Billions (2016) s06e11 Episode Script


1 Previously on Billions Charles Rhoades Jr.
is hereby removed as attorney general of the State of New York.
Chuck, we have your things.
A plan has been made.
We're taking you to Rundas Lodge.
- Fresh air.
- Vigorous bodywork.
Philip seems to be creating a real "leader of men" vibe on the floor.
Call an all-hands meeting at the house.
Someone sets out to slay a dragon, and behind them is an army.
I killed the dragon that was Chuck Rhoades.
There's a reason why the killing isn't the end of the story.
The real end is when you eat the dragon's heart.
My victories are our victories.
We could leave.
I just can't fall in love with someone I work with.
For you to succeed at being whatever it is you want to be, you need to stop lying to yourself.
You want power because you like power.
Let's not forget about you.
What you want out of all of this.
Me? I guess I just don't know.
And after all that talk about not lying to oneself.
I'm not lying to myself.
I'm lying to you.
I know the manuscript is late, but it's worth it.
Prince showed himself in Albany.
He came to watch.
And someone who loves the blood sport can be induced into another fight.
Focus on each breath.
Count them until you reach a billion.
You will have stopped counting, which is the whole idea.
I keep this place as a tax write-off.
Legal tax avoidance strategy against people in, uh, government, uh, like you.
Well, people like you used to be, anyway.
You still have Miss McGrath on the payroll? She looks like she voted for Ike.
Ha! She did, twice.
She is supposed to tend to these.
Oh, well, nothing stays moist and supple forever.
If that is some veiled reference to a supposed decades-old contretemps between me and Doris out there that was just your mother being paranoid.
Sure thing.
Anyway, you're all set up.
Fax machine.
The girl to take a letter.
Whatever you need.
And as always, I hope that you enjoy my largesse.
And as always, Dad, I thank you for this.
For the trip to Rundas.
That really reset me, just as you intended.
Even more so.
Good morning.
Thank you for agreeing to meet.
Well, how could I stop myself from seeing what you wanted? Indeed.
The answer to that question is: I come with an offer.
Pick a position for yourself, senior level, at one of these companies.
- Prince owns all of these? - He does.
- Spread out across the country.
- Ah.
- So I beat it out of town? - Only if it's a plus.
You choose.
Head of Legal, Chief Counsel, Director of Operations, and the like.
A restaurant group, meat processing plants, a boutique hotel chain, tech ventures, textile mills, clothing chains, auto parts manufacturers.
Differences don't have to be permanent.
Temporary discord between talented parties can be overcome for a more productive future.
Mike says this offer is for you to find the way forward.
- Leave you with dignity in defeat.
- Mmm.
Says you'd know what that means.
That does have a familiar ring to it.
I'll admit, this is not what I expected.
I'll leave you to ruminate and check back shortly.
Who wouldn't want George Foreman's imprimatur on their fat-reducing grill? So, heck yes, Andrew, who wouldn't want Andrew Yang's endorsement when the time is right.
Which will be soon.
We'll talk more.
I don't know if you're aware, but this is incendiary.
Who wrote what? Wendy Rhoades.
About this place.
And it has hijacked the day.
When did she do this? When she was gone at that Buddhist retreat? How it started.
This is how it's going.
I saw her since her return.
We spent real time together.
She never mentioned.
Note says she had the ending wrong, thanks you for the help with the rewrite.
Dang it.
That's why she grilled me.
Ha! She Wow.
Less advanced person figures she'll wait till the book is announced or published, deal with the flack then.
But Wendy Rhoades, she shows everyone way ahead of time, as if to get our blessing or feedback.
Gets in front of it all.
- Smart.
- Sure.
But a lot of our people want you to kill it.
And you probably should.
Probably will.
I already flagged the most damning passages.
Okay, so that's the urgent.
Now, let's deal with the important.
Ah, yes, your universal basic income plan.
No, don't call it that.
It's Quality of Life Funds.
"QOLF"? - Doesn't roll off the tongue.
- No, it does not.
Mike Money, you know? Mike Money.
- Yeah, I like it.
- A thousand a month - for those who - Yep.
Mike Money.
I'm sitting on a ton of collateral right now, so it's time to convince the Brooklyn borough president to get behind a pilot program to prove it works and is scalable.
I'm with you.
But coming off our Olympics collapse, you sure it's the right time? That's exactly why it has to be now.
At ease, sergeant.
Not at ease till you leave.
