The Family We Choose
by Sean T. Collins | New York Times | April 22, 2018
Flaw in the Death Star
This week on “Billions,” romance is in the air. Who’da thunk it, right? Sex, sexuality, the rewards and compromises of long-term relationships, even the eroticized thrill of spectacular professional success — these themes are never in short supply on this show. But the pangs of infatuation that make your eyes widen, your heart quicken, and (with any luck) your clothes melt away to the tune of Echo and the Bunnymen? That’s … unexpected.
Even more unexpected? The young lovers involved. The casting of comedian Mike Birbiglia added an uncharacteristically mellow presence to this high-strung, hard-charging show. If you predicted that this addition was a prelude to an affair between Birbiglia’s Silicon Valley “venture philanthropist” character, Oscar Langstraat, and Bobby Axelrod’s handpicked successor, the tightly wound gender-nonbinary genius Taylor Mason, congratulations: Your powers of prognostication outstrip even those of Axe himself. Yet from the moment these two very different visionaries make a nerd-love connection in defense of a supposed “Star Wars” plot hole, it makes sense, retrospectively, that they would hook up. It just feels right. (Granted, I’m slightly biased in that I agree with their reasoning — “What material could withstand the heat expended from that mammoth sphere?” “Plus, it was fortified with gun turrets!” — but only slightly.)