I have issues with Wendy Rhoades. There’s nothing to do with her wardrobe, which is perfect and consistent in 5 seasons. She bothers me deeply in all other levels, though.
I have always looked at the motivational guru/coach/psychologist with suspicion. For me, she is the greatest villain of the Billions.
Maggie Siff, from Mad Men and Sons of Anarchy, is nothing but perfect on the role. Beautiful, elegant, sexy and confident, Maggie seduces quietly men and women, a perfect manipulator. Kudos to Maggie’s talent.
Conflict of interest and Wendy on charge
When we first met Wendy she was married for years with US Attorney Chuck Rhoades and working for longer period with billionaire Bobby Axelrod. The fact that the two men hated each other and Chuck is constantly looking for an opportunity to arrest Axe never made her pause. She kept her men under her spell.
Even Lara, Axe’s (now) ex-wife, saw through Wendy and the potential affair between she and Axe. Chuck seemed to not ever question that possibility (although Wendy cheated on him with another man). At first, anyway.
The fact is that Wendy talks about ethics, but she seems to have none when it’s applied to Axe. The only question that remains unanswered: why did she ever love and marry Chuck?
Chuck did take a questionable turn for a couple of seasons, he is no saint. However, it was only after he would not break the rules for her – who’s never bend hers – that Wendy decided he was the bad guy and needed to leave him. Sure Axe was behind all that, but Wendy judges and manipulates all the time and everyone. Non stop.
And here’s Axe again playing her heart. For him, and not the father of her children, she commits a crime and simply destroys Taylor Mason’s hopes and dreams. For money and control. Cruel, so cruel.
And all that because Wendy was somehow ashamed of her sex life with Chuck, who bravely admitted his S&M preferences in public, after all he was not cheating, he explained it to his wife who freely went along. Then, suddenly a prudish Wendy, who could seduce and lie to “inspire” the Axe team, could not admire her husband’s strength and courage to put his political career in jeopardy to avoid blackmail. She could perfectly be out of love with him, which was clear, but to use the one good thing Chuck did against him? Cruel.
Axe might be blind by love
After four seasons grooming us, it seems that Wendy and Axe will take their relationship to the next level. It could be more fatal than happy, I expect.
Axe managed to end Chuck and Wendy’s marriage as well as Wendy’s affair with Tanner. They were together planning Taylor’s defeat, and later Wendy was pivotal to bring Taylor back – just to betray her again. She has absolutely no guilt for it at all, only contempt for Chuck not helping her to get away with the crime. It’s why my money is on Taylor coldly playing her payback time. (I’m on her side)
As Mike Prince cleverly highlighted, Axe is a cold strategist but he is motivated by his heart. And Wendy currently owns it, she is Axe’s possible weak link. At Least for now.
Is Wendy playing Axe?
As clever as she is, Wendy is fully aware over the power she has over Axe. As a master manipulator, she refrained using it but it could be that her conceding to become his lover is only part of a greater plan. He crushed her move with Taylor, and seems all right with it. Maybe Tanner was the last drop she needed to change her actions. Even if that turns out to be the case, a little too late.
So, Wendy bothers me. Chuck, Axe and Taylor are fully aware of their own flaws, they feel their losses and they definitely picked their sides. The fact that Wendy feels no guilt over her choices puts her in the greyish side of Billions, but also, I admit, the interesting one as well.
So, my theory is that Wendy is indeed considering to get involved with Axe because they are soulmates. She can explain it better that whatever she had with Chuck. Taylor, as already shared, is playing all of them so she can avenge what they did to her.
And yes, I can consider that Wendy is playing Axe and will, eventually, be an asset to Chuck, as she’s never been before.
As to Chuck Senior? Not sure he isn’t playing Axe neither, but that’s a whole new post.
If you want to know the real-life Wendy Rhoades, click here