Here comes the birthday boy! Like every other middle-aged mortal, Axe reflects on what he wants from life on his birthday in Sic Transit Imperium which I would prefer to title Dollar Bill’s Words of Wisdom 😀
While Wags’ birthday gift for Axe is a $360K downpayment for a spot in a “luxury survival bunker” called The Ark for the end times — believe it or not these luxury bunkers exist — Dollar Bill prefers to give him a business deal 😀 No, his gift is not Aparicio Rodriguez, a young baseball player, the next Sal Bando, whom Bill has been sponsoring since age 13 in return for a big chunk of his signing bonus: a 2000% return on his investment (ROI)! Instead, Bill gives Axe a Belgian Car Company: Klaxon. The company will have a recall, and even though timing is not certain, Bill is not uncertain they have to lay in their position now. In a flashback, we find out paper shredding is not as safe as we think it is and that it is Victor who let Bill know about Klaxon. When questioned about the risk of the deal, Bill provides food for thought:
“If we can’t live how we want, terrorists have already won.”
This blog has been a long time coming. Damianista and JaniaJania have been wishing to see it up for a long time. I wanted to wait until I had seen all 12 episodes before posting.
We had devoured all the early promos for the show and have been blogging about Billions for over a year. We attempted to get a feel for the characters as early as we could and this helped immensely as we discussed what we thought about Bobby and Wendy. Even early on, it was clear those two had a connection. After Naming Rights, we were having one of our discussions and I mentioned that I thought there was some Peter Pan in Bobby and Wendy. I was encouraged to investigate this further as Jania Jania said “Peter Pan is an archetype now…the boy who doesn’t want to grow up.” Investigate I have and there is a fair bit of Peter in Bobby. I am not saying this was intentional on the writer’s part, but that I had fun digging through the book looking for it. .
Quotes from Peter Pan by J M Barrie are in italics. The other quotes not in italics are from Billions.
Bobby and Dr Mojo/Peter & Wendy with sprinkles of lost boys and Tink
Bobby even has his own Wendy, (hereinafter referred to as “Dr Mojo”) and he has built his house around her.
“She knew of no Peter, and yet he was here and there in John and Michael’s minds, while Wendy’s began to be scrawled all over with him. The name stood out in bold letter than any of the other words andas Mrs Darling gazed she felt that it had an oddly cocky appearance.”
Dr Mojo’s mind seems to be scrawled all over with Bobby Axelrod and Bobby Axelrod is quite as cocky as Peter Pan. Dr Mojo knows what Bobby is, but she stays by his side for a very long time. She forgives his transgressions and mistakes.
“Pretend we’re having an argument.” —Bobby Axelrod
A good hour of television absolutely starts with good writing and I pride myself in calling Willie Reale, the writer of Billions Season 1 Episode 10 Quality of Life, a genius way before I find out that he is, in fact, one! I don’t know if you are familiar with MacArthur Fellowships also known as “Genius Grants” but Mr. Reale is a recipient of this fellowship “in recognition of his ingenuity in creating theater and theater education programs for young people.” Bravo!
Quality of Life, with Donnie’s memorial service being at its heart, has a number of moving parts; however, Mr. Reale delivers the story seamlessly with a number of timely back and forths between the memorial service and all else going on and the episode’s director Karyn Kusama perfectly translates the writing into action. And, in my humble opinion, Brian Koppelman’s tweet sharing with us that the fake argument scene between Axe and Dollar Bill was Reale’s idea alone deserves standing ovation for this brilliant writer! Continue reading “A Tribute to Everybody’s Favorite Scene in Billions Season 1: The Fake Fight”
Bobby waves Mafee into his office, but Mafee stays where he is. Bobby is perplexed until Wags explains Mafee wishes to talk about BioLance so has sent Wags in to get permission because Bobby told him he would be fired if he brought that up. Mafee thinks that they are about to lose £400+ million and is basically saying Bobby has this one wrong. Since he is executing the trade, Mafee fears if he does not speak up now, he’ll be fired after they lose the $400+ Million. Bobby sees how this could be a sticky one.
Bobby loves Mafee though so permission is granted.
Mafee has been losing sleep over this BioLance trade and he sleeps like a bear. Axe does that thing he does and asks Mafee what type of bear he usually sleeps like.
There is a special announcement call about BioLance in 9 minutes and Mafee is uneasy. Bobby, however, is giving Mafee no leeway when it comes to the actual information as Bobby understands the risks and has done the homework. So, despite the fact that the other analysts agree with Mafee and him being so loveable, Mafee is the one standing in front of Bobby and Mafee is fired.
He is still there 9 minutes later when the announcement is made that BioLance has not gotten FDA approval. What does this mean? It means that Mafee would be perfectly entitled to jump up on the desk and scream “I told you so”. However, Mafee looks genuinely disappointed by the announcement. If he is fired, why does he care that Axe just lost $430 Million dollars for being an over confident and dismissive ass? Mafee might just be a team player.
The news has hit Bobby like a ton of bricks, but it is not really the fact that he just lost $430 million that is bothering him or that he really owes Mafee an apology. It is the realisation he has lost his mojo. He was wrong. Him! Bobby Axelrod.
Bobby is swimming hard. Meanwhile Dean and Gordie are with friends and their friends’ dad. We see him clearly drinking alcohol and then driving the kids home. Bobby is clearly frustrated and looking for an out let. When he finds out Mr Layner drove the kids home after drinking, he heads off to confront Mr Layner and Mr Layner gets a good punch for putting Dean and Gordie in danger.
I am just going to stop here and highlight this and say thank you to the billions writers for making an issue out of it. I can’t tell you how many TV shows show characters drinking and driving for convenience to get the character somewhere. It infuriates me to see TV programmes being so blasé about it as though this is acceptable. Drink driving is not acceptable and being irresponsible with it on TV isn’t either.
I cannot agree more with Times Talks tag line: The brightest stars. The smartest conversations. Because we just saw a very bright star, Damian Lewis, in a very smart conversation with NY Times Culture reporter and new Carpetbagger Cara Buckley at Directors Guild Theater in New York City. In case you missed it, you can find the conversation in its entirety here and my review of the evening here.
The conversation covered a wide range of topics. Damian had a lot to say and what he had to say had such substance that I know we will go back and dig into this Times Talks over and over again in the future. But this very post is all about how a seemingly sad moment turns into a HAPPY moment in an instant thanks to one wonderful person: Damian Lewis. Continue reading “An Exclusive FAN FUN Interview with Damian Lewis”