That is why you're a great soldier.
Always at attention.
You know the more productive meetings are on your feet.
This is why I will need you in my cabinet.
Like the cabinets above the sink, or? Not at all.
You see I see you want to close to whisper distance.
No one else can hear you.
Die Informationen is that Prince has called a succession meeting.
I'm on the short list.
And so, I'm here to give you the chance to throw in early, thereby securing your place at my elbow come the new morn.
So, can I count on it? Your support.
I think you know exactly the esteem in which I hold you.
I have been clear on the matter.
And don't you think I don't appreciate it.
I've got a good eye on you for a sub-leadership spot.
A good eye.
Shrewd move.
Mike puts a succession plan in place, makes investors think this is the Model fucking U.
, then they leave the czar the fuck alone.
Nothing quite so complicated.
I just want the firm to be strong enough, resilient enough to thrive, even if I'm gone.
Is there some legal announcement forthcoming, or dare I say, prognosis you would wish to impart? I get it.
In the old regime, you'd receive your trading orders from inside a pine box before you saw a change of leadership.
There's a reason why they had to stab Caligula 30 times to haul him out of the palace.
Axe Cap was run by diktat.
MPC is run by deliberation.
Axe Cap was built on shock and surprise.
MPC is built on planning and anticipation.
Investors shouldn't have to guess what happens if my G650 goes down, or I slide off a steep rock face.
By naming a successor, I can My meeting.
My agenda.
Oh, uh, this is just a list of my accomplishments.
Ergo, the fund's accomplishments under my tenure.
Mike's not taking applications.
I would never.
James Garfield is the better model here.
For that vest you're wearing? JG wasn't the showiest candidate.
Wasn't even on the first ballot at his own nominating convention.
But as the shinier baubles lost their luster, he began to emerge as the solid choice.
The consensus choice.
As I hope to do now, as opposed to on the 36th ballot.
Well, there's only one ballot in this contest.
Zero chance you are on it.
You're here as parliamentarian.
A glorified notetaker, really.
Not a voting member.
Not even on the ballot.
Please don't do that again.
We need a voice in who replaces you, - however unlikely that may be.
- If you're even considering putting Spyros in the line of succession - Zero chance.
- Fine, fine.
Consensus candidates rarely emerge in the early going.
I'll just wait, steadily, reliably, for the factionalism to brew.
But your timing couldn't have been better.
My designated successor will be one of you.
To be decided how, exactly? I was planning on having you speak at the next meeting.
Battle of ideas.
But why don't we put this thing on its feet? Start defining your command climate now and acting as-if.
'Cause it is coming.
And you're asking me to read this book? I don't know what I'm asking.
You do.
Now let yourself tell me.
I don't think of myself as a fearful person or a particularly strategic thinker.
As to the first, the job of living is the job of understanding that fear.
As to the second this, right here, is the place we give up the lies we tell ourselves about who we are.
I said something so similar to somebody recently.
But, shit, yes.
Daniel, yes.
It applies here too.
I did something that was both strategic and driven by fear today.
I engineered a way to distract the subjects of the book with the book itself.
That way, they would lobby me about how they were portrayed instead of if they'd only heard about it, trying to get me not to publish it.
So preying on their fear while giving in to your own.
I'd like to tell myself that's not the case.
Have you considered the other choice? Not publishing? - You think I shouldn't publish? - No.
I'm not sharing that opinion.
I'm asking a different question.
What would it feel like to hold back? It feels writing it felt like letting the bile out.
Like coming clean.
Like a chance to redeem not only myself, but the people who do this work and the people who want to.
Or is this the performance of all that? Of letting go of the need for power and influence and money while still feeding all those same needs.
Are you finally putting those temptations to bed? Or are you fueling them? Is that what it is? Probably not.
Well, it's probably as you say.
The arrow launched from the bow, point of no return and all that.
Right? - Nihao.
- Thanks.
How was China? Here.
Li shang wang lai.
Traditional gift-giving.
You don't open it in front of the giver.
Philip is correct, you heathen.
Thank you for your worldliness, Philip.
Makes sense that Prince is considering you for Was surprised you weren't in the room.
I was still in the air, flying back.
- Must've been why.
- Right.
You want to give this place a real gift? Get this Wendy Rhoades book spiked.
Chronicles the era before my time here mostly, but it's distracting folks.
- You read it? - On the plane.
A real page-turner.
The raw portrayals, the ugliness.
