‘Billions’ Season 3, Episode 11: Salt to Taste

This week, Chuck plans a trap for his rival as Bobby risks alienating one of his greatest weapons.

Comments: 45

  1. Is Taiga gone or did Charles Sr. change her mind? I don't see that Chuck did Ira a favor if what Ira's wound up with is a lying cheating grifting wife who professes luckwarmly to Chuck that she does "like" Ira. I think that would be fate worse than death.

  2. I thought he was showing Wags a certain contempt that his Madeleine was something so cheap. When Bobby sees desire he sees a weakness and he has contempt for weakness. Great ep with several high points (Charles Srs marriage advice? Horrible and sensible at the same time) and another great recap, thanks.

  3. Hmm...I may need to watch the episode again. I thought Bobby was feeling some sense of pleasure and satisfaction at Wags' being as, maybe more, delighted by a gift that Bobby paid nothing for as he might have been by something much more expensive. I also think there was a little bit of symbolism in giving something that once belonged to his father to the man who has been as steadfast a friend as one would hope one's father would be. Bobby undoubtedly enjoyed a little feeling of empowerment over the pain caused by his father's abandonment too. Interesting to juxtapose that with Chuck's scenes with his father. I thought Ira said Taiga left, no? I do need to watch the episode again...

  4. She will stay, but she brought home the pre-nup. Ira knows what's up now, so he'll be OK.

  5. The cultural references written into the show's dialogue are often so obscure, awkward, or dated that they make me cringe. No one under the age of 30 would reference Yngwie Malmsteen or Molly Hatchet in any conversation, even if they did know who they were.

  6. If you are modeling Axe, and Axe speaks in those terms, you might. Didn't Taylor learn like everything about baseball overnight, in order to fit in? It does serve to show that what is normal for Axe and Wags (based on their age) is a bit more forced for Taylor, because Taylor is not quite the same kind of shark that the rest of them are.

  7. Good recap. I can't help but wonder how much anyone else thinks Taylor's actions are driven by their avarice and power hungry ambitions and/or what Axe did on Oscar? Is it payback or greed or both? Great penultimate. Can't wait for finale and Season 4.

  8. It is probably both. They do want to move forward, and they got Axe to keep them on the raise, and to raise his own offer higher than he says he's ever given to anyone. Taylor is also motivated by the injury to Oscar. Of course, jumping right in with Andolov is not likely to work out for Taylor. Someone is going to get burned.

  9. Utterly superb writing and performances by the entire cast. God, week-after-week I am riveted and not even new messages on my phone or tablet can draw my eyes away...when does that happen now-a-days?

  10. Last week, after Bobby's betrayal of Taylor, I started to hate him with a white hot passion. I'm very glad to see that Taylor does, too. I just hope they will be very, very careful.

  11. Getting in the way of terrific story lines and acting is the writers becoming so tragically hip as to load every episode with unending streams of cultural references, be they about TV, movies, wrestling or music that are nothing more than please to notice how cool they are. Although the music's been great this year - ending last week's episode with Mott's "I Wish I Was Your Mother" was terrific - using the fact that Motley Crue has three guitarists is just too precious. Stick to the script; it doesn't need that much useless embellishment.

  12. Agree w/MTH's I Wish I Was Your Mother in ep10. Molly Hatchet had three guitar players. Motley Crue had one (Mick Mars).

  13. Thanks for the correction; both do nothing for me.

  14. I think of the cultural references as Easter eggs. You can either ignore them or make a game of catching them. for those who do get them it adds an extra element of engagement with the show. Many of those wink-wink references go right past me because I am not tragically hip. What I find tiresome is the show’s excessive use of celebrity cameos (Salt Bae, the model-pretty tennis player whose name I can’t remember and don’t care enough about to look up, the basketball player, and all the rest who have popped up throughout the series).

  15. The whole Chuck/Charles hate each other/love each other thing is weird. How many times has each told the other their relationship was over. After Chuck quit seeking the Governorship a few episodes back, I thought that was the final straw. But I do love Jeffrey DeMunn.

  16. This elegant yet simple sentence “The show never settles for satisfying when spectacular will do” pretty much sums up “Billions”. Each episode has constant, moving and riveting storylines which either run parallel or are in juxtaposition to one another. Each season builds to such powerful crescendos, only to keep the viewer on the edge of his/her seat until the next season. Brilliantly written, directed and acted. I truly enjoy watching Jeffrey DeMunn portray Charles Rhoades, Sr. He is a fine and skilled actor. However, his character was creepier than usual with that look in his eyes and the glee in his voice when he imparted “père instructs to Taiga on the finer points of maintaining a marriage. “ He reminded me of a hungry jackal, waiting to pounce on its prey at any moment.

