'Billions' Season 6, Episode 2 Recap: No One Is Safe

Season 6, Episode 2: “Lyin’ Eyes” If you’re looking for the future of “Billions,” two quotes from this week’s episode point the way, I ...


If you’re looking for the future of “Billions,” two quotes from this week’s episode point the way, I think. The first comes from Wendy Rhoades, describing to Taylor Mason her fear that their boss, Mike Prince, might have narcissistic personality disorder: “He thinks he’s better than everyone else, and he won’t stop. not until he gets what he wants.”

The second comes from Chuck Rhoades, describing the method of his raging new madness: “No one is safe”.

We’ll cover half of Chuck’s episode first. Inspired by the bravado of Gene Hackman’s thief character in David Mamet’s crime film “Heist,” which he watches from the comfort of his upstate farmhouse, Chuck returns to New York with the intention of sowing hell. He finds what he seeks in the plight of the city gatekeepers, who worked long and hard on behalf of mega-wealthy tenants who fled the city when Covid-19 hit, leaving their servants on the front lines of the pandemic.

The problem is that despite a favorable response to Chuck’s fiery rhetoric, the doormen’s union is perfectly happy with the 2% raise the tenants and the property management board are willing to offer them. So Chuck unilaterally turns up the heat, first by blowing up negotiations with a 5% demand, then threatening to sicken the taxman on the union if he doesn’t go on strike at Chuck’s request.

After successfully convincing the syndicate to make his offer, he turns his attention to his main targets: the billionaires, whom he calls “the criminal class”, represented by the rude, ruddy-faced Bud Lazarra (Wayne Duvall). Provocateur Lazzara thumbs his nose at Chuck’s threats and convinces the union to call off the strike and accept the original deal – but only through bribery, an act filmed by Chuck’s lieutenant Karl Allard, who walks around in full Vincent (The Chin) Gigante robe outfit to record the incriminating footage.

When Chuck confronts Lazzara with his information, the big shot bends…but Chuck betrays him to the press anyway. The message is clear: his war against the billionaires is in full mode without prisoners.

Considering Mike Prince’s idiosyncratic behavior elsewhere in the episode, this might just be the right approach. Oh, things are off to a pretty good start, with Prince announcing his intention to liquidate the stock of a sportswear company called Rask due to its use of forced labor in Uyghur mass internment camps in China.

This move is turning heads all over Michael Prince Capital. Victor Mateo (Louis Cancelmi), the company’s resident hard case, warns that the company is virtually unsinkable. Regardless, says Taylor Mason, anticipating the boss’ next move: They’ll use athletes and influencers to ruin the brand’s reputation while they’re busy shorting its stock.

Taylor Mason Carbon’s rising star Rian (Eva Victor) sees an opportunity: there are others in the business with even dirtier human rights records, and Mase Carb could easily gobble it all up. the area. When Taylor tells her not to perform, she does anyway, leading Taylor to confer with Wendy Rhoades on whether firing Rian is the right move. They decide it’s too much like an ax in half, and a chastened Rian is spared the axe, no pun intended.

Finally, there’s Wags, who has the most comical reaction of the entire team: he’s worried on behalf of Rask’s general manager, with whom he formed an Eagles cover band at a fantasy rock ‘n’ camp. ‘ roll. His surreptitious whistleblower nearly saves the company with a buyout until Prince and his right-hand man, Scooter Dunbar, force Wags to kill the case by spreading even more dirt: Rask slept with the northern dictator. -Korean Kim Jong-un for years. The maneuver kills the company for good, although it also leads to Wags being kicked out of the group. You gain some, you lose some!

At this point, you might be wondering where a narcissistic personality disorder diagnosis for Prince would come into play here? After all, he did exactly what he said he would do: dismantle a shady business.

But as Taylor says, he’s playing on a much larger chessboard than the markets alone. Prince’s real plan was to sabotage the Los Angeles Olympic hosting functions, sponsored by Rask, in hopes of moving the 2028 games to the Big Apple – which would bring his estranged wife, Andy (Piper Perabo) , an Olympic-level climbing coach, back in his orbit. Indeed, she is so impressed with his plan that she accepts his offer to have dinner, an overture she previously rejected.

So maybe it was all a grand romantic gesture, as Wendy and Taylor envision – or maybe it was the move of a self-proclaimed master of the universe, bending world events to his will. But when you have the kind of money and power that Mike Prince has, is there a distinction between personal desires and sociopolitical manipulation? I know the answer Chuck Rhoades would give.

  • This week’s guest stars: mountaineer Alex Honnold, golf expert Michael Breed and journalist Olivia Nuzzi. Honnold and Nuzzi were even factored into the show’s storylines, with Honnold leading the charge of online influencers against Rask and Nuzzi coming out of Lazzara’s bribery scheme.

  • As I’ve heard directly from several readers who chided me when I lost track of this, I’ll state for the record that I spotted two references to the “godfather”: Chuck’s reference to Lazzara as Don Barzini from New York landed gentry, and the name of Frankie Pentangeli’s Wags from “Part 2” when it came time to make a killing on the market. (Rian bucks the trend by quoting another Francis Ford Coppola film, “Apocalypse Now.”)

  • Although it depicts the use of masks at large gatherings, such as the doormen’s union meeting, the episode occasionally refers to the pandemic in the past tense, as if the worst was behind us when it was filmed. Ah, were we ever so young?

  • A subtle but impressive play by Corey Stoll as the prince: laughing quietly as Rask files for bankruptcy, his CEO is dragged before Congress, and the Olympics pull out of Los Angeles. As a general rule, laughing at the success of your master plan is the business of villains; Prince has the insight to do it quietly, at least.

  • As an avowed Wags fan, it pains me to learn that he is an Eagles fan; my position on the group is best expressed by the guy in “The Big Lebowski”. (But as a teenager in 1992, I was a big fan of the episode opening with Stone Temple Pilots’ “Plush.”)

  • “I’m definitely against concentration camps, but…” Let me stop you there, Ben Kim!

  • Scooter Dunbar works in Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s office to advance the anti-Rask scheme. Chuck Rhoades reading “Capitalism and Ideology” by Thomas Piketty. Times are changing.

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Newsrust - US Top News: 'Billions' Season 6, Episode 2 Recap: No One Is Safe
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