Billions on Showtime, Season 4 Episode 3: Chickentown

A migraine. An algorithm. A blossoming friendship. And lots of chickens! Billions gives us a fun episode in which Axe and Chuck fight at multiple fronts and end up in Chuck’s office drinking to their friendship of a sort 😀

Chuck’s day starts with a migraine and gets downhill from there.

Chuck Senior calls from Kingsford to tell his son it is time for Pericles, ahem, Chuck, to stroll the Parthenon, ahem, the casino built on Senior’s land.  They are having the grand opening with fanfare and two important union leaders with 400K potential votes for Chuck in attendance. Chuck has to show up with Wendy, smile, shake hands and seal the deal. And when Chuck resists:

Senior: “Do you think JFK complained when Ol’ Papa Joe sat him down with steel workers?”

Junior: “You’re delivering Schenectady, dad. Not Ohio.”

For those of you that do not know, a presidential candidate who did not win Ohio never won a presidential election. And, according to Senior, Schenectady is the Ohio of New York State.

The opening door does not bring Donna with Excedrin but Lonnie who only has Tums and bad news. And he really seems to enjoy himself as he tells Chuck that his firm may need to cancel the fundraising they have organized for him. Because Lonnie just got a call from Lucien Porter, a journalist, who has launched a missile that could kill Chuck’s campaign: SugarVape.

SugarVape turns out to be a company that develops vaping flavors targeting kids. Chuck, who was the US attorney at the time, did not only fail to prosecute the company but also abandoned the whistleblower. Given that Chuck Sr’s close circle is very friendly with the company CEO, Porter’s argument that Chuck did not prosecute in order to protect the big guns may sound compelling to the readers.

As he takes Excedrin tablets like they are M&Ms, Chuck uses both sticks and carrots to convince Porter this article is not a good idea. But Porter, who seems to be holding a grudge against Chuck because he did not give him any stories during his tenure at the SDNY, is not giving up. And because his first job was reviewing records, the man chooses to speak in Gerry Rafferty‘s “Baker Streetlyrics.

While it looks like these two are not going to Baker Street together, Chuck pays a visit to Ray Cruz, the whistleblower in the SugarVape case. Cruz lost his job after the incident, is currently living with his mom and is a Game of Thrones fan:

“You fucked me. Closed the damn gate. Left me the north of the wall.”

Chuck, in his own sweet manipulative way, convinces the man that if Porter publishes the article, SugarVape will go after Cruz with a massive civil suit, and get his mom’s house, the furniture and the paintings, too! This is enough for Ray Cruz to chicken out and walk back his statement.

So the genie is back in the bottle… until it is not.

When Porter confronts Bryan and Kate about Cruz not cooperating anymore, Kate intervenes. Don’t you think she would absolutely shine as the prosecutor of the SugarVape case?

Kate, in her own sweet manipulative way (well, she learnt from the best!), convinces Cruz that what he needs is Triple G in the ring punching SugarVape for him. Kate will prosecute SugarVape herself. She cannot guarantee Cruz a conviction, but she can guarantee she will bring out all the facts that will qualify Cruz as a federal whistleblower – Cruz will be paid.

Chuck, who thinks the article is off, is at home telling Wendy, who is packing for the trip to Kingsford, that she does not need to accompany him to the casino opening if she does not feel like it. But she can help him with one practice that has always helped with his migraine. Wendy is ready for it only if Chuck is in the mood for something mutual. And Chuck, who was asking for it just a second ago, now uses his headache as an excuse to get out of it! And guess what? He suddenly figures out a new practice that could help with his migraine:

Rubber bands!

Chuck’s tension headache probably peaks when he sees Porter’s article published next morning. And on top of that, there is his dad.

I am quite sure it was Chuck Senior who stopped Chuck from prosecuting SugarVape back then. And now Senior, who seems to have taken the pill, is not only getting sarcastic with his son but also tells him he needs to show up at the casino more than ever now. People should know Chuck is not hiding in shame. Well, if I know one thing about Senior he is as ambitious as that Ol’ Papa Joe!

It is quite fascinating to see Chuck in the men’s bathroom at the casino getting ready for the game. He wears a tight rubber band around his thigh, pulls it off and… yikes! Well, the rubber band ring is all he can afford for a thrill now…

The game is on as Chuck leaves the bathroom whistling Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street.” So what is next for him? Self-flagellation? Or the cilice like in The Da Vinci Code?

