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S01.E11: Magical Thinking

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What a snore, all around. Characters and relationships about which I do not care, mostly, and didn't we know that Chuck would get caught at a sex club eventually? Someone as canny as he wouldn't be going to public sex clubs on his home turf anyway. So dumb.

Chuck finds proof that could save the case.

Privileged communication between a therapist and a patient, illegally accessed? I don't think so. Although I guess we knew that the Chekhovian "couples who trust each other exchange passwords" bullshit was going to go off sometime.

Plus I don't buy it, given the erosion of trust between Axe and Wendy, that he would confess everything about Donnie to her. I know we're supposed to believe that he felt compelled to confide in her because he thought it was the only way to avoid another billion-dollar mistake, but the foundation wasn't there, not for me. Nor was his concern that he might be a sociopath (psychopath? what's the proper clinical term these days?).

Ugh, and way too much Lara.

The previous episode should have been the season finale, IMO.

Edited by Margherita Erdman

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I don't know... I kind of liked it. I thought the writing was good... I really enjoyed the conversation between Axe and Wendy. Too much Lara, though, yes. 

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Too many things telegraphed beforehand in this episode - really lazy: the Whisperer seeing her hugging Ax, the sex club, his looking at her computer, Ax screwing up in the beginning and being wrong, and some other stuff I can't even recall since I forgot most of it as it was so boring.  I don't get why everyone thinks Wendy is some sort of uniquely brilliant therapist - nothing she has said is unusual or different than any other good/decent therapist would say/do.

 

The only thing I like they have done with this quite a lot is that they made the relationship of the purported bad guy, the healthiest of the couple relationships and the most screwed up being the one that supposed "good" guy is in.  That was the main difference (to me) they made with this show - thus far.  

 

They needed all that yakking to try to convince the audience Ax is not a sociopath?  

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They needed all that yakking to try to convince the audience Ax is not a sociopath?

 

It would be better if he actually WAS a sociopath.  If he just straight up didn't care about Donny, that would be one thing.  But he DID care about Donny and felt bad about not letting him have more time to live AND DID IT ANYWAY.  Isn't it worse to break your morals for selfish reasons than to have no morals to break in the first place?

 

I don't get why everyone thinks Wendy is some sort of uniquely brilliant therapist - nothing she has said is unusual or different than any other good/decent therapist would say/do.

 

Me either.  I love Maggie Siff so much that I like Wendy but damn.  I don't really buy that she can help people so much.  Is it just that the people she helps are so lacking in self-awareness that what she offers seems like so much to them?

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Wendy is supposed to be a medical doctor, not a therapist which makes her even worse. The fact that she helped justify Ax's decision to play God with his employee's life and then telling him he's not a God make her look like an idiot.

Her justification that everyone dies from pancreatic cancer anyways was despicable. her duty as a doctor would have been to report the other doctor for violating the "do no harm" oath. She's no better than all the others who turn a blind eye for the sake of huge payouts.

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Chuck didn't have too much difficulty eating crow apologizing to pops and asking him for a favor.

 

But what's he going to have to swallow when Axe finds out about his S&M tendencies?

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Lots to say here:

 

1) I hate Chuck’s father and don’t feel it was easy for Chuck to say he was sorry.  Who wants a father who watches over you like a hawk and dissects whatever you do then tells you to your face what you are doing wrong or right?  That is one fucked up relationship.

2) Who was following Chuck?  I cannot believe he just left the club without asking lots of questions.

3) I don’t get what Wendy sees in Chuck.  Once in a while she will tell him that she loves him but he’s a mess who cares more about winning than his marriage, even though he was complaining to his friend that he knows his marriage is in trouble.  I wonder if this is the end for them.

4) Lara’s sister acted like an entitled asshole in last night’s episode.  "I wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn’t for you.” or whatever she said.  She’s a child and her sister gave her her own restaurant.  

5) The ‘we came from nothing and need to remember that’ is getting old.  

6) I’m confused about the locations.  Where is AXE Capital located?  The NY suburbs?

7) Lara’s statement, “I question Wendy’s continuing value to the firm” (paraphrased) sounded like a line out of a bad Sci-Fi show or cult film.  

