The overslept birthday boy, who was totally oblivious to his wife’s pain at Yonkers Racetrack, wakes up in an empty house. Lara has taken off with the boys leaving a note that reads “you lied to me.” Well, he did. Her phone is off and his first voice message is kind:
“Will you just call me? Please?”
Cameras show Lara taking four 10K bricks out of the vault and leaving with light luggage. She has not used the jets or the chopper. We find out Axelrods have a NYC apartment, homes in Aspen and Miami as well as a vineyard in addition to their two properties we have known of and Lara is not at any of them. Hall disabled the GPS in her car at Axe’s request months ago and she has not used EZ-pass or any credit cards yet. Continue reading “Billions on Showtime, Season 2 Episode 10: With or Without You”
Kings, Caesars, Mob Dons. When we think of these titles we may think of power, wealth, and loyalty. To a certain extent that is true. However, what they also have in common is the struggle to keep their place at the top, how they get there and how they fall. Kings, Caesars and Mob Dons all get to the top through violence, and usually end their reigns that way as well. Through the course of their reign, they often become distrustful of even their most loyal subjects and become deceitful in order to keep everyone off balance. In the end, they are paranoid, isolated, and alone.
What does that have to do with Billions? The titles and events of the previous two episodes “The Kingmaker” and “Sic Transit Imperium”, made me think of Axe in that light. He got to the top through violence; as we learn in “Boasts and Rails” his actions during the murder and devastation of 9/11 made Axe a lot of money, and the destruction of his former company lead to the opening of Axe Capital (I write about that here). He also has wealth, power, and from many of his employees, loyalty. However, he too is constantly fighting to stay at the top. He sees the Visigoths coming, whether in the form of the government (and Chuck in particular) or other fund managers, and he will fight them all. The Axe we see in “Sic Transit Imperium” is a tired, isolated, and reflective King, wondering if it is all worth it. Continue reading ““From the Trader’s Desk” What does Axe have in common with Kings, Caesars and Mob Dons?”
Here comes the birthday boy! Like every other middle-aged mortal, Axe reflects on what he wants from life on his birthday in Sic Transit Imperium which I would prefer to title Dollar Bill’s Words of Wisdom 😀
While Wags’ birthday gift for Axe is a $360K downpayment for a spot in a “luxury survival bunker” called The Ark for the end times — believe it or not these luxury bunkers exist — Dollar Bill prefers to give him a business deal 😀 No, his gift is not Aparicio Rodriguez, a young baseball player, the next Sal Bando, whom Bill has been sponsoring since age 13 in return for a big chunk of his signing bonus: a 2000% return on his investment (ROI)! Instead, Bill gives Axe a Belgian Car Company: Klaxon. The company will have a recall, and even though timing is not certain, Bill is not uncertain they have to lay in their position now. In a flashback, we find out paper shredding is not as safe as we think it is and that it is Victor who let Bill know about Klaxon. When questioned about the risk of the deal, Bill provides food for thought:
“If we can’t live how we want, terrorists have already won.”
Let’s try something new. Let’s talk about Billions Season 2 Episode 8, “The Kingmaker”, as if it were a soap, a tabloid, heck, a professional wrestling match. The soapiness of this episode cannot be denied. Soaps get a bum rap. When they are good, there is great drama there, folks. Great storytelling. And the hardest working people in the business. And true to the genres of tabloid, soap, and wrestling match, “The Kingmaker” hit all the marks for great drama.
Black Jack Foley. Old steel and railroad money. One of the first businessmen that went to Russia after the wall fell. It seems he has taken after his great-great-great uncle Boss Tweed that he is pulling the strings in Albany. He is THE Kingmaker who takes your measure and bless you. And that is why both Axe and Chuck need a moment with this man as soon as possible.
Chuck Sr gets a lukewarm call from Foley. His granddaughter has not got the clerkship. Chuck may have no idea Foley moved the casino away from Sandicot, but he should have some idea Foley will help him in Albany. Now that he feels disrespected, Foley will back Bob Sweeney’s campaign in gubernatorial elections.
Welcome to “From the Trader’s Desk” double shot! We’ll be looking at both “Indian Four” and “Victory Lap” since the “fin speak” was a minimum in both episodes.
Thoughts & Observations on “Indian Four”
I’d like to start off by saying that I hope one day to be in the position of having my own meat aging room, and a room to store motorcycles that I will never ride. If I ever were in that position, I’d also have my own TARDIS, but that’s another blog….
One thing that struck me during Axe and Wendy’s meeting at the skate park was his response to Wendy’s asking for a stake in Axe Capital – “No one owns any of it but me”. That response does not surprise me, and I was shocked Wendy would even ask for it. He built it, and he will keep it! I think we know why someone like Axe would never take the Giving Oath. Continue reading “Double Shot From the Trader’s Desk: “Indian Four” & “Victory Lap””