Welcome to “From the Trader’s Desk” and my recap of “Dead Cat Bounce”. (I’m just going to say this upfront: I hate that term, but only because I’m a cat momma!)
We open up at the Spartan-Ives sponsored “Thought Leaders” conference, which costs $3,000 to attend. These types of conferences are common, and can be market movers. Certain managers will mention a stock they like (or don’t) and it will move the stock price as they are speaking.
That is what you get when you try to poach Axe’s most valuable employee, Todd.
Axe starts picking on Todd’s obviously scripted speech at Spartan-Ives “Global Thought Leaders” panel moderated by Lawrence Boyd. While Krakow’s choice of poet is Pindar, Axe’s seems to be Walt Whitman (who can forget the “barbaric yawp” scene from Dead Poets Society?). Is it just me or does Wags’ smile turn to concern as Axe leaves the room saying Krakow’s “party cocktail tutor” owes him a refund?
Axe apologizes to Boyd for being a bad boy but Boyd cannot be happier about what just happened. It seems he picked the panel for its entertainment value. The street will talk about this for weeks and whoever was not in the room will make Spartan-Ives their prime broker to be able to attend next year. Axe is not happy about playing “the bull” to Boyd’s “red sash” every time. Continue reading “Billions on Showtime, Season 2, Episode 2: Dead Cat Bounce”
Welcome to “From the Trader’s Desk” for the 2nd Season of Billions! The original concept of these posts was to recap of 2-3 episodes from my point of view as a trader, and to help with any confusion with “fin speak”. However, “Risk Management” was so meaty; I had to dive right in. So now, without further ado….
”Trading is gambling, legalized gambling.”
Damianista will tell you that I told her that on one of our first meetings. I think she asked me how I got into the financial industry, and I told her I loved to gamble, and this was a way to do it legally.
This blog has been a long time coming. Damianista and JaniaJania have been wishing to see it up for a long time. I wanted to wait until I had seen all 12 episodes before posting.
We had devoured all the early promos for the show and have been blogging about Billions for over a year. We attempted to get a feel for the characters as early as we could and this helped immensely as we discussed what we thought about Bobby and Wendy. Even early on, it was clear those two had a connection. After Naming Rights, we were having one of our discussions and I mentioned that I thought there was some Peter Pan in Bobby and Wendy. I was encouraged to investigate this further as Jania Jania said “Peter Pan is an archetype now…the boy who doesn’t want to grow up.” Investigate I have and there is a fair bit of Peter in Bobby. I am not saying this was intentional on the writer’s part, but that I had fun digging through the book looking for it. .
Quotes from Peter Pan by J M Barrie are in italics. The other quotes not in italics are from Billions.
Bobby and Dr Mojo/Peter & Wendy with sprinkles of lost boys and Tink
Bobby even has his own Wendy, (hereinafter referred to as “Dr Mojo”) and he has built his house around her.
“She knew of no Peter, and yet he was here and there in John and Michael’s minds, while Wendy’s began to be scrawled all over with him. The name stood out in bold letter than any of the other words andas Mrs Darling gazed she felt that it had an oddly cocky appearance.”
Dr Mojo’s mind seems to be scrawled all over with Bobby Axelrod and Bobby Axelrod is quite as cocky as Peter Pan. Dr Mojo knows what Bobby is, but she stays by his side for a very long time. She forgives his transgressions and mistakes.
“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.