‘Billions’ Season 5, Episode 6 Recap: Fake It Till You Make It

‘Billions’ Season 5, Episode 6 Recap: Fake It Till You Make It

‘Billions’ Season 5, Episode 6 Recap: Fake It Till You Make It

‘Billions’ Season 5, Episode 6 Recap: Fake It Till You Make It

His boss, Bobby, has fakes on the brain as well. With the help of his underling Danny Margolis (Daniel Cosgrove) and his dirty-deeds specialist Victor Mateo (Louis Cancelmi), Bobby has been storing replicas of his art collection in a free-port tax haven, reporting them as the genuine article while secretly keeping the real paintings in his residences. But a law-enforcement raid sends Axe and his merry men scrambling, especially when his nemesis Chuck Rhoades gets wind of the scheme: He remembers having seen a Van Gogh in the apartment where his ex, Wendy, has been living on Bobby’s dime, and he is convinced he was in the presence of the master’s authentic handiwork.

It takes some doing, but Chuck finally gets his warrant and an art authenticator to go with it, ready to raid the apartment and pin Bobby to the wall alongside his paintings. But when the team arrives, it discovers the place has been turned into a private museum, literally overnight, thanks to a daring helicopter raid by the aforementioned merry men. “I would say you were wasting my taxes,” Bobby says of Chuck’s attempted raid, “if I didn’t have such giant [expletive] deductions.” That’s our Axe. He’s not content just to win, he has to let you know the margin of victory.

Chuck’s plan has a bumpy road from the beginning. Early on, he finds himself outmaneuvered by the Manhattan district attorney, Mary Ann Gramm (Roma Maffia), who bigfoots him out of the art case on jurisdictional grounds. Chuck needs to come at her hard in order to get her to back off, and with the help of his sociologist girlfriend, Cat, he finds a way: threatening to throw the book at sex workers, whose profession Gramm has been hoping to decriminalize. (That’s “The Nordic Model” of the episode’s title.)

Momentarily, at least, Cat is aghast when she hears Chuck’s idea. Fighting for the rights of sex workers has been a part of her life’s work. Surely this is just an empty threat, right?

“Of course it’s a threat,” Chuck says, before adding “which I have to mean, because otherwise it’s not a very good threat.” The fake has to be indistinguishable from the real thing, in other words. And with that mind-set in place, Chuck successfully wrests the case back from Gramm. And while he may not nail Axe the way he hoped, Cat rewards him for not making good on his threat, real or otherwise, by purchasing them the services of a sex worker. The kid-in-a-candy-store look on Chuck’s face indicates he’s pretty happy with this silver lining.


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