Bobby Axelrod and Wendy Rhoades: A Special Relationship – Part VI

In case you missed Part V, it is here.

Billions has never shied away from shocking us over its first two seasons; say it is when Bobby threatens Wendy with the pictures Hall had taken of the two of them naked at the spa,  or when Chuck sells out both his dad and his best friend to get Bobby, or when Bobby steals Donnie’s Christmas because he cannot risk him living longer. And now it is time for Wendy to shock us all with her cold-blooded calculations as she makes her decisive move to save her two boys and herself from going to prison.

It is fascinating how Bobby and Chuck immediately recognize the need to dump Ice Juice scheme on someone else when Wendy leaves the table for a few minutes. They have to make Wendy’s short go away but in such a way that the case does not go to trial. They divide the work: Firstly, Bobby will have the new Halls to “massage” the phone records so they do not locate Wendy in Chuck’s office when she calls Mafee to short Ice Juice. Bobby will also make it look like Dr. Gilbert has made profits in Ice Juice. And he will need to make sure Mafee does not share with the Feds what they want to hear about Wendy’s short. Chuck, on the other hand, will ensure that the good doctor will take the plea and go to prison without a trial. Yet, both men hesitate to mention sending someone innocent to prison in front of Wendy thinking that she may not take it. Continue reading “Bobby Axelrod and Wendy Rhoades: A Special Relationship – Part VI”

Bobby Axelrod and Wendy Rhoades: A Special Relationship – Part V

“Damian tickles you and delights you with his charm and his wit.” — Maggie Siff

Well, while we already know how charming and witty Damian could be, it is still a treat to hear these lovely words from Maggie Siff, who along with Damian brings to life one of the most intriguing and complex relationships we have ever seen on TV. It is sincere and it is strategic. It is friendly and it is flirty. It is personal and it is professional. It is delicate. It is difficult. It is delicious.  And while I believe Season 3 has revealed there is no romance in it, it has also revealed there is real partnership. Bobby and Wendy find meaning in what they have built together and can draw the best out of each other. In case you have missed my earlier posts on these two, you can find them here, here, here, and here. Continue reading “Bobby Axelrod and Wendy Rhoades: A Special Relationship – Part V”

“From the Trader’s Desk”:
Bobby Axelrod – a Man and his Music

There are many things that Bobby Axelrod and I have in common: New York born and bred; working class backgrounds; very non-traditional road to Wall Street; our love of gambling lead us to our career paths. However, the one thing that has always been my favorite commonality is our love for heavy metal bands and their music. Heavy Metal is not the most well known genre of music, so let’s explore Bobby Axelrod and his music, and what it says about him.

In each season of Billions, at least one episode has featured a song and a t-shirt of a metal band that must be Axe’s favorites. The writers of Billions don’t do anything just to do it, so we know that these choices are there to tell a story, shine light on who the character is, and to set a tone.

Metal is very misunderstood: devil worship, drugs, biting the heads of bats, or just screeching guitars may come to mind if you say the words “heavy metal”. But, it is so much more than that! Last season, I used Black Sabbath lyrics to open (and in some cases close) my “From the Trader’s Desk” recaps. In most cases, if I hadn’t referenced it to Sabbath, you’d have wondered what philosopher or poet I was quoting. Metal lyrics are some of the best I have ever heard; they tell stories of pain, loss, confusion, success, etc. – lyrics that would certainly resonate with a young man from Yonkers who’s Dad has up and left, and whose home life is full of conflict. Continue reading ““From the Trader’s Desk”: Bobby Axelrod – a Man and his Music”

Prop Improv with Damian Lewis

L: Tardis from Dr. Who; C: Wonka Bar from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, ghost trap from Ghost Busters, Wilson from Cast Away; R: Marauder’s Map from Harry Potter

According to Wikipedia, a prop, formally known as theatrical property, is an object used on stage or screen by actors during a performance or production. In practical terms, a prop is considered to be anything movable or portable on a stage or a set, distinct from the actors, scenery, costumes, and electrical equipment. Based on that definition, clothing, shoes, hats or scarves would typically be out of play, but we are going to bend the rule just a bit and allow it! Interesting enough, consumable food items appearing in a production could be considered props, too.

So you know what all this means? It’s game time! Name three stage or screen props you would most like to own from the set of any of Damian’s theatre, film or television series and explain why. As an added bonus, some of us came up with an original or funny use of the prop, without using the prop the way it was intended. Let’s play Prop Improv with Damian Lewis.

Continue reading “Prop Improv with Damian Lewis”

A Tribute to Everyone’s Favorite Billions Moment: The Fake Fight

“Pretend we’re having an argument.” —Bobby Axelrod

source: Showtime

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 Everyone’s Favorite Billions Moment: The Fake Fight”