Hear Bobby Axelrod say it: “Previously on Billions”
As we cannot wait for Billions Season 4 to arrive at 9m ET on Showtime tonight, we would like to share with you our recaps from Season 3 Finale as a refresher about where we left our characters! We will as usual have our weekly Billions episode reviews on Mondays (Damianista) and Fridays (Lady Trader). Besides the Fan Fun team will collectively talk about the MVPs of the week’s episode on Wednesdays! Hope you come visit us, enjoy our Billions posts, and join the conversation on the blog. Cheers!
I always say Billions loves symmetries! And Season 3 has built up, slowly and surely, to the ultimate “palace coup” both at Axe Capital and the Southern District of New York. Given how badly the mentors have treated their protégés this season, they have practically asked for what they have just got from them. I think this old saying applies to both Axe and Chuck:
“As you sow, so shall you reap.”
Wags is right that the air smells money as McLarens, Aston Martins, Bentleys and such arrive at the Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets. Spartan-Ives is having Capital Introduction Day where hedge funds share their ideas to capture whatever they can of the $30 billion out there to be invested.
Thanks to their “icebreaker” and their recent success with Genometech Atlas, there is too much demand for Axe Capital that Spartan-Ives has reserved the largest suite, kicking off a brand new dick-measuring contest on the street: While McGann, the guy who did not bonus Axe right in the past, says people usually go to see the bearded lady at the freak show but then go to his suite, Birchie believes people will find out by the end of the day that Axe Capital is like Atlantis, once great land now totally underwater.
Taylor texts Wags they will be late because of some last minute organization — which is technically not a lie 😀
Taylor is meeting Andolov who has already read their material and approach and is curious to learn about their market outlook. While Taylor offers lightning quick moves and cutting-edge tech, words do not mean much to the Russian and do not dictate how he makes decisions. He wants to know is why Taylor is leaving the man that made them.
“The same reason you leave a house with a furnace leaking carbonmonoxide. It’s the only way to survive.”
Who can blame them?
And when they finally arrive at the suite, Taylor puts the blame on Uber just to hear from Wags that they need to live like a rich person and take a chopper next time — which I believe may happen in Season 4!
While I was not surprised by Taylor’s move to open their own shop, I was confused about their eyes lighting up when Axe put them back on the raise team in Season 3 Episode 11 Kompenso. I understand WHY only when Axe goes on the stand to talk about Axe Capital – Barry White style.
Axe introduces Taylor as the future of Axe Capital! All potential investors in the room now hear from the king that Taylor is the single most effective manager he has ever seen who made sure Axe Capital is ahead of everyone on the market followed by Taylor inviting them to come shadow them for a day and find out Elmsley Count is not about magic but focused work where the audience never sees the extra cards are here and feels the miracle.
Wendy is right.
“They are not buying your proprietary trading platform or strategies. They are buying you.”
Now that the investors know Taylor is THE one, it is only natural they will follow them wherever they go and that is why Taylor’s eyes lit up when Axe put them back on the raise team in the last episode. They knew Axe would prop them up at the pitch day! Brilliant!
Chuck finds Alvin Epstein having a foot massage at Foot Heaven. Epstein has the target letter ready and once he emails it to Pastor Zeb Jeffcoat, they are at the point of no return. The only issue is they do not know what route the AG will take. He can either threaten and try to destroy Epstein for the case against his brother or he could ask Chuck for help. Chuck and Epstein want Jeffcoat to do the latter which would happen if Jeffcoat knew they had Ashley Cutler as their star witness. And even if the AG thinks Cutler is a weak witness, if Epstein impanels a Grand Jury, he will know they are moving ahead. So Grandy Jury or No Grand Jury is the question.
Chuck Senior is right that a man can want to see his father, but not this man. This man is here to consult about the optimal play he has. Senior suggests Chuck should take a fast and aggressive game with inferior material.
Grand Jury it is. And per his plan with Epstein, Chuck will ask Jeffcoat for something in return so Jeffcoat thinks Chuck has his own reasons to accommodate him.
