On Wednesday, January 24, Showtime released new promotional material for Billions season three. Are there spoilers, clues and hints hidden in the poster art and logo? I immediately began scrutinizing the photos for suggestion and significance. I mean, after all, it is instinctive to analyze everything since I have a degree in that field and do it for a living. It’s second nature. When dissecting the details of the promo material, you’ll never guess what I found. So come with me on a deep dive and see if we can come up with an indication of what’s to come.
Let’s start with the logo.
Ominous, is it not? Dark slate grey background of metal with exposed rivets. Reminds me of a war ship and we know the Billions‘ writers like to reference historical battles and cannon fodder. Is that grey metal iron? In some biblical meanings, natural iron is a symbol of natural, rational truth. Will the truth come out that Wendy violated her contract to warn Chuck about Ice Juice and will Dake discover that she shorted the Ice Juice stock? This scenario is definitely a favorite of mine and my fellow blogger/partner in crime, Damianista, and she talks about it here. Oh, and I’ll come back to biblical references in a few paragraphs below, even though it seems like it’s out of left field at the moment. Stick with me kid, it will make sense in a bit.
What’s even more prominent about the Billions season three logo is the golden text. Gold as a precious metal signifies wealth, grandeur and prosperity and billionaires are not adverse to gold bar collections, including Axe. But take a second look at the golden text. Is it me, or is Billions fading, almost bleeding or melting? Are the billions disappearing into perhaps, millions? Is Axe’s financial empire on the brink of ruin? Is Axe Capital soon to be erased like the letters? Quick, someone grab a gold Sharpie® and start coloring the font back in. Please help my Bobby.
Now for the meaty part of my post, the group photo.
So many things to examine, so many directions this could turn! Let’s start with the Captain Obvious–the photo is quite reminiscent of The Last Supper in my opinion, at least in terms of basic content. There are stark differences, too. I had the pleasure of viewing Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper mural in person while traveling in Italy. The hosts at Milan’s Santa Maria delle Grazie church did not allow us visitors to take photographs at the viewing and there were watchdogs in both front and back of us. I still wonder to this day why they just didn’t confiscate our phones upon entry. And I’m not going to lie, I still tried to take a photo without the flash. I placed my iPhone camera in my cleavage and inconspicuously pressed the shutter button 3-4 times, hoping, but not able to check if my Inspector Gadget technique worked until after we left. Alas, Dr. Claw must have thwarted my efforts because my aim was way off, but I have a perfect picture of the ceiling.
ANYHOO, let’s compare and contrast The Last Supper with The Axelrod Supper, as I lovingly refer to it.
The Axelrod Supper
The wrinkled, white, disheveled table linen in the Billions promo photo reminds me of the cloth in the original mural. The wine spillage, possibly to imitate blood, could signify there will be blood spilled this season. And we know Christianity teaches that communion of bread and wine is symbolic of the sacramental blood that Christ shed on the cross. This got me thinking, who will be the sacrificial lamb this season? If things go the way I think they will this season, Axe and Chuck will mend fences to protect Wendy from the Ice Juice violation (mentioned above) and someone will have to be sacrificed in doing so. And let’s go one further — who is Judas? I’ve been leery about Taylor from the get-go. Even Bryan seems to be giving them side eye in the photo. Ever heard of the saying “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is?” Taylor had too quick of a story line to be positioned where they are at Axe Capital for my taste. I don’t trust them. They told Wendy it was difficult seeing their father laid off from his position in the aviation field, which was a financial burden in their household. Did Axe’s short in aviation stock during 9/11 have any part in Taylor’s home life situation? If my math is correct, Taylor’s age would fit that timeline. Is this a slow revenge? I talk about revenge a little later in this post when discussing the color red. Carry on.
Like The Last Supper, there are disciples at The Axelrod Supper. Team Axe has his followers. Team Chuck has his. Albeit, not as many as portrayed in Leonardo’s original. Chuck Sr. is the only one looking anywhere but the table. Almost like an afterthought of disinterest. I anticipate there will be even more strife between Senior and Son this season after Chuck “sold his friend” Ira down the river just to dismantle Axe and leaving Senior in a precarious spot at the end of season two.