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Axe Capital is definitely in the suburbs just outside of NYC. Westchester, Connecticut or Long Island. I have heard someone mentioned they thought it was Connecticut. It seems like LI to me. Just be the ease of access and also to the Hamptons. Wendy lives in Brooklyn too. That would be a pain to get to CT... or well anywhere... except downtown NYC where Chuck works. I am not sure the landscape has me confused too.

On another episode thread the question was raised where Lara is from with all her "old neighborhood" talk of Inwood. I thought she might be referring to Inwood Manhattan, the northern most point on Manhattan island. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inwood,_Manhattan

However, now I think she is referring to Inwood, a town on Long Island that seems to fit better. It is in Nassau County, right on the border of Queens. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inwood,_New_York

Edited by Luckylondon

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Axe Capital is definitely in the suburbs just outside of NYC. Westchester, Connecticut or Long Island. I have heard someone mentioned they thought it was Connecticut. It seems like LI to me. Just be the ease of access and also to the Hamptons. Wendy lives in Brooklyn too. That would be a pain to get to CT... or well anywhere... except downtown NYC where Chuck works. I am not sure the landscape has me confused too.

 

They have said it was in Westport CT.  Westport is about 50 miles outside of NYC and is a nasty commute by car. 

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Lara's little sister didn't want to cook for assholes at Axe Capital.

 

She certainly has a point, just in that short scene, there were several examples of finance guys acting like assholes.

 

But she prefers to cook for "gastros," those insufferable foodies?

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If he just straight up didn't care about Donny, that would be one thing.  But he DID care about Donny and felt bad about not letting him have more time to live AND DID IT ANYWAY.  Isn't it worse to break your morals for selfish reasons than to have no morals to break in the first place?

I'm not sure I'd assign higher virtue to a remorseless psychopath than to someone who knowingly does immoral or amoral things, and then suffers guilt afterward.

I thought Wendy's point to Axe and the realization she brought him to was that maybe he cared for Donnie in the moment, maybe he didn't, but what trumped everything for him in the end was the plan and the agreement they'd made, and he wasn't going to allow anything (like the chance at a few extra months of life for Donnie) to screw that up.

So whatever else he might have felt, any reservations or guilt, got pushed down, even if he didn't realize it at the time, and is maybe now coming back up to punish him in the form of misreading the market, losing a shit-ton of money, and humiliating himself in front of his employees.

What struck me about the whole thing is that if it weren't affecting his business, his ability to make $ and maintain his badass reputation, he never would have come clean to Wendy. She's a performance coach to him, that's the only thing that will ever motivate him to reflect or change, to course-correct or improve performance.

Wendy is supposed to be a medical doctor, not a therapist which makes her even worse. The fact that she helped justify Ax's decision to play God with his employee's life and then telling him he's not a God make her look like an idiot.

Her justification that everyone dies from pancreatic cancer anyways was despicable. her duty as a doctor would have been to report the other doctor for violating the "do no harm" oath. She's no better than all the others who turn a blind eye for the sake of huge payouts.

She's both an M.D. and a therapist — one of those increasingly rare psychiatrists who actually also does psychotherapy and doesn't just dispense pills. But she's private only, not bound by insurance, which is about the only kind of psychiatrist who practices real therapy any more. So her obligation to treat and maintain confidentiality is only to her patient, Axe, a confidentiality she can break only if she becomes convinced he is going to do bodily harm to someone else. Which, even if he had told her about the Donnie situation beforehand, it wouldn't have met that threshold.

The oncologist didn't commit malpractice or withhold treatment. Clinical trials are crapshoots — experimental treatments, which, depending on the phase, the patient may receive a placebo without knowing (and depending on the study type, without the treating doctor knowing either). Ethically, medically, scientifically, your informed consent means acknowledging that as a participant you do not view your participation in the trial as treatment but as volunteering to help advance scientific knowledge with no expectation of treatment and full understanding of risks.