Chuck makes the rounds, shakes the hands but cannot have pictures taken with the union leaders who could provide the votes. And he hears from his dad why Michael Bolton, who is performing at the Casino’s Grand Opening, is a legend: He did not stop while others either quit or died. If others lose, you win. And Chuck could be a winner if he can outlast his opponent.

Axe’s day starts in his war room. I believe we are seeing Wendy and Hall at a meeting together for the first time. This is as serious as it gets.

Hall shares the news that he was not able to establish internal surveillance at Taylor Mason Capital (TMC). Cook, Taylor’s Hall, may not be George Smiley but it seems he has Hall’s respect as a thorough man. Yet, since TMC’s remote logins have not been entirely secured yet, Hall has the company’s positions and trading patterns. And where Axe finds less than a body blow, Wendy sees an opportunity that may help them with a body blow later. How about getting Taylor unsettled by buying up positions they want to increase in size? This can disrupt their confidence in their mathematical perfection and induce them to make a major mistake. Hall is impressed.

Wendy is a completely different beast this season. She exhibits much more emotion than ever both at home and at work. Now that she believes Taylor has manipulated her, she seems to be out there for revenge, too, that she recommends “water torture.

“Drip. Drip. Drip.”

As Axe arrives at Axe Capital to task Ben Kim with locking in the TMC positions, there is a surprise waiting for him.

Dollar Bill is singing “Atlantic City” by the Boss which also happens to be the opening song of the episode.

Yet, Dollar Bill’s “chicken man” is not the Philadelphia crime family boss Philip Testa but a middle-aged, overweight “Otis of Mayberry” type that counts the chickens in Arkansas.

It turns out the Arkansas Chicken Index is dictated by the number of chickens in the state. Bill knows through his contact at Mobilized Meals who delivers food to the chicken man every day that the guy is basically too lazy to count the chickens. He only makes a few calls to the major producers to get the bird numbers and they obviously give them low numbers to keep the prices up. So while there are plenty of chickens in Arkansas, the chicken man will now say there are fewer chickens driving the prices up. Axe Cap needs to be long. While Wags finds it confusing, Axe knows why the producers keep the chicken man in place.

“Because he’s wrong in the way producers want him to be. They installed him and now they keep him.”

And Bill’s certainty level puts a smile on his face. This is a $300M win for Axe Capital…

…until it is not.

Dollar Bill is not uncertain anymore when the Chicken Index report is delayed indefinitely. He hurries to Arkansas to check if someone else paid the chicken man to fuck up the index only to find out that the man is dead. And while Bill is prepared to find his replacement and buy him off, the department of agriculture sends the Flying Squad to count the chickens. Can Bill buy 7 people at once?

Well, according to Axe, if Arnold Rothstein could buy the White Sox including Shoeless Joe Jackson so could Dollar Bill 😀 Now, all I know about baseball is thanks to Kevin Costner’s baseball movies each of which I watched several times. And that is why Axe’s comment about Shoeless Joe puts a smile on my face: Field of Dreams.

Kevin Costner as Ray Kinsella and Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams

In the meantime, Axe front-running (trading based on advanced knowledge of pending orders from Taylor) their positions unsettles Taylor, well, for a minute. Well, Wendy had to share with Axe that there is only little evidence about the effectiveness of Chinese water torture! Taylor knows Axe is doing it to get into their head and Cook will now make sure TMC internet security has no vulnerability.

As they lose digital access to TMC trades, Hall shows up with an Israeli spy equipment with a spatial light modulator that can take pictures even through a privacy glass. Wags is very impressed by the Mossad; however, he does not get why the camera is not installed yet. But, hey, it is. This one is for Hall’s personal use 😀

We heard about Taylor’s dad back in Season 2 when Taylor was to fire someone as Head of Research but needed affirmation from Wendy. Taylor told Wendy that their dad was a mathematician at an aerospace company. When the company closed down his division and laid him off when Taylor was in 7th grade, it affected their home life enormously.

And today Douglas Mason is visiting Taylor. Douglas does not seem to have got used to his daughter’s pronouns yet and is still talking about Taylor as his sweet 6 year old little girl who wanted to marry him when she grew up. The only language the two of them seem to communicate in is mathematics and the conversation about Vadim Linetsky and his development of the derivative Taylor works out on the board is actually a conversation about a parent and the child he raises. This is my favorite kind of analogy Billions uses brilliantly in its story telling.

