We sit in the mud, my friend, and reach for the stars.
― Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Sons
Here we are, at the end of Season 2 of Billions, and what a ride it’s been. I know I’m not alone in wishing that these folks wrote and worked and filmed and screened all at the same time, so we wouldn’t have to suffer the excruciating dry months of waiting for the next season to start. In this season, the entire lot of them exceeded all expectations. The story was tight, the performances even tighter. It’s like they all came into their own skins this season and it was a treat to watch.
My review here won’t be a recap, because you’ve already read those. Instead I’ll focus on the father and son scenes central to Season 2, Episode 12, “Ball in Hand.” And I can’t leave the season without talking a bit about Bobby and Wendy. While most other connections between characters are clear, it seems there reigns a central mystery, still, between who Bobby and Wendy are to each other. This season, wonderfully, didn’t solve the mystery a bit, it only intensified it.
May I just say I will miss Sunday nights? My typical Sunday evening runs like this: I watch the show at 10pm and take notes. Then I watch for a second time and take more notes. Then I sit down and write. I typically go to bed as the sun rises. It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Writing for hours as if the world is waiting for my recap… But it is not about that… It is about the show and the thrill it gives me: WORTH IT! 😀 Besides, Billions is the ONLY show, other than Mad Men, to date, where I care about every single character. It does not mean I love them all, but I care about them all, which I think is the biggest achievement a show can ever have. I give standing ovation for all brilliant minds behind and in front of the camera and give special thanks to my husband for bearing with me for the last couple of months and letting me sleep until noon on Mondays.
A three in one special this week from your intrepid reporter. I was away across the merry pond having a merry time with limited vpn and limited time to spend on my usual pondering over the intricacies of this show. Was going to skip writing about Season 2 Ep. 9, 10, and 11 entirely, but once I returned home and caught up, the muse came rushing back and here I am with my bits on “Sic Transit Imperium”, “With or Without You”, and “Golden Frog Time.”
The circle of story around the unfortunate little upstate NY town gutted by Axe and used by Chuck for preliminary campaign photo ops has closed. Axe did what he had to do in Sandicot, and Chuck responded with whatever he could do, given the fact that his hands were also not entirely clean in the deal. Both Axe and Chuck come out the other end relatively unscathed. The only real casuality of the story is Bobby’s relationship with Bruno, his childhood father figure of sorts. But as Lara succinctly says: Fuck Bruno.
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?”
Nearly midpoint to Billions Season 2, and tables are turning in Episode 5, “Indian Four”. We start the show geared up to go thru all the machinations, ebb and flow, tit for tat, cat and mouse that has been the hallmark of the series so far. And there is plenty of that rapid-fire tennis match back and forth to watch, but, there’s also something quite new this episode. It feels sort of homey, much less technical, more touchy-feely, dare I say, more human.