Hello from the Trader’s Desk!
For the past 2 seasons, as we eagerly awaited the upcoming season of our favorite show “Billions“, we here at Fan Fun shared some of our predictions and thoughts about the new season. Now that Season 4 has come to a conclusion, we thought it would be FUN to look back and see just how good our predictions were.
Some of us were very good looking into the Billions Crystal Ball, others (like me) not so much! How good were you at your predictions?
One Expectation : I don’t know if it is a good idea to have expectations when it comes to Billions, as the writers know how to mess with you, in the right ways of course! The several trailers we have seen give us a glimpse of what may happen, so we can’t really go by them. I expect Taylor will get in over their head with Andolov, and may turn to Axe for help. I think Axe will do it (more so for the ego trip that Taylor needs to come to him, less so than to actually help Taylor), but the question will be: at what price? I don’t believe the new “forgive and forget” Axe that is friends with Chuck extents to Taylor. I also expect some kick-ass music throughout the series.
Outcome: Well, I was wrong about that one! Taylor held their own against Grigor, and never had to go to Axe for help. I was right about Axe not being a “forgive and forget” person, as we brutally saw what he did to Rebecca. Also, the music was good this season, so I’m going to say I was 2/3.
One Fantasy: Well, how can I push my luck when my fantasy from last season actually came true? So, I’m going a bit smaller this time. I would love to see a scene filmed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Most trading is done electronically, and a trading floor is really not needed in this day and age, but as someone who once worked at the American Stock Exchange, and was on the trading floor often, the energy of real traders and runners cannot be replicated.
Outcome: Again, wrong! (Insert buzzer sound here!). But, in Overton Window, when Axe Cap was attacked by a computer virus, Axe and Wags have to get on the phones and trade old-school! I wanted a scene on the Exchange to show how people still matter in trading, so maybe it wasn’t the trading floor, but Axe and Wags put on a clinic for the children! 0/1 on the fantasy!
One Wish: My wish is going to sound strange, but here it is: I wish Mafee would get out from under both Taylor and Axe’s spells and go open his own shop! He is one of the only genuine “good guys” on this show, and he deserves to be true to himself and his values.
Outcome: Mafee didn’t get his own shop (hell, he is back where he started!), so this wish did not come true. But, we saw the loyalty that he has for Taylor, and that makes him aces (and yes, maybe the only good guy!) in my book! 0/1
Looking Forward to: I’m looking forward to the cat and mouse game between Taylor and Axe. For the first 3 seasons, that chess match was between Axe and Chuck, so it will be interesting to see a new dynamic. Also, many of my post from last season talk about the breakdown in the Axe/Taylor relationship, and I can’t wait to see how two characters who are super smart, and know each other so well play this game. I’ll miss the fireworks between Chuck and Axe, but have no doubt their will be some cherry bombs between the new adversaries!
Outcome: These two heavyweights went punch for punch until the end. Taylor was smarter, but Axe was just brutal. If Taylor was a boxer, Axe was an MMA fighter, and won the war (for now!). 1/1
Not Looking Forward to: There really isn’t anything I’m not looking forward to, so I’m going to have to go with the creepy character of Grigor Andolov. He is just very bad news for everyone involved with him. I know I have always said my moral compass does not necessarily point true North, but I do draw the line at murderous Russians!
Outcome: Well, Grigor did go away, and I was surprised he didn’t come back in some way at the end of the season. Once he was out of the picture, the battle between Axe Cap and TMC was way more even, and interesting! 1/1
I expect Axe, Chuck and Wendy to whip some ass together like the Justice League, capes not included. We saw the Trifecta meeting together at the end of season three and from the teasers and trailers released thus far, the conspiring should be epic. Chuck is up against Waylon “Jock” Jeffcoat, Bryan Connerty, and Kate Slacker and Axe is up against Taylor Mason, Dudley Mafee, and Grigor Andolov. Three against three against three.