Wendy is somewhat centered between the two titans in what appears to be a clear division between the two teams, per usual. Is she at the center of all the discord this season? Isn’t she always, just a little bit? Or is she? Is there a division at all? Is she the rock caught between a hard place or the glue adhering the teams together? Folklore has it Mary Magdalene was at the center of discord between Him and his disciples. Ponder that. Moreover, Chuck isn’t positioned all the way to the right with his team. He’s leaning toward them, not seated like Axe is with his team, but standing almost center alongside Wendy with a noticeable separation between him and his team, another clue to me that Chuck will probably work with Axe this season to save Mary Magdalene. There’s no question I’m #TeamAxe all the way, so on behalf of the team let me just chant, “Red rover, red rover, let Chuck come on over.” The real question is, where does Chuck’s loyalty lie this season? Loyalty lie? Loyalties LIE! Which happens to be the premise of the new Billions season three teaser that can be seen here.
But the biggest clue about someone’s loyalty came from the Billions Instagram account. They shared the promo photo again, but as three separate sections of the photo and in three separate posts. They sectioned out the left side, the middle and the right side. Three characters in each photo.
On the left side we have Wags, Taylor and Lara. The Instagram caption read: “Loyalties will shift.” Hmmm, who will be disloyal from this group of three? Will Lara divorce Axe? Will Taylor act revenge? In that very same tease video I mentioned above, Wags states to Taylor, “Do you know what the source of my loyalty to that man is?”
In the middle we have Axe, Wendy and Chuck. The Instagram caption read: “Power will shift.” In the second season we saw Chuck gain the upper hand, but will the power shift back to Axe like in season one? Or neither? According to Deadline, both Axe and Chuck will “…battle for their own survival amid new forces and powerful enemies.” And what do two arch nemeses do when an outside enemy attacks? They join forces against the new threat. I smell a new Justice League. After all, “justice” is fitting for Chuck. Wendy is Wonder Woman (sorry Rachel if you’re reading this), Axe is Aquaman because my two heartthrobs are Damian and Jason Momoa (sorry Damian) and Chuck is Batman because he likes to wear leather and masks (sorry in general).
On the right side we have Bryan, Kate and Senior. No caption was given other than airdate and time. Why I wonder? Are these characters inconsequential? Just throwaways?
I ‘glued’ the three sections back together to create a solid, landscape style picture. Perfect for a Twitter header photo.
There’s food and wine, just as there was in The Last Supper. Different foods, but similarities. They speculate, and I say they because I don’t know who they is, the food at The Last Supper would have been comprised of bread, nuts, dates, figs, honey, olive oil and wine even though grapes weren’t in season. And this feast is just as bountiful, but a feast for today. Oddly, no bread. But plenty of wine and grapes. Some nuts and berries, citrus fruits like lemons and oranges. Oysters and fish. And of course lobster. Gotta crush some lobster with Axe!
What about that huge-ass fish in the middle of the table? Is that a nod to catching Axe? Law enforcement is all about catching the BIG FISH. They’d prefer not to mess with the minnows. I believe the saying goes, “If you can’t catch the big one, cut bait!” Or what about this common phrase, “If you want to catch little fish, stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper.” I think Dake goes deep sea fishing this season and discovers a whole bunch of other little fishies swimming around in the same school with his supposed big fish Axe. Will Dake use Axe or someone else as bait to hook a different, even bigger fish? In the new teaser you can hear Wendy saying, “If one of us goes to prison, we all do.”
Speaking of fish, Wags is right at home with his sushi. It’s just precious. Everything is right in the world. Remember the sushi outburst in season two? And it’s notable that he’s the only one smiling, almost laughing, at the table. Wags is himself. I don’t smell any big changes in the Wags department. Wags needs to stay just the way he is, perfect. Maybe this season Wags will have his ass tattoo of Yosemite Sam removed.
Drinks, Glassware and Dishware
Wine 101–there are about three decanters on the table. If you enjoy red wine, decanters are the way to go. They increase oxygen exposure which greatly improves the taste by softening astringent tannins, letting fruit and floral aromas emerge.
We see three red wine drinkers depicted in the photo: Taylor, Lara, and Wendy. Lara’s glass is mostly empty and sitting in front of her at the place setting, but nonetheless it appears she drank red wine. Red is a very emotionally intense color, often associated with bad, evil or revenge. Is Taylor vengeful about what happened to her father and blames Axe? We certainly know Lara can be devilish at times, and Wendy too for that matter. But the color red is also associated with war, danger, strength, power and determination. All three characters are strong and determined in their own right. They will not go down without a fight, a perfect attribute for warfare. And yet red is also the color connected to passion, love and desire. Wendy is passionate about what she does, helping people. Taylor is passionate about numbers. Lara is passionate about family first. Is this significant at all? I don’t know. That’s for you to decide, but Showtime production took the time to give certain characters particular drinks in specific glasses. Why? Let’s delve deeper.
