Written By GingersnapComments Off on Billions on Showtime, Season 4 Episode 3: Chickentown – March 31, 2019
Obsessed with Winning
by Damianista | Fan Fun with Damian Lewis | March 31, 2019
A migraine. An algorithm. A blossoming friendship. And lots of chickens! Billions gives us a fun episode in which Axe and Chuck fight at multiple fronts and end up in Chuck’s office drinking to their friendship of a sort 😀
Chuck’s day starts with a migraine and gets downhill from there.
Chuck Senior calls from Kingsford to tell his son it is time for Pericles, ahem, Chuck, to stroll the Parthenon, ahem, the casino built on Senior’s land. They are having the grand opening with fanfare and two important union leaders with 400K potential votes for Chuck in attendance. Chuck has to show up with Wendy, smile, shake hands and seal the deal. And when Chuck resists:
Senior: “Do you think JFK complained when Ol’ Papa Joe sat him down with steel workers?”
Junior: “You’re delivering Schenectady, dad. Not Ohio.”
Written By GingersnapComments Off on Billions Seasons 4 Episode 3 Recap: New York Times – March 31, 2019
Hurts So Good
by Sean T. Collins | New York Times | March 31, 2019
Season 4, Episode 3: ‘Chickentown’
“I used to try and pretend I was dreaming all of the pain, but don’t you kid yourself: Some things have to be endured. And that’s what makes the pleasures so sweet.”
Whether as shorthand for their feelings, metaphors for their predicaments, or models for their aspired-to lifestyles, characters on “Billions” simply love dropping pop-culture quotes on one another. In fact this week’s episode, “Chickentown,” takes its name from a bowdlerized version of the famous “Forget it, Jake …” conclusion to “Chinatown,” referenced when Bobby Axelrod and Wags Wagner stop their mad-dog lieutenant “Dollar Bill” Stern (Kelly AuCoin, delightfully amoral) from salvaging an insider-trading scheme by wiping out a poultry farm. (It’s a long story.)
Written By GingersnapComments Off on From the Trader’s Desk: Runnin’ With the Devil, Billions S4E2 – March 29, 2019
Relationship Status: It’s Complicated!
by LadyTrader | Fan Fun with Damian Lewis | March 29, 2019
I live my life like there’s no tomorrow
And all I’ve got, I had to steal
Least I don’t need to beg or borrow
Yes I’m livin’ at a pace that kills Runnin’ With the Devil – Van Halen
Greetings from the Trader’s Desk! I’m going to do things a bit different today. Instead of doing an in-depth recap (my partner in crime Damianista has done an amazing one), I’ll be giving my observations of the various relationships we saw this week. Also, on a good news front, I’ll be having surgery to remove my chemo port this week, and I’ll be on the disabled list for a day or so, so this will have to be a bit condensed. As always, if there is some “fin-speak” you need explained, please let me know!
I want to start with an explanation of what Private Equity is, since it was a big part of the Axe/Rebecca storyline. Private equity is composed of funds and investors that directly invest in private companies. For example, if a firm or an individual invested in Uber (a private company) they will have gotten in early, before the company goes public and IPOs. These investors now have a percentage (or shares) in the company. When the company does go public, the investment could have increased significantly, and now the shares can be sold publicly. Investing in private equity is not a guarantee – sometimes you need to kiss a lot of frogs before you get your Prince!
Written By GingersnapComments Off on The Unbeatable, Unstoppable, Unparalleled MVP’s from Billions Season 4 Episode 2 – March 27, 2019
Billions MVP Fanbook
by Gingersnap | Fan Fun with Damian Lewis | March 27, 2019
Last week we introduced you to our ‘Billions MVP Fanbook,’ a compilation post commemorating all those in honor of achievement for the utmost brazen, uber shameless, ultra scheming, unmatched badasses to date – from sports references, music, and tasty food to pop culture remarks, shocking twists and ultimate paybacks. Let us continue with that tradition as we award our Most Valuable Players (MVPs) this week.
Here are our Billions awards for Season 4, Episode 2, “Arousal Template.”
Written By GingersnapComments Off on Big Time: The Flashy Pleasures of Billions – March 25, 2019
“Over the course of four seasons, the Showtime series has shown a rare capacity to evolve, pivoting, niftily, like a company under S.E.C. investigation.”
by Emily Nussbaum | The New Yorker | March 25, 2019
Showtime’s “Billions,” a late-night snack of an antihero drama, set among finance weasels in New York and Connecticut, is the rare series that the term “guilty pleasure” suits nicely. The show has barbed dialogue and a blind-item documentary interest in the lives of the ultra-wealthy, but at heart it’s a pleasingly amoral caper series, a Wall Street fever dream, scored to ironic pop songs—more pulp than grit, with a streak of camp. Last week, in the San Francisco Chronicle, the critic Allie Pape called the show “prestige trash,” which pretty much nails the tone: it’s dirty fun, without the self-seriousness that drags down so many of its cable-drama peers.
Over the course of four seasons, “Billions,” which was created by Brian Koppelman, David Levien, and Andrew Ross Sorkin, has also shown a rare capacity to evolve, pivoting, niftily, like a company under S.E.C. investigation. The first season set a simple formula, a Coyote-versus-Road Runner duel between two styles of male ambition: in one corner, the alpha hedge-funder Bobby (Axe) Axelrod (Damian Lewis), using his saintly post-9/11 reputation as a cover for insider trading; in the other, Chuck Rhoades, the politically ambitious prosecutor (played with high dudgeon by Paul Giamatti), a resentful beta who is eager to send Axe to jail. Rhoades is the Ivy-educated son of a blue blood, while Axe has clawed his way up from nothing, a.k.a. Yonkers. There is plenty of kinky sex, too, with Maggie Siff as Wendy Rhoades, a therapist, who—ridiculously but entertainingly—is both Chuck’s wife/dominatrix and Axe’s employee, guru, and maybe soul mate. It all felt very Showtime: gimmicky and lurid, but also witty and well paced, and good at making Wall Street transactions comprehensible to English majors.
The show’s signature attraction is Axe, a fit, hyper-strategic market genius who has glimmers of conscience but at one point barks, “I’m not human. I am a machine. I’m a fucking Terminator.” His need for control is what we identify with and get off on. It’s much harder to fantasize about being Chuck, a sharply drawn and performed but more earthbound character, even when he begins to break bad: he’s too grumpy, too tormented, to be our avatar. Axe, in contrast, is a vision of pure meritocratic transcendence, of being so good at your job that the world just lets you do it, no matter whom you hurt. That’s what distinguishes “Billions” from HBO’s “Succession,” another darkly funny series about Manhattan élites, but one with a more subversive theme: its characters are fools, entitled dummies deluded about their own potential. If “Succession” is a show about Jared Kushner, “Billions” is the show that Kushner would write about himself.