Outcome: This was pretty much the case, as Axe and Chuck worked together on several fronts. But what stuck out more was how much Axe and Wendy had each other’s back. And Chuck helping Wendy??? Not so much. Axe made sure to point out to Chuck about his lack of loyalty and not aiding Wendy when she really needed it.
For Axe and Lara to get back together – for Axe to be the loyal family man I came to appreciate. But I know that is not going to happen since Malin Akerman’s role will be a recurring role only, that’s why it is a fantasy.
Outcome: Well that is a HARD no, but I also said I knew it would not happen. But at least we got closure. Rebecca Cantu was a nice substitute, until Axe burned her at the stake.
I have mentioned before that Axe won season one, Chuck won season two, and both Axe and Chuck lost in season three – so my wish is that both Axe and Chuck win, within their own respective territories, in season four.
Outcome: This came true! Both Axe and Chuck won in season four, at least professionally. But they both lost personally – Axe lost Rebecca and Chuck kept burning Wendy.
Looking Forward To:
I am looking forward to the cameos, music, fast-paced story telling and pop culture references of each episode. You know, that traditional but legendary Billions formula. And also Wags…lots and lots of Wags.
Outcome: Right as rain! We had great cameos again, including John-Boy (Richard Thomas) and Brian Koppelman’s dad, to a shit ton of boxing folks. In true Billions fashion, we had fast-paced story telling and pop cultural references galore in each episode. The formula works for me. We had fabulous Wags story lines, from his embassy kidnapping and his Kappa Beta Phi drag glam to his professional cuddle session, but usually there’s more Wags EACH episode. This season felt like Wags had less lines???
Not Looking Forward To:
I can’t think of anything I’m not looking forward to because I love everything about Billions!
Outcome: I loved everything about this season. Billions did it again!
One Expectation / One Fantasy: Well, I am not 100% sure about this to call it an expectation but I do not think it is unrealistic enough to be a fantasy, either. So let’s call this one my HOPE.
Firstly, 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 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.
Now that the palace coup is complete, 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. Don’t they both look pretty stressed out in Season 4 trailer?
While we have always seen the two of them trying to do the right thing in their respective jobs, can Bryan and Taylor perform at their best under the constant watch of AG Jeffcoat and Grigor Andolov, respectively? So I expect and fantasize that the young coup plotters feel the urge, not immediately but ultimately, to go back to their former mentors and join forces with them to get rid of the true villains for whom human lives do not matter at all.
Outcome: Well, I have got a few hits and a lot of misses here!!!
Yes, it did not take much time for Bryan and Taylor to see that they may need to bend and compromise in their respective seats. And both were stressed out the entire season.
Yes, both Jeffcoat and Andolov went down by the end of the season, but no, not in the way I hoped they would. With a little help from Axe, Chuck got the state AG seat and then he took care of Jeffcoat, Andolov, and… Bryan!
Bryan chose to be Jeffcoat’s pet and he ended up being some weak version of Chuck — someone who violates the law to get what he wants — and fucked up. I do not think, even if he does not end up in jail, Bryan has any future in the public sector. I wonder if Axe’s offer to make a lion out of him still stands 😀
Yes, Taylor ultimately “joined forces” with Axe, but no, not in the way I hoped they would. The tricks Taylor had up in their sleeve while they defended their company against Axe’s aggression impressed their former mentor big time. And Axe did not want them in a cell anymore. He wanted them back at Axe Capital.
One Wish: When we wrote about our hopes, wishes and fantasies for Season 3, it was my wish that Bobby would make amends to the man who let him have pizza without paying for weeks when he was a young boy. As much as I am happy to see Bobby and Bruno clinking glasses, I am sad we have not heard a true apology from Bobby. But maybe this is the best his kind can do.
Bobby: “Oh, fuck I never meant for business to get between us.”
Bruno: “Eh I should’ve never brought it to you in the first place. Friendship should stay clean.”
As I have shared with the actor who brings Axe to life on screen back in December, Axe broke my heart when he broke Bruno’s and I really want him to make amends to the man who has been a true father figure in his life. Am I asking for too much, Bobby? Oh, and I really wish we could find out more about Bobby’s relationship with his mom.