Morale was so good after the party, but at the moment, it ain't great.
I find Wendy's work kind of fascinating.
And Lance isn't a wholly inaccurate depiction.
"Dark, dangerous looks, and a knife fighter's attitude towards the stock market.
" Depiction of who? Me.
Uh, by my read, Lance is clearly Victor.
- That's right.
- But I thought Wait, then who am I? Ooh, Tom.
You're Tom.
"With a trading style as crisp as a basket of unfolded laundry.
"Aggressive enough? Time would tell.
But a world away from the typical alphas.
" There you go.
This character is clueless.
And he's barely even in it.
Wags, you've gotta talk to Prince and get him to stop this damn book.
Bigger issues on my desktop at the moment.
What's up, gents? I come bearing gifts, and I'm not just talking about red gift-wrapped crap I picked up at duty-free.
- We're listening.
- I've got a way for us to slide, gigolo-style, into a Chinese payday.
It's infrastructure-as-investment, a major Peeps Republic play in hydroelectric dams and high-speed rail across Asia.
I set the table for you.
Manchu-Han Imperial Banquet-style.
All you need to do is lend your name so it all passes the smell test with Western investors, and sit back and collect your profits.
Oh! And you don't even need to get on the flight.
Just show up to a meeting with the partners and some highly motivated party officials who are in New York this week, and watch the renminbi come pouring in.
Yeah, this is a probably not.
Sorry, but we're on our way out.
Hold on.
This is free money.
This is Amazon in '99.
This is Bitcoin in '09.
- This is - Like he said.
And like he said.
You didn't even take your What? You know, Kate, I kept checking the door at that sad fiesta Dave threw for me.
But you didn't show.
Seemed like it might change the focus of the event.
But I did want to make sure to come see you.
To congratulate you.
To see what's next.
To raise a toast to you.
The thing is, because I trained you and, to be fair, your father before me and because of your current role as Prince's Leslie Abramson Nice pull.
Abramson didn't win all that much, so I don't really see the similarity, but Oh, I miss this back and forth, the genuine rapport we always had.
One of the reasons why I was so excited when Prince offered you a role in one of his So this isn't merely a social call.
Well, as you said, you trained me.
Social calls weren't really part of the curriculum, were they? Well, you left before the education was finished.
Here's a chance for us to learn together.
Grow together.
We joining Amway? If Amway were as highly functioning, efficient and collegial as Prince's organization, - I'd be all for it.
- Oh.
Except there's no way it's as lucrative.
That good, huh? Water's warm, Chuck.
And welcoming.
In this post-everything environment, with the world shrinking for someone your age and profile Prince offer might the best coming down the pike.
Oh, here's to you, Kate.
They may have made others like you, but I ain't come across one.
Mm And as to your mission, I will answer in due time.
I thought it was bad form to have that Scooter Dunbar come to me as a surrogate, but I put that aside.
And I have been pondering.
And I give you my oath that I will surface a proper response.
I have, in fact, been working on one.
You know, the thing is, Chuck, Prince doesn't lose.
Not for long.
Seems to me he always gets what he wants, and right now what he wants is you.
You had to assume, you had to know you had to have told him that I would be in a warring posture toward the man who took what I was away from me.
Even if you knew I'd hold no ill will toward you, who no doubt orchestrated it all.
And I hold no ill will toward you.
This, right now, is me at my kindest.
I knew all that, and I came here anyway to tell you that this is the moment you accept who you are and not who you were, and to find something in the wide world of Prince that you want to do.
There may be other paths for you, but they all every highway, dirty road and gravel path lead one way: to the even more complete destruction of Chuck Rhoades.
You, Mike Prince, want a guaranteed income for New Yorkers? That's right.
Cancer diagnosis? Tax dodge? Ashton Kutcher and friends going to come out of retirement to punk me? Just a plan to lift this city off its knees.
My press guy, who knows how I feel about your tax bracket, that it shouldn't exist, he was ready to leak the fuck out of this meeting.
He'll be fine.
We're about to give him plenty to do.
I'm Brooklyn borough president, but City Council has say over funds.
They won't go along with this.
You've got discretionary funds.
- Not on that scale.
- Then pull a Bull Moose.
When T.
, the original Rough Rider, wanted to send his Great White Fleet of battleships around the world as a show of naval power, Congress wouldn't foot the bill.
So he scraped together enough to send them halfway.
