We are ecstatic that Billions has been renewed for Season 4! To keep with that Billions state of mind, how about a fun visit to the best of Billions season three? Feel free to play along in the comments section. And for those just joining us, you can catch up on the rest by reading the Best of Billions 1 and Best of Billions 2.
Gingersnap: Episode 8 All the Wilburys – Axe is back baby! And not just that. With all the Wilbury discussion and Ari’s Wilbury status in question, it was hilarious.
Damianista: Season 3 Finale Elmsley Count is the depiction of who Axe and Chuck are. It is not power. It is not money. It is certainly the love of the game. Given how they treated their proteges, they have practically asked for the “palace coup” they have got, and look at them, they are excited about their next move. I mean I can feel the adrenaline flowing in Axe’s veins as he asks Chuck if he wants to hear about his plan to get Taylor. PRICELESS.
Lady Trader: Why not ask me what my favorite Sabbath song is? This is just as hard, but I’m going to go with “All the Wilburys” because the fantasy that I wished for came true. And to have the creator of the show wanting you to see it, well, how can this not be my favorite episode?
Gingersnap: Every scene with Spyros and Dollar Bill together, from the car crash and therapy to the pound it out and bro-out man cave bonding.
Damianista: This is a first. I find myself going back to watch the last 3 minutes of Episode 6 The Third Ortolan again and again and again and again. I CAN’T STOP MYSELF.
Axe: “Full transparency. I give you my word.”
Chuck: “You want transparency? How fucking clear is this?”
Lady Trader: Because I need to stay consistent: My favorite scene was Taylor and Wendy in “The Elmsey Count” when Taylor gives it to Wendy. I’ve waited 3 YEARS for someone to do this! I have never thought Wendy was part of the solution – she’s like the government – part of the problem!
Gingersnap: From episode 8 All the Wilburys when Axe says, “Unassailable, untouchable, unbreakable. An institution that’s TBTFW…too big to FUCK with!”
Damianista: Not a line but an exchange between Axe and Wags as they talk about eventuality in Episode 4 Hell of A Ride:
Dying in your thirties is “tragic.” As is forties. Sympathy dissipates from there.
Fifties is “such a shame.”
Sixties is “too soon.”
Seventies… “a good run.”
And eighties is “a life well lived.”
“That’s a fuckin’ hell of a ride.”
Lady Trader: Taylor from “The Elmsley Count”
“No, I’m pretty sure there’s only money, and it can buy all those things, or at least the same result. That’s what you and Axe taught me.”
Holliedazzle: I was positively tickled pink to hear Wags name drop one of the legends of the burlesque world, Lili St. Cyr, a Minnesota-born showgirl who began her career as a chorus girl and worked her way to the top. She’s even honored as a founder of our art at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada! To hear him casually drop her name into their meeting was delightful, to say the least! Hat tip to the writers!
Gingersnap: From Episode 5 Flaw in the Death Star – ‘The Killing Moon’ by Echo and the Bunnyman, one of my favorite English rock bands. Honorable mention: Round Here by Counting Crows.
Damianista: This may be the most challenging question since I have never seen a TV show in which every season’s music makes an amazing mixed tape! That said, Son Volt’s “Sinking Down” is not only an great song but also the perfect song to go with the Holy Triangle agreeing to have total transparency in Third Ortolan.
Lady Trader: Not a surprise by any stretch of the imagination: “Never Say Die” by Black Sabbath (yeah, I know, enough already!!)
Holliedazzle: As a performer, I am always on the hunt for new music to dance to. From the first drum beat of the song, I was hooked on “Troublemaker, Doppelganger” by Lucy Dalcus. What a delicious, pounding, sexy track.
Gingersnap: Ari Spyros – the Porsche driving, with matching leather jacket wearing, coffee connoisseur douchebag that was given second shot at Wilbury status.
— Billions (@SHO_Billions) May 17, 2018
Damianista: From dropping his pants in front of Axe to his epic love and hate relationship with Spyros to his lucky dollar, Dollar Bill has had his Moments with capital M this season. And I am not uncertain he is cheapest man in America: I mean, he does not even pay for his newspaper!
Lady Trader: It’s got to be the coffee drinking, desk jumping, “Lost in Space” quoting, never gonna be a Wilbury Golden Eagle, Ari Spyros! I never thought I’d enjoy an ex-SEC employee, but since he was cringe-worth at times, I’m OK with that!
Gingersnap: Mine is more of a “Best Use of Words, Made Up or Otherwise” category. From episode 1 Tie Goes to the Runner when Waylon “Jock” Jeffcoat says schottische and from episode 7 Not You, Mr. Dake when Chuck Rhoades says – subterfuge, trickitude, and trifecta of chicanery.
Damianista: Brian Koppelman, David Levien, and Matthew Fennell bring us an episode with multiple storylines connected under one major theme in Episode 10 Redemption: Family. Did you count how many moms and dads appear or get a mention including Mary and Joseph? 😀 From Lara’s clan to Bruno, the only father figure in Axe’s life, from Andolov’s mom to Ben Kim’s mom to Jeffcoat’s brother, and from Ben Kim’s mom to Kate’s dad, the episode reminds us all what really matters ending with the biggest family surprise: “Hi mom.”
