parents close to the campus.  

Funniest exchange of the episode:  Chuck:  I wish we didn’t have to do this here.  Wendy:  I wish you were a completely different man.

I liked the set-up of the storyline of Chuck becoming willing to unfreeze the assets if Wendy would visit the new step-grandma and half-aunt with her kids.  I wasn’t sure why Chuck was so intent on getting his father to pay the endowment; the dean said could have the job either way.  I guess Chuck thought it could stain his reputation, and he was probably right.  

Axe’s address to Gordy’s school was overly dramatic.  Something much more subtle that could be understood by the kids on one level and the adults on the other would have been much less lazy writing.  For someone who claims to be all about capitalism, Axe made a snafu on the plane—FDIC banks didn’t bring down the economy; regulation did.  I would expect Axe to understand that.  

I don’t really understand what happened between Taylor and Sara that caused Sara to quit.  I thought things went as planned.  Was it a Mase Cap vs Axe Cap thing?  Ho-hum.

I thought that Axe or Wags was going to have a brainstorm based on their respective storylines about their children that would give them a lightbulb moment as to how to bring the artist around to Axe, but Axe did it through...good New York pizza?  That’s anticlimactic.  I liked the artist and I hate Axe.  I kind of just wish Axe would have had to take an L here and move onto something else.  It would have made him—gasp—human.  Too much to ask, I know!

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Did Axe ever have any redeeming qualities. Because he doesn't now. His first instinct is always to destroy lives.

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As someone who is usually team Axe, I hated the whole school storyline.  Despite their wealth, I always had the impression that Axe and Lara were decent parents.  But that all flew out the window tonight.  I hated it.  Hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated it.  Way to insure that your kid becomes one those rich, entitled pricks you claim to disdain, Bobby.  

I always wondered how the whole pledging money to schools thing works.  Is there any legal weight behind it?  Does the school have any way of demanding payment for what is essentially a gift?  What if the giver's circumstances change?  I guess if Yale could have demanded the payment from Chuck Sr, they would have.  I do like that the new wife seems to be playing a bigger role than I would have imagined.  If Chuck Sr bites it, the reading of the will should be interesting. 

I must have forgotten something from last season.  I thought Taylor's team came on board with their tails between their legs after being defeated and were basically employees of Axe.  But they are acting like they are still an autonomous company.  What gives there? 

I did laugh at Wags' son being a born again Christian.  That could be interesting.  And how many kids does he have?  He mentioned looking for sons (plural) plus the stripper and he was talking to a 14 year old girl on the phone and he said something about knowing where the "little ones" were?  

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I normally give axe a pass....I think because I really don't like Chuck.  But WTF was this?  

Did I miss something because it seemed like the headmaster was a good guy and the refugees were really just doing the yardwork out of gratitude.  If headmaster had them working as slaves than it changes the calculus.  

But how was any of that a good idea?  

After crushing the man unnecessarily, axe proceeded to give a morning assembly?  Why?  Didn't he say the guy was basically a good guy?  

Not only that.  Why the hell would axe take the risk when he is trying to get a bank?  Hard bob and that other guy were very , VERY clear that axe had to be spotless, even to get a regional bank.  

You know one of those kids filmed axe with his phone and that his rant against morals and values has a good chance of going viral.  How is that going to look to anyone who has to approve his application?  Why would he take the risk?  

And in what universe did Wendy cosign this idea of protecting Gordie from his own behavior?  What the hell psychology background does she have?  You need only look at history to see how poorly kids turn out when they are constantly coddled.  

I am no fan of Lara, but at least she TRIED to instill some value and ethics in those kids.  

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7 hours ago, scrb said:

OK, so this is the episode where they have the token appearance of Axe's family.  Lara is offscreen though, only spoken to on the phone.

If she had custody, why is Bobby flying all the way across the country to deal with the school issue?

And why is the kid trying to make money, like he needs any?  Of course Axe says it was the right thing for him to do, to try to "earn."

Who is Bobby now, Tony fucking Soprano?

Bobby didn't have an elite education IIRC.  He was pulled out of dog racing by some Wall Street guy so it's strange that he cares if his kid gets into Harvard.

Hell as valuable as his time is, the 5-6 hours each way it takes to fly across the country isn't worth it for him to bully the bowtie headmaster guy who was trying to instill ethics in Axe's son -- quel horreur! --as well as other students at this elite prep school.

I guess the writers wanted him to do this new Gordon Gecko speech to the students that badly -- it isn't Darwinism and natural selection which made him a deca-billionaire, it was HIS selection to become so rich!

For the purposes of plot symmetry, they have Chuck go back to teach at Yale Law where he finds out Chuck Sr. hasn't been keeping up with his pledged donation.  Turns out Sr. is sore that Chuck, Wendy and the grandkids won't come and meet his new child with his child Navajo bride.

The other plot in this episode is that as boorish is Axe is, he knows art, can spot greatness, etc., despite being a money-counter and hoarder. So they have this fake Jackson Pollack, with shoes covered by paint splatter, at some froufrou art gallery exposition of his works.

Bobby was going to snap up these wannabe Pollacks but Prince again beat him to the punch so Bobby is going to set him up in some expensive Manhattan custom studio with a dedicated pizza artiste -- Pollack worked in some modest garage or barn IIRC.

