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.
The relationship between Axe and Lara has taken on a different dynamic this season, and I’m glad to see it. I would guess any relationship where one person has an extremely stressful job would have bumps in the road. I do wonder why Lara wants an apology from Axe at dinner. He told her the truth – she was not ready to take her service bigger. Instead of an apology, she should be thanking him for opening her eyes to what she truly needs to do in order to take her business to the next level. He hurt her feelings? Well, businesswomen don’t pout and sulk when things don’t go their way. Suck it up Buttercup!
I understand that she feels she is not a 50/50 partner in their relationship right now. She married a General, and he expects his troops to carry out his orders. She knows this is who he is, but now that is it turned on her, she doesn’t know what to make of it. There is a saying: don’t get a cat, and expect it to fetch your slippers. Lara has got a tiger, and he’s not about to change his stripes.
I hated Bryan in this episode. I just couldn’t stand how he was manipulating the potential jurors. He was basically saying just because someone has or makes a substantial amount of money, they just have to be guilty of something. Nobody gets that rich legally. I will never understand people who are envious of those who are wealthy. I see people with outrageous wealth, and instead of sneering, I’d like to be as successful as they are. I don’t hate the 1% – I’d like to be the 1%. But that’s just me.
Thoughts & Observations on “Victory Lap”
“Victory Lap” was an episode where we see Axe struggling what to do about his Sandicot bond position. I’m going to take a very unpopular stance when I say I don’t really understand why he was struggling with a business decision.
At his War Room lunch, Axe is looking for answers and options regarding Sandicot. Axe Capital will lose $500 million dollars if they don’t get paid. It looks as if no one wants to say it, but Everett finally whispers “austerity”. I agree with Wags when he basically says austerity isn’t a dirty word. It’s unfortunate, but if you or I live beyond our means, we’d have to make tough decisions in order to get our financial situation back on track. The impact of austerity measures are laid bare by Taylor and it’s a pretty grim tale. Axe doesn’t like what he hears, but wants the plan modeled out.
I get that Axe does not want to do anything that will destroy the town. It’s a nice sentiment, but it is showing he is emotionally involved in an investment. As I have stated so many times in this blog, you can NEVER get emotional about a trade or an investment. Be passionate about trading and investing, but never emotional. I short stocks all the time, which means I want the stock price to decline. If that company reports bad earnings, the stock price will fall. I’ll make money, but people who own the stock (many times employees of the firm) get hurt. I can’t worry about that. It’s a trade, and I have a responsibility to my clients to do what is best for them. Axe gets paid a nice fee and a percentage of his clients profits to make these types of decisions.
Never make an investment that may have an emotional attachment. You will never be able to make clear decisions regarding it. I guess that is why I have chosen to stick with domestic equities, and will never be in a position like Axe Capital is in.
Dangiz is worried about Russian hackers and Wendy equates this with the Sandicot deal. I wonder if she pushing her agenda here with the “advice” she gives him. She calls Axe Capital “agents of chaos” that “can destabilize all our lives just because they feel like it”. Is she talking about Axe Capital, or is she projecting how she feels about Axe? Hello, Wendy? You do know you work at an investment firm, and their goals are not to destabilize lives, but to make money, right? Again, this is just an investment gone bad, and Axe needs to figure out the best way to recoup losses. “Fighting for those people and fighting for yourself are one and the same”. Um, what? Let me ask a question: who put the town in the position to be “destabilized” in the first place? And, lastly, she laments that these decisions are being made “at a mansion in the Hamptons”. I guess doing it in a smoke-filled back room would make it better.
After viewing a potential commercial regarding Sandicot, Danzig asks if there is any way to save the town. Food hall (I don’t even know what that is)? Minor league baseball team? Speaking of baseball, Taylor comes through like Big Papi in telling it like it is when it comes to Sandicot:
“A town is like a business, and when a business operates beyond its means, when the numbers don’t add up and the people in charge continue on heedless of that fact, sure some sugar daddy, usually in the form of the Federal Government, will come along and scoop them up and cover the shortfalls, well, that truly offends me”.
Standing O from Lady Trader for Taylor!
I love Taylor; I have for a long time. They emotionally disconnect from an investment. That is one of the things that make them a great analyst. They see that the town put itself in this position. A town doesn’t get this bad overnight; it’s a long process. The townspeople continually elected officials that continually mismanaged the town funds, the pension, etc. If you keep doing the same thing, expecting to get different results, I think that is called crazy. Taylor is correct again: austerity will either make the town “come out stronger or cease being; either result absolutely natural”.
Wendy set the ground rules for her relationship with Axe: no sessions. So why did she think it was OK to go to Axe to talk about her personal feelings about Sandicot, and not expect for him to want to express his? (Wendy has two sets of rules: ones for her, and ones for everyone else.) Wendy is the firm’s “performance coach” not a financial analyst. Her job is to deal with feelings, so it’s natural for her to feel empathy for the people of the town. However, I will say it again: THIS IS JUST AN INVESTMENT! There should be no emotions involved! She has worked at Axe Capital a very long time, training “killers”. It’s like all of a sudden she realizes that what she trained them to do is, you know, kill.
I defend Axe a lot, but barging into Wendy’s office during a session when he hears Danzig quit is 100% wrong (bookmark this since it may be the only time it happens). Axe believes Wendy told Dangiz to quit (she didn’t say those exact words, but…..). Has Wendy become a liability just like Lara predicted? She is now hurting his company instead of helping.
Axe goes to visit Lawrence Boyd in prison for some info on Black Jack Foley. It was made to seem like Boyd was in a very violent atmosphere. However, Boyd would most likely be in a Federal prison with other white collar criminals. And, I’m sure with this friendship with the AG, he’d get his pick of facilities. I know people who have spent time in Federal prison, and let’s just say there is a reason it’s called “Club Fed”.
I have been hard on Lara in my last few posts (and even earlier in this one). I think she redeemed herself in “Victory Lap”.
I found it very fitting that Lara is talking about who they “used to be” in a room filled with purses, shoes, and clothing worth more than most people’s homes. They sure have come a long way from having to hide from bill collectors. “Did anyone ever help us or look out for us? The way we were brought up, it was always them or us, and it still is. Now go do what you gotta do!” I will admit, the tone was a bit harsh, but in that moment, it was like she was reliving those hard times of her childhood. I think she was masking her pain with coldness. Lara knows that explaining it to Axe in those words will certainly sway his decision. The cat who swallowed the canary grin she has on her face as Axe heads out tell us she knows she’s back at being his confidante.
Did Axe seek Lara’s opinion, knowing full well that she would side with choice that was best for the firm? Was he seeking advice or confirmation? Either way, he gives the orders to seize everything in the town.
As Axe speeds away in his Ferrari, AC/DC’s “For Those About To Rock” plays in the background. Perhaps AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” would have been more appropriate.