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.
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!
“There’s a lot of humor in this — a lot of playfulness, which I was not expecting.” — Damian Lewis on Billions
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.
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!
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.
We open with the FBI raiding Donnie’s house. Donnie tells his partner to go be with the kids and hides an awful lot of pills just as the FBI come charging through the door. Donnie has a lot of pills and we were discussing the possibility that Donnie is very ill and possibly dying.
Bryan instigated this raid as he isn’t happy and wanted Donnie to know how it would feel when they come to take him to prison because he thinks Donnie is stringing them along. Donnie explains about how he is giving them Axe using the data on Kemlot. Bryan shouts him down and tells him he has a week, by the end of which, either Axe is in Federal custody or Donnie is.
Chuck and Kevin arrive at the Big Apple Circus. Kevin spots his favourite baseball player and wants to go over and get an autograph. Chuck isn’t so keen when he sees Bobby talking to him and tries to steer Kevin away, but Bobby spots them and shouts Kevin over. Chuck is less than impressed but Bobby says “never women and the children”. Bobby can’t resist a dig though after Chuck says that Mark is Kevin’s favourite player “he obviously has his mother’s instinct for people”. Ouch! That is how you punch without getting a misdemeanor!
Wendy arrives clearly stunned to find her husband and Bobby standing next to one another. There is a quick exchange of words between them before Chuck ushers the family away.
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.
We start off with Wendy in some spooky looking place with Hall who directs her inside where Axe is waiting. It turns out to be a spa and it is just the two of them…well there is the possibility Hall is lurking around. Bobby says “It has been a weird couple of days”. At which point we flash back 72 hours.
Wendy is not happy. Wendy is in fact very mad with her husband. She is afraid that her absence from the office when Bill was arrested will make it seem like she knew it was coming. Chuck proceeds to tell her what they think of her won’t matter because in the end, when he is done, there will be nothing left and she is beautiful and talented and will land on her feet. Her answer is “Fuck you”.
Axe is rallying the troops and sounding the battle cry. He is standing on high surrounded by his subjects. I admit to having difficulty keeping a straight face when he began by describing Chuck as “An unscrupulous adversary”.
The scene with Axe addressing his people is intercut with Bryan and Chuck interrogating Bill Stearn. I find it hilarious that Bill is even known in these circles as the stingy multi-millionaire. Chuck lays out the charges against Bill and what he is potentially looking at, 12 years, and a $9 million fine.
Bobby is geeing up the troops with this was “An attack on all of us”.