Bobby tells fake JP that it's going to be like how the Medicis were patrons of MichelAngelo and Mozart was commissioned by the Austro-Hungarian court. But what hooks in fake JP is some great pizza and some fucking Merlot!

The real rebel painters were fueled by coke and hard liquor, weren't they?

I have to believe that keeping Gordy in that school is some homage to axes ego and very little else.  

Gordy will need to go to the right schools and get into the right clubs, etc etc to make axe feel better about his lowly upbringing.  

The whole thing was silly, silly, silly.  Why would they act like the two options were that school or a reform school?  Surely there are multiple boarding schools for children of privilege.  

And just LMAO at the idea that Gordy getting booted from the school would ruin his chances at an ivy league education. 

We've all seen the headlines, it's pretty clear that all you need is Photoshop or a donation that axe could find in his couch cushions to get into an ivy league school. 

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13 hours ago, Lemons said:

This seems to have been turned into the Axe and goofy sidekick show.  Axe wants something, there’s resistance, axe gets it because he has billions of dollars.  Repeat repeat repeat.  So boring. 

 

And now there is another version of Axe, Prince, with his sidekick.  Now the 2 sidekicks can go toe to toe with their billionaire insults.

They have run out of ideas.

Now that Taylor is losing left and right I wonder how that will change her.  This may be the only interesting storyline left.

 

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13 hours ago, LibertarianSlut said:

Why was Axe staying at a flea bag motel?  As if there wouldn’t be a fair share of luxury hotels for visiting parents close to the campus.  

Funniest exchange of the episode:  Chuck:  I wish we didn’t have to do this here.  Wendy:  I wish you were a completely different man.

I don’t really understand what happened between Taylor and Sara that caused Sara to quit.  I thought things went as planned.  Was it a Mase Cap vs Axe Cap thing?  Ho-hum.

 

Axe probably bought the motel while they were on the plane.

Wendy's line may have been the best line of the entire series.

Sara wanted them to buy up the fossil fuel position that the university was selling.  Taylor said no.  Axe Capital did it instead and that pissed off Sara since it would have made a lot of money for Mason Cap.  I am not sure why the CEOs of the fossil fuel companies had to get involved.

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This episode was just a mess.  First, yes, we know Axe can hop on his private jet and yet again can rope other fools into flying with him to chat.  Yawn.  However, breaking down his choices about how to handle the situation were ridiculous.  I agree with the posters above.  If he did get expelled he would have simply gone to another elite prep school.  No harm; no foul.  It would have been treated like a right of passage. 

Second, Axe came off like an even bigger jerk than usual.  He did not try to be subtle.  His whole everything and everyone can be bought schtick is running thin.  Also, I do not think the kids at that school would have been so enthusiastic about his terrible speech.  I would suspect more would have been mortified than cheered.  

Third, I give zero fucks about Wags' brood of estranged children.  Although I did enjoy his eldest coming to tell him the "good news". 

Fourth, the University divested from oil stocks.  Okay.  No way that was such a huge chunk that the oil CEOs were that riled up that fast.  If noticed, there would concern of it spreading.  However, there are enough Axe's in the world, as the show has made clear, that they would not be shaking in their boots. 

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I find it hard to believe that it was Axe and not Laura who would go to deal with their son/the school. She has completely disappeared since the divorce. Was there even a throwaway line to explain her absence? I bet she would have handled the situation much better than Axe and their son would have been able to stay in the school and she wouldn't have made an enemy out of the headmaster. After Axe and Wags found out that the headmaster siphoned money to help Syrian refugees, why didn't they offer him money for that? Apparently no one else cares about them other than the headmaster otherwise he wouldn't have stolen the money for it. Axe could have made up for that easily and expanded the refugee program. He's in a position to do so and he would be helping other people out as well. I guess that goes against his life philosophy. Those refugees will make it without his help if they are motivated to do so! After all, no one helped out Bobby Axelrod! What a douche. Why not use a carrot? Or both carrot and stick? I get the headmaster was being stubborn about not taking a bribe but I bet if Axe helped out his pet project, he would have gotten farther with him and maybe even had someone on his side in the future. Why just the stick all the time? Same result and he's less of an asshole.

Then there is the artist who waits around for Axe all day and is swayed by Axe's ridiculous speech about the Medicis. I think that story would have been better if the artist was holding out in order to milk Axe for more money rather than just being reluctant to work for him and end up charmed by Axe and his stupid pizza. And it isn't even Axe's pizza. It's someone else's pizza that Axe bought and shipped out under the pizza maker's duress. Another example of how Axe get everything he wants.

I hate how this show portrays almost everyone as for sale and even the people who aren't for sale knuckle under when blackmailed. There have to be a few people in the world who just refuse to play Axe's game. I hope at least his other son hates him. Watching the son this episode all in awe of his father was vomit inducing.

Why on earth was such a big deal made out of Wendy and Chucks and their kids "formally meeting" the grandfather's new bride and baby? We just saw a mere 2 episodes ago Wendy and the kids attend their wedding. Did they not "formally meet" at that time? Because it would be pretty rude to ignore the bride at her wedding. Was the baby not there or something? And if Wendy is serious about the divorce, she should not be playing happy family with Chuck. I'm sure she can find a way around him and get an apartment on her own somehow without giving in to his ridiculous demand to spend time with him and his new sibling. Well, like she said no person is a rational actor. She needs to focus her psychology and training on herself.