Kate is drinking either white wine or champagne from a more slender glass, unlike any of the other characters in the scene. White is often times associated with pureness or good. Is she the purest among them all? The good one? The one who can’t be bought and believes in the better good of what she is doing in the criminal justice landscape? And what about the small dish in front of Kate? Zoom in and you’ll see a gold Cherub hanging out on the edge of the dish. Another clue she is the angelic one?
Bobby and Bryan are drinking what appears to be the same scotch/whiskey in the same exact glass. Twinsies. The symmetry of it all makes you wonder if Connerty is breaking bread with Axe behind the scenes? Bobby has tempted him before, asking Bryan to join the Lion’s Den in season one, episode 12. After all, it was Bryan’s phone call to report the Lion Den offer that led to Dake sniffing around and determined the meeting between Axe and Bryan was in Yonkers at Axe’s co-owned pizza joint, Bruno’s. And Bryan has not been very happy with how Chuck accomplishes certain feats with his less-than legal indiscretions. It’s not a far leap to suggest Bryan wants to be a lion sooner than later.
Chuck and his father Chuck Sr. seem to be drinking a cognac in similar glasses. Although, Chuck Sr. could be drinking a rosé in a stemless wine glass. Either way, the Rhoades are sipping on drinks reminiscent of the Yale Club scene in season two.
Wendy stands out in red. Chuck has a matching red tie. Even Taylor is wearing a red under shirt. I spoke earlier that the color red is an intense color often associated with bad, evil or revenge.
Bobby, Lara and Taylor appear to be in different shades of grey. Grey is between black and white. Perhaps everything isn’t so black and white this season. Who’s good? Who’s bad? Who’s on what team? Grey can also be used metaphorically to convey gloom and dullness. Is there a gloomy cloud over the Axelrods? Over Axe Capital? But look who else is in a dark grey suit. Chuck! Chuck is blending colors with the Axelrods. I think I just figured out the Justice League theme colors-red and grey.
Chuck Senior, Wags and Bryan are in blue. In many cultures the color blue is significant in religious beliefs, brings peace, or is believed to keep the bad spirits away. It is also associated with open spaces, freedom and expansiveness. Is someone spreading their wings or switching teams? Senior already appears indifferent. Will Bryan join the Lion’s Den? But look who else is in blue. Chuck! Chuck is blending colors with two teams plus his wife — blue shirt (Team Chuck), dark grey suit (Team Axe) with red tie (Team Wendy).
Kate is wearing a champagne-colored dress or blouse. Light and airy, just like her drink. Pure and angelic.
Senior is wearing a green tie. We all know that green is the symbol of money and he represents everything there is about old money.
Team Axe – Grey
Team Chuck – Blue
Team Wendy – Red
A pair of sunglasses. Don’t think they had Ray-Bans in biblical times. And they look like shades Axe would wear with mirrored lenses, like the pair he wore in season one in the episode The Good Life. Odd to be on the table and can’t wrap my head around it because they seem to be out of place, even in terms of location.
Blue Handbag. There appears to be a clutch in front of Lara near her place setting. Is she wanting freedom too? The color blue can also symbolize loyalty, strength, wisdom and trust. It is also known to have a calming effect on the psyche. Blue is the color of the sky and the sea and is often used to represent these images. There are many sea creatures on the table, but other than that, an odd prop for the feast, just like the sunglasses mentioned above.
The Chandelier. Copper and antique looking, yet ornate. Chandeliers evolved from the candelabra and were invented during the medieval era. It originally used candles as its primary source of light and remained in use that way up until the 18th century. A fancy chandelier with a rugged warship-like backdrop? It seems out of place in this NEW Last Supper. Mixing the old with the new? Mixing old money (Chuck) with new money (Axe) to save Wendy from the windbreakers?
SPOILER ALERT – READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!!
Jewelry. Someone is missing a ring. Is it for show to conceal from the public and law enforcement what is really going on or is there true marital separation? Me thinks for show.
This was a fun little post to write. I got a lot of season one vibes, strangely. But all in all, am I over analyzing? Of course. Was it fun? You betcha 🙂 I hope you enjoyed reading it and feel free to play Where’s Waldo with the photo and chime in with other clues you notice, too!