Music of Billions Season 2

Compared to Season 1, this season of Billions, for whatever reason, used a bit less music, fewer seminal tracks to accompany its richly crafted scenes. Music was still important this season, but somewhat less so than last. In my review of last year’s music, you’ll count 36 tracks. Here, the major songs in all episodes amounted to 20. Interesting revelation from this exercise is that they seem to follow a certain pattern in genres from one season to the next. That is to say, the aural landscape of this season seemed to contain the same proportion of arena metal, 70’s funk, contemporary alternative, live ballad, perennial classics, and lovely alt-country. All the tracks they chose, regardless of number, hit all the marks.

Let’s follow along with Season 2’s playlist, shall we?

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London, The Goat, and Meeting Damian Lewis

The times I can see Damian in person are few and far between. It was at Damianista’s urging, i.e. pretty much taking me by the hand and flying me out to NY, that my first “sighting” and “meeting” even happened. (I have no idea what those quotes mean or why I used them, just go with me here) I vacillate often between “I’d be fine if I never saw him in person again, good riddance to that level of stress-filled gut-wrenching fangrl angst” to “Fine, I’ll see him on stage or something, but no reason to talk to him privately, is there? Can’t we be normal people for once and just go home and not talk to him?” to “OMG, when are we going to see him again, in what circumstances, for how long, can we possibly have it go longer, and what if…etc. etc. etc.” Truthfully, I spend about equal parts brain energy on those three states of fangrl-ness. Quite similar, in fact, to the brain energy allocation of an average 17 year old girl around prom time.

So, when we heard about The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? coming to London and started talking about it, there I was, torn among those three states. “I’ve got a sister right outside London,” I said. “I can stay with her!” And maybe take a couple weeks and see London, make like I’m 19 again, but, this time, somewhat have the money to do all the London things I’ve never had the chance to do. “Make it about London and not just about him,” said the part of my brain reserved for how crazy all THIS makes me look, justifying the insanity of all THIS by diluting it with a legitimate sight-seeing trip to a legitimate world capital city with loads of things that interest me anyway, even if it weren’t Damian’s home town.

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Billions FanFic: Rubble

Always such touchy business posting fanfic. Folks more versed in the fanfic world always give such effusive disclaimers, it’s almost like an admission of guilt somehow. Guilty because somebody else’s work inspired them so much that they had to write their own? You’d think such a thing would be the highest form of praise. Anyway, all those standard disclaimers apply here as well. I love these characters a lot, but I own them not one bit. And, if it needs to be said, I earn absolutely nothing from this blog for anything I write. Nothing but readers, which to any writer really, are the real gold (albeit actual real gold is quite useful too, don’t get me wrong :)).

Here’s an expanded version of the Billions fanfic I wrote before Season 2 began. Setting remains a flashback to the time around 9/11, possibly a couple days, or maybe a week, after it happened. In this version, it’s more of an imagined bookend to the end of this year’s fantastic season. Also, I should add, I’ve written this only because, I think, it is decidedly NOT something that’s going to happen on the show. I wrote it because someone had to go there. I figured, why not me. Enjoy!

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Billions on Showtime 2.12: Ball in Hand

We sit in the mud, my friend, and reach for the stars.

― Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Sons

Here we are, at the end of Season 2 of Billions, and what a ride it’s been. I know I’m not alone in wishing that these folks wrote and worked and filmed and screened all at the same time, so we wouldn’t have to suffer the excruciating dry months of waiting for the next season to start. In this season, the entire lot of them exceeded all expectations. The story was tight, the performances even tighter. It’s like they all came into their own skins this season and it was a treat to watch.

My review here won’t be a recap, because you’ve already read those. Instead I’ll focus on the father and son scenes central to Season 2, Episode 12, “Ball in Hand.” And I can’t leave the season without talking a bit about Bobby and Wendy. While most other connections between characters are clear, it seems there reigns a central mystery, still, between who Bobby and Wendy are to each other. This season, wonderfully, didn’t solve the mystery a bit, it only intensified it.

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The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? – A review

Theater is unique from books or film because it’s necessarily a communal experience. Actors are in the same space as the audience. The story is fleshed out “live”, with no possibility of rewinding or re-reading. We see their breath, we can nearly see their hearts beating up there on stage and they can hear us too, our laughter, our gasps, and, eventually, hopefully, our applause. All of this combines to make theater an experience like no other.

Like our consumption of most art forms, our venture into the theater is, for the most part, about finding some escape, some entertainment, and, at its most sublime, some window into the human condition. Lots of folks really don’t want art to do more than that, don’t demand any more from it or from themselves when consuming it. Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who is Sylvia, alas, does do more. It’s a window into the human condition alright, but not necessarily one that is very pleasant to see or comfortable to have to think about. It’s a tough play, mostly because you feel pulled, in directions you never would’ve imagined being pulled. The central conceit is a marriage falling apart due to an affair. Not your run-of-the-mill infidelity story, though, as the “other woman” happens to be a goat. Continue reading “The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? – A review”

Billions on Showtime 2.09, 2.10, 2.11: Sic Transit Imperium, With or Without You, Golden Frog Time

A three in one special this week from your intrepid reporter. I was away across the merry pond having a merry time with limited vpn and limited time to spend on my usual pondering over the intricacies of this show. Was going to skip writing about Season 2 Ep. 9, 10, and 11 entirely, but once I returned home and caught up, the muse came rushing back and here I am with my bits on “Sic Transit Imperium”, “With or Without You”, and “Golden Frog Time.”

The circle of story around the unfortunate little upstate NY town gutted by Axe and used by Chuck for preliminary campaign photo ops has closed. Axe did what he had to do in Sandicot, and Chuck responded with whatever he could do, given the fact that his hands were also not entirely clean in the deal. Both Axe and Chuck come out the other end relatively unscathed. The only real casuality of the story is Bobby’s relationship with Bruno, his childhood father figure of sorts. But as Lara succinctly says: Fuck Bruno.

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