“YumTime” is about the manipulative games played by powerful people. Whether it’s a high-powered wife protecting her husband from a scandalous book, or a U.S. attorney swapping cases to get the one he wants most, these characters have an amazing ability to treat others like pawns on a chess board. After all, that’s how figures like Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Damian Lewis) and Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) reached such influential positions. And now that they’ve played the game, they just can’t stop.
The episode opens with Axe discussing the potential takeover of YumTime, a baked-goods giant that sells products like Ding Doodles, Cuckoo Nutties and, its flagship, the Scrumpet. (It’s effectively a stand-in for Hostess.) Axe claims that someone changed the recipe for the Scrumpet, and advises his employee, “Whenever you can, put a company in your mouth.” It’s definitely not as good as they remember. When Axe senses weakness, he’s like a shark with blood in the water. But why is he so interested in a company that makes sugary treats?
If the YumTime arc is the first “game” of this episode, the second starts up when Chuck learns that the Eastern District U.S. Attorney’s office is trying to flip a former Axelrod investor named Pete Decker (Scott Cohen). They don’t want someone else to land the biggest case of their careers. As Chuck learns the Decker news, he’s berating a man who let his dog poop on the sidewalk without cleaning it up. The guy asks to “let it slide,” and Chuck goes on a tirade. If he looks the other way every time, how long will it be until the whole plaza is covered in dog poop? He forces the walker to pick it up with his bare hands, then thanks him for doing his “civic duty.” What a nice guy.
After a brief YumTime meeting, we get to the thematic lynchpin of the episode. Mike (David Costabile) is having a counseling session with Axe Capital guru Wendy (Maggie Siff) and talking about … well, his particular sexual proclivities. Let’s just say that Mike likes a sex act that many consider demeaning. He claims he likes it because it’s about accepting all of him, even his dirty kinks. Wendy calls him out pretty quickly, noting how doing it fulfills his need for dominance. Besides, it all seems to be driven by a recent work situation in which Mike thought an employee got out of line. As he says, “It’s my duty to make an example out of her now.” So, he wants to slowly bleed this employee out from behind the scenes, giving her less information and fewer leads until she’s useless. It’s the same game that Axe is playing and that Lara (Malin Akerman) will play later in the episode. In this case, however, Wendy knows and likes the woman Mike wants to destroy. Will she warn her?
Original air date: January 31, 2016
Writter: Willie Reale