Taylor: “But even when one keeps things mathematical, a satisfying solution is not always available.

Douglas: “Then you change the math.”

Taylor: “Human beings can’t command math. You can’t bend it to your will. It doesn’t exist to satisfy you. This is an example. Linetsky knew if he were to create a derivative, it would develop organically in a way he couldn’t control. His only options were to understand and accept where it was taking him, or step away. He had to be able to live with that.”

When Douglas later tells Taylor he knows the “woke” stuff matters even if he is not very good at it, Taylor seems to have difficulty holding their tears back. Asia Kate Dillon is brilliant in the scene.

As Axe and Wags discuss the very important question of whether Wags needs a girlfriend over a bottle of Michter’s, Hall gets into the office with “a thing of beauty” like the Reggie Bar.

Axe is impressed.

“This is the can opener in the fallout shelter.”

Axe knows that Taylor knows they front-run them and this “thing of beauty” is all about how they will spin it to pick up the percentages that Axe Capital was stealing from them. And the most hilarious thing is that while Axe has been trying to get into Taylor’s head, Taylor has now got into his. Axe is obsessed with Taylor’s derivative and pulling an all-nighter to figure it out.

The Chicken Index is up and Axe Cap faces a huge loss. Moreover, Dollar Bill calls them to announce that he has a solution for the chicken problem: The Final Solution. Oh, man! Axe and Wags are now on their way to stop the Chicken Holocaust. Yes, I know, Axe himself hired people to poison themselves with Ice Juice but even then he checked with Dr. Gilbert to make sure the virus would not give serious harm to those people. But if Dollar Bill aka Chicken Bill, who steals a chicken with bird flu from the quarantine area, does what he has in mind, it can have dire consequences for public health. That is where Axe draws the line. Good to know 😀 Yet, Dollar Bill may need more than a few sessions with Wendy to rebuild his confidence.

“Forget it, Bill. It’s Chickentown.”

Gotta love the Chinatown reference!

As Bill and Wags are eating chicken (so soon?!?!) on the flight back home, Axe is still working on Taylor’s algorithm and finally has his aha moment: Taylor has made a mistake. But that does not mean that Axe front-running their positions has induced a real mistake like Wendy suggested earlier. And it is not a Sicilian message like Wags suggests, either. Even I know that Sicilian messages come in the form of a horse head in your bed or something 😀 Axe is right this is a Kappa Mu Epsilon (National Mathematics Honor Society) message asking for Treaty of Versailles.

When Axe and Taylor meet at Jersey City waterfront with a stunning view of Manhattan behind them, Axe reminds his former protege they had to think twice about assassinating the Archduke before offering him peace. He also says he understood they were looking for a truce as soon as he looked at the algorithm. Huh? Liar!

The explanation Taylor gives for why they should not engage in war is rational. They also offer favorable terms for Axe to invest in their company and is ready to let the market think Axe is in the dominant position. But then why would Axe still find war as his optimal play? I would argue this is not only about revenge but there also exists a commitment problem in their relationship. Taylor is still a beginner that Axe can deal with them. But what if they wait until they grow strong enough and then come back and attack Axe? It would be much harder to beat them then. No wonder commitment problems are cited as a major rationalist explanation for war. And I would urge Axe to keep in mind that Taylor is able to do these calculations and not underestimate them as a “trusting person.”

Axe and Chuck have a night cap in Chuck’s office. Chuck is honest with Axe. He has had handshakes with a number of people he does not necessarily like and he is willing to do millions more if this gets him what he wants. But he knows it will not be enough this time around. He openly asks assistance Axe to help put him in the State AG’s seat.

Axe is cautious.

“Last time you were a lawman, it wasn’t so good for me.”

“This time it’ll be different.”

“You sure about that? I’ve seen a lot of Westerns. A man changes when he puts on that star.”

“No sir. Not on the inside. I wear the badge, I’ll be able to do for you. Favors reap favors.”

As Gerry Rafferty sings “Baker Street” I wonder if this upcoming meeting was giving Chuck the tension headaches. Because, I mean, who knew a handshake with Axe would be the most effective pain killer? 😀 And I wonder whether the favor Axe asks on the other end of the war will cause tension headaches for Chuck!