Lady Trader: In the 3 seasons we’ve done this, I always seem to pick an episode written by Brian Koppelman and David Levien (coincidence? I think not!). Third time is a charm so I’m going with “Elmsley Count”. Every scene was intense, not a word wasted!
Best Wendy/Chuck Scene
Gingersnap: Episode 8 All the Wilburys when Chuck and Wendy get caught by Chuck Senior and Black Jack Foley at the dominatrix den.
Damianista: Chuck and Wendy are true life partners and their chemistry peaks at little moments like this one where they share a pastrami sandwich from the corner deli and talk about, well, life in Episode 6 The Third Ortolan.
Lady Trader: The scene in “The Third Ortolan” where Bryan gives them a friendly “I’m gonna nail you” visit to the brownstone. The look on their faces! Love it!
Best Axe/Wendy Scene
Gingersnap: Episode 8 All the Wilburys when Axe admits the feeling of winning has all but past after a mere 24 hours…that the initial jolt of the judge’s gavel has ended. Wendy admits they are all scarred, that she is less pure, and Axe offers her advice.
Damianista: A scene in Episode 11 Kompenso speaks volumes about their special relationship: Axe knows, eyes closed meditating, that it is Wendy that has got into the room because she is the only one that could get in while he is there.
Lady Trader: In “All the Wilburys” when Wendy is showing signs that the fucked up thing she did to Mafee has effected her, and she feels tainted and can’t give Axe the same type of advice she usual does. Is the Ice Queen melting? (No, it was wishful thinking).
Best Axe/Lara Scene
Gingersnap: From episode 11 Kompenso when Lara visits Axe’s penthouse to assist him with the annual Axe Cap comps, they share an intimate moment, a caress of her hand, a near or half-like kiss, before she puts the breaks on it because she values herself enough to make him work for it.
Damianista: It is no secret I do not like “single” Axe 😀 So it felt good to see Axe and Lara sharing a bottle of wine and having a moment in Episode 11 Kompenso. And I applaud Lara for not getting sloppy! If Axe really wants her to stay, he needs to work his way back into his marriage.
Lady Trader: Since Lara was not a big part of the season, there is not much to choose from, but I’m going to go with Gingersnap and Damianista on this one, and also say “Kompenso“. Axe and Lara seemed for the first time this season to just connect and talk.
Best of the Rest
Gingersnap: Bryan Connerty interviewing men who constantly drop their trousers in front of him. First, Danny Margolis and then Chuck Senior.
Damianista: Taylor and Oscar. You never know what turns people on, do you? One thing leads to another when Taylor and Oscar start talking Star Wars and end up playing a round of Netrunner! I loved it that they loved each other’s brains before they loved each other’s bodies.
Lady Trader: The scene in “Elmsley Count” when Andolov bitch-slaps Hall was crazy. I was luck enough to watch this with Damianista at the Super Fan screening, and the whole audience let out an audible gasp!
Gingersnap: Dudley Mafee to Taylor Mason and visa versa. From their hot cocoa talks to Big Sis Taylor watching out for Lil Bro getting caught in the Wendy-Axe crosshairs. Not to mention he jumps ship to TM Capital.
Damianista: Terri gets the best friend award for arranging a job interview for Bryan at the FBI New York office while everyone else with a security clearance is avoiding Bryan like the plague.
Lady Trader: Wags. Only a true friend could plan a party straight out of “Caligula“ to celebrate getting out of the hangman’s noose!
Most Appetizing Food
Gingersnap: From episode 7 Not You, Mr. Dake – Acai berry bowls because they’re fruity and nutritious. Ben Kim should have told Axe to put that company in his mouth #YumTime
Damianista: I am sure there exist fancier and better restaurants in the world that I have never been. That said, it should be a true challenge to beat the food Daniel serves! Look at these beautiful plates, and believe me, they taste as good as they look!
Lady Trader: I’m not a foodie at all, so I’m going to go with Grey’s Papaya. Can’t go wrong with the Recession Special!
Gingersnap: End of Episode 6 The Third Ortolan/beginning of Episode 7 Not You, Mr. Dake – when the holy trinity work together to find their patsy #LeeHarveyOswald
Damianista: The palace coup! Both Axe and Chuck being “dethroned” by their proteges is the most brilliant twist closing a brilliant season!
Lady Trader: Chuck walking into his office only to find AG Jeffcoat sitting at his desk, thanks to Bryan and Dake (and Kate) was delicious!
Best Character Development
Gingersnap: Bobby Axelrod. The writers show his gradual fall into the abyss in what I refer to as ‘Axe’s Disintegration onto Fascination Street.’ Beginning with the legal marital separation and his baller Manhattan penthouse to the call girl visit, and from the bloated ego likening his struggles to that of President Kennedy to that gross hot tub scene (read what Damian thought about it) and finally, the absentee parent role. And the final stage of trying to reconcile it all can be seen on his face.