Read the rest of Damianista’s review here.
Is this it? Can this really be the last “From the Trader’s Desk” for this season? Sadly, the answer is yes. I have enjoyed writing about Billions from the “Wall Street” side of things, and hope you’ve enjoyed my posts as well. I also hope I helped with the “fin-speak” and in understanding the world of finance. On a personal note: I didn’t know if I would be able to contribute to FanFun when Billions started in March, after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last summer. But, not only did I contribute almost every week, I feel I have done some of my best writing. Thank you Damianista, and everyone who reads our blog for helping me get back to normal!
Instead of a basic recap, I’ll look at the two relationships that were the backbone (from the financial side anyway) of this episode: Axe-Taylor and Taylor-Wendy. I know there was a flurry of “fin-speak” at the Spartan-Ives Capital Introduction Event at CitiField (my second home on many Saturdays!), but I won’t go into details about it. I don’t think they were relevant to the overall episode (as opposed to other times when it was the meat of the story). I have updated the Billions:Glossary with all the definitions, and as always, if there is something you’d like me to explain or give examples of, please let me know.
I need to get this off my chest before I begin: I know I am in the minority (I might even be the only one) who did not like the final scene of this episode. I have not been shy of my dislike of Wendy and my complete contempt for Chuck; to see Axe at that table, not because he has to work with them (as he did in “Not You, Mr. Dake), but because he wants to, drives me nuts! I have come to accept (not understand, mind you) Axe and his relationship with Wendy. Being bezzie mates with Chuck? No, please lord, just no.
Standing inside myself, I’m losing control
You made me believe in the stories you told
Waiting impatiently, what else can I do?
I handed my future over to you, to you
Over to you – Black Sabbath
Those lyrics could be a fit for so many of the characters this season in Billions. Trust (or lack thereof) was a theme that ran through the story-lines for most of the players on the Billions field. The idea of loyalty was also at the heart of many of the relationships as well.
What is loyalty? Do you earn it or do you demand it? Axe certainly demands it from everyone in his orbit; but has he earned it? And if you don’t earn the loyalty of those around you, is it so surprising that you can lose it so quickly? If you don’t give loyalty, why should you expect it in return?
For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar’s angel
Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved him!
This was the most unkindest cut of all;
For when the noble Caesar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors’ arms,
Quite vanquished him: then burst his mighty heart
Julius Caesar Act 3, scene 2
I think we all saw it coming (and it was confirmed at the end of “Kompenso”) – Taylor breaking away to open their own shop. I’m not mad that this is the route Taylor took. Has Taylor learned all they could from Axe? Hell no! But there was not enough oxygen in the office of Axe Capital to sustain both of them for much longer. So, I agree with Taylor’s play; I just don’t agree in how they did it. I will admit though, it was a brilliant play and was in reaction to how they have been treated at Axe Capital.
Axe has made it his business to cut Taylor at every opportunity since his return to Axe Capital. I think the last straw was using Taylor’s relationship with Oscar. That taught Taylor that nothing is sacred in this business if you want to get ahead. Taylor is a brilliantly quick learner, and all that Axe has taught them has gotten us to this point.
Taylor is going to be late for the cap raise because they are meeting with Andolov, pitching Mase Cap. Why would Taylor want to deal with Andolov now, when in the past they have said he is “an international criminal”? Because not only does Taylor need that money to start their firm with a bang, but it will be a dagger in the heart to Axe Capital, which we know, is Axe. Is this payback for Oscar? Possibly, but it’s also a way for Taylor to show they can run with the big dogs. Morality takes a holiday when it’s time to seed your fund.
Axe needs Taylor at the cap raise: “the pitch doesn’t work without Taylor”. He doesn’t know how right he is! Taylor gets to the meeting just in time and right before the pitch begins, Wendy reminds the team: “they are not buying your strategies, they are buying you”. But who exactly: Taylor or Axe?
Read the rest of Lady Trader’s review here.