What Axe and the oncologist did was still fucked up, and they should still feel guilty, because it should have been Donnie's crapshoot to choose, based on Axe's promise to get Donnie the best, most cutting edge options available. I thought the actor playing the oncologist had a wonderful little moment at the funeral when Donnie's husband thanked him for doing everything he could and the doctor couldn't even meet his gaze.

Lots to say here:

 

1) I hate Chuck’s father and don’t feel it was easy for Chuck to say he was sorry.  Who wants a father who watches over you like a hawk and dissects whatever you do then tells you to your face what you are doing wrong or right?  That is one fucked up relationship.

2) Who was following Chuck?  I cannot believe he just left the club without asking lots of questions.

3) I don’t get what Wendy sees in Chuck.  Once in a while she will tell him that she loves him but he’s a mess who cares more about winning than his marriage, even though he was complaining to his friend that he knows his marriage is in trouble.  I wonder if this is the end for them.

4) Lara’s sister acted like an entitled asshole in last night’s episode.  "I wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn’t for you.” or whatever she said.  She’s a child and her sister gave her her own restaurant.

5) The ‘we came from nothing and need to remember that’ is getting old.

6) I’m confused about the locations.  Where is AXE Capital located?  The NY suburbs?

7) Lara’s statement, “I question Wendy’s continuing value to the firm” (paraphrased) sounded like a line out of a bad Sci-Fi show or cult film.

So many juicy things to discuss and respond to!

(1) Chuck & his father deserve each other. No matter how much they may fight and say nasty things to each other, they are cut from the same co-dependent cloth and need each other desperately in order to fulfill their personal and shared ambitions. I'm surprised there was even a pro forma apology. If Chuck's kids turn out any different, it will be Wendy's influence entirely — although she herself is a pretty cold fish when it comes to intimacy, and even though we haven't seen their life with their children, she seems more intellectually insightful about family relationships than particularly warm or intuitive.

(2) I agree this is a fascinating question — so many people with so much to gain from having dirt on him. I didn't find it surprising he was too freaked out to follow up, though I do think he's too smart to have gone there in the first place. There are exclusive private clubs and services for the elite in cities like Washington and NYC to serve people like him with his particular needs. I thought the same when he went to the club in Iowa, though I gave it a hand wave because Iowa.

(3) Totally agree. No warmth, no chemistry. She treats him like a patient at best, when she's not literally pissing on him as a dominatrix with a client. [How hilarious was it when the dominatrix at the sex club praised Wendy's dom skills and how quickly she caught on at the "workshop"? Didn't she say she was "a natural" or something similar?] Wendy had more chemistry with the head of the women-run hedge fund.

(4) No kidding. If she's such a great chef, get out from under the shadow of her rich sister and brother-in-law and go make it on her own.

(5) Yuck, right? It's Lara's one and only character beat, it's been beaten into the ground, and it doesn't even feel true. My husband and I were trying to think of actresses who might have given this paper thin character some life, but we were having trouble thinking of anybody in the right age range. Marisa Tomei maybe? Eliza Dushku? Or if they had to go blonde, I bet Mena Suvari would appreciate the work, and she can go pretty dark (character-wise).

(6) I think this has been covered, but it's been said from the beginning CT.

(7) That line (has she said it more than once?) sounded to me like a euphemism out of a mob movie for putting a hit on someone. Not true to Lara's one-note "no-BS" character at all. She'd just say something like "I think she's a threat" or "I want her gone" or whatever, not this mealy-mouthed corporate speak (or alternately ambiguous "kill her" in case someone is listening lol). In any case, I agree, ridic. Even sillier when she then sees her husband going off for an extended "session" during which she can be reasonably sure he will spill everything about the Donnie scheme.

Lara's little sister didn't want to cook for assholes at Axe Capital.

She certainly has a point, just in that short scene, there were several examples of finance guys acting like assholes.

 

But she prefers to cook for "gastros," those insufferable foodies?

I haven't watched Top Chef in ages, but her disdain reminded me of contestants getting pissed off during challenges when they were expected to cook for diners and (gasp) judges with pedestrian palates. You know, normal people.

