Trust is a resource that is in short supply in Billions. Most characters are so transparently self-interested that even when an alliance of any kind forms, it’s tenuous at best. When Chuck and Axe struck an agreement at the end of the last episode, the subtext was clear: either of these two would happily betray the other in a moment if it benefitted themselves in any way. It’s a dog-eat-dog world and trusting anyone (including yourself) too much is generally a fool’s game.
But perhaps one of the few relationships that, up to this point, was actually built on some semblance of respect and trust was Chuck and Wendy’s marriage. The two have their clear ups and downs but for the most part, they seemed like one of the only relationships built on anything close to honest companionship (which, in the Billions universe, is sadly enough to put you in a moral tier above everyone else). At least, until last night’s episode, where Chuck entirely undermined Wendy’s trust in him in order to land himself the much-coveted title of State Attorney General.
What does Chuck do that amounts to such a betrayal? It starts when political rival Black Jack Foley says that he is going to go public with Chuck’s penchant for sadomasochism unless he drops out of the race. When he tells Wendy about this blackmail, she makes it clear that she is not comfortable with the details of their sex life being aired publicly, as much as Chuck tries to convince her that they should fight this threat.
Chuck eventually agrees with his wife telling him to “walk away” and even holds a press conference to announce he is dropping out. However, at the last minute, Chuck decides to go back on his word and out himself and his wife despite her saying that is something she can’t live with. His ambition continues to outweigh any sense of right and wrong Chuck might have. The honesty angle works, as Chuck ends up delivering a passionate defense of his sexual preferences that earns him 76 percent of the primary vote, essentially guaranteeing he will be the next State AG.
But his political victory comes at a great personal cost: his marriage. Wendy absolutely lays into Chuck, letting him know that he didn’t just air out his own dirty laundry with his speech, he aired out their dirty laundry without her consent. Chuck tries to convince her about the poll numbers but she’s not having it.
“For once in your fucking life, you could have taken the l[oss] instead of humiliating me utterly and absolutely,” Wendy says indignantly.
Chuck continues to try and defend himself and his decision but in the end, she angrily declares that she is “done” with her husband before walking away. Does this mean that the marriage is over? It’s not clear, as Wendy isn’t seen again for the rest of the episode but it’s clear that she is not taking Chuck’s betrayal lying down and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Chuck takes the office of State AG without Wendy by his side. That’s the price he paid to get the job. Now he’ll have to find out if destroying the trust of a person he loved was worth it.