Billions on Showtime 2.04: The Oath

Boy, Billions is giving its stellar coterie of actors a lot more to do this season! While the plot has always remained tight and unpredictable, this show has always been character-driven, never more so than right at this moment.

You don’t have to read the business papers to hear the real world buzz around Preet Bharara’s recent firing as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY. In the fictional world of Billions, this is the very position occupied by Chuck. In Tuesday’s NYT, Andrew Ross Sorkin’s regular article Dealbook , quoted the so-called “sheriff of Wall Street” Bharara saying in another interview:

I have never said that insider trading is the crime of the century. It has not been my personal focus. It’s the focus of the press because there are a lot of wealthy people that like the reporting of it.

Indeed, in the world of Wall Street, and Billions, there is ethics and then there is the appearance of ethics. Prosecution is not always (or ever?) about beating the bad guy and scoring a victory for justice. A lot of the time it’s about beating a case that’s beatable and tantalizing to the press and the public. Sure, the practice of law is about setting precedent on good and bad, right and wrong, but a lot of the time (most of the time?) it’s about managing public perception of these lofty ideals. And it’s in the managing of perception where all the play happens. This theme runs throughout Billions, and is in particular focus in Episode 4 “The Oath.”

Something else notable for this episode: the virtual encyclopedia of pop culture references! A cynical person could snark it’s a good thing all the people of this world seem to have read the same books, seen the same movies, and listened to the same music. Writing about it was one rabbit hole after another and I can only imagine the fun from the actual writing of it.

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Billions on Showtime, Season 2, Episode 4: The Oath

Just three episodes in and we have received terrific news that Showtime has renewed Billions for a third season! The news is not surprising given that Billions is the SMARTEST show on TV but still THIS WAS FAST! Congratulations to the entire cast and crew, we are over the moon for you and yeah, for us, too!

And who knew “Paulie Pennino” of Billions would come back to direct Axe in Season 2 Episode 4? It is a true delight Noah Emmerich is directing this episode! I love him as Agent Beeman in The Americans! And, hey, he is also directing Richard Thomas, who brings to life Beeman’s boss Agent Gaad in The Americans and whom I loved as John-Boy in The Waltons as a little girl, in this episode!

source: @SHO_Billions

Axe is finally in the final three in his bid for the NFL team. Over lunch at Vaucluse, Mark Cuban tells Axe NFL does not like guys like them because they did come from nothing, earned their money calling bullshit openly and publicly and so they come across as people that can break the etiquette. According to Cuban, Axe needs to hang up the gloves and focus on changing the “hearts and minds” that will give him what he wants. Continue reading “Billions on Showtime, Season 2, Episode 4: The Oath”

From “Emergency Deodorant” to “Coach K”: Why We LOVE Billions’ Sense of Humor

“There’s a lot of humor in this — a lot of playfulness, which I was not expecting.” — Damian Lewis on Billions

source: Showtime
source: Showtime

Humor derived from life and delivered at the right time and place can make a TV show! And, I believe, it is Seinfeld that perfected the delivery of small but precise details of daily life on small screen! George double-dips a chip in a bowl of dip at a wake and you laugh not just because of what he does but also because you remember the guy who double-dipped at the last party you attended. Elaine’s new boyfriend is a serious close talker and you laugh because you remember the close talkers in your life. Jerry believes you don’t need any extra incentive to kill your dry cleaner and you laugh because you remember the last argument you had with your dry cleaner about the remaining stain on your favorite pants. These are the scenes that stay with you for the longest time because they all come from real life!

Many dramas, as they try hard to stick to drama, forget about this kind of humor; which, given at the right time and place, may be one of the most delicious moments of an episode and can even send a serious message home. We applaud Billions for not shying away from giving us such moments. Continue reading “From “Emergency Deodorant” to “Coach K”: Why We LOVE Billions’ Sense of Humor”

Billions Season 2: The Ultimate Pissing Contest Continues!

Give me a few minutes of Billions video and I sit down and write 2000 words about it. I am as obsessed, if not more, with Billions as Axe and Chuck are obsessed with each other, and having watched the new promos here and here a few times now my head is spinning and my imagination is going wild.

source: showtime
“Change is coming.” You bet it is! source: Showtime

First things first: I totally know promo videos are edited in a way to trick the viewer so there is no real spoiler but just a taste of what is coming — which I LOVE. And that is why “reading” a promo video is no different than reading the tea leaves, or in my native country Turkey, the coffee cup. Still, I cannot help dive deep into these short videos and try to put the pieces together! So here is my two cents on what I expect when I am expecting Billions Season 2!

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Billions: To B or not to B

I have taken quite the liking to Bryan Connerty and during season one of Billions I began following Toby Moore on twitter. I was interested to note that Toby had actually studied law himself. Someone tweeted Toby saying they loved Billions and that some of their friends were having similar struggles to Bryan. Toby tweeted back that “they should question everything.”

Apart from being great advice in general for anyone studying law, it made me wonder more about where Bryan will be in season two.

Throughout season one it seemed that Bryan was being set up for a switch to team Axe and I had much fun sounding off about it on here and to Damianista and JaniaJania. However, Holliedazzle has offered another perspective on it that, in fact, Bryan will find a way to get his feet out from under Chuck while still trying to put Bobby or men like Bobby behind bars. This is very possible – either choice poses great problems for the character.

Source: Showtime
Source: Showtime

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Bits and Pieces of Life in Billions

“There’s a lot of humor in this — a lot of playfulness, which I was not expecting.” — Damian Lewis on Billions

source: Showtime
source: Showtime

Humor derived from life and delivered at the right time and place can make a TV show! And, I believe, it is Seinfeld that perfected the delivery of small but precise details of daily life on small screen! George double-dips a chip in a bowl of dip at a wake and you laugh not just because of what he does but also because you remember the guy who double-dipped at the last party you attended. Elaine’s new boyfriend is a serious close talker and you laugh because you remember the close talkers in your life. Jerry believes you don’t need any extra incentive to kill your dry cleaner and you laugh because you remember the last argument you had with your dry cleaner about the remaining stain on your favorite pants. These are the scenes that stay with you for the longest time because they all come from real life!

Many dramas, as they try hard to stick to drama, forget about this kind of humor; which, given at the right time and place, may be one of the most delicious moments of an episode and can even send a serious message home. We applaud Billions for not shying away from giving us such moments.

brotherlylove

As much as we are in love with the fake argument scene, an original, hilarious and genius Billions moment, we are even more impressed by the minutiae of life the writers provide with the right dose of humor. Knowing that most episodes in Seinfeld are based on its writers’ real-life experiences, re-written and re-interpreted for the show’s characters, we cannot help wonder if these bits and pieces of life in Billions are also based on real-life experiences. These moments work perfectly and the lines delivered in them become standard in our own conversations!

That is why Tbkwrm and I take a tour through Season 1 and talk about our most favorite bits and pieces of life in Billions. We would love to hear about your favorites, too!

Continue reading “Bits and Pieces of Life in Billions”