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Axe Capital is definitely in the suburbs just outside of NYC. Westchester, Connecticut or Long Island. I have heard someone mentioned they thought it was Connecticut. It seems like LI to me. Just be the ease of access and also to the Hamptons. Wendy lives in Brooklyn too. That would be a pain to get to CT... or well anywhere... except downtown NYC where Chuck works. I am not sure the landscape has me confused too.

 

I asked because if they are in CT, then wouldn’t the state of CT handle AXE Capital? I assume there are US Attorney’s offices in every state but I have no clue. And Chuck heads up Southern district.  Is that Southern district of Manhattan where Wall Street is located. I am confused because of the locations....

Edited by caligirl50
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SCRB, ON 04 APR 2016 - 4:58 PM, SAID:

QUOTE

Lara's little sister didn't want to cook for assholes at Axe Capital.

She certainly has a point, just in that short scene, there were several examples of finance guys acting like assholes.

But she prefers to cook for "gastros," those insufferable foodies?

I haven't watched Top Chef in ages, but her disdain reminded me of contestants getting pissed off during challenges when they were expected to cook for diners and (gasp) judges with pedestrian palates. You know, normal people.

 

 

Or on Project Runway when a designer gets annoyed that he/she is having to design for a woman with curves.

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The oncologist didn't commit malpractice or withhold treatment. Clinical trials are crapshoots — experimental treatments, which, depending on the phase, the patient may receive a placebo without knowing (and depending on the study type, without the treating doctor knowing either). Ethically, medically, scientifically, your informed consent means acknowledging that as a participant you do not view your participation in the trial as treatment but as volunteering to help advance scientific knowledge with no expectation of treatment and full understanding of risks.

 

 

He didn't withhold treatment but what he did was unethical.  Imagine our doctors calling our bosses instead of our families and asking our bosses whether they should inform us of a possible life extending treatment?  And then our bosses making that decision based on our worth to the company? 

 

Imagine how Axe would react if one of his children was sick and he could possibly have a few more months with them but he wasn't the one make the choice, it was, let's say, the school committee's choice?  And they based it on how much money they might save?  What Axe and the doctor did was unforgivable. 

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They have said it was in Westport CT. Westport is about 50 miles outside of NYC and is a nasty commute by car.

Thank you Lemons and Margherita! I somehow missed this. It was driving me crazy as it does look like Connecticut, but I couldn't figure out where. Westport makes perfect sense as they do have financial services industry there and it is not too far from NY. Horrible commute for Wendy though! Not that they care of such things on TV.

Edited by Luckylondon

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I'm not sure I'd assign higher virtue to a remorseless psychopath than to someone who knowingly does immoral or amoral things, and then suffers guilt afterward.

 

It's not that I'd assign a higher virtue, it's more that I wouldn't judge him as harshly on a moral level.  After all, can a sociopath help being a sociopath?  It's not like people choose to have mental disorders that leave them less able to function than "normal" people.  No one ever says "Whee, I'm a schizophrenic or I'm glad I'm a narcissist."  Actually, a narcissist might say that but I'd argue he was deluded.  So if a sociopath lacks the empathy to see how wrong what he is doing is, it seems less horrible to me on a moral level than someone like Axe who understands what it is to miss being with his family.  However, I would punish both a sociopath and a non-sociopath the same.  I mean if you commit murder, I'm going to need you to go to prison regardless.  But, I would look down more on the person who had the capability to see the hurt he caused.  He made a choice to shit all over someone's life in a way that a sociopath just doesn't get.

 

The thing with Wendy is that she didn't know about all this until after Donny died.  The doctor who was treating him did, though.  I definitely think it was completely unethical of him to discuss his treatment with someone else and make a decision without consulting him.

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Chuck is such an odious person, I don't understand why Wendy would marry and have children with him. The S& M relationship with him I can see, but not a marriage , life, and children.  Maybe that points to really not knowing much about her

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It's not that I'd assign a higher virtue, it's more that I wouldn't judge him as harshly on a moral level.  ... if a sociopath lacks the empathy to see how wrong what he is doing is, it seems less horrible to me on a moral level than someone like Axe who understands what it is to miss being with his family.  However, I would punish both a sociopath and a non-sociopath the same.  I mean if you commit murder, I'm going to need you to go to prison regardless.  But, I would look down more on the person who had the capability to see the hurt he caused.  He made a choice to shit all over someone's life in a way that a sociopath just doesn't get.