Author: Damianista

Academic, Traveler, Blogger, Runner, Theatre Lover, Wine Snob, Part-time New Yorker, and Walking Damian Lewis Encyclopedia :D Procrastinated about a fan's diary on Damian Lewis for a while and the rest is history!

38 thoughts on “Billions on Showtime, Season 4 Episode 3: Chickentown”

  1. The song at the end is Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty except it doesn’t sound like him singing. It sounds like Damien Lewis.

  2. This was a solid episode. I liked the running joke of the Jesus Kitten painting. That when sugar vapes went after him (sued him) and his mother they would take her “Home, her furniture, and all her paintings”. The Chicken man story with Dollar Bill was funny with a good tie in to the Springsteen tune. But for my taste 10-15 minutes was wasted on the Taylor-Father (Kevin Pollak) interaction and backstory. Boring and was not interested. For a contrast see how much time Axe’s mother got last year and the final two episodes I think it was. Patti D’Arbanville and what a history she has.
    All in all I want Axe to prevail over Taylor and Chuck to get elected so that Senior can get into more and better mischief.

    1. Thank you for reading! I laughed out loud, too, when Chuck pointed out that SugarVape will get the paintings!!!

      I loved Taylor – Douglas relationship. It was fascinating for me to see that the two could communicate well in the language and mathematics, and the conversation the writers wrote about how you cannot command mathematics is actually a conversation about how a parent cannot command a child s/he has brought to the world. You need to watch them grow empirically and let them take you where they choose to go. I thought that conversation was brilliant. Besides, I have always been a math girl and loved the way both Douglas and Axe called the algorithm “a thing of beauty.”

      Taylor has kept their cool perfectly well so far. Axe does not have an easy rival to destroy. I think that is why he has accepted to help Chuck. The favor he will name at the other end of the war could be about Taylor or Andolov — and could give Chuck new tension headaches! I also want Chuck to get elected and do something to get rid of Jock Jeffcoat. I somehow expect and really hope that Chuck and Bryan will join forces at some point against Jeffcoat.

    1. Thank you for reading and THANK YOU for reading my recap before the other ones 🙂 I am sure every recap brings a different perspective to the show. I do not read them not to get affected by their point of view. It is fun that more and more publications now write about the show – it deserves it!

  3. So many relationships to analyze this season, and I’m here for it! Thank you for explaining all the references again this week. Most of them went over my head (not the GoT one!). I have never seen Chinatown, so I have no idea what that was supposed to mean (just can’t watch Jack Nicholson). And just as you say, every time Axe thinks he’s got the jump on Taylor, Taylor has already made the move to get him into that position. Does Taylor really think this is a true truce? Or are they setting up Axe again? I don’t know, but it’s fun finding out!

    Oh, and I will never look at a rubber band the same way again!

    1. Thank you for reading! Yes, there are so many relationships this season and I have a hunch that once Chuck becomes the state AG, he may have new relationships, say, with Taylor or Andolov. I wonder if he will have tension headaches when Axe names the favor at the other end of the war 😀

      Chinatown is a classic, you need to see it! In fact, the show used the original reference “Forget it, Jake! It’s Chinatown” earlier maybe in Season 2. I think it was Lonnie saying it to Bryan when Chuck decides not to prosecute Boyd in Season 2 Finale.

      Taylor has kept their cool pretty well so far. The disruption of front-running lasted only for a second. They are a tough cookie! And while they offered peace, they are smart enough to know that Axe will not give them that. So I urge Axe, as I have said in the recap, not to underestimate Taylor as a “trusting person.”

  4. As always, a great recap Damianista! This episode was so fun to watch and I love it when I understand most of the pop culture references. I didn’t know GGG and sad to say, I didn’t get the “Final Solution” reference right away, but understood the concept from the context. So thank you for explaining those! Man, that Silas video link you provided from Da Vinci Code sure brought back the heebie jeebies like it did the first time I watched it.

    And even though it probably has nothing to do with Damian other than coincidence, I was smiling at the (second) le Carre reference (the first being ‘Spy Spyros’ in the park) because Damian was in Our Kind of Traitor. After all, YOU are the one that explained le Carre to me when that movie came out 🙂 And then the Flying Squad reference about The Sweeney, which Damian was also in. Easter eggs within Easter eggs, although probably not intentional. But they also gave us Bullitt on Krakow’s phone, so who knows?!?!