  17. So agree with you and the "Spectacular" quote. This show is one-of-a-kind, the "Game of Thrones" of the financial world.

  18. Thanks Brainfelt! Although I never watched "Game of Thrones" and therefore cannot appreciate your comparison, I think I may be in the ballpark when I state that "Deadwood" was to the western genre what "Billions" is to the financial world as you eloquently stated - all three are one-of-a-kind masterpieces in episodic television.

  19. Deadwood is a great comparison I had the same thought last week. The casual references to obscure athletes and musicians as well as the movie lines imbedded in the dialogue gives the show a 2nd layer of enjoyment. When was the last time anyone has referenced Teófilo Stevenson? After a subpar second season this shows has come roaring back and is now one of the best on TV.

  20. I can't believed you'd make a paragraph-long parenthetical aside to discuss the delightfully quirky casting of this show and not mention SNL's Alex Moffat as Taiga's sleazy partner in crime, Anthony. It was a tiny role but surprisingly perfectly cast. It made me laugh out loud when it took me an extra second to realize who it was.

  21. I didn’t recognize him, even though he’s one of my favorite SNL players.

  22. I've probably watched SNL a half dozen times in the past three years (not really a fan), and I recognized him immediately. I, too, was shocked there was no mention of him in that "paragraph-long parenthetical aside" (perfect description).

  23. I am very bad at predicting great shows future story-lines, that is one reason they are great show. While Billions does have happy endings alot, so Chuck may get rid of Jeffcoat by entraping him into obstruction, I think it will go the other way. When Jeffcoat gets wind of the NY AG's investigation, he will also learn about Chuck's involvement from Connerty's FBI investigation and Connerty will tell Jeffcoat. Jeffcoat will then figure it all out. And Jeffcoat will know the NY AG has a weak case with Cutler has the main witness, so he (Jeffcoat) will not fall for the obstruction of justice entrapment plan. He will probably find another way to shut down the NY AG (maybe disclosing some sex scandal thing like happened to the real NY AG recently, Eric Schneiderman). AND, he will fire Chuck and his two co-conspirators and put Connerty in charge of the DA's office. Perhaps he will just fire Chuck and let Connerty lord it over the remaining two, especially his former flame, Kate.

  24. that would be more interesting than what will probably happen.

  25. Speaking of casting, it was nice to see Patti D’Arbanville as Ax’s mother.

  26. Except that her strangely colored and crimped (entirely too young) hairstyle were so out of place. I mean...she’s just hanging around the house find up like that? It was too obviously a cameo designed to give her a boost.

  27. oof... episode 10 wasn't a fluke: the show has jumped the rails...

  28. It was good to see Ira's gold-digging, truffle-eating wife get her comeuppance, but the story line took up too much of the episode. I could've gone for more Taylor or even more Lara, unfortunately under-utilized this season.

  29. Wonderful show. But the writers are trying too hard to be cool. Their name-dropping, cultural-referencing dialogue is too clever by half. It's just a way of saying to their friends -- "hey, did you catch who we referenced in last week's episode!" I could understand that kind of dialogue if the characters were totally self-centered, culture-junkie hipsters, but most of them are not. I don't know where this is coming from. Just showing off, I guess. It brings the show down a notch. A writer like Aaron Sorkin uses clever word play and cultural references, but it's always in service to the story or to a character who is trying to articulate a point. But, I'll still be watching.

  30. I agree. The cultural reference by verges on the precious.

  31. Just a note to the author - the generally accepted terms are “gender nonconforming” (shortened to GNC), or non-binary, but not “gender nonbinary” (it’s not strictly incorrect or even offensive, it’s just clunky and awkward). If you want to convey that “nonbinary” is a term relating to gender for audiences who may not understand it as a stand-alone term, I’d suggest something like “a nonbinary trans(gender) person,” which is more common. It is also possible that the character does not identify as “transgender” as there are people who identify as nonbinary but not as trans (the word “transgender” is never used on the show, but it’s possibly more common to identify as both nonbinary and transgender than to identify as just nonbinary - Asia Kate Dillon themselves is an example of someone who identifies as both). In that case, I think honoring conventional language while maintaining clarity would be best achieved by something like, “Taylor Mason, the nonbinary and gender-nonconforming, [kid/person/whatever].”

  32. Thanks for clearing that up. Can we also have the author refer to "Billions" as a quality nonconforming show" or "non-sensical"? The writers have set this up like the end of Neal Stephenson's terrific "Reamde" on steroids, with multiple people moving against adversaries: Taylor against Axe (the dialogue between Axe and the despicable Lara was hilarious with the constant references to "they"; Brian against Chuck, and Chuck, his minions and the NY AG against the US AG. How will this all be resolve next week? Obviously, it won't: Showtime has signed this piece of doody up for another season. One request: Most of the characters are execrable, but necessary; one who is execrable and totally unnecessary is Chuck's father. Please, please, please, 86 this guy!