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I liked Bobby's version of parenting, he pulls no punches or sugar coats. He still in his own Bobby way showed his son, that his actions had consequences. Where is Lara supposed to be? Odd she wouldn't be there or called also? Did they even mention her?

 

 

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Yeah Bobby pretended to talk to her while he was on his way.

They didn't show her on screen.

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I liked Bobby's version of parenting, he pulls no punches or sugar coats. He still in his own Bobby way showed his son, that his actions had consequences.

What consequences were those exactly? Axe gets to make an absurd, ego-enhancing, but otherwise insipid, speech, that enhances his son's BMOC reputation? Axe's only criticism of his son's actions is that his son didn't scheme better and smarter. That road to entitled alcoholic asshole at 28 seems well-paved indeed.

Axe ostensibly cogitated enough over how his fixing or not fixing the situation would affect his son's development to call Wendy. That showed Axe understood how bad people come to be. Yet, he choose the path more likely to make his son into the bad person his father already is. This is inconsistent with all past parenting we've seen from both Axe and his ex-wife. With all the flaws they both have, prior to this episode, both had always been shown to be good parents, and usually attuned to the difficulty of raising good children in their ratified environment.

But having Wendy project Gordy's future (Harvard vs. Colby, etc.) based on this one decision (expel or not expelled) took me back to Westworld (which recently concluded its seasonal run) positing that the future is predictable. Here, apparently Wendy is supposed to be some sort of oracle like Rohoboam in Westworld (see https://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/film-tv/a31665606/westworld-season-3-what-is-rehoboam/)

Why did Chuck need his father's Yale pledges honored after his associate figured out a way to route the $5 million to Yale? That's 50 years of 100K pledges.

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3 minutes ago, ahpny said:

Axe ostensibly cogitated enough over how his fixing or not fixing the situation would affect his son's development to call Wendy. That showed Axe understood how bad people come to be. Yet, he choose the path more likely to make his son into the bad person his father already is. This is inconsistent with all past parenting we've seen from both Axe and his ex-wife. With all the flaws they both have, prior to this episode, both had always been shown to be good parents, and usually attuned to the difficulty of raising good children in their ratified environment.

How were they good parents?

The kids had token appearances at best in the early seasons.

Bobby was more preoccupied with Chuck and other enemies, as well as finding ways to destroy people.

Blackmail and threatening people was his stock in trade.

Axe didn't give too much shit when Lara took the boys and moved to the other side of the country.  He knew that meant 5-6 hour flights each way if he wanted to see them.  No way he's going to do that too often to stay in their lives.

As he boasted, he has fuck-you money.  But he has enough FU money to fix any problems his kids get into.  Or he will just let them have access to their trust funds when they're in their late teens or early 20s so they can use their own FU money.

Gordie has no reason to respect the headmaster at that school.  He knows Bobby will bail him out of any mistakes or behavior.

It's not like Bobby or Lara will deny him any money if he doesn't get into Harvard.

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2 hours ago, Artsda said:

I liked Bobby's version of parenting, he pulls no punches or sugar coats. He still in his own Bobby way showed his son, that his actions had consequences. Where is Lara supposed to be? Odd she wouldn't be there or called also? Did they even mention her?

 

 

The only consequences were for the headmaster who was doing the right thing.  What were Gordie's consequences, he did something wrong and the only people who had to pay for it were the entire town and the headmaster.  

Did Gordie suffer some consequence that I missed?

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25 minutes ago, scrb said:

How were they good parents?

The kids had token appearances at best in the early seasons.

Bobby was more preoccupied with Chuck and other enemies, as well as finding ways to destroy people.

Blackmail and threatening people was his stock in trade.

Axe didn't give too much shit when Lara took the boys and moved to the other side of the country.  He knew that meant 5-6 hour flights each way if he wanted to see them.  No way he's going to do that too often to stay in their lives.

As he boasted, he has fuck-you money.  But he has enough FU money to fix any problems his kids get into.  Or he will just let them have access to their trust funds when they're in their late teens or early 20s so they can use their own FU money.

Gordie has no reason to respect the headmaster at that school.  He knows Bobby will bail him out of any mistakes or behavior.

It's not like Bobby or Lara will deny him any money if he doesn't get into Harvard.

Lara at least tried to teach her kids the value of hard work.  I remember oyster shucking.  At the time this seemed very rich coming from Lara, who didn't seem to do much of anything but live off axe's money, but at least she was trying.  

Also, what life changing stuff was she up to that she couldn't deal with Gordie.  No tea, no shade but isn't "mother" like 85% of her job?  What else is she doing that she cannot charter a plane to deal with this?

I'm most annoyed by axe because this was an asshole move he did not need to make and he knew was wrong.  But I'm also annoyed by Wendy co-signing axe's assholery.  Stop pretending like you're some sort of moral gatekeeper if you're just going to blindly justify whatever axe wants to do.   You're no more than a flunky and you have no right to act smugly superior to Taylor or Chuck.  