    Now, any girl knows there is no way in Hades we would put our hair up with a rubber band. It tears our hair and gets stuck. I almost wonder if sly Wendy was presenting that bread crumb in a seemingly natural way for Chuck to pick up on.

    Loved your War Room pic!

    One of my favorite Damian facial expressions as Axe this episode was the look he gave Hall when Hall offered to poach Wendy right in front of him. And speaking of Hall, was it me, or did the dialogue go out of its way TWICE to tell us the audience that Hall knew Cook? And the characters went out of their way to make a knowingly questionable nod or facial expression regarding the matter. Billions wastes nothing, so that has to mean something, right? Makes me wonder if Hall knows Cook from a past relationship (or current, how funny would that be?) – one partner working for Axe, one partner working for Taylor, all the while trying to one up each other professionally during the day and go home to each other at night – or perhaps Cook was his understudy.

    Who else is dying to know how Bill knew the Mobilized Meal delivery person? My mind was spinning at the possibilities – one of his wive’s sister or cousin? hehe

    Fun episode!

    1. Thank you for reading! Yes, I love it more when I get the references, too. And, hey, I even got Shoeless Joe thanks to my ex! Thank you, Kevin 😀 Haha yes as soon as I saw Chuck with the rubber band, I thought of the cilice in The DaVinci Code. There was a period I was obsessed with that story! But don’t you think the rubber band is also sort of a heebie jeebie? 😀 I feel for Paul Giamatti who said on Colbert that he did his own stunts. It should hurt bad!

      Oh, yes, Le Carre and The Flying Squad made me smile, too! I saw The Sweeney on the way back from South East Asia. Good film but we really do not see Damian in real action. I think he did it as a side project.

      We used rubber bands in our hair when we were growing up so I thought it could be something Wendy used to do when she was 13-14. But that is an interesting observation you are making. That Wendy shows the way to Chuck without saying it openly… Never say never. It is a true possibility! Maybe we learn about it at some point, I am quite sure this topic will come up again this season.

      There were two conversations where Hall said he knew Cook. One at the war room and then also in Axe’s office when Hall brought the Israeli spy equipment that takes pictures through privacy glass.

      I am dying to know where Wags gets his moustache wax 😀 😀 😀

    2. Right? Re the rubber band. This episode was written by a woman, otherwise I’d chalk it up to lack of female voices in the writer’s room. But, I don’t think it was a hint from Wendy. I’ve had to make do with a rubber band when push came to shove, but not at home where there are plenty of scrunchies lying about. Wendy is showing her vulnerabilities and weak spots this season (which I love), and laziness over not hunting around for a better alternative to a rubber band for her hair may be one of them. 😀

      The Cook connection: you may have something there! Only got the one reference to the connection with Hall, what was the second one? He’s gone from TMC now, right? I have a vague suspicion the Samantha Mathis character may be too good to be true. There is definitely chemistry btw her and Taylor, and she seems super loyal. But she’s also Axe’s “type” physically: ie strong loyal blond. Will Axe’s head turn a bit if/when he comes across her? Will her head turn too? Interesting to consider. Most of my wishes for more dramatic tension haven’t come true, so who knows if this will.

      1. JaniaJania – The two Hall-Cook references were 1) in Axe’s apartment with Wags, Wendy, Axe discussing what Hall ascertained from the gaps in Taylor’s infrastructure and 2) in Axe’s office when Hall brought the spy equipment. Cook is still at TMC.

        Can’t wait to see later in the season if my hunch has any weight.

      2. So I’ve learnt a new word today: Scrunchie! I use them all the time but never knew the name in English 😀

    3. Don’t want to sound sexist, but when asked by wags how bill knows the mobilised delivery girl, he’s a bit sheepish. And it cuts to her with a cleavage shot. He also had another family before in a different area, and there was no exchange of money for information like his previous inside information people.

      1. Good gravy, let’s hope not. Regarding number of families, Dollar Bill did scream-tell Axe during the fake fight of season one, “Two’s plenty!”