  33. love the times review of this show.always read it after the show, too many ah hah moments to elaborate.ty

  34. Although this episode had its moments, I think the writer’s have too many threads going. The show is a jumble! I realize they have to set things up for the end of the season, but it’s absolutely headache inducing. I’m disappointed with the trajectory of the female characters’ stories. Wendy is no longer believable — full stop. She’s verging on parody. Lara is still a cardboard cutout (cue the bitter ex-wife with poor acting skills). Kate Sacker has morphed from the smart and savvy go-getter — a promising start — into a sardonic, eye-rolling, smirking prop. And that smart-mouth, curly-haired trader who turned up in recent episodes? Ugh. I want to see better women’s roles on television. These are not cutting it. Taylor’s story, on the other hand, continues to be well-nuanced and impeccably played. At this point, I have little interest in most of this show’s characters. But I’m sticking it out to see where Taylor goes. (I loved the way the carousel scene was filmed.)

  35. The thing about Lara is it seems clearer that their divorce is a strategy, as opposed to a full breakdown of their marriage. The money is at Axe Capital, but it isn't Axe's. That's why they wouldn't get sloppy. They are working some sort of long con. However, it is having real consequences on their kids. The thing about Sacker and Connerty and the rest is that they all of them can't seem to get out of Chuck's shadow. That's why I'm liking the older AUSA (that's how me and Janet Reno used to shake people down). He's able to work in Chuck's world (although I think he might end up being the leak--shifting currents of loyalty and all), but keep himself separate. Connerty and Sacker are too defined by Chuck. And thus, sardonic eye-rolling. It tracks, but we'll see what happens when Chuck is either the Attorney General or destroyed by this maneuver.

  36. I was delighted to see Oui magazine in a cameo role. I used to write for it back in the 1970s. It was kind of the college man's choice at the time - bright, funny and completely unserious about itself. I know we've never met him, but I don't see it at all as something Ax's father would have purchased or saved.

  37. I found Wendy’s reaction at the end of her comp meeting with Bobby to be very intriguing. I am not certain as to why she smiled. Some of the reasons that may explain her smile include: - Simply happy to receive a large bonus - Proud that she successfully intervened on Taylor’s behalf - Pleased that Bobby recognized her contribution - Her career also has forward momentum Can other commenters offer other reasons for her reaction? There was one aspect of the comp discussion that I also found to be interesting. Bobby announced to Wendy that her bonus included access to the Ice Juice windfall that was in an anonymously-named account. I wonder if the writers included that detail because it may have some importance in the future. It may not; it may be a red herring.

  38. I understand the ice juice money to have been laundered so that it comes out of the process as bonus, rather than ill-gotten gains. I don't know how much she gained, but her bonus (double that huge windfall) has to be close to being more than the 20 million cap Axe has. She also got 5 million when Bobby was buying her forgiveness earlier.

  39. Shorting a stock is not illegal. I’m not sure that what occurred was money laundering; merely changing access to the account is hardly money laundering. If it is, it is amateurish. That being said, let’s not get mired in the weeds. I thought that, once the criminal jeopardy to Wendy and Chuck vis-à-vis Ice Juice went away, she had access to that account. My question is why did the writers add that detail? Does it mean that there is some problem in the future for Wendy and Chuck? Is it a red herring? I don’t know. I just found it interesting.

  40. Wendy's short was illegal. She did her trade based on Chuck's action (which is why they had to alter the phone records). I think that Connerty gets at pulling this thread moving forward. The threat isn't gone. They only think that they won.

  41. I found it strange that the recap doesn't mention that Bryan is still out to get Chuck, so we have Chuck after the A.G. and Bryan after Chuck. Should get interesting. Also, it's not clear to me if Bobby was handing out bonuses or telling people what their salaries would be.

  42. great Summary ... thanks ! By the way ... I think Dollar Bill Stern was also in the recently ended The Americans ... possibly as Pastor Tim

  43. Ok who thinks Taylor is going to try to reunite with their inamorato by bonding over ripping off Ax with Russian assistance? Also- will Russian bigotry toward the exotically gendered derail their plan? Who else is adoring John Malkovich? I am consistently amazed that the man bungles accents consistently but still carries off every role with conviction and git-wrenching charm.

  44. I think that the algorithm doesn't work as advertised, and loses guy's money. That won't end well for Taylor.

  45. When Ira told Chuck that "...sometimes the worst thing happening isn't so bad." .....Isn't that something that Bobby once said to Chuck & Wendy? When I heard that, and saw Chuck's reaction, I thought it was an indicator to Chuck that Ira was in contact/cahoots with Bobby somehow. No? I thought S3 E11 Kompenso was a fantastic episode.