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4 hours ago, Artsda said:

I liked Bobby's version of parenting, he pulls no punches or sugar coats. He still in his own Bobby way showed his son, that his actions had consequences. Where is Lara supposed to be? Odd she wouldn't be there or called also? Did they even mention her?

 

 

How was telling his son that they were going to destroy a man's life anything but abusive and extremely disturbing?  The whole time his creepy kid was grinning like an idiot.  

The "dirt" they found on the headmaster was stupid. The headmaster said that the funds were diverted for tuition and housing.   People can do work in exchange for rent.  

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1 hour ago, Lemons said:

The "dirt" they found on the headmaster was stupid. The headmaster said that the funds were diverted for tuition and housing.   People can do work in exchange for rent.  

Helping Syrian refugees is a hot-button political issue or was a year or two ago.

So they could have been cynical, hire astroturfing political groups to organize some protests against the headmaster, both online and in real life, where people are paid to hold up very divisive signs and so on.

That's the thing, Axe is exactly the type who'd take advantage of the pandemic in some ways, to polarize Americans, if it helped him make money.

Because we know he will exploit a crisis or a tragedy like 9/11.

Or he might run for political office himself using all the dirty tricks tactics that he has his henchmen dredge up.

But he's not ready to stop "earning" as he says.

While being a "deca" is more than 99.9999% of people will ever amass, there are dozens who have even more than he does.

So why are his targets people who have a lot less money like the headmaster or how about that upstate town that he bankrupted a season or two ago?

The writers bring up comparisons to The Sopranos?  There was one sequence where Tony is having a big party at his house with his underlings and their families.  Looks like some middle or upper-middle class extended social gathering.

But that is intercut with scenes of the people he and his crew have extorted for thousands or millions so that Tony could have this nice lifestyle.

But this show isn't The Sopranos and nobody like David Chase is involved with it.

 

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Axe was literally told, not five hours earlier, that he had to keep a low profile and keep his nose clean so he can get a bank.

Axe counters by publicly making a speech that will make people hate him on both sides. 

And for what? Inexplicable spite?  Why would he take that risk when you just KNOW there is a kid in the crowd taping it?  

No wonder hard bob doesn't want to work for him. He don't brook no bullshit....and that is a whole lotta bullshit. 

 

Edited by RealReality
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9 hours ago, Artsda said:

I liked Bobby's version of parenting, he pulls no punches or sugar coats. He still in his own Bobby way showed his son, that his actions had consequences. Where is Lara supposed to be? Odd she wouldn't be there or called also? Did they even mention her?

 

 

What Bobby showed his son is that his actions have zero consequences.

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3 hours ago, RealReality said:

The only consequences were for the headmaster who was doing the right thing.  What were Gordie's consequences, he did something wrong and the only people who had to pay for it were the entire town and the headmaster.  

Did Gordie suffer some consequence that I missed?

I thought Gordie's little girlfriend was going to be the daughter of one of the refugees and she was going to be deported back to Syria where she would immediately get killed (and if they really wanted to twist the knife, killed because of her fancy American clothes). That would tell us if Gordie had a terminal case of affluenza or not.

Regarding Axe's speech, I think it is meant to show that Billions exists in a slightly whimsical world separate from ours (see also Jock Jeffcoat and the cuddly Russian mob boss). In this case the difference is that all of those kids are capitalist monsters in the mold of Axe and they all want to grow up to be like him but the stupid school won't shut about values and shit.

Good to see Frank Grillo escaping typecasting and playing a non-starving artist rather than his typical role of "head mook".

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32 minutes ago, RealReality said:

Axe was literally told, not five hours earlier, that he had to keep a low profile and keep his nose clean so he can get a bank.

Axe counters by publicly making a speech that will make people hate him on both sides. 

It's almost a repeat of the first season.  Chuck warns Axe not to make a big splash by buying an incredibly expensive beach house, or else he'll have to come after him.  Axe responds by buying the beach house. 

 

8 hours ago, ahpny said:

Why did Chuck need his father's Yale pledges honored after his associate figured out a way to route the $5 million to Yale? That's 50 years of 100K pledges.

The 5 million would be for a specific purpose, i.e. setting up the clinic Chuck controls, while the money Rhodes Senior owes would presumably go to more general purposes.  

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36 minutes ago, dwmarch said:

I thought Gordie's little girlfriend was going to be the daughter of one of the refugees and she was going to be deported back to Syria where she would immediately get killed (and if they really wanted to twist the knife, killed because of her fancy American clothes). That would tell us if Gordie had a terminal case of affluenza or not.

Regarding Axe's speech, I think it is meant to show that Billions exists in a slightly whimsical world separate from ours (see also Jock Jeffcoat and the cuddly Russian mob boss). In this case the difference is that all of those kids are capitalist monsters in the mold of Axe and they all want to grow up to be like him but the stupid school won't shut up about values and shit.

Good to see Frank Grillo escaping typecasting and playing a non-starving artist rather than his typical role of "head mook".

