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.
A warning for those just starting to watch Billions in the UK, this blog will contain spoilers for all of season 1.
To know who Bobby Axelrod is means having an understanding of where he has been and how he has gotten to here. At the moment we just have ‘the here’ with a couple of anecdotes thrown in. Granted the 9/11 reveal was fairly big, but in the end just added more questions.
The simple view of Bobby Axelrod is a husband, a father and the owner of Axe Capital. Digging under the surface the clear picture starts to blur.
His wife loves him and is loyal to him yet it is clear there are things she does not know about him or about how he will react in certain circumstances. In Magical thinking Lara tells her sister Lu that she needs Bobby “to give her something” i.e. she needs him to share with her. It probably hurt her knowing he was off sharing his feelings with Wendy. In ‘the Conversation’ we see the first slither of doubts cross her mind even as the words she speaks say the opposite. I found it interesting that Bobby decided to leave all that money in the house rather than return it to the bank. Is this a test for his wife? At this stage I wouldn’t put it past him. Lara did not appreciate the inference of having to up and run soon by keeping the money in the house. Nor did she appreciate the affection with which Bobby spoke of Wendy in the same scene. It seems to me Mr & Mrs Axelrod may be about to hit choppy waters. I hope that boat came with life jackets.
His boys look up to him but then they are children who still think that dad knows best and are still at the stage where they prefer ‘cool’ dad far better than ‘realistic and responsible’ mum. The reality is that cool dad is not doing himself or his boys any favours. They are childish enough that they thank him for his undermining of whatever their mother says and does. They will grow out of that eventually. Continue reading “Value of Loyalty and Bobby Axelrod’s varying degrees”
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.