My earlier “What to Expect When We are Expecting Billions Season 4” post was based on my own thoughts and a few hints from the “You gotta pick sides” teaser for the new season. The recently dropped official Season 4 trailer and the new “An American Oligarch” teaser, while answering a question or two I had, make me ask hundred more 😀
We all know they edit trailers so they do not give away much but a taste of what is coming. Still, I cannot help dive deep into the trailer, dissect it, try to put the pieces together and ultimately have fun! Speculation rocks until we have Billions back on TV on March 17 9:00PM ET/PT. So shall we?
Well, what a difference a year makes! 🙂 The trailer finds Axe and Chuck sitting together in a room which I suspect is Chuck’s new personal office from which he is planning his next move. Their exchange of words sets the tone for the new season.
“Here we are, friends. Of a sort. I need your assistance on this one.”
“You want me to help put you in the state Attorney General’s office.”
“Yes, I do.”
“There is something that I need in return.”
“Taylor Mason. I want them in a fucking cell.”
Both Axe and Chuck are out for revenge. They seem to be under pressure to deal with their new nemeses. We hear Chuck Sr. telling Chuck he needs to get on the offensive because everyone else seems to have lined up against him while Wags, who seems to be back to his bathrobe-wearing, nightclub-hopping days, reminding Axe he is an American oligarch and Taylor must pay.
Now that the palace coup is complete, what is next?
The trailer confirms my earlier guess that “New York born and bred” Chuck is running for the New York State Attorney General seat and he needs a little help from friends.
I am dying to know about the extent of cooperation Axe and Chuck will have this season. And I hope their honeymoon does not end prematurely because those two brains, and add Wendy to the mix, together can move mountains. Coming from two different worlds, Axe and Chuck have access to different kinds of resources and connections that a cooperation between them would only strengthen each man’s hand. Besides, wouldn’t it be fun to see Hall solving a personal problem for Chuck or Chuck Senior playing family therapist to Axe? 😀
And when I see Scolari and a few others getting arrested at what seems to be a funeral that both Chucks attend, I cannot help ask whether it is Axe who has made that arrest happen…
…especially when we see him telling Chuck this is where he does some version of happy dance 🙂
Moreover, seeing Dollar Bill yell “Not OK” at Axe’s face — no they are not pretending! — hints that Bill leaving some quarantine area wearing a mask may not have anything to do with making money for Axe Capital but may have something to do with helping Chuck out, the man who tried to put both Axe and Bill in a fucking cell! Does Bill know Chuck may help them put Taylor in a cell?
Now, it is one thing Axe feels betrayed and wants Taylor to have nothing, but it is another thing he wants to see them in a cell. The latter, I believe, exhibits desperation on Axe’s side. Is it because he knows Taylor’s algorithm which we see him closely examining on his plane will work?
But then again how is Axe able to access the algorithm? Does he have a mole at Taylor Mason Capital? Has someone sneaked into their logs or their white board and take a picture of the algorithm maybe with this hidden camera?
Oh, and, Taylor probably getting the FDNY invest with Taylor Mason Capital is the ultimate personal move that would deeply, I mean DEEPLY, hurt Axe. I also wonder whether Axe running on the streets as well as climbing the stairs two at a time at Axe Capital have something to do with Taylor outwitting him again.
No wonder we hear Axe saying “I’m overmatched for the first time since I can remember.” I believe he is talking about Taylor who is beating him in his own game.
And while Axe can use his people such as Bill or Hall to help Chuck out, who does Chuck have at his service to help him with Axe’s little problem?
Allard and “T” who we see in the trailer together come to mind. Those two people do not have safe seats in the SDNY because they have the reputation of being close to Chuck. We also know they have helped Chuck with some extracurricular stuff in the past! 🙂 It may be that Chuck offers them positions in Albany should he become the new state AG and they may be willing to serve as Chuck’s eyes and ears in the SDNY in his absence and even help him out with putting Taylor in a cell?
