Last week we awarded our Most Valuable Players for the season five premiere of Billions in a compilation post called our ‘Billions MVP Fanbook,’ which commemorates all those in honor of achievement for the utmost brazen, uber shameless, ultra scheming, unmatched bad asses to date – from sports references, music and tasty food to pop culture remarks, shocking twists and ultimate paybacks. Let us continue with that tradition as we award our Most Valuable Players (MVPs) this week.
Here are the Billions MVP awards for Season 5, Episode 2, “The Chris Rock Test.”
Best Threat – Axe to Prince “Game’s not over buddy boy. Not by a country fucking mile.”
Outstanding Serial Killer References – Confession. I’m a bit of a serial killer follower. I’ve read many books, articles, academic papers and journals about serial killers and their profiles. So to have two references back-to-back in this episode was wicked, albeit one fictional.
Serial killer #1: Dexter. Another Showtime classic. I loved this show! Chuck is going to sate his ‘Dark Passenger’ by developing a code in the name of dominion and victory and exploit only for the right reasons…justice.
He’s Dexter Morgan, everyone’s favorite serial killer.
He’s Chuck Rhoades, everyone’s favorite Justice Vigilante.
Dexter’s conscience was his father Harry and it seems Chuck’s will be Kate.
Serial killer #2: Ed Kemper. If you’ve watched Mindhunter on Netflix, then you know Ed “The Ogre” Kemper – a 6’9″ necrophile with an IQ of 145 who had a thing for women’s shoes.
Axe plans to assume Simon Shenk’s shares of Erixx Pharmaceuticals like Kemper inhabited his victim’s souls – by decapitating, dismembering, and violating. Yikes.
Stupendous Pop Culture Reference – Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, specifically, Augustus Gloop who is a greedy, arrogant, gluttonous, selfish kid from Düsseldorf, Germany. Dollar Bill busts the greedy and selfish Winston about his secret golden tunnel (hehe, Augustus had a secret golden ticket to the Wonka Factory) and running his own money, which is a hedge fund violation. Of course the Cheapest Man in America wants in on the action, but Winston warns him that anything larger than six figures on a 3.64 ratio strategy won’t work…they’d get stuck in the tube like Augustus Gloop resulting in an algorithm making suboptimal trades.
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Award – Chuck Rhoades. Literally laughed out loud when Chuck – all in the name of helping DeGiulio shift his Overton Window – tried waterboarding to see how torturous vs. harmless the enhanced interrogation technique really is, and even he didn’t like it! If Chuck doesn’t like the torture, well then, that’s saying something!
Supreme Slimy Spyros – When speaking to Wendy and Bonnie about taking the lead in Investor Relations, “While Bonnie may have proven herself something of a hothouse flower, I have the rugged areole of a desert succulent. And an almost pornographic knowledge of all things Axe Capitale.” So, Spyros is a tough titty?
Worst ‘Wipe the Floor with Wags’ Moment – Wags feels he has failed at his only meaningful job in life, fatherhood. Specifically, he has failed the Chris Rock test by not keeping his daughter off the stripper pole. According to comedian Chris Rock, “If your daughter’s a stripper, you’ve fucked up.” While partaking at a Gentlemen’s Club with Simon Shenk, a “genