Billions on Showtime, Season 3 Episode 9: Icebreaker

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.”

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Billions on Showtime, Season 3 Episode 8: All the Wilburys

Now that Axe and Chuck have dug themselves out of their own graves, both embrace their victories, and pick up the game where they left. We find them handling new situations they face in their own unique ways: sometimes with utmost care, and sometimes not so much. Continue reading “Billions on Showtime, Season 3 Episode 8: All the Wilburys”

Billions on Showtime 2.03: Optimal Play

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?

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Billions on Showtime, Season 2, Episode 3: Optimal Play

source: Showtime

I could not be happier that a game theory term makes it to┬áthe title of this┬áweek’s episode: Optimal Play. Optimal Play, also known as Best Response, is┬áthe strategy that produces the most favorable outcome for a player,┬átaking the strategies of other players in the game as given.

Given that┬áthe 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┬áthat Axe grew up with football on a┬á“24-inch Trinitron knock-off” and his first ever football game in a stadium was in Tisch’s box. As┬áTisch shares with┬áhim that he needs to jump through quite┬áa few hoops to impress the NFL, Axe is pretty confident about his bid and already trying to figure out where┬áhis seat will be┬áat the stadium. Not here at┬áMetLife Stadium, of course. NY Giants is not for sale ­čśÇ Continue reading “Billions on Showtime, Season 2, Episode 3: Optimal Play”

Billions on Showtime 2.02: Dead Cat Bounce

Continuing the rollicking cadence of win/loss and cat/mouse, Billions picks up the pace in an energetic Episode 2.

“Dead Cat Bounce” is ┬ábook-ended by a fake smile with┬áhandshake on one end and a sincere sneer and┬áhandshake 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.

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