 

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On 5/17/2020 at 11:02 PM, Bulldog said:

As someone who is usually team Axe, I hated the whole school storyline.  Despite their wealth, I always had the impression that Axe and Lara were decent parents.  But that all flew out the window tonight.  I hated it.  Hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated it.  Way to insure that your kid becomes one those rich, entitled pricks you claim to disdain, Bobby.  

Remember when Axe picked the boys up early from the camping trip Lara set up to toughen them up? He was always going to bail Gordie out, even if he recognizes that he shouldn't. The speech is really where he really lost me. That was just melodramatic, overly indulgent bullshit. I handwaved the line about 'destroying a headmaster' because for Axe, that's just basic life strategy.

After that talk about Gordie, I'm even more curious about Wendy's background. I'm thinking upper middle class- rich enough to be comfortable with the straight line of expectation from prep school to Ivy League but not so rich that anything was buyable. No way would getting expelled ruin Gordie's future with a billionaire as a father but that seemed to be more of a 'my experience' conversation.

I'm also curious who it was that required Wendy's presence at the family meet and greet. I'm thinking Chuck's. My guess is that at the wedding, Wendy gave those kids strict instructions to avoid the main players at all costs so I could see why having her there would be a point for Roxanne. And Wendy obviously assumed that it was Chuck's father's normal bull. Still, I'm thinking that came from Chuck. He just doesn't seem to get it. He seems to think this divorce is something that just happened to him because he screwed up a little. Wendy was unhappy long term until eventually, she was unhappy and unsatisfied to the point that the marriage was broken for her. I always think of that scene when she dressed up to play dominatrix for him but just couldn't do it. They were basically broken up half of last season. Chuck just seems to think this is a phase.

I wondered which Mason Cap employee would be the first to fall. It makes sense that it was Lauren to diversify and Sara to leave. I wonder if this reality was something that Taylor foresaw. Technically they still have their own shingle but if their people leave, does it really matter? I was surprised that they didn't try harder to keep Sara. Instead she was basically pushed out.

So now intimate phone convos in the almost dark- this is all headed to Wendy and Axe hooking up right? I feel like they've been on a bullet train that direction for about six eps but then I did just binge. So far this season, keeping them in different places just feels like an attempt to delay the obvious. Then again, Axe does seem to be hooked on skinny blondes. 

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1 hour ago, l star said:

 

Remember when Axe picked the boys up early from the camping trip Lara set up to toughen them up? He was always going to bail Gordie out, even if he recognizes that he shouldn't. The speech is really where he really lost me. That was just melodramatic, overly indulgent bullshit. I handwaved the line about 'destroying a headmaster' because for Axe, that's just basic life strategy.

After that talk about Gordie, I'm even more curious about Wendy's background. I'm thinking upper middle class- rich enough to be comfortable with the straight line of expectation from prep school to Ivy League but not so rich that anything was buyable. No way would getting expelled ruin Gordie's future with a billionaire as a father but that seemed to be more of a 'my experience' conversation.

I'm also curious who it was that required Wendy's presence at the family meet and greet. I'm thinking Chuck's. My guess is that at the wedding, Wendy gave those kids strict instructions to avoid the main players at all costs so I could see why having her there would be a point for Roxanne. And Wendy obviously assumed that it was Chuck's father's normal bull. Still, I'm thinking that came from Chuck. He just doesn't seem to get it. He seems to think this divorce is something that just happened to him because he screwed up a little. Wendy was unhappy long term until eventually, she was unhappy and unsatisfied to the point that the marriage was broken for her. I always think of that scene when she dressed up to play dominatrix for him but just couldn't do it. They were basically broken up half of last season. Chuck just seems to think this is a phase.

I wondered which Mason Cap employee would be the first to fall. It makes sense that it was Lauren to diversify and Sara to leave. I wonder if this reality was something that Taylor foresaw. Technically they still have their own shingle but if their people leave, does it really matter? I was surprised that they didn't try harder to keep Sara. Instead she was basically pushed out.

So now intimate phone convos in the almost dark- this is all headed to Wendy and Axe hooking up right? I feel like they've been on a bullet train that direction for about six eps but then I did just binge. So far this season, keeping them in different places just feels like an attempt to delay the obvious. Then again, Axe does seem to be hooked on skinny blondes. 

Wendy is as unlikeable and delusional as chuck at this point.  She edges Chuck out slightly because she is even more smug and self righteous.  Chuck at least realizes how awful he can be.  

Is Wendy scared for her job?  She is as useless as spyros if she is just there to blindly co-sign axe's terrible ideas.  

At this point she is just using her credentials and knowledge to justify whatever shitty behavior is secondary to axe's nature.  

Wendy was supposed to be axe's conscious, at least on some level.  To save him from his worst and most base instincts.  

You don't need an MD or a Ph.D. to know that rich parents absolving their kids of any accountability when they fuck up has NEVER ended well.  

Maybe axe needs to hire a historian, because that is just basic history.  

As for Wendy and axe sleeping together....I think Wendy would be a fool to do it because I think she'd lose all her power with axe.  But she is ridiculous at this point so she just might.  

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4 hours ago, l star said:

I'm also curious who it was that required Wendy's presence at the family meet and greet.

I thought Chuck's father at least indirectly requested this of Chuck? I think Chuck's father always had a grudging respect for Wendy for being able to put Chuck in his place - something Chuck himself seems to enjoy as well.