Told Congress, "You want to bring 'em home, well, that's up to you.
" Announce the program, and then shame the progressive wing of the council into coming along with it.
This time Brooklyn makes, the rest of the world takes.
Mike Money starts here and now.
Yeah, don't leak the meeting to the Times.
We're gonna give them a much bigger story.
When I first arrived, you probably knew me as a data cruncher.
I was green, so the sun rose and set with the numbers for me.
And, sure, the results were good market-beating.
Someone's confidence level is market-beating too.
And they're being tapped for leadership, - but when I do that, it's called - Obnoxious.
I was gonna say too aggressive.
But time has passed, and now I have experience.
I've been through the wars and bear my scars and my wins.
But I have also evolved.
Now I recognize events.
And when I see one, I have got the stomach to go all in Shooter, shooter, coming out! Excuse me? What you're describing is An event-driven approach, combined with early-stage investment in hyper-growth companies.
Disruptors And that sounds pretty damn good.
What it sounds like is, you're a gunslinger.
Sexy rap, but what's the process going to be? Everyone here knows I'm thorough, and my process will be solid.
But more importantly, that I don't have to conform to styles.
I can see the way the pieces are moving and make a big call.
Sure, you're John Tuld, and you know when the music's going to stop.
And the result could be a hot quarter, but over time, once your barrels cool off, what's the work environment gonna be like? I mean, this place was already a Wild West show.
I, too, would like to know.
Me too.
Yeah, you gonna peel people off at the slightest sign of a downturn? It's always really the highest earner who commands the most respect, so if you were in charge, what would the leadership climate be? Tough but fair.
You deliver, you'll get room to run, innovate.
You stumble, things tighten up.
That's the reality.
You want hugs and tea? Go to an ashram.
You want to get rich, come to me.
You here to make money or make friends? That's really the only question you need to ask.
I've got one other question.
What's for lunch, Chef? Today, the lunch is from abcV.
All plant-based and vegan.
We have smoked potato and aioli.
We have cauliflower and turmeric.
We have some dates, some coconuts, dosas, lentils.
- Bon appΓ©tit.
- Let's eat! Philip help yourself to a plate and eat it at your desk.
Hmm! If I'd had this before, prosecuting you all would've been a hell of a lot easier.
While we're on the subject of career flubs, help me understand what's so fucking toxic about Chinese money all of a sudden? I heard Mike didn't go for your Chinese infrastructure thing.
If there's some restricted list I ignored, like every other email in my inbox No.
I signed off on it.
Not toxic to me.
Or Compliance.
Or Risk Management.
The fuck am I missing here? Maybe just this.
Mike knows a lot of things that we don't.
And we both know he's not sloppy or erratic or impulsive, not about anything, ever.
So I don't even push? I just leave all the stacks of yuan on the table? All I can tell you is what a good lawyer does: Obey your client's wishes, however ill-advised, but keep all options open, in case they come to their senses.
Well, I thought we could have a more honest conversation here.
I was honest at the shindig the other day.
But, yes.
Absolutely easier to meet out of the office.
You pushed back plenty hard on me.
- I have to be independent.
- Of course.
But if there are commonalities of interest, paths to success for both of us, I will hear you out.
Hear me on why Mike Money is such a good target.
Not sure I see it the same way.
The "Mike" in Mike Money is the guy who engineered my removal.
He did that thing.
It doesn't mean this thing is all wrong.
He wants to give vast sums of money away - to people who need it - The question to ask yourself when it comes to these magnates is: Why? Why is he giving away this much zloty? Here's a why: Why does it matter if he, in fact, gives this money away with no direct benefit coming back to him, and doesn't break the law doing it? Because we both know.
Guys like him, there's always a benefit.
It's always about themselves.
Probably wants to scoop up the stimmies and invest them, or ride the market wave on the inflow.
And let's talk about those vast sums.
Where do you imagine they're coming from? His bank account.
His money belt.
I can't find evidence of that in any of the firm's disclosures.
No, Prince hasn't liquidated any positions.
In fact, the fund is levered up.
My thought is, he's going to borrow against the land he rolled up for the Olympics, land your office can take back by right.
He bought it for an express purpose, for which he isn't using it.
Can't, in fact.
There's truth in what you're saying, but as I sit here chewing it over, I don't want to digest it, because it's starting to taste a bit rank.
You went all in against Prince, and if we are honest with each other, you lost.
You won a round, but you lost.
