Billions: S04.E11. “Lamster”

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Screen Capture: Toby Leonard Moore as Bryan Connerty in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”
Screen Capture: Toby Leonard Moore as Bryan Connerty in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”



Deceit and deception are key elements to Billions. This is what makes television viewers return to the series episode after episode after episode.

Promotional poster. Image Credit: IMDb
“Billions” promotional poster. Image Credit: IMDb

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read this article before watching the latest episode of the Showtime original series Billions. If you do read past this point, you will find the episode will not be as enjoyable as it would have been if you had heeded my warning.

Chuck Rhoades, Sr. Makes a Shocking Discovery

Both Chuck Rhoades, Sr. (Jeffrey DeMunn) and Chuck Rhoades, Jr. (Paul Giamatti) is being bugged by  Bryan Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore). The circumstances of Chuck, Sr.’s discovery is explicitly entertaining.

Screen Capture: Lily Gladstone and Jeffrey DeMunn as Roxanne and Chuck Rhoades, Sr., respectively, in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”
Screen Capture: Lily Gladstone and Jeffrey DeMunn as Roxanne and Chuck Rhoades, Sr., respectively, in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”

The old man has a woman, Roxanne (Lily Gladstone), in his life and it’s not his wife. Chuck, Jr. probably knows of the entanglement but cares very little. It’s none of Jr.’s business what Chuck, Sr. does in the privacy of his own home.

Screen Capture: Paul Giamatti and Jeffrey DeMunn as Chuck Rhoades, Jr. and Chuck Rhoades, Sr., respectively, in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”
Screen Capture: Paul Giamatti and Jeffrey DeMunn as Chuck Rhoades, Jr. and Chuck Rhoades, Sr., respectively, in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”

Chuck, Sr. wakes his son up at the crack of dawn to warn him of the situation. The old man tells his son about the bug. The people responsible for planting the bug or bugs did a p*** poor job of concealing their less than handy handywork. The wood stain was not fixed perfectly. There were tell-tale signs of unauthorised intrusion into Chuck, Sr.’s residence. Regardless of what Chuck, Sr. gets up to with his lady friends while his wife is out of town, the issue is nothing Chuck, Sr. communicates with his son and other people is safe.

The Attorney General of New York, Chuck, Jr., correctly determines Bryan has a hand in whatever it is Waylon ‘Jock’ Jeffcoat (Clancy Brown) is working on. It does not take long for the former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York to realise, if his father is being bugged by the Federal government, his residence is under the same level of surveillance. Considering what Chuck, Jr. has in the works for Jock, this is seriously bad on many levels. Jock might be aware of what’s coming his way.

Thinking Like a Criminal

Screen Capture: A scene taken from the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”
Screen Capture: A scene taken from the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”

Father and son resort to the use of pen and paper to communicate their thoughts. It’s a classic because there is no way to hack it. Considering the circumstances, burner phones are a good option. Chuck, Jr. is the former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Because of this, he should know how to think like a criminal. He has been putting criminals behind bars for much of his career. Thinking like a criminal is part of the job description, theoretically.

Once Chuck, Sr. leaves his son’s home, it does not take long for the Attorney General of New York to take steps to rectify the situation. With restroom taps and the shower unit turned on full, Chuck, Jr. makes the necessary calls to individuals that owe him for deals he brokered in the past. Jr. wants these people to assist him with delivering the final fatal blow to Jock.

Screen Capture: Paul Giamatti as Chuck Rhoades, Jr. in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”
Screen Capture: Paul Giamatti as Chuck Rhoades, Jr. in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”

When Ira Schirmer (Ben Shenkman) Jr. calls, the Attorney General of New York determines the best place to meet would be the hospital where Ira’s wife is having her baby.

The Surveillance is Rumbled

Because Chuck, Jr.’s residence is bugged, Bryan and Jock become aware that their surveillance of both Sr. and Jr. is rumbled. Jock correctly observes the sh*t train was just the beginning. There is nothing Jr. would not do to take down the United States Attorney General.

Screen Capture: Clancy Brown as Waylon 'Jock' Jeffcoat in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”
Screen Capture: Clancy Brown as Waylon ‘Jock’ Jeffcoat in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”

Neither Bryan not Jock have any clue as to what Chuck, Jr. is planning. Jr. is going after Jock for something but what it is remains a mystery. Going after the old man for the information might be a problem. He is nowhere to be found. Bryan recognises that Sr. has taken his son’s advice. Chuck, Sr. as gone to ground.