21 hours ago, scrb said:

How were they good parents?

Well, you're certainly correct to suggest there isn't too much to go on, and parenting hasn't been a major part of any significant plot point - till now. But what little we've seen prior to this episode at least hints that both Lara and Axe put more effort and personal attention into their kids than many other billionaire parents (the bar may be low there too). Lara sent them on camping trip to toughen them up and in another episode had them dig clams (as apparently she did as a working-class child (in the Rockaways, if I recall?)) so they would have "common people" experiences. Axe "rescued" the boys from said camping trip, but that showed kindness and empathy despite undermining Lara's "toughening" efforts. Axe also became angry and appropriate protective when some Hampton neighbor drove his kids drunk.  When Gordy, in tow with Lara during some Axe Cap visit in the midst of the divorce stuff, wondered into Wendy's office and Wendy attempted to comfort him (mostly appropriately btw), Lara protectively scolded Wendy for speaking with him at all and getting in their business. Lara might have been wrong, but that showed some sort of care and concern, even if misguided. There may be more, but that's all I recall, and it's still admittedly thin.

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On 5/17/2020 at 3:48 PM, scrb said:

I guess the writers wanted him to do this new Gordon Gecko speech to the students that badly -- it isn't Darwinism and natural selection which made him a deca-billionaire, it was HIS selection to become so rich!

 

As soon as he started getting wound up, I thought, "Didn't I hear this 30 years ago?"

image.png.856599203ce8c83ffdf92e3edb41ef29.png

Then I thought, "Man, I'm old..."

On 5/17/2020 at 3:58 PM, LibertarianSlut said:

Taylor taking the $10 from Wendy was funny.  

 

The gesture lost its power though, because they waited until Wendy made her point about conviction vs. human nature before doing it.  Taking it after the fact was like, "I'll show you that you're wrong, even though you're really right".

Lots of truth in everyone's posts.  My only contribution is, of course in the end Aunt Baby brought everyone together.  Because no matter how much of a hard ass you are, no one can resist an adorable little slice of Boo Boo Angel Cake.  Or, apparently, Chef Anthony's pizza.

 

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I only vaguely recall those previous scenes involving the kids.

I guess you could say they kept the boys from being entitled pricks like Axe himself, at least so far. But the likely trajectory is that by the time they're 16 or 17, they will be cocky pricks, especially if they have pretty much unlimited access to money, cars, etc.

The main evidence against them being good parents, especially Bobby, is that he didn't spend too much time with them when they were around and he had no problems letting them go to the other side of the continent, meaning he wasn't getting regular time with them.

Maybe he FaceTimes every day with them but he seems to have a lot of other things taking up his time.

In any event, I agree, this incident is going to make Gordie draw certain conclusions about what he can get away with, especially with money and the will to punch down on those without money.

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7 minutes ago, Lone Wolf said:

As soon as he started getting wound up, I thought, "Didn't I hear this 30 years ago?"

image.png.856599203ce8c83ffdf92e3edb41ef29.png

Then I thought, "Man, I'm old..."

The gesture lost its power though, because they waited until Wendy made her point about conviction vs. human nature before doing it.  Taking it after the fact was like, "I'll show you that you're wrong, even though you're really right".

Lots of truth in everyone's posts.  My only contribution is, of course in the end Aunt Baby brought everyone together.  Because no matter how much of a hard ass you are, no one can resist an adorable little slice of Boo Boo Angel Cake.  Or, apparently, Chef Anthony's pizza.

 

I wanted a slice of Nico!  

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Lol, Axe and Prince in dickswinging mode in front of that artist. The Frank Grillo character was eating it up.

Did Axe's kid always look like a young Eddie Izzard?

What was up with all the Godfather references?

Geez, how many kids does Wags have? And how many baby mamas?

Just when you think Axe couldn't be a bigger a-hole. So a whole town was okay to suffer without electricity (which may have jeopardized some lives) because Axe's brat is determined to be an entitled prick like his father? Ugh.

Good casting on Wags' son. I think they look a lot alike. Heh, guess Axe will be starting a church next. That's a potential tax-free ton of tithed money waiting to be grabbed, especially if Axe starts building a church franchising operation or buys one already in existence.

Quote

And if Wendy is serious about the divorce, she should not be playing happy family with Chuck.

There's a theory posted on reddit that Wendy and Chuck aren't really getting divorced and the whole thing is a ruse to bring Axe down. Kind of like how Chuck and his father seemed to be on the outs but it turned out they were working together. Eh, I dunno...

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2 hours ago, Joimiaroxeu said:

Lol, Axe and Prince in dickswinging mode in front of that artist. The Frank Grillo character was eating it up.

Did Axe's kid always look like a young Eddie Izzard?

What was up with all the Godfather references?

Geez, how many kids does Wags have? And how many baby mamas?

Just when you think Axe couldn't be a bigger a-hole. So a whole town was okay to suffer without electricity (which may have jeopardized some lives) because Axe's brat is determined to be an entitled prick like his father? Ugh.

Good casting on Wags' son. I think they look a lot alike. Heh, guess Axe will be starting a church next. That's a potential tax-free ton of tithed money waiting to be grabbed, especially if Axe starts building a church franchising operation or buys one already in existence.