If same happens to me, all our other work is jeopardized.
Not a mistake I want to make.
Not now.
Not at the beginning.
All right, my friends.
Got the Golden Boy here.
It is Glenlivet scotch, Madeira and a little bit of Calvados.
Thank you.
Alex here has my card, so order what you want on my tab.
Thank you.
Is everyone sufficiently hydrated? Good.
I'll get going.
I want to talk about systems.
Running things proper, so the returns are too.
Oh, this is a pitch session? I thought it was just a drinks thing under the all-inclusive banner.
Anyway, continue.
Winning in today's environment is really about rigor.
We start with data, prove our hypothesis, test it scientifically, manage our risk, and take our profits to the Hooray, another cookie-cutter hedge fund.
You'll manage to turn a bellwether into one of the herd, if they go along with you.
Yeah, the buttoned-down approach has never worked for me.
I got to be able to make moves.
Sure, it's easy to mock being technically sound, but the goal isn't just a few hot quarters.
It's a real track record.
A career.
So under your stewardship, you'd be blocking the high-risk/high-reward stuff.
That would have left us out of crypto, certain tech.
That happened to me, I'd off myself.
Or the boss who wouldn't let me risk it for the biscuit.
I too would find that tough to live with.
Opportunities are finite.
- Too conservative an approach, and - Let's stay on track.
My method is not going to leave profit on the table at the expense of whatever gains you guy Oh! Classic throwback.
Left my wallet In El Segundo Left my wallet in El Segundo Lookit.
Bachelorette party, 12 o'clock high.
The ultimate proving ground.
Tiaras and everything.
Let's go.
I can't.
Too intimidating.
You can.
Go get 'em.
You got this.
You're right.
I'm no Tom.
I can be a Lance.
I will be.
Damn right.
I'll lead.
You stay on my wing.
Alex, start eight shots of your best tequila chilling.
Put it on the tab.
We'll be back with our new friends.
Whoa, wait, we were just in the middle of this.
I thought we were kind of done.
Just give me five.
Fun venue.
Tough place for work talk.
I gotta get it I got, got to get It should be you.
I know it.
Just so you know it.
- About what I said - I know it.
You know it.
That's all.
The irony is, they're off by a couple bil.
Our aerospace holdings aren't public yet.
Let's focus on the Mike Money rollout.
Others throw mud, we play error-free ball.
Nice work circulating that Finnish study.
- Press are all citing it.
- Most reporters are lazy.
You just got to cut their steak for them.
Yang was effusive on MSNBC.
Got Maddow to call it "Mike Money" by the end of the segment.
AOC called, Bob Reich called.
Novo wants to help on the crypto piece.
Plus half of City Council called.
I want to call them all personally.
Press requests are coming in too.
The plan is to sit with a few who really shape the CW the Heilemanns, the Habermans to generate think pieces on your new capitalism.
Clock's already viral.
Gail texted me some of the memes, Andy too.
Now, if it's reached high-altitude at Longs Peak, it's gonna make Mike Money look like pocket change.
Who the heck put it there? Several groups are taking credit.
Like the terrorist attack it is.
- Anything? - I don't see a legal recourse.
- It's defamation.
- Not if it's factual.
What about a zoning violation? This is a residential street.
If we want to wait six months for the Department of Buildings to sort it out, sure.
So we throw Skadden Arps at whoever put it up, drown them in billable hours.
We don't know where to throw.
It's paid for by a 501(c)(3) that hasn't disclosed, and rents space from a wholly-owned subsidiary.
- Whoever did this did it right.
- Hello? Yes, Madame Borough President.
I have him right here.
Some magic act.
Sawing a lady in half while she screams her lungs out.
It's a stunt.
It's coming down.
And the press stories and the Twitter posts? They coming down too? We're tackling income inequality, and you're surprised to find stones in our passway? You want the blues, Mike? Talk to the OMB.
Talk to the Council Finance Committee, 'cause they want to know how we go Dutch on Mike Money when you've got more than the whole damn city.
It's a one-day story.
Clock's ticking.
Bonnie, it's so nice to "Bryn, so tough, yet so brittle "that a friendly pat on the shoulder might break her into a thousand pieces.
" Fuck that shit.
Bryn isn't you, Bonnie.
Yes, she is.
She is.
You are.
You can't do this because it's wrong and unfair, and feels like a violation of trust.
We can talk about those feelings.
I don't want to talk to you about my feelings ever again.