Rebecca Cantu Might have a Problem

Screen Capture: Damian Lewis and Nina Arianda as Bobby Axelrod and Rebecca Cantu, respectively, in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”
Screen Capture: Damian Lewis and Nina Arianda as Bobby Axelrod and Rebecca Cantu, respectively, in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”

Rebecca Cantu (Nina Arianda), with Bobby Axelrod’s (Damian Lewis) has a business lunch with a supplier for the store. Rebecca, with Ax’s assistance, is trying to keep her new business venture from crumbling under her feet. Ax is a strong influencer Rebecca needs on her side. Regardless of how questionable his methods are, there is no denying the man gets things done. But being in bed with Ax, both physically and metaphorically speaking, could be costly for Rebecca in the long run. Because Rebecca is aligned with Ax, it makes her a primate target for Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon).

Taylor is keeping tabs on what both Ax and Rebecca are doing. They will use whatever information they have on Rebecca to destroy the relationship Ax is cultivating. It’s a seriously bloody war and when the dust settles, there will be no real winners. There will just be devastation on both sides.

Taylor gets people to compromise their approach to business. Ax is aware of both Taylor’s strengths and weaknesses. To a certain extent, Ax admires how Taylor can get what they want with little to no effort.

Taylor Mason Delivers Undesirable News

It’s Comp Time at Taylor Mason Capitol. Taylor promises to pay everyone full freight but there is a catch. When isn’t there a catch? The employees must leave their money in the fund for at least the next twelve months. If the employees draw their comp, Taylor warns everyone their pay will only be 60 cents on the theoretical dollar. They have until the end of the next business day to determine what they will do. Considering the reactions on certain individual’s faces, they are not pleased with what Taylor is doing.

A Backroom Meeting

Immediately following the business lunch, Ax head to the restaurant kitchen. On arrival, he finds Chuck, Jr. waiting for him. This cannot be good. Backroom meetings such as this do not occur if everything is going according to plan.

Screen Capture: Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis as Chuck Rhoades, Jr. and Bobby Axelrod, respectively, in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”
Screen Capture: Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis as Chuck Rhoades, Jr. and Bobby Axelrod, respectively, in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”

Both Jr. and Ax agree that their presence at Wendy’s medical board hearing is not needed. She is better off without them being in her corner.

As for the real purpose of the kitchen meeting, Jr. is looks to Ax to provide a man to get into his father’s safe to retrieve certain revealing documentation that would be damming for both himself and the old man.

If you have been watching Billions from the beginning, there is a good chance you will know the man Jr. is referencing is Hall (Terry Kinney). Hall does the dirty work for Ax no one else is prepared to sully their pristine hands with. After a heated discussion, Ax agrees to provide his man for the safe cracking job.

Wendy Rhoades Weighs Her Options

Screen Capture: Glenn Fleshler and Maggie Siff as Orrin Bach and Wendy Rhoades, respectively, in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”
Screen Capture: Glenn Fleshler and Maggie Siff as Orrin Bach and Wendy Rhoades, respectively, in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”

It’s Wendy Rhoades’ (Maggie Siff) big day in from of the medical review board. Neither her husband, Chuck, Jr., nor Ax are there for moral support because they essentially feel their presence would be a detriment to Wendy’s cause. Orrin Bach (Glenn Fleshler) tries to provide Wendy with words of wisdom but it is ultimately her decision. Wendy took responsibility for her unethical actions. Wendy lost her medical licence. It was not a decision that came easy to Wendy. The licence suspension can be up to three years.

Screen Capture: Maggie Siff and Glenn Fleshler as Wendy Rhoades and Orrin Bach, respectively, in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”
Screen Capture: Maggie Siff and Glenn Fleshler as Wendy Rhoades and Orrin Bach, respectively, in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”

Mike ‘Wags’ Wagner (David Costabile) is waiting for Wendy when she comes out from the medical review board meeting. He is there for moral support. Wags is Wags. That will never change. He is extremely supportive of the people he cares about.

Screen Capture: Maggie Siff and David Costabile as Wendy Rhoades and Mike 'Wags' Wagner, respectively, in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”
Screen Capture: Maggie Siff and David Costabile as Wendy Rhoades and Mike ‘Wags’ Wagner, respectively, in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”

Safe Discussions

Bryan is playing a dangerous game with his brother, Jackie Connerty (Michael Raymond-James). Jackie is an accomplished safe cracker. He has a reputation to uphold. That’s pretty much why Bryan went to his brother to get into Chuck, Sr.’s home safe. Bryan provides his brother with all the information he will need to access Sr.’s residence and the safe itself.

Screen Capture: Toby Leonard Moore and Michael Raymond-James as Bryan Connerty and Jackie Connerty, respectively, in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”
Screen Capture: Toby Leonard Moore and Michael Raymond-James as Bryan Connerty and Jackie Connerty, respectively, in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”

Initially, Jackie has no interest in taking on the job. Jackie knows which jobs to not take and this is one of those jobs. Even though this job could be too hot for Jackie, Bryan talks him around.