There's a theory posted on reddit that Wendy and Chuck aren't really getting divorced and the whole thing is a ruse to bring Axe down. Kind of like how Chuck and his father seemed to be on the outs but it turned out they were working together. Eh, I dunno...

I can’t even figure out what Chuck is trying to do this season.  Do you get it?

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2 minutes ago, Lemons said:

I can’t even figure out what Chuck is trying to do this season.  Do you get it?

I think he was always going to go after Axe, after a period of detente, since they had a common enemy at one point.

Presumably him taking down Axe would boost or launch his political career for the governorship and beyond.

But a lot of it is personal vendetta, probably Wendy but also being philosophically affronted by what Axe does and what he represents.

 

We could ask the same question about Axe.  His goal is always to be at war with someone. It's Prince for now but eventually he'll swing around to waging full-scale war with Chuck again.

He thinks he's vanquished Taylor but the writers are probably keeping that in the back pocket.

 

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1 hour ago, Lemons said:

I can’t even figure out what Chuck is trying to do this season.  Do you get it?

I'm hoping a Yale educated chess master like Chuck has something up his sleeve besides a parking pass.  It had better be some 5D chess that I'm missing because he is making a lot of grandiose speeches for a guy whose every move has been easily thwarted by axe. 

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3 hours ago, scrb said:

I think he was always going to go after Axe, after a period of detente, since they had a common enemy at one point.

Presumably him taking down Axe would boost or launch his political career for the governorship and beyond.

But a lot of it is personal vendetta, probably Wendy but also being philosophically affronted by what Axe does and what he represents.

 

We could ask the same question about Axe.  His goal is always to be at war with someone. It's Prince for now but eventually he'll swing around to waging full-scale war with Chuck again.

He thinks he's vanquished Taylor but the writers are probably keeping that in the back pocket.

 

They way they’ve made Axe all puffed up with getting the artist and destroying the head of his son’s school and Taylor all defeated, I have a feeling the tables will be turning soon.  
 

With Chuck I’m sure he hasn’t forgotten to take Axe down but it looks like he’s trying to follow the rules.  I’m not sure how that would work with chuck’s lack of resources and Axe’s unlimited budget and willing to take out anyone in his way. 

1 hour ago, RealReality said:

I'm hoping a Yale educated chess master like Chuck has something up his sleeve besides a parking pass.  It had better be some 5D chess that I'm missing because he is making a lot of grandiose speeches for a guy whose every move has been easily thwarted by axe. 

It’s seems like a lot of marching in place right now.  Axe going after a high school principal and an artist was pretty boring and unproductive.  Chuck’s doing who knows what.   I hope they step it up soon.  

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On 5/19/2020 at 12:48 PM, ahpny said:

I thought Chuck's father at least indirectly requested this of Chuck? I think Chuck's father always had a grudging respect for Wendy for being able to put Chuck in his place - something Chuck himself seems to enjoy as well.

Well, you're certainly correct to suggest there isn't too much to go on, and parenting hasn't been a major part of any significant plot point - till now. But what little we've seen prior to this episode at least hints that both Lara and Axe put more effort and personal attention into their kids than many other billionaire parents (the bar may be low there too). Lara sent them on camping trip to toughen them up and in another episode had them dig clams (as apparently she did as a working-class child (in the Rockaways, if I recall?)) so they would have "common people" experiences. Axe "rescued" the boys from said camping trip, but that showed kindness and empathy despite undermining Lara's "toughening" efforts. Axe also became angry and appropriate protective when some Hampton neighbor drove his kids drunk.  When Gordy, in tow with Lara during some Axe Cap visit in the midst of the divorce stuff, wondered into Wendy's office and Wendy attempted to comfort him (mostly appropriately btw), Lara protectively scolded Wendy for speaking with him at all and getting in their business. Lara might have been wrong, but that showed some sort of care and concern, even if misguided. There may be more, but that's all I recall, and it's still admittedly thin.

I re-watched, and you're right. Senior did want Wendy there. I still think that's most likely coming from Roxanne. Being accepted by Chuck is important but since Roxanne seems to have been the one feeling the snub, I'm sure the acceptance of the only woman in the family is a big deal too. That's especially true if Wendy has kept the kids distant even at things like the wedding.

Nothing about Lara and Bobby's parenting in the early seasons suggests that they were the type of parents to send their kids to boarding school. I think the current situation came from the loss of the family unit and Lara and Bobby going their own ways. Bobby reminds me very much of someone who loves his kids and wants what is best for them but is not actually all that interested in them. I can see Lara having headed that way too once she had her freedom. She's no longer tied to her family through her businesses or supporting her family with Axe. It's easy for kids to get lost in the shuffle once the structure that held together selfish people falls away.

I think that's why I couldn't care about whether or not Axe taught Gordie anything about consequences. These kids were always going to be spoiled and arrogant by my standards. Gordie's whole concept of bad was tied up in whether or not Axe was mad at him, not what he did to the town or if he upheld societal expectations. Not being held accountable for one incident is not enough to matter in a tide that's been set for years now.