You made me think that I had feelings, which I was fucking just fine before all of that bullshit.
And now I, like, cry.
- Really? - You do? Once, but the point is Fuck, Wendy, what the fuck? The truth isn't always pleasant, but it is useful.
Not to this place.
It will Internally, it is causing trouble.
And externally, it is going to make us look ridiculous and I know, a man in your position cannot afford to look ridiculous.
I was not going to quote Godfather at you, but now that you have, yes.
Look, if there are particular details that you find personally revealing and for the record, let me be clear that none of this is really about any of you in a way that is actionable, which has been vetted by the publisher and et cetera But if there are particular details that you wish changed, well, that's why I gave you an early look.
What if you just fucking stuff it.
I have a suggestion for where.
I can't.
I have to get this out there.
I have to tell the truth.
Sorry it hurts.
Sorry isn't the end of anything.
If you mean it, it's supposed to be the beginning that leads to a change.
You've just described what my book is.
Rule number one of apologies is: You don't do it if it makes the situation worse.
Well fucking said, Ben Kim.
Ah, soy.
The OG in alternative milks.
- It stands the test of time.
- Sure, because people have become habituated to it.
To me, it has the mouthfeel of puddle water and tastes like I would imagine the breast milk of a lactating vegan drifter living out of a VW camper van would.
And look at you with your blessed oat milk.
It froths velvety smooth for asinine latte art, which you probably practice in your free time.
And the caloric content? You may not be drinking cow, but enough oat and you'll be fat as one.
With zero nutritional value.
You sure you haven't puffed up a bit since your first cup at the opening bell? Just look at fucking that.
- Mm.
- Just as you said.
It's like the statue of David.
It's one thing to hear about it, another thing to see it in person.
David really is something up close.
People know the truth.
That's why they're here.
That's why they're talking about this.
A man like Prince shouldn't be holding all this city's land.
All he'll do is want more.
More land.
More money.
And it seems to me that Yeah.
He has more than he should have right now.
I get it.
I calibrated your turntable's air suspension system.
- And the new stylus? - Installed.
A Clearaudio Goldfinger, 16 grams of pure gold.
We have a far more expensive problem.
The NYAG secured a court order and seized back all the Olympic land without a refund.
Seeking damages too.
That's my land.
I own it.
I spoke with Sacker about it.
By using them for another purpose, you arguably defaulted on the performance-based mortgages - from the land bank.
- Damn.
I knew we had a Chuck problem, but he's gone.
So, do we have a Dave problem? Let's find out.
This suits you.
You look at home already.
You didn't come to welcome me to the neighborhood.
No, not entirely.
I came in the hopes of us moving past any squabbles I might have had with your predecessor.
You came for your land.
I did.
But it's not yours.
Not really.
You entered into a compact.
Your needs changed, I get it.
But that broke the compact, so we took it back.
And just to be clear, the "we" is the NYAG.
My office.
Not me and Chuck.
Well, then I'd like to make a new compact, do a new transaction.
I have other uses for those patches of dirt, very worthy uses.
I'm going to say no.
Well, if that's your position, this is going to end in lawsuits.
Or tears.
And they're not going to be mine.
Haven't cried since I saw Sophie's Choice.
And the truth is, even then I was faking it because I was on a date.
So, good luck.
He's rattled.
Can you rattle him more? I believe I can.
Yes, I never got back to you about those job offers.
My answer is, I already have a job.
Exposing Mike Prince, dollar by dollar, for the scourge that he is.
Now, Chuck, a man who tells on himself like that is both snitch and scoundrel.
Yeah, better than being an accomplice.
It's her.
It's Dave.
- We have a Dave problem.
- No.
Not just her.
We don't have a Chuck or Dave problem.
We have both.
You can spare me the breakfast buffet.
You came all this way.
The least I can do is feed you.
I'm not here out of deference.
Or hunger pangs, for that matter.
Right now? I can't be seen taking a meeting with you in Borough Hall.
And I always break up in person.
If this is about the Attorney General's land grab It's about all of it.
What's the charge here? That I'm rich? Of course I am.
That I can afford to free people from the hamster wheel of poverty? Damn right I can.
Rhoades and Mahar want to make this about me.
No, this is about the people getting squeezed so tight they can't even breathe.
Now why would anyone think that Mike Money was about you? I can put this back together.
- Help me keep those lands - Help you? When according to that clock outside, you blink and the boodle just rolls in.
