Categories Billions Review

From the Trader’s Desk: S3 E1 The King Without a Crown – March 30, 2018

Uneasy Lies the Head that Wears the Crown

by Lady Trader | Fan Fun with Damian Lewis | March 30, 2018

Source: Showtime

Greetings from the Trader’s Desk!

Before I dive into the episode, I would like to thank the writers of this episode, Brian Koppleman and David Levien. As a New Yorker, kid of the 80’s and a trader, I can tell you they bring the realness of all three of those things of which I am and hold dear. From the mid-town Manhattan office of Axe Capital, to the setting of my favorite place for pierogies, (Veselka) to having real hedge fund managers (Marc Lasry of Avenue Capital and Michael Platt of BlueCrest Capital Management) at the idea dinner, a line from the movie that changed my life (“Wall Street”), to a beautiful view of the Freedom Tower, they continue to not just make this one of my favorite shows, but bring it home so authentically. By Season 3 some writers would be phoning it in, but they certainly don’t.

I started my post with a quote from Shakespeare’s Henry IV. In this scene, Henry is distraught and contemplating the weight of leadership and responsibility of being King. We see Axe similarly isolated, alone and distraught. However, is he still King? (I write more about this here) Yes, it still says Axe Capital on the door, but does Axe still wear the Crown? His assets are frozen, so neither he nor his firm can trade. If the King can’t reign, is he still the King?

The CIO of Axe Capital, Taylor, is entering the new headquarters in mid-town Manhattan. If Axe is leaving CT so is everyone else! The music playing in the background is “The Next Big Thing”. Is that Taylor or a new big idea for the firm? Both!

PMs and analysts are gathered in the conference room for the first meeting since the firm’s assets have been frozen, due to Axe’s indictment. This is a group of ravenous wolves. No trading means not being able to produce and make their numbers (most analysts and PMs have a benchmark they need to beat; how you do against that benchmark determines your bonus). The leader of the pack, Dollar Bill is chomping at the bit; he wants, no, needs to trade. Taylor’s first order of business is for someone from the group to produce an amazing idea that Axe can pitch at an idea dinner being held in two days. These dinners are real; I’ve never been to one, but it’s a chance for managers to show off a bit, and size each other up. Axe needs an idea that will prove to the Street he still runs the sharpest shop out there.

Dollar Bill is not having it, and neither is anyone else. The only meeting he wants is a go-time one! Oh, and one more thing: where is the true leader of the firm?  Where the fuck is Axe?

Read the rest of the original article at Fan Fun with Damian Lewis