        1. Honestly, I first thought Dollar Bill might have had a fling with the Mobilized Meals girl. But then their relationship seemed so neutral when they drove to chicken man’s house together that I thought Bill may just have found out about the chicken man and then had him followed and found out about the meal deliveries… and the rest is history!

          1. Seems more plausible dollar bill always has his ears to the ground for gain. First pink slams are on me, is that the American version of spam, “cheapest millionaire in America” when bill asks the mobilizer meal girl to ring chicken man again she barks back no I’ve already rang him 11 or 12 times, people getting paid normally do as their told, bit of an overthink. Still think your right though. Steve Cohen always rocked fleeces, never did no prison time.

          2. Hahaha. Yes, the Cheapest Man in America would only order “pink slimes” for his colleagues 🙂

            I wonder whether we will find out about Dollar Bill – Mobilized Meals woman relationship in the rest of the show. That said, speculation is FUN!

  5. Great Recap Damianista!

    A couple questions though: is it that Chuck didn’t want pictures with the union guys or they didn’t want pictures with him? Wendy’s comment makes me think it was the union guys who didn’t want to be associated with the potential attorney general. Which is confusing too, since the reason Chuck was there was to get their support and votes. Don’t know enough about the relationship btw unions and law in NY, but maybe the support of one for the other is supposed to be back channel, not for the media to see. idk.

    And what did you make of the “truce”? Taylor didn’t make the mistake on purpose, did they? Wasn’t it towards the end of the algo when Taylor’s dad finished up the math? So wasn’t it his mistake? And maybe Taylor knew he made the mistake and used it to nab Axe for the camera? Or maybe they didn’t know about the mistake or the camera? It sounds like you think that Axe lied about the mistake being a message from Taylor? Why, because he’s the one who really wants the truce? Who called the meeting on the pier? And why were they meeting in New Jersey? Stuff that no one but me would care about, I know.

    TBH, I wish Damian had done more than just stare at the math to make sense of it. It didn’t look like he was actually reading it the way math is read, left to right, just like any other reading. He found the mistake when he got to the end, but that’s not really clear from the way he starts reading it. Nit-picking, heh.

    It was a fun episode. The laughs were real, for sure. Loved the chicken stuff. Then again, chickens are always funny!

    1. Thank you for reading!

      Oh yes it was the union guys that did not want to have pictures taken with Chuck. It is because of the article published about Chuck failing to prosecute SugarVape — probably because he wanted to protect some big shots in the company. At least that is the argument the journalist is making in the article and the union leaders shake his hand but do not want to have a smiley face next to him in the newspapers.

      It was either Taylor that made a mistake there knowingly or they did condone the mistake their dad made to send a message to Axe. They knew Axe would get the message. And he did after pulling an all-nighter over it! It was so funny that Taylor got into Axe’s head as the latter was trying to get into theirs. Oh and I called Axe a liar just because he told Taylor that he knew they wanted a truce as soon as he looked at the algorithm. He certainly didn’t! He pulled an all-nighter to figure it out!

      Yeah we did not see who called the actual meeting but I think once Axe got the message he had his secretary call Taylor’s and arrange a meeting. Haha I think they meet in New Jersey because Lower Manhattan looks stunning behind them! 😀 Or they wanted to meet at a place where no one would see them.

  6. I had my first disappointment with Billions. Why show Michael Bolton, but not give him the 4-5 seconds of great vocals, and in the background. I was just thrown. I know, in comparison to the brilliant episode I’m picking on this, but they use music intently. Use Michael.

    1. I think they wanted to use his legendary status more than his music! But yeah I would have really loved to have him sing “How am I supposed to live without you?” on Billions!

  7. You folks seem to have covered this episode really thoroughly; love all the entries as usual, even if I disagree with some parts. I certainly enjoyed the humor in this epi. Taylor is getting on my nerves. It’s the know-it-all attitude. First had to put up with it with Wendy, now Taylor. I am missing Lara and her family members, but happy to have had Dollar Bill in a major role this week. As in the past, I agree with Lady Trader, have never liked Jack Nicolson, although I saw Chinatown when it came out, years ago. I believe I have commented before that I have less interest in the music than the rest of you; it is a generational thing I’m sure. But this week I enjoyed the selections. Mentioning minor details, has anyone else noted that in “previously on Billions”, there is an obvious visual reversal. During the glimpses of Axe reaching across the table shaking hands with people, in one shot of him his hair is parted on the wrong side….oops! Last comment, this season is going much too fast. Sure hope some of Damian’s latest work will be available to us when the next long drought occurs.

