Trust is the Most Valuable Currency in Billions
by Damianista | Fan Fun with Damian Lewis | May 31, 2020
So where to begin about this episode – entertaining, surprising, and heartbreaking – absolutely the best so far in Season 5? The best point of departure may be the definition of a “contract” as Axe gives during his game of billiards with Savion since we see a number of contracts – explicit or implicit – drawn, signed, or not, in one of the best hours Billions has given us in its history.
“Contract is an understanding between men that they’ll see things the same way, that they’ll keep code. That they’ll honor the spirit of their relationship even in unforeseen circumstances.”
Axe, Wags and Bach are sitting in Ms. Calder’s – the head of the office approving state charter applications – office clueless that Chuck was there earlier with Kate to convince Ms. Calder not to approve Axe’s application and thereby preventing a crime before happening!
As someone who knows more than a thing or two on taking a line of credit, Ms. Calder may appreciate what Chuck can pay pack with interest! And while Ms. Calder does not have a witch hunt list like Senator McCarthy did, she has a little personal issue Chuck may help her with: Her son broke up with her fiancee but he cannot get the engagement ring – which Ms. Calder’s father smuggled out of Germany at the beginning of WWII – back. So the two have their contract drawn: Ms. Calder will first drag her feet about Axe’s state charter application so Chuck has time to get the job done, and once the ring is back, Ms. Calder will stop Axe from being a banker.
And now Ms. Calder is telling Axe that there is already a bank in the zip code Axe wants his bank to serve: Vark Community Bank. Well, yeah, the bank may not be FDIC insured, but it is a shining example of an institution that works effectively with undocumented workers. Oh, and they have to find a legitimate CEO for the state charter as well.
So why Ms. Calder pulls an “all naked fucking Harvey Keitel” while Bach has made sure that their application is as smooth as a freshly waxed PBA lane?
Well, Axe knows it is either Prince or his old BFF Chuck! So he tasks Hall with finding out more on Vark Bank and Lauren with finding good CEO candidates – clean people that are willing to get dirty when needed – for the bank. And as we see Wags not liking any of the candidates she brings in – something he did when Taylor was interviewing quants for the company back in Season 3 Episode 3 A Generation Too Late – we know who he thinks would be the best CEO candidate, don’t we? 😀
The thing is Vark Community Bank is not Axe’s only headache today. He finds Randy Kornbluth from the Journal and his cheap jacket in his office. It turns out that Axe making a lot of publicity about his upcoming dinner with Savion and his mom and not showing up is about to hit the headlines of a local newspaper. While Axe makes a case for himself, he of course knows sending his chef to cook a three-star dinner for the family is not the same thing as being there and breaking bread with them. If he apologizes and has dinner with them tonight but it seems Axe is ready to do anything so he does not need to step into that house ever. He promises Kornbluth that he will buy him an Armani jacket if he can make that news article disappear since this kind of news will harm his chances with his new banking venture.
And Axe is off to Yonkers thinking that a game of billiards and a $500 may solve his problem. Well, Savion gets the money but calls what Axe calls “a contract” bullshit. He knows why Axe is doing what he is doing – to save his ass. So he should just fuck off. I believe this young kid impresses Axe – he probably likens Savion to himself at that age.
And As Axe is trying to save his banking venture, Axe Cap boys get it done! While they may look like they sit around and make like George Blanda with their fingers all day, they have done enough to destroy Vark Community Bank and I LOVE IT.
It turns out Eveready is the mastermind behind the plan since it is him that offers checking the bank’s practices to detect any kind of discrimination – something he lived while he was buying an apartment in the city.
Oh, man, even New York, arguably one of the most liberal places on earth can get racist, xenophobic, and homophobic of the first degree – we have recently seen an outrageous moment of racism in Central Park. And I have a personal experience myself from the days my husband and I were looking to buy an apartment and a building on the UES told us that they would not accept us because we were not US citizens. And we had green cards and were on our way to becoming US citizens. It was outright xenophobia probably because we were not born in a developed country but in a developing one where more than 99% of the population is Muslim! Sorry for changing topics, we have just seen the most horrible kind of racism happening in Minneapolis that I cannot pretend like nothing happened. Because enough is enough.
Thomas Hobbes talks about the social contract in Leviathan as individuals collectively giving up on some of their natural rights to a sovereign power whose existence can protect them from the insecurity of the state of nature. But he also talks about the individuals having the right to disobey or resist when their lives are in danger. And, unfortunately, we are at that point where people feel that the social contract is not working anymore.
Back to Billions… So Axe Cap boys make a movie directed by Ari Spyros in total character where Vark Community Bank CEO gives an 8.5% interest on a home loan to newly wed immigrants Ben and Tuk while he gives a 2.8% to the white working man Dollar Bill!
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