Outcome: Yes! Yes! Yessssssssssss! It was truly beautiful to finally see Axe making amends to the only father figure in his life! Axe bought Bruno out and helped him to move to the sunshine state for his retirement.
And while Bruno is absolutely right that Axe’s childhood is not in the hot oven, but it is inside him, in his heart, I love it that Axe cannot give up on the only place where he feels home and will keep it. This is the Bobby Axelrod I truly like. And I am thrilled my wish has been granted!
And, believe it or not, I was extremely lucky to watch this scene being shot at Rosa’s Pizza. You can read my story here. Salud!
Looking Forward to: I am looking forward to Axe and Chuck working together this season and dying to know about the extent of their cooperation. Add Wendy to the mix, and those three brains can move mountains! Besides, coming from two different worlds, Axe and Chuck have access to different kinds of resources and connections that a cooperation would only strengthen each man’s hand. And wouldn’t it be fun to see Hall solving a personal problem for Chuck or Chuck Senior playing marriage counselor to Axe? 😀 But the billion dollar question stands: How long will this honeymoon last? Paul Giamatti puts it perfectly:
“It’s like two tigers in the zoo. They get along but they could go after each other still…”
Outcome: Well, it was a brilliant ride as long as it lasted! From moving a charter school to a different location to making Chuck the New York Attorney General and to kicking Grigor Andolov out of the country, this partnership kept giving this season! And, hey, while Chuck Sr did not play marriage counselor to Axe and Lara, I called it that Hall would help Chuck out with a personal problem — he helped Senior and Junior with their Operation Bryan Connerty!
Not Looking Forward to: It is no secret I am not a big fan of single Axe and I am honestly not looking forward to professionals visiting him or Wags throwing him another crazy party. I cannot accept the fact that he has not tried at all to get back with Lara and that he was an oblivious dad at best this past season. I hope Axe finds a bit of time to reflect on his life and goes back to his old family man self. And until then, at least for me, Bobby Axelrod is NOT a Wilbury! ps. Now that we know Malin Akerman will not be a series regular anymore, it seems I will need to live with single Axe. Oh well… 😀
Outcome: Knowing Malin Akerman would not be a regular on the show anymore, I knew it was a long shot to make a wish for Axelrod marriage to be restored. Still, I would take a committed Axe over single Axe any day. And I really liked Rebecca. Yes I did not trust her 100% — Hall saying, after Andolov hacked Axe Capital’s computer system, someone who came to Axe Capital was not who they said they were put Rebecca out there as a suspect! — but I loved her as a female Bobby Axelrod with feelings, a human Bobby Axelrod if you will, and thought she could keep Axe grounded.
I WAS WRONG. So, by the end of Season 4, we are back to single Axe. And I still cannot comprehend how cold he was while destroying Rebecca’s dream. I do not want him to hurt any other woman so maybe Axe should stay single forever. SIGH.
The Tail That Wags The Dog
One Expectation: I expect either Chuck or Bobby to turn on the other before their goals are achieved. My money is on Chuck – he has shown a profanity for such moves. Once he is back on the side of the law, I can see him using that position to gain more traction with the money and power people of the state. Plus I think he will always see Bobby as a threat to his marriage. He has never been ok with her working for him as far as we’ve seen. Wendy referenced a time when they got along, but maybe that was a Pollyannish view on her part? We should be able to tell early on whether they truly trust one another. If they were to gain that respective trust it would make them extremely powerful, but can they do that? I am skeptical.
Outcome: My idea was correct here I was just a little too eager. They didn’t quite turn on each other – in fact they helped each other right down to the last episode. But it is quite clear that the bromance is over and they will be back at each other’s throats before too long. You knew they couldn’t stay friends forever – for one thing it is far more interesting to have them as adversaries than as cohorts. And sure enough, part of the wedge that I foresaw was the threat to Chuck’s marriage that he sees in Bobby. So I sort of got that right. I think.