    1. I love me some Dollar Bill, too, Connie! And Kelly AuCoin is a lovely, LOVELY human being in real life. But you know I like Wendy and I like Taylor, too. Maybe Taylor is getting on your nerves because they are getting on the ginger prince’s nerves? 😀 I am kidding! But I really enjoy their presence in the show and their scenes with dad were some of my favorite Billions moments this season.

      Ok, I need to address the Jack Nicholson issue, too: I think he’s one of the best actors alive. From The Shining to One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest to Chinatown and more, he is a living legend. That said, I know this is so subjective, you may like an actor and I may not and vice versa. The important thing is that we all love Damian Lewis!

      Honestly, I didn’t pay attention to Axe’s hair parted on the wrong side in the “previously” clip. I’ll take a look!!!!

      1. My favorite Jack movies are Terms of Endearment, Something’s Gotta Give, A Few Good Men, and Batman 🙂 Also liked him in the Shining, but that character is haunting to this day. That and the twins on the matching bigwheels. Nightmares for days…

  8. I think Taylor is terrific. The scenes with their father was very enjoyable Watching their personal relationship brought tears to my eyes. Their connection with math was done very very well. Both acting and writing.
    Now about Jack…… He is undeniably a great actor. Having said that, for a while it was just overkill. Too many movies, too many awards. I can understand getting tired of him.
    Wendy can do no wrong.

    1. Yes, I LOVED their scene with their dad where they communicated in the language of mathematics. Brilliant writing and acting there. Asia will go places, I am 150% sure about it. True about Nicholson.

      1. In some families, the members communicate about sports, or music, or any number of things, so I get that Asia and Dad were using math, but she was unpleasant to him and the one being disrespectful, not the father as I saw it.

        1. It seems Douglas has had issues with his child’s gender identity and so the two have had an estranged relationship. And when he wanted to see them, Taylor thought their dad was ready to see them, that is, he would be respectful of their gender identity and they were sort of sad when they heard their dad was still talking about his little girl and using pronoun “she” for them. I think Taylor and Douglas are going through a reconciliation period. Taylor had tears in their eyes when Douglas finally said he knew that it matters. I expect Douglas to help Taylor in their war against Axe.

  9. Thank you Damianista, this is a brilliant piece you have written, thanks for the insights, magical. As a guy from the U.K some of the American things I don’t understand, I searched and wandered for ages to figure what chuck meant when he said “dad youre delivering Schenectady not Ohio” and that’s how I came upon your article. God this show throws so many pop culture references, language, gameplay etc etc at you, I find myself pausing, rewinding reading after looking up words it takes me a few hours to watch and hours after reading the reviews to gain insight. I hope you keep writing about the episodes, brilliant show. Enjoying as much if not more then Sopranos, The Wire. Do people actually think and talk this way at high level in real life ?? If so how do they remember, store this info, eg chuck is a walking encyclopaedia. Words I wrote down this episode, expedient, nuanced, glad handing.❤️

    1. Thank you, Kam, for reading and for your kind words. We’ve been writing recaps since Billions Pilot! So we in fact started writing about the show way before the mainstream media started to write about it 😀 I am so glad the information about Ohio was helpful for you. I am a political scientist and also a game theorist so I am familiar with the political as well as game-theoretical references in the show. And I am also comfortable with TV shows and movie references but yeah when they talk about baseball or wrestling, I am often lost, and I have to look them up, too. But it is a lot of FUN and I think I am a perpetual student who enjoys learning new things! I usually watch the show two times before writing about it so that I can get the context and the references right. They do not use even one word for no reason in Billions so one really has to pay attention. I agree it is a brilliant show and I am, like you, a big fan of Sopranos and The Wire!

      I do not think even people as smart as Axe and Chuck talk like that in real life. The show creators highlight the fact that it is their style, their signature, if you will, to write dialogue that is more elevated than regular street or workplace talk. And I believe several actors have said that learning their lines is not the easiest thing in the world. But they are such an amazing crowd that they make it look easy 😀 Billions may have the best ensemble cast any show has had on TV.

      Hope you come visit us again and read the recaps and join the conversation. Enjoy Billions!

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