I'm out, the mayor's out, the council's out.
Might as well grab a fistful of that Mike Money and play Monopoly with it.
At least it'll be good for something.
Yang left a voicemail.
I didn't want to He's out too.
He says right message, wrong messenger.
So we regroup, we refocus I'll pay for the entire pilot program myself.
That billboard will be my promissory note.
- Expensive.
- Get with Wags.
Tell him his Chinese infrastructure thing's a go.
We're early.
Dressed appropriately.
I trust that you're prepared, not that you have to do anything - other than smile and nod yes.
- Of course.
If I could take this opportunity to impress upon you the importance of face when dealing with the Chinese - Got it.
Let's go.
- As you are of higher rank, you should precede me.
I'm aware.
To our shared prosperity.
We're supposed to go shot for shot.
It can be a punishing custom.
I should've told you to eat something beforehand.
- I did.
- Of course you did.
I wish I had.
This is the chop.
We use it to cement important business deals like this one.
Of course.
I know of the chop's emergence during the Warring States period.
But I'm going to have to pass on your offer.
I can't do business with a group that has ties to a government with such a brutally poor record on human rights.
I can't help enrich the oppressors.
If you'd like to influence your government to start treating people like people, with decency and humanity, please give me a call.
Otherwise, good night.
I figured you were ready to make up for losses on the land.
You showed up to give them the finger and turn down billions? What the fuck was that? And now I've lost face.
There are simpler ways than a PR crisis to get me off the mountain.
Did they do all this when you thought the girls were coming? Yeah.
It's time to do the thing.
I wanted to present to the whole It's the wrong time.
That wealth clock, the girls are getting brutalized.
Yeah, well, they've had a pretty good life up till now.
You gonna keep your end of the deal? How much will it cost? Three.
Maybe more.
Three billion dollars.
You never cared about it before.
So, you gonna keep the promise you made? Things have changed.
You still need me? They haven't changed that much.
Yes, I do.
You and I, we can't embarrass each other.
When we're apart, if we need to slake our appetites No embarrassment.
Everything locked down.
It is, or it will be? Don't ask that.
Why ask that? You left.
I called.
You couldn't come.
You know what that results in.
You gonna keep the promises you make to them? I'm the only guy that will.
That's why I'm doing it.
Then, yeah.
Based on our last interaction, I suggest we have a meet-up after work and iron out this successor business.
Yes, before it upends both of us.
I had a similar thought.
Only have a minute.
Have John Heilemann coming in here.
Need me to prep you? Probably.
No time.
Our last session was under false pretenses.
Was it not? Dual purpose.
Helped you, did it not? It did.
Helped me too.
The book needs to tell the truth.
I was wrong about you.
Needed to get it right.
Why do the book in the first place? Well, I didn't intend to write it.
I was seized with an impulse, and wrote it before I really knew I had.
Must've been a lot of stuff you wanted to say for a long time.
It was just that kind of release, yes.
And after you were done? Yeah.
Yep, like I could move forward.
With more freedom.
But it's not complete unless I publish it.
I imagine you're going to try and stop me.
Is that why you think I called you in? To stop you? Well, I imagine you're here to tell me what my lawyer did.
What Sacker told you.
That you could prove loss and damage to your reputation.
That to publish the book would blow up the life and career that I have.
I'm not gonna put up road blocks.
I'm not gonna punish you when and if you do publish.
The question isn't whether you can.
The question is whether you should.
Not a lot of "should" conversations in this office before you got here.
Well, I'm thinking back to our last conversation, and how it's important to consider ramifications.
And what I want to tell you is that only you can decide if it's the right thing to do.
But one thing you'd better consider is that we rarely know why we do the things we do, like writing a book, putting it out.
And the true "why," that usually isn't the first thing that comes to mind.
That's usually the BS we tell ourselves to rationalize the behavior.
So before you do or you don't dig in on that, why are you really doing this? Meanwhile, I've got to get in the zone to tangle with the only journalist who might get confused for George "The Animal" Steele.
I'll admit I'm a little surprised you didn't cancel.
It's been a pretty tough news cycle for you, pal.
Well, I'm doing this on background.
Nothing on the record.
Can't use my name at all.
So, uh, how are we gonna handle attribution? "Sources close to Mike Prince.
" Okay, um, no source closer to Mike Prince than Mike Prince.
Have at it, but Scooter gets to clear any quote.