One Fantasy: In my fantasy world Sacker and Connerty would see how awful it is working for Jeffcoat, and secretly team up with Chuck behind Jeffcoat’s back to bring him down. There is not a snowball’s chance in hell of that happening though. Speaking of fantasy’s, while I am no wizard of the financial world (that is Lady Trader’s department, I find it a total fantasy that Taylor, within a year, could go from being a trader’s intern to starting her own billion-dollar corporation. That is suspending disbelief just a little much. In my other fantasy world, Taylor gets brought back down to reality and they and their corporation face a timely demise. This has a more reasonable chance of happening. In reality, it should happen if only because it should never have been there in the first place.
Outcome: I was 1 for 2 here. Sacker did end up working with Chuck to bring down Jeffcoat. So I get half a snowball for that one, which I think is pretty good. I like how they brought Sacker into that – that was very believable. And having Connerty be the fall guy was brutal for him. I wonder what they do with him next season?
As for my second fantasy about Taylor being brought back down to reality, I’d say I hit the nail on the head – Taylor got their ass handed to them by Bobby. So I got one half right and one completely right – pretty good I dare say.
One Wish: I wish they would give Rudy more to do. They’ve moved Dollar Bill up in status and now they need to get Rudy more involved – more than just being a comic foil. They did this with Mafee and then Ben Kim, now it is Rudy’s turn. Plus, Chris Carfizzi is one of the good guys of Twitter.
Outcome: So much for my hot streak. Even though Rudy came back in the final episode to provide some help in setting up Taylor, it really wasn’t a lot. And since Rudy was canned early in the very first episode, this can’t help but be anything other than a completely disastrous pick on my part. My bad.
Looking Forward To: A music of cultural reference by BK which takes me back to my Saturday mornings as a child. I swear Brian Koppleman lived down the street from me. I know we are at most 2-3 years apart in age and he seems to have watched the same shows and listened to much of the same music during his formative years. So when he brings back those childhood memories of his, they are some of the same as mine. I can’t wait to see which ones he brings back in season 4.
Outcome: A music of cultural reference by BK which takes me back to my Saturday mornings as a child. I swear Brian Koppleman lived down the street from me. I know we are at most 2-3 years apart in age and he seems to have watched the same shows and listened to much of the same music during his formative years. So when he brings back those childhood memories of his, they are some of the same as mine. I can’t wait to see which ones he brings back in season 4.
While most of the song choices this year weren’t that great for me, BK more than made up for it in the last episode when he opened with “Behind Blue Eyes” and closed with “What’s So Funny? (About Peace, Love and Understanding)” – two of my all-time favorite tunes and ones I love to play on the guitar. More songs like this please BK!!
Not Looking Forward To: I’m not looking forward to more evidences of Chuck completely forsaking any sense of ethical behavior. When the show started I was rooting for him. He was on the right side of the law, he was working for the people against the bad guys. He was an underdog against the super-rich and had to use all of his wits to get at them who were skirting the law and getting away with it. But then he too started skirting the law. At first it was small things, but with each season his tactics have become more and more despicable and harder and harder to swallow. Some of the moves he made in season 3 (against the first judge for the Axe case, what he did to the doctor, etc) show a man out of control and someone who has lost his way – and yet I still want to root for him. I fear that now that he isn’t burdened by being US Attorney for the Southern District, he may stoop to even greater depths. I hope the reverse is true, but I fear it won’t be.
Outcome: I thought got back a little bit of his morality this season. He was not as conniving in the cutthroat, ethically-challenged way as he was in Season 3. And his admission to the world in episode 4 was absolute theatrical gold. He was still playing his game-theory all season, and he was still a hard-liner (especially to those NY State Senators) – but there wasn’t the harshness that he showed to Judge Funt last season. Many of the deals he tried to enforce didn’t come through, and the ones he did play out (like with Krakow) weren’t as heavy-handed as they were last year.
So this was a step back into the light for Chuck – and for Paul Giamatti this was an Emmy-worthy performance this year (along with Maggie Siff and Asia Kate Dillon.) I can’t wait to see where they take this next year!