Billions Not You, Mr. Dake Review
Showtime‘s Billions: Season 3, Episode 7: Not You, Mr. Dake is an episode of alliances, manipulations, savagery, and destruction. The summit between two rivals and the woman in the middle in Not You, Mr. Dake is illustrative of where the three have come – the end of the road. Their old animosities and agendas were not maintainable in the face of litigious survival. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Charles “Chuck” Rhoades Jr. (Paul Giamatti) and Head of Axe Capital Robert “Bobby” Axelrod (Damian Lewis) are instantly pees-in-a-pod, all shrouds of decency thrown aside as they mentally search for a patsy to save them. Axe Capital In-house Performance Coach Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff), in this key moment and without hesitation, made the quickest descent from a moral and upright individual to a person that would do anything to survive.
These moments in Not You, Mr. Dake raised an interesting question: what would a good person do when faced with the end of their career and possible jail time? Would they go down proudly and stoically with their head held high or would they get down into the muck and do whatever it took to survive and sustain their way of life? Wendy Rhoades answered that question, at least for herself, in Not You, Mr. Dake.
Wendy’s manipulation of Axe Capital Analyst Dudley Mafee (Dan Soder) in Not You, Mr. Dake is entertaining, especially the musical cues utilized and the physical contact. It was like watching Margaery Tyrell subtly manipulating Tommen Baratheon in Season 4 of Game of Thrones.
Axe Capital Chief Investment Officer Taylor Amber Mason (Asia Kate Dillon) has increasingly shown the hallmarks of natural leadership ability. It began towards the end of the last season of Billions and has continued throughout this season. In Not You, Mr. Dake, Taylor jumps from the signs of being a good, natural leader to being a good leader. When Taylor sees Dudley Mafee in a state of crisis, ‘they’ immediately give him sound, uncompromisingly moral advice. Counsel of that nature and grade can solidify a person’s resolve to take right action. What Taylor says to Mafee came from ‘their’ core, a core like Mafee’s, one that had not been corrupted by the dark side of high finance like the leaders of Axe Capital.
As ‘they’ stare at a glass room meeting in progress in Not You, Mr. Dake, it is fascinating watching Taylor’s brain work, ‘their’ imagination take flight, piecing together something that still alludes ‘them’, and subsequently paying a visit to Performance Coach Wendy Rhoades. A simple statement to and response from Wendy told Taylor all that ‘they’ needed to know about trusting ‘their’ instincts. Like with the financial market, Taylor has read the situation accurately (even though she doesn’t know the full scope of what she’s read) on Mafee and the lack of Wendy’s role in solving his crisis of conscience.
Seeing Taylor remind Wendy Rhoades of her professional obligation to Axe Capital Analyst Mafee, Wendy suppressing her chagrin until Taylor leaves her office, is an impressive showdown. It is a role reversal. The counselor becomes the counseled as Wendy knows Taylor is right about her ethnics and whose interests should be first and foremost.
Not only has Taylor grown to lead the traders and the quantitatives of Axe Capital, she has grown to manage other employees as well.
Not everyone in Not You, Mr. Dake got away with simply being wrapped across the knuckles like Dr. Wendy Rhoades for her undisclosed malfeasance.
One person is soundly savaged in Not You, Mr. Dake while another person gets destroyed. U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Bryan Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore) sees his Axe Capital case dismantled piece-by-piece, in front of his eyes, and behind-the-scenes in Not You, Mr. Dake. It’s an instance of Connerty counting his chickens before they are hatched. The viewer actually feels sorry for Connerty – it is basically him against a team of covert operatives that play by no rules. Connerty is made to look like a fool in front of the Eastern District of New York i.e. the type of prosecutor that brings cases with no evidence or at the least, the type of prosecutor that doesn’t get his facts straight before going to court.
When he goes back to the Southern District of New York’s Attorney’s Office, Connerty will be one of last semi-honest prosecutors (Connerty got Butch ‘The Pouch’ Probert fired to protect a source, tainting Connerty from that point forward) in the office – Chuck Rhoades has been corrupted by his own self-interest and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Kate Sacker (Condola Rashad) has been corrupted by Chuck. In addition to the aforementioned, Connerty will be returning to the Southern District with his head held low and with perceptible animosity toward Chuck Rhoades and Kate Sacker. It will not be a sustainable or healthy work environment for any of them.
The person destroyed in Not You, Mr. Dake is Dr. Gilbert (Seth Barrish). Chuck Rhoades’ leveraging of Dr. Gilbert, session-by-session, may be the best scenes in the episode. Chuck uses all of the tools that he has acquired during his career as a lawyer to gain compliance from Dr. Gilbert. Chuck gets the same admission against interest, with practiced silence and kompromat, from an innocent person (innocent of the particular crimes he is being accused of) that he would have gotten from a criminal. The viewer doesn’t think the doctor will bend or break during the session, he is most-likely just as smart as Chuck (maybe smarter), which is what made Chuck’s gambit all the more intense.
The court case celebration at the end of Not You, Mr. Dake is initially exciting to Bobby Axelrod but it becomes hollow, rather quickly. Axe realizes that he has no one to share the moment with, unlike Chuck Rhoades and Wendy Rhoades. Chuck and Wendy’s moment on the bed, not having sex (or getting more “creative”) but simply holding hands, says: they have each other, they preserved, and are together, body and soul. Axe doesn’t have that, not anymore, which is why he sinks, inch-by-inch, into the hot tube. Bobby Axelrod’s reality, his new reality, depresses him beyond the effects of the happy pill he has just consumed.
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