Categories Billions Print Media Review

From the Trader’s Desk: Billions S4E9 American Champion – May 17, 2019

Office Romance ,101

by Lady Trader | Fan Fun with Damian Lewis | May 17, 2019

Some people say my love cannot be true
Please believe my love, and I’ll show you
I will give you those things you thought unreal
The sun, the moon, the stars all bear my seal
N.I.B – Black Sabbath

Welcome to the Trader’s Desk, where a refreshed and relaxed Lady Trader is ready to dive in to “American Champion.”

This week, Billions almost seemed like an episode of the Love Boat, in that we had stories about couples. Let’s look at some of these (surprising) pairings:


Wendy wants Chuck to get the Medical Board to drop its investigation into her. She doesn’t want Chuck the Lawyer, or even Chuck the Husband, but Chuck the Killer! If Chuck can do this for Wendy, it will go a long way to start repairing their marriage, according to Wendy. Chuck wants a promise, but that is not what Wendy is dishing out; she is commanding Chuck to make a “selfless act”, while this ask is completely selfish! The Killer Chuck that Wendy has vilified in the past? Well, Wendy’s standard fluctuates as the need arises (as I have been saying for years!). “Kill for me, not for thee” is the motto of the day.

Chuck is a bit confused. Wendy can’t just pick and choose the traits she wants in him, when she wants them. Being in a relationship means accepting your partner for who they are, just as you would want them to accept you. Since Wendy has no idea who she is anymore, it’s not surprising she does not really know what she wants from Chuck. Right now, she sees Chuck as a tool to help her try and get back to who she used to be, and being a medical doctor is important on that journey. The problem I see is even if Chuck can fix this whole Medical Board situation, the only person who can get Wendy back to who she was and wants to be is Wendy herself. She is lost, and she is the only one that will be able to find her way back.

Chuck tries to do what he’s told; even going to visit his old friend Dr. Gilbert in prison for help, but that goes nowhere. Chuck being Chuck, he gets himself in a showdown with Connerty, via Jeffcoat. In a deal that could save Wendy (and Chuck Senior) Chuck says “No Deal”! He chooses to continue to hunt his White Whale, Jeffcoat, instead of helping Wendy, and then lies to her about it! When and if Wendy finds this out, the shit is going to hit the fan! Will Axe be the “killer” Wendy needs to help save her medical license? Perhaps, but this marriage, in my opinion, is in its last stages. Two individuals who are only looking out for their own self-interests does not make a lasting relationship. While this couple withers on the vine, a few others are blooming.

Rebecca-Axe (ReAxe):

Rebecca and Axe are bonding over one of the strongest things they have in common – business. Standing in front of Rebecca’s newest business deal – Saler’s Department Store – they discuss Rebecca’s vision for the store. When she can quote Hoffa, the smile on Axe’s face is almost childlike! Has he finally found the ying to his yang?

Rebecca is going to make a lot of changes to the business, so she needs to show some stability to the Street by keeping the Board intact. That may be easier said than done.

At the Saler’s Board Meeting, Axe and Rebecca find out that two of the Board members have sold their shares for a nice premium, even before hearing Rebecca’s plans to overhaul the business. They don’t want to reveal who they’ve sold to, but a threatening Axe is hard to refuse.

The buyer of the shares is none other than Taylor Mason. The Board knows about Taylor’s meeting with Bensinger, and knows their combined shares will control the Board. Rebecca has to postpone the meeting until she can reconstitute the Board and plan her next step. She has an amazing weapon in her arsenal – Bobby Axelrod!

When Rebecca finds out that Axe knows Bensinger, she makes a very un-Axe-like suggestion – maybe they can “sue for peace”? That’s not going to be possible since Bensinger would like Axe’s head on a spike! No negotiations; it’s time for Axe to give a little payback. This scene really shows the different approaches Axe and Rebecca have towards a problem – one would use a scalpel, the other a hatchet! But, this power couple can make anything happen – together!

Axe finds Bensinger’s weak spot: Bensinger wants to buy the Chrysler Building to keep it out of Chinese hands. Axe sends Wags on a mission: buy the Chrysler Building, and that is just what he does!

That move gets Axe just what he wants – Bensinger into Axe Cap. Axe will sell the building to Bensinger, at cost, as long as he backs Rebecca instead of Taylor. Rebecca has been waiting in the wings and now comes through to lay out her vision for Saler’s to Bensinger. She wants this to be her legacy – to show that a little girl can dream and make it come true. Rebecca plays to Bensinger’s love of Americana, and states how she will keep Saler’s “America”. The look on Axe’s face while Rebecca is giving her pitch is one of pride, admiration, and respect. He sees all that Rebecca is: smart, passionate, straightforward, and above all, a great business woman. What is not to love?

Axe even volunteers to step off the Board so that Rebecca and Bensinger can be the ones to work on the plan. Rebecca adamantly refuses; she wants and needs Axe to help her steer this plan. Axe seems taken aback. Is it that someone is truly saying they need him – his mind and his expertise – not just his money? Whatever it is, it is enough to impress Bensinger; their “strength and loyalty” seal the deal. Bensinger wants the combination of Rebecca and Axe (ReAxe) to take this forward. He will not go with Taylor, and this power pairing is on a roll. This is a duo of equals, who compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and I love it. I don’t know how long this love fest will last (and we all know Billions is not a “happily ever after” type of show), but I’m here for it!

Taylor-Lauren (TayLau):

Taylor knows Rebecca is Axe’s main squeeze and wants to make life as difficult as possible for her on her first day as CEO of Saler’s. Taylor doesn’t really care about Saler’s or Rebecca for that matter; this is all about getting at Axe. (Oh how the student has learned so much from the master!!) TMC has bought shares, but not enough to be a force on the Board yet. As Lauren states, buying more shares on the open market will cause the share price to rise. However the biggest debt holder on Saler’s is Sandy Bensinger – old enemy of Axe and the man who denied Axe his NFL team! If Bensinger converts his debt into shares, then backs Taylor, TMC becomes a threat to Rebecca and Axe. Lauren is a step ahead, and has got a way to get to Sandy. She has set up a meeting for “breakfast for dinner” with Landry, Sandy’s son, and Taylor at the Kellogg’s Store in Union Square.

Lauren tells Taylor the way to make this meeting a success with Landry is for them to “be yourself”, something Taylor is usually not comfortable with. Lauren trusts and believes in Taylor, and knows they’ll do fine on the fly.

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