On 5/19/2020 at 12:51 PM, Lone Wolf said:

The gesture lost its power though, because they waited until Wendy made her point about conviction vs. human nature before doing it.  Taking it after the fact was like, "I'll show you that you're wrong, even though you're really right".

I thought taking it was petty which is why I liked it. I find Taylor and Wendy's relationship interesting because they seem to actually like each other; the trust has just been broken. I wouldn't mind if their relationship rebuilt but given their recent history, a little pettiness headed Wendy's way from Taylor is reasonable and human.

On 5/20/2020 at 6:21 PM, scrb said:

I think he was always going to go after Axe, after a period of detente, since they had a common enemy at one point.

Presumably him taking down Axe would boost or launch his political career for the governorship and beyond.

But a lot of it is personal vendetta, probably Wendy but also being philosophically affronted by what Axe does and what he represents.

I think the core of it is simply that Chuck and Axe don't like each other, much like Lara and Wendy were never going to be best friends. Which is fine- not everyone has to like everyone else- but in the hands of power hungry, arrogant, entitled, crazy people like Chuck and Axe, you get a stupid one percenter war. I don't even think it's about a lack of respect, jealousy, moral condemnation or whatever else really. They just don't like the fact of the other's existence in their world.

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On 5/18/2020 at 11:51 PM, Cotypubby said:

What Bobby showed his son is that his actions have zero consequences.

It did show that his son's actions can have consequences, just not for him.

Rich billionaires children weren't going to actually be punished for their deeds. They'll always be saved by wealth and their rich parents. Expecting Axe to let his son be expelled? Not logical to happen in this world. But maybe his son got that his actions could cause harm to others, to make him think twice because consequences could have actions. It's a backwards way of parenting and to look at it, but they don't live in the real world. This is a billionaire, boarding school, nannies, kids are on their own most of the time world.

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But some billionaires are trying to impart lessons to their kids.

Bobby gave some lip service about whether it would be good for the kid if his father "fixes" this situation.

Wendy gave her advice, which he mostly ignored.

 

I don't think we're suppose to conclude that all the people who attain the wealth and power of Axe will behave the same.

 

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9 hours ago, scrb said:

But some billionaires are trying to impart lessons to their kids.

Bobby gave some lip service about whether it would be good for the kid if his father "fixes" this situation.

Wendy gave her advice, which he mostly ignored.

 

I don't think we're suppose to conclude that all the people who attain the wealth and power of Axe will behave the same.

 

Wendy, at best, threaded the needle and at worst, she just co-signed what axe wanted to do.  She gave some bullshit scenario where Gordie ends up resentful and in a gutter somewhere if he gets kicked out of ONE boarding school for what can be characterized as a stupid teen prank. 

I'm not saying it's a stupid teen prank, but it wasn't nearly as serious as other bad behavior that has been handwaved away as a "juvenile mistake that shouldn't ruin a young man's life"

Why the hell Wendy made it sound like Gordie would be worse off is either confusing or she is really just as bad as axe.  I didn't go to medical school, but I can point to a number of kids who turned out horribly because they were never held to account for their actions. 

Does this season take place before the affluenza kid?  

It would have been worlds better for Gordie had axe allowed him to be expelled from school and quietly bought off the headmaster to give Gordie a good recommendation for a new elite boarding school.  Or threatened the headmaster if he wouldn't put in a good word for Gordie at a new elite boarding school.  Or paid off a headmaster at a new elite school.  

That way, Gordie learns a lesson by losing something he likes and he doesn't suffer whatever ridiculous nonsense hypothetical fate Wendy ginned up for no good reason at all.  

History is littered with examples of kids who turned out shitty when parents never let them take any accountability. 

For all Wendy's high level thinking, a person off the street, and probably the headmaster could give numerous examples. 

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Bobby’s speech to his son’s prep school could have just been entitled, “Fonzie your shark is back!”

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Refugees are lawfully admitted to the US and get green cards and work authorization. I'm so sick of tv shows getting these basic things wrong.

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On 5/17/2020 at 6:42 PM, Lemons said:

This seems to have been turned into the Axe and goofy sidekick show.  Axe wants something, there’s resistance, axe gets it because he has billions of dollars.  Repeat repeat repeat.  So boring. 

The storyline with Axe’s homely little mini-me turning into his father was as stupid as it was not believable.  Implausible is an understatement on the whole thing.  
 

also Wendy is showing fewer and fewer redeeming qualities.  Why would she be dragging her kids to some trendy new apartment in Manhattan instead of letting them at least stay in their Brooklyn neighborhood?  She’s becoming more like Axe and that’s not a good thing.  

My problem with Wendy is being in this relationship with Chuck, which is perilously close to bestiality. 

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I started watching this show a few months ago, and can't believe the contrast between Axe in S1 and Axe now. He used to be a devoted family man and a loving, if overindulgent, father. He did unethical and illegal things to "win" but still seemed to have a moral center. Now he's just a vengeful monster and wants his son to turn out the same way. He's reached the new echelon of being a deca-billionaire, but by his own admission that didn't excite him for more than a few moments. He seems miserable all the time. Wendy used to call him on his BS but now she only tells him what he wants to hear, so he has nobody in his life who's truly honest with him. I know the show won't go there because he's the protagonist, but in reality people who behave like Axe are headed for a downfall.

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