When I say that this episode was mostly a bunch of chess moves, less plot, you better believe there was an elaborate chess metaphor. Our three favorite lawyers — Bryan Connerty, Kate Sacher, and Lonnie Watley — wonder who will be Head of Criminal Prosecution at the retirement party for the guy who currently holds the position. Chuck makes it clear that they should probably remain loyal to him or face the unknown with his replacement. But not before he tells a crazy long story about playing chess in Washington Square Park. It was a good game until he saw his opponent cheat. But rather than call him out he folds, but threatens, in a whisper, the guy saying he could make his life hard so that guy better not cheat again. He says he wants his lawyers to act with purpose and control “to create a more just environment.” Obviously on its face it makes sense that even though they’re in retreat mode now, they should be making moves to keep prosecuting the bad guys. But what’s funny about this story is that he still, technically lost the game, right? And also, it shows that the only people who Chuck can intimidate are guys who are already pretty vulnerable (men who make money playing chess in the park) to begin with.
Still Chuck’s position is becoming more and more vulnerable too. Oliver finds out about the $5 million bonus Axe gave Wendy last season, a transaction that took place right before Chuck dropped his case against Axe Capital. But, Oliver comes to the wrong conclusion: he thinks it was a bribe. If he actually dug deeper here, he could’ve found out Chuck’s real mistake. And then at the end of the episode I’m pretty sure Oliver makes another wrong conclusion. He confronts Bryan in perhaps his only kind of menacing moment — I would like to believe that the arc of storytelling bends towards justice but again, this guy is the worst — and says he knows Bryan placed the phone call to tip him off to misconduct. Bryan looks nervous and that ends the episode. Except… we know that’s not true, right? Didn’t Axe say earlier that he was responsible for it? IDK, we’ll find out soon.
This episode is all about punching Chuck while he’s down so let’s now get to Axe’s aggressive racetrack plans. He knows he can’t sue Chuck alone, so he has his lawyer contact everyone who’s ever been wronged by Chuck for a united attack. So later when Chuck helps a man who pretty brutally falls off his bike, he gets served with 127 lawsuits. Dear readers, I would pay all of my billions of dollars (pennies… lol not even) to see a person get served in real life. But not in a sad way. Like, a banker. Anyway, on top of that Oliver has told the Attorney General about the 5 million dollars. Chuck gets a call from her asking to meet Thursday. He assumes this is his invitation to the guillotine, the end of the line.
But… is it? In the finale last season Chuck said he was dangerous because he had nothing to lose and he’s only gotten knocked down even more. At the beginning of the episode Chuck’s karate teacher tells him what will probably become the thesis for this season (or instantly disproven in the next episode). If he can master the moves he “can generate offense out of defense even off [his] back.” So maybe this is exactly where Chuck needs to be.
Because the person who’s actually acting near defeat, in every move, this episode is Bobby. He’s being more careful in the office, watching his back, talking about extinction-level events that are fated to happen. He’s unhealthily obsessed with destroying Rhoades, he’s having Wendy followed.
When Axe went to talk to Wendy this episode I thought about her name. Wendy originated as a name with Peter Pan, the boy who wouldn’t grow up. Wendy and Peter were friends but he also wanted her to be his mother-surrogate. Sure, Axe is definitely grown up, but his masculinity is so so fragile, that Wendy and her intelligence, her insight, are of course exactly what he needs and exactly what he’s not getting. So of course he’s going to extremes, not thinking clearly. I mean, he had a racer run a lap for dramatic effect, while revealing his arch plan to take down Chuck. He’s making some big moves but perhaps, in trying to control everything and destroy Chuck so entirely, he’s missing something.
And with that I leave you. Thanks for not making me explain what a “zero cost collar” is.
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