Damianista: From their romantic relationship with Oscar to their friendship with Mafee and to being a young person at their most vulnerable as well as at their most arrogant, Taylor has become a real human this season.
Lady Trader: Getting to see different sides to Taylor was great this season. The one scene that stands out is Taylor taking comfort with Wendy after the break up with Oscar. We know Taylor is smart, analytical, and logical; this made them human, and I loved it.
Best Snarky Moment
Gingersnap: Episode 1 Tie Goes to the Runner when Axe destroys Steven Birch while speaking to Lara, “But if you really plan on giving billions of dollars to this stock jockey, ask him this: how he’s codified the behavioral heuristics at this firm, from stock selection to position sizing, to market timing, to risk management. He hasn’t because his decision-flow process is Google, Exxon, Proctor & Gamble, same as any old lady in Kansas City, except she won’t charge you two and twenty for it.” Then turns to Birch and says,
Damianista: You can’t beat Axe asking Ira about what juice he would have at Gray’s Papaya. And, besides, it is very personal 😀
“What juice do you want? Oh, too soon? Couple of cokes!”
Lady Trader: When Axe gets a text from “Muresan” and it turns out to be the code name for Todd Krakow? Hilarious!
Gingersnap: Wags, the pocket square wonder kid.
Damianista: I want to take this opportunity to thank Chuck for bringing Axe to the court, because Axe does not do suits otherwise, and in Billions costume designer Eric Daman’s words, “when Axe does wear a suit, it’s like a punch to the face.” To the stomach, too. SIGH.
Lady Trader: And the winner for the third year in a row is Michael “Wags” Wagner. His contrast to the jeans and t-shirt Axe just highlights how snazzy Wags really is!
Best New Character
Gingersnap: Waylon “Jock” Jeffcoat with his perfect redneck S.O.B. references and barnyard animal analogies. Clancy Brown played him disgustingly well.
Damianista: He is technically not a new character, but Ari Spyros has turned into a completely new and a brilliantly hilarious character that stormed every scene he has been in! I do not know about Spyros but Stephen Kunken is a Wilbury!
Lady Trader: The introduction of the new AG, Jock Jeffcoat was surreal, because you truly believed he could have come straight out of Washington, DC (by way of Texas, of course). Clancy Brown killed it!
Gingersnap: The New Halls – split pea toast eaters, trench coat wearing, robotic tandem responders, Matrix twinsies.
Damianista: I vote Axe and Wags three seasons in a row now! I continue to see in them an old and odd couple where two people do not need words to communicate and there is always time for a good tease. From looking for an eternal resting place to eating ortolan, they are delightful together.
Lady Trader: I really liked the chemistry between Taylor and Oscar. They really seemed like a good fit. Who else would know to bring a bag of candy to pull an all night coding session? It was so sad how it ended for Taylor.
Best and Worst Axe Moments
Gingersnap: The worst and most disappointing moment is from episode 7 Not You, Mr. Dake – the emergence of Street Punk Axe. Group hot tub sex is a cess pool in a petri dish. The best Axe moment is with Bruno from episode 10 Redemption.
Damianista: Worst? Plenty to choose from! But I will go with Axe canceling dinner with his boys so he can have his pissing contest with Taylor about who will stay later in the office. Does Axe really think buying all the desserts at the restaurant would cut it for his kids? Best? The only non-selfish thing he did this season: Considering to take the plea and go to prison to save Wendy.
Lady Trader: This was a lot harder than I thought. Axe was bad this season, and I questioned his actions and motivations throughout it. Best Axe: His face to face with Taylor: if he is going to take you out, at least he has the plums to tell you to your face! Worst: getting in bed with a criminal like Andolov. That one bad decision rippled through Axe Cap like the stomach bug!
Best Single to Catch
Gingersnap: Oscar Langstraat played by Mike Birbiglia. He had me at Echo and the Bunnymen’s ‘The Killing Moon’ being played on his VPI Prime Signature turntable. Plus, he brings snacks.
Damianista: Well, now that even Damian has approved my crush, it is official that I am in love with Ari Spyros! 😀 😀 😀
Lady Trader: Wags, not for the long term of course, but for a few weeks, you’d have a lot of fun (and a lot of alcohol) .
Best Wags Words of Wisdom
Gingersnap: From episode 5 Flaw in the Death Star – When Wendy asks Wags if he misses the old days and he replies, “Hell yeah. Doing lines off a hooker’s hip bones, my cell phone…in one hand and my…” David Costabile’s dialogue is intentionally poetic in that he recites it so bones and phone rhyme. And I’m sure we can guess what is in his other hand!
Damianista: Wags’ childhood prayer gives you the man.
“And now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, and if I did before I wake, I pray that all my toys should break.”
Lady Trader: It’s vicious, but it’s all part of being in this business:
“Do what I do instead – Go to drinks, dinners, parties, funny massage joints with every fucking whale on the Street and poison that bitch’s name to them, for starters.”
Gingersnap: Patti D’Arbanville as Axe’s mom in episode 10, Redemption
Lady Trader: Patti D’Arbanville as Axe’s mom was perfect casting. Could this mean that Axe’s dad is Don Johnson?