Jackie is under the impression Bryan wants him to steal something from the safe. The truth is all Bryan needs is to obtain copies of the documents Sr. is keeping in the safe. Because of the nature of the break in, something akin to the Watergate incident, Jackie is not too happy with the idea of Bryan going with him. Bryan must make the copies because he knows what he’s looking for.

Is Rebecca the Damsel in Distress?

Wag’s is the bearer of bad news. Taylor has dropped a bomb on Rebecca’s plans to move her newly acquired business forwards. She asks Ax for assistance, but he thought she would not want to be the damsel in distress.

Their conversation, filled with Barbie and Ken references, is enjoyable to watch. There are even a few references to the classic silent films where a damsel in distress can be seen tied to train tracks. If you have any familiarity with the silent film era, you will know of the productions I am referring to.

Later in the episode, there is a reference to the Heart of the Ocean. The Heart of the Ocean reference is a nod to Titanic.

A Hospital Meeting

Screen Capture: Paul Giamatti as Chuck Rhoades, Jr. in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”
Screen Capture: Paul Giamatti as Chuck Rhoades, Jr. in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”

The gang is all here! Freddie Eisen (Andrew Polk), Larry Brogan (David Aaron Baker) and Hap Halloran (Saul Rubinek) want to know why they are meeting at a hospital. Ira, other than his wife having a baby three weeks early, knows why they are there. Jr. wants Freddie, Larry and Hap to go after Jock is different ways. Chuck, Jr. wants Jock broken.

Screen Capture: Saul Rubinek as Hap Halloran in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”
Screen Capture: Saul Rubinek as Hap Halloran in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”

Bryan is aware of the meeting and immediately informs Jock. The United States Attorney General waffles on about bull fighting as if it as some relevance to the conversation.

Ships in the Night

Screen Capture: Michael Raymond-James as Jackie Connerty in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”
Screen Capture: Michael Raymond-James as Jackie Connerty in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”

Bryan and Jackie quickly gain access to the building where Chuck, Sr. lives. Jackie is not amused that Bryan, through the FBI, got Sr.’s alarm code. That’s cheating, apparently. Jackie finds the safe without too much difficulty.

Screen Capture: Toby Leonard Moore as Bryan Connerty in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”
Screen Capture: Toby Leonard Moore as Bryan Connerty in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”

After getting what he wants, Bryan has the documents placed back in the safe. Ax’s man, Hall, is on his way to break into Sr.’s home. It is remarkable these two ships do not meet in the middle of the night.

Screen Capture: Terry Kinney as Hall in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”
Screen Capture: Terry Kinney as Hall in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”

When Hall arrives, he notices there is something a miss with the painting in front of the safe. Hall knows that Sr. would not the type of person to hang a painting that badly. If Hall removes the documents, not that we see him do it, Bryan will not have the evidence was seeking. He will have to explain how he has copies of the documents before getting a warrant.

Jackie steals a pair of cufflinks. He did tell Bryan he would not be able to do the job without stealing something. What is the likelihood of these cufflinks being significant in the next season finale?

Voting Irregularities

In these United States, voter fraud is bigger than one might think and it’s the party that is constantly railing against it that is committing the fraud. Jock is getting his people placed in positions of power.

Screen Capture: Condola Rashad and Paul Giamatti as Kate Sacker and Chuck Rhoades, Jr., respectively, in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”
Screen Capture: Condola Rashad and Paul Giamatti as Kate Sacker and Chuck Rhoades, Jr., respectively, in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”

Chuck, Jr. meets with Kate Sacker (Condola Rashad). Kate doesn’t like what Jock and Bryan are doing. Jr. knows Kate has too many principles to keep turning a blind eye. There is a reason Kate choose to be a prosecutor.

Screen Capture: Condola Rashad as Kate Sacker in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”
Screen Capture: Condola Rashad as Kate Sacker in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”

Kate tells Jock of the meeting with Jr. but that seems a tad fishy. There is a good chance meeting with Jock is all part of Jr.’s plan. Chuck, Jr. will do whatever it takes to see Jock taken down. Do you see all the pieces on the board? If it means playing the long game, so bit it. Chuck, Jr. will bring all kinds of hell to Jock.

Chuck, Sr. is detained by the FBI

We have seen this kind of thing play out before. On previous occasions, it was Chuck, Jr. pulling the strings. This time it’s Bryan. Jock tries to intimidate Chuck, Sr. but it doesn’t go exactly according to plan. Sr. knows Jock has nothing on him. Jock keeps Sr. under a material witness order.

Screen Capture: Jeffrey DeMunn as Chuck Rhoades, Sr. in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”
Screen Capture: Jeffrey DeMunn as Chuck Rhoades, Sr. in the Matthew McLoota directed Billions episode “Lamster.”

Jock seems to think if he orders something, it’s legal. Contrary to how conservative might feel, that’s not how the law works. This attitude will be Jock’s undoing.