Five days till Billions Season 3 premiere, and I don’t know about you, but I’m at a loss to remember where we left off. One, the finer points of plot don’t stick to the neurons as much as the character development and two, binging TV seems to wreak havoc with attention spans. I mean, how can one possibly remember the in’s and out’s of a show watched over 12 weeks when most watching is done binging all 12 episodes over a few days? It’s a strange new cognitive disconnect I’ve just begun to notice. The way we watch is changing the way we remember. Of course, binging affords rewatching and nothing (but time and space) stops one from binge watching the prior two seasons in preparation for the third. The total recall afforded by such rewatching is what I intend to do with this post, but requiring less time and space. One post, all twelve episodes, a scant few sentences an episode. Just to hit refresh on our information clogged memories a bit. Once the neurons labeled Billions are lit back up, I’ll do a quick look-see at all the previews of Season 3 they’ve shown us so far. Sound like a plan? Alright, here goes!
Episode One: Risk Management
Chuck and Wendy are at the edge of splitsville, hashing it all out at the therapists while Bobby lays fresh plans to rebuild and renew his hollowed out offices without Wendy. Chuck is playing defense against the Attorney General who has sent investigator Oliver Drake to suss it all out. Axe is primed for battle, with new acolyte Taylor who has the talent to watch it all just as closely as he does. Meanwhile Doctor Rhoades is seeking fresher pastures and Mrs. Axelrod reminds us she’s a licensed nurse and has some new business ideas.
Episode Two: Dead Cat Bounce
Oliver Drake sniffs around both Axe and Wendy, trying to build a story around the $5 million Wendy took home last season. Chuck sets his gaze on Spartan Ives as the big win he needs to make things right with the AG. The attack sends Lawrence Boyd to Bobby for his help. Bobby sees himself in Taylor, but sans the idealism and disinterest in competition.
Episode Three: Optimal Play
Bobby is feeling the Wendy-sized hole left at Axe Capital and wants to crush his competitor, who is keen on poaching her away for good. The battle is fought and won over a poker table with Taylor standing in for Bobby. Taylor is resistant to the Axe machine, but assimilation seems inevitable. Chuck sells his Churchill collection to pay rent, Bobby snaps it up just to show he can.
Episode Four: The Oath
Continuing with his reinvention and desire to manage public perception enough to land him a NFL team, Bobby wants to pledge his money to charity. Neither the NFL nor charity will have him. Wendy decides that being support staff for a mission to Mars is not good enough for her. She’s feeling the Axe Capital-shaped hole left in her life.
Episode Five: Currency
Rhoades is getting closer to Boyd by tapping an insider. He gets the goods. Bobby wants to make up for a particularly bad quarter by playing the currency market, but can only do that by calling in his competitors as reinforcements. His competitors are still that and he is betrayed, enough to have him going to Boyd for more help, which he gets just as he allows Boyd to get arrested. Wags, after being on the outs this season, is back in Bobby’s good graces, thanks to some cleansing detox from both Wendy and Lara.
Episode Six: Indian Four
Bobby has been eyeing an opportunity in a tiny upstate town he’s heard will be getting a casino. He puts the money down but only to get scooped by Chuck Sr. playing check mate with an old money friend Foley to interfere with Bobby’s win. Wendy accepts the invitation back to Axe, but only conditionally. Bobby lies to Lara about those conditions. Chuck accepts a plea with Boyd, and gets the AG off his back in the bargain.
Episode Seven: Victory Lap
Bobby’s money in the upstate town is toast and the Axe team debates technique and ethics of making worms-meat of the town too. (Just occurred to me how prescient was the bit about controlling populist perception with well-placed ads.) He tries to finnagle a deal with a senator, but much like the NFL and philanthropy, New York government wants nothing to do with him. Again, Bobby goes to now-jailed Boyd to get the skinny on how to defeat the establishment bullwark Foley. Wendy is back at Axe and Bobby is finding ways around the conditions she set. Chuck debates making a political run.
Episode Eight: The Kingmaker
Chuck Sr. has recruited friend Foley to help Chuck Jr. with his bid at office, but Junior doesn’t want to compromise. He wants to do it his own way by finding dirt on the other guy. Bobby similarly wants to find dirt on Foley, or at least get a meeting with him. Bobby discovers that father and son Rhoades where the ones who threw Foley in his way.
Episode Nine: Sic Transit Imperium
Bobby continues to nurse Taylor into his mini-me. Chuck has grander schemes in mind. A massive sure thing with Ice Juice. He talks up the juice, puts his own money into buying it up, then makes it go south, but not before letting Bobby’s trusted friend Boyd, who wants to have his sentence commuted, spill the juice on the Juice to Bobby. Thus Bobby is inspired to short in advance of the juice going bad, which stamps causality in a case against him for insider trading.
Episode Ten: With or Without You (and Episode Eleven: Golden Frog Time)
Lara discovers Bobby’s lie and leaves, leaving Bobby at a loss in more ways than one. The Rhoades on the other hand are in the land of booty calls.
Episode Twelve: Ball in Hand
All comes crashing for Chuck with his dad and Ira when they discover what he did to get Axe. He remains nonplussed and victorious, especially since he has Wendy back. Bobby says goodbye to his boys and reaches out to Wendy as his life preserver while he’s arrested.
Now, for the look forward. I’ll spare the words (for now!) and share some of the images from the previews. Oh, the drama of the elevator exit, the roller cam with eyes on lock, and the hand-off in New Jersey (what’s Axe doing in New Jersey??) See you on the other side folks! Billions starts on Showtime this Sunday, March 25. Be there! And, then, be here for our recaps, Damianista on Monday with a blow by blow recap, me on Wednesday with a dive into the undercurrents, and our Lady Trader cutting through the fin speak on Friday!
Can’t leave without sharing this tweet:
Paul Giamatti is great in it. Maggie Siff is great in it. Damian Lewis? Fucking dank. Malin Ackerman? Like you've never seen her before? Check. Motherfucking Dan Soder is in this show. I love Dan Soder. Watch Billions.
— Gianni Karmsace (@IanKarmel) March 19, 2018
Had to confirm with my blog-mates that “fucking dank” was a good thing. Yes, it is! It means potent like good weed. Damian Lewis? Potent. Yes indeedy. Have a feeling I’ll be saying “fucking dank” after each episode this season. Join us!