Oh, I misunderstood before — this makes total sense & I agree 100%. I'd go a step further and say that with Axe's character, in this most recent episode with his "session" with Wendy, came off a degree even worse, which is that he repeatedly sees the damage he causes and repeatedly chooses his own success and profit over the welfare of others, and then covers up his own misdeeds. He actively resists self-awareness and change because it might mean being less successful at what he does. A personification of the amoral monster Wall Street has become?

 

The thing with Wendy is that she didn't know about all this until after Donny died.  The doctor who was treating him did, though.  I definitely think it was completely unethical of him to discuss his treatment with someone else and make a decision without consulting him.

The doctor was completely compromised, answering only to Axe, you can see it in the scene when he examines Donnie. Which is horrible but makes sense if Axe is funding every bit of the doctor's research and basically owns him. If I were Donnie I would have been extremely suspicious of any offer from Axe to help with medical care after I made a deal with him dependent on dying in a timely fashion — but Donnie really did seem like a decent guy — so decent that I like that the show left it ambiguous whether, after his "3rd eye awakening," Donnie was going to go through with Axe's plan or come clean. We'll never know, and neither will they, because he started to vomit blood everywhere.

Chuck is such an odious person, I don't understand why Wendy would marry and have children with him. The S& M relationship with him I can see, but not a marriage , life, and children.  Maybe that points to really not knowing much about her

I think it does points to her being more of a cipher and a device to advance plot than a fully developed character who makes sense. She only holds together because Maggie Siff is so awesome.

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Maggie is gorgeous. But she needs to change her change her hair.  Just sayin'

This and that scrunchy NO

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Chuck is such an odious person, I don't understand why Wendy would marry and have children with him. The S& M relationship with him I can see, but not a marriage , life, and children.  Maybe that points to really not knowing much about her

 

I totally agree with you about Chuck and Maggie's marriage.  I think it's the domination that is the glue that keeps them together.  He needs the S&M stuff as an outlet and he has it "in house," so huge plus; and I think Maggie is drawn to Chuck *because* she can dominate him.  And she does so in almost every aspect of their relationship even outside of their home.

 

Despite the other flaws in their relationship, I actually kind of like the aspect of Chuck and Maggie's marriage where the S&M is out in the open and they both participate.  It was interesting that the dominatrix at the club Chuck went to knew full well about Maggie and chastised Chuck for being there without permission, which showed that they had managed all of the boundaries of that part of their lives together.  Pretty cool!  However...outside of that, I can see nothing remotely affectionate between them.

 

I asked because if they are in CT, then wouldn’t the state of CT handle AXE Capital? I assume there are US Attorney’s offices in every state but I have no clue. And Chuck heads up Southern district.  Is that Southern district of Manhattan where Wall Street is located. I am confused because of the locations....

 

Since the case against AXE Capital is a federal case, then a U.S. Attorney and a federal circuit court judge would handle it. I'm pretty sure that CT is in the same federal circuit with NY and NJ, hence the reason why Chuck's office is spearheading.  The show doesn't make that clear at all, though.

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I asked because if they are in CT, then wouldn’t the state of CT handle AXE Capital? I assume there are US Attorney’s offices in every state but I have no clue. And Chuck heads up Southern district. Is that Southern district of Manhattan where Wall Street is located. I am confused because of the locations....

Any company that does substantial business in NYS is subject to the state's jurisdiction, regardless or where the company is physically located. Axe Capital could have been located in California and it wouldnt have mattered.

I thought these last few episodes were pretty good.

I was actually pretty entertained with Axe and Wendy's "sociopath" conversation. Whatever Axe is, he's definitely FUBAR. If thats the kind of thing he does to a friend, i cant wait to see what he has in store for Chuck, who to me is just as insufferable. Am i really supposed to be rooting for either of these assholes?

Edited by FuriousStyles

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