The Bottle Rockets’ “Wave that Flag” opens this week’s episode in which both Axe and Chuck figure out how they would feel if somebody owned their asses.
As Chuck is spending some time with Jeffcoat in West Texas, he happens to go on a hunting trip with him and ends up shooting the coyote that has been picking off Jeffcoat’s calves for a while. It turns out Chuck learnt from the best:
“My father taught me. Once you have the animal in your sights, breathe easy and let fly.”
Billions pulls a great trick from the big bag of tricks available to entertainment. It puts on an episode with a discrete arc — a beginning, middle, end… rising tension, climax, and denouement. And it does it in each episode while also exploring deeply profound themes fit for feature length film. This show is entertaining, no doubt. But there are ways in which it isn’t “just” entertainment. Allow me, please, to explore a few of the ways Billions pulled it out for S2Ep3 “Optimal Play”, would you?
I could not be happier that a game theory term makes it to the title of this week’s episode: Optimal Play. Optimal Play, also known as Best Response, is the strategy that produces the most favorable outcome for a player, taking the strategies of other players in the game as given.
Given that the entire hedge-fund industry is under siege and that he needs to adapt, Axe’s optimal play is to venture out of the city walls and straight into the NFL. We learn from his chat with NY Giants chairman Steve Tisch that Axe grew up with football on a “24-inch Trinitron knock-off” and his first ever football game in a stadium was in Tisch’s box. As Tisch shares with him that he needs to jump through quite a few hoops to impress the NFL, Axe is pretty confident about his bid and already trying to figure out where his seat will be at the stadium. Not here at MetLife Stadium, of course. NY Giants is not for sale 😀 Continue reading “Billions on Showtime, Season 2, Episode 3: Optimal Play”
Continuing the rollicking cadence of win/loss and cat/mouse, Billions picks up the pace in an energetic Episode 2.
“Dead Cat Bounce” is book-ended by a fake smile with handshake on one end and a sincere sneer and handshake on the other, going deeper exactly where we need it to go.
Axe is still a nervous cat, but a merry one, as he publically humiliates arch nemesis du jour, Todd Krakow, in the opening scene and continues throughout the episode to dig the claws deeper into the side of this twerp who tried to steal Wendy from him.