Taylor’s rise from intern to CEO happened at light speed that while they are super smart and that they may have developed the best algorithm ever, they still do not have enough experience in the job. Besides, it is impossible even for the most experienced to control the epsilon aka the random error. And while they ultimately managed the Tsunami disaster well, Taylor admitted to Axe that when the crisis hit they did not even know to look for the points Axe could easily connect. So Wendy is right when she recommends Axe patience. An unexpected crisis will hit Taylor’s shop sooner or later. But we all know Axe is not the guy who will wait for the disaster to hit. He needs to dominate.
That said Axe is not free to take any action he wants to crush Taylor. And it is quite fascinating that the man who offered to take care of Axe’s “pest control” problem when Taylor fucked him over may now be Taylor’s guardian angel!
Grigor Andolov has moved his money to Taylor Mason Capital because a man who would not kill for his money cannot keep his money. Andolov has explicitly told Axe he knows he will make a move against Taylor, and if his move costs Andolov his money then the two of them will meet again… and it seems Andolov shows up to tell Axe to be sure not to forget about him. And do you think the two big guys who seem to accompany Axe everywhere are to protect him from Andolov’s possible aggression? Yikes!
By the way it is not only Andolov, is it? Taylor has been at Axe Capital long enough to know about the shady side of the business. When the push comes to shove, would they be willing to cooperate with Bryan, the new interim US Attorney at the SDNY, to get done with Axe once and for all? Axe should be extra careful in covering his tracks as he plots his operation to take down Taylor.
Knowing they will have to defend their company, one of the first things Taylor seems to do is to hire a COO to help run the newly formed company and protect it against Axe’s aggression.
Meet Sara Hammon portrayed by Samantha Mathis!
At this point we do not know whether Taylor hires Sara only for her professional credentials or whether she has some history or experience with Axe.
And while he is committed to destroy Taylor, Axe also needs to raise capital to rebuild The Atlantis, ahem, Axe Capital 😀
“The money just walked in.”
Who is this woman played by Tony award-winning actress Nina Arianda?
She obviously has the kind of MONEY Axe wants invested in Axe Capital and appears in the season trailer a few times! Have they known each other for a while or just met? And while we have always seen Axe being close to, and sometimes even friends with his investors, have we ever seen him with an investor in a car getting ready to storm the castle?!?!… I cannot help ask whether it is just business or more than that…
…which brings me to my next question: Where is Lara in all of this? No sight of her or the boys in the season trailer.
Axe was an oblivious dad at best in Season 3. He thinks his boys should be fine since his new apartment is stocked with video games and snacks. He cancels on his children when he has to meet with the new Halls or when he feels like getting into a pissing contest with Taylor about who can stay longer in the office. Besides, the gap between Axe and Lara felt so deep throughout the season that only a miracle could bring them back together. I see that miracle in the Axelrod boys. Knowing Billions never wastes a word, (a) Gordie talking to Wendy about his parents’ separation, and (b) Lara admitting to Wendy that her boy is having some issues and he will get professional help hint to a possible family drama which could be the much needed wake-up call for Axe! I so hope he goes back to his old family man self. And until then, at least for me, Bobby Axelrod is NOT a Wilbury! But the recent news that Malin Akerman will have a “recurring” but not a “regular” role in the next season of Billions hints they may not get back together after all…
I salute Billions writers for deftly turning the story from an inter-sectoral pissing contest into an intra-sectoral and an inter-generational one. Axe and Chuck are seasoned at what they do while Taylor and Bryan are inexperienced. They are young idealists in their own right who have tried to avoid the shady games they witnessed their mentors play. And both believed in their mentors who constantly disappointed, humiliated, and ultimately suffocated them. And now we see Taylor telling their employees that there were things they were comfortable at Axe Capital that they will never do at Taylor Mason Capital while Bryan swearing to support and defend the constitution in his new position as the US Attorney of the SDNY.
Yet, it may not take much time for Bryan and Taylor to understand that, to be able to keep their place in the world, they may need to bend and compromise. And especially when the urge to protect themselves gets the better of them, they may have the capacity to do things they never thought they ever would. It would be a total delight to see their growth and transformation in the powerful seats they occupy now.