Scooter can clear anything he wants, but I got to say, I don't see a story here other than one that you are gonna fucking hate.
"Another billionaire shoots the moon and then spins out of Earth's orbit.
" Well, get ready for an exclusive.
I'm funding the Mike Money pilot program myself, 100% out of pocket.
Fully digital platform.
And if I can get the Department of Finance to share their data "Exclusive" means you might want to jot some of this down.
Look, Mike, it's always a pleasure to see you, it is.
And I'd give my right nut to have you take a look at my 401(k).
But Chuck Rhoades is the one who's driving the conversation on income inequality right now, and you are not part of it.
Aside from that wealth clock on your block.
Well, I appreciate your candor.
And, uh, I can't wait to prove you wrong.
I mean, look, I did hear this one thing.
It sounded like bullshit, so I wasn't going to raise it.
What's the question? A pretty janky source of mine claims that you, of all people, turned down the chance to get into business with some Chinese consortium on some huge deal over human rights abuses? Sources close to Mike Prince say he'd never embarrass a potential business associate.
Not his style.
I guess that sounded like bullshit.
I wasn't even going to talk about it.
But he's not about to make a dime off of genocide, or state-led torture, or child labor, not as long as he draws a breath.
This wasn't to free my ego.
It was to let it run loose.
I thought I would show them all who they were.
And who I was: better than them.
Higher on the food chain.
Now I see it.
Where it would lead.
I can't do it.
I can't take that ride.
In the end, it's a ride that only leads to needing more.
Which is exactly what I don't need.
And now you're ready to take refuge.
- So - Yep.
What are you thinking? Mescal margaritas? I'm anti-smoke when it comes to tobacco and drinks.
- You have a thought? - Boulevardiers? Love it, but a notch lighter.
- An Old Pal.
- Exactly.
I add a dash of bitters.
Is that okay? As long as it's not orange, or celery flavored, or chocolate, or anything Anything but Angostura? No way, it's the classic or nothing at all for me.
We've finally arrived at an area of agreement.
You know, it occurs that certain aspects of our approaches You mean what we've been able to express despite the subterfuge? Yes, certain aspects of what we bring are highly complimentary.
I agree.
Pairing our strengths might have merit.
A spot check on ideas, some grounding for the riskiest plays.
A bit of ballast is always welcome on high flights.
As is an aggressive, unconventional stance.
A power-sharing arrangement came to mind.
- Co-heads.
- A council of two.
I'm good with that concept, provisionally.
Of course, we'll have to get to know each other much better over time.
Time we will certainly have, though.
You've known him longer, through your uncle.
What's behind this? Why would a guy at his peak as an investor, who just took over a company, embark on this sudden, vague succession process? Mike Prince, three-time loser in the public eye, yet here he is looking good once again for telling the Chinese to go whistle.
At enormous cost to his bottom line.
The article says, "Prince, in standing up to the Chinese, "is willing to do something "the White House hasn't in decades, maybe ever.
" What is this guy doing? Why would you go out of your way to turn down a multi-billion-dollar opportunity, then leak the fuck out of it to the press? I'm not asking rhetorically.
I need to fucking know who the fuck I'm working with, and that they're not insane.
Why does a guy in the prime of his life, with a resting heart rate like Tim Ferriss's suddenly form a succession committee? Something he's never done at his dozens of companies.
Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa, et cetera.
And why, after dinging Chuck Rhoades almost fatally, did you try to hire him? You can't stand having enemies? Got to win everyone over? Why does a guy hold companies and plants and businesses in every state that was pivotal in the last four national elections, without a single layoff at any of them, some losing money? Why, after losing the ambassadorship he coveted, after seeing his Olympic dreams go down the drink, does the man go bigger? Something national in scope and ambition And he doesn't bother to re-focus on his core businesses? Why is it Prince won't yield on Mike Money, can't yield, even after he lost his collateral and everybody bailed.
Why does he need this win so badly? Here's why.
Michael fucking Prince is running for president.
President of the United States of America.
And one of us - Both of us.
- could be running Michael Prince Capital very soon.
He already knows, so we should tell him.
Holy shit.
This guy is Greg Stillson from Dead Zone.
Our interests and the broader interests are now actually legitimately aligned.
They are.
We need to save the country by stopping Mike Prince.
So now you see why it wasn't enough to remove Chuck from office, to try to neutralize him.
We need to take that son of a bitch entirely off the board.

Previous EpisodeNext Episode