We see Taylor pointing out “even when one keeps things mathematical, a satisfying solution isn’t always available.” Then what? It is certainly concerning to see Andolov knocking on Taylor’s door and but it is even more concerning to see the two of them clinking glasses where Taylor tells Andolov to take them out?!?! Whaaa? Take WHO out? And HOW? I hope they are not talking about some kind of pest control here! Taylor washing their face and looking into the mirror inevitably reminds me of Axe doing the same to calm himself down just before his meeting with the families of his co-workers that died on 9/11 in Billions Pilot. Taylor seems to be under a lot of pressure. Does it have to do with Andolov being on their tail all the time?
We have always seen Taylor trying to do the right thing. But can they perform at their full capacity under pressure? Would they feel the urge to go back to their former mentor at some point and join forces with him to somehow get rid of the big bad wolf called Andolov?
Bryan is the other character we have always seen trying to do the right thing in his job in Billions. But can he really perform as the US attorney of the SDNY at his full capacity under Jeffcoat’s watch? And is he bringing Lonnie back to Southern thinking the enemy of his enemy is his friend? 🙂
Now, I wonder if Chuck’s run for the State Attorney General’s office is to take revenge or to signal Bryan that he is not just walking away and so they need to find a way to kiss and make up? The words they use in what looks like Chuck’s office do not sound happy.
“I know what you’re doing. I am here to tell you, don’t.”
“I’m running and when I win I’m going to roll over you like it’s Tiananmen Square.”
Is this why Bryan becomes the angriest sandwich eater in human history as his former boss is campaigning on stage at the Feast of San Gennaro Festival?
Would Bryan feel the urge to go back to with his former mentor when he realizes the SDNY with Jeffcoat in the AG’s office is not the place he wants to be? I have two words for Bryan to help him with his decision: Jose Lugo. And I cannot tell you how badly I want Chuck and Bryan to join forces and take down Jeffcoat!
And what about Kate? She is sitting close to Jeffcoat as Bryan is being sworn in as the US Attorney for the SDNY. Being the political animal she is, would Kate play teacher’s pet to the AG or be willing to work with Bryan or for Chuck behind the scenes?
Oh, and, we all know Jeffcoat will not just stay put. Seeing him eat with Black Jack Foley of all people does not make me happy one bit!
“Give me what you’ve got on Mr. Rhoades.”
Where we left them in Season 3 Finale speaks volumes for what motivates Axe and Chuck.
It is not money. It is not power. It is certainly the love of the game. Both men are excited about the next challenge, you can almost feel the adrenaline flowing in their veins. And I believe THAT IS, ladies and gentlemen, why Wendy is attracted to both of them in the first place. The new world our characters live in puts Wendy in a happy place for the first time since the Billions pilot. Yet, she may be feeling responsible for what both men have recently gone through since it was Wendy who told Chuck to find a way to get rid of Jeffcoat and who convinced Axe to put Taylor back on the raise team.
While Wendy may disagree with Axe at times, like she did over Taylor’s compensation, she built Axe Capital as much as Axe did and she will do whatever it takes to protect what they built together. In Axe’s words, she’s the company’s “fucking spirit animal.” And now that Taylor has single-handedly changed Wendy’s view about what to do about them from “look inward” and “be patient” to “fuck them over” she may help Axe with fine-tuning Operation Destroy Taylor. Wendy meeting Birchie at a restaurant, looking for an address where she seems to push an envelope across the desk (she is wearing the same ring in both scenes) hint that she may be more directly involved in business this season. And now that we know she can get as good as her two boys at being very bad, I cannot wait to see how Wendy helps Axe and Chuck to win!
In Season 4’s first teaser, we hear Axe say we now live in a universe split down the middle and we have got to pick sides.
What side are you on?
It goes without saying that I sincerely believe Axe and Chuck asked for what came their way from Taylor and Bryan, respectively. Yet, as a middle aged woman, I know that even when you want to do the right thing you should always have to negotiate your way and make compromises to get just a fraction of what you want to get done. That is why I am on the side of life experience. And knowing both Axe and Chuck have a tendency to act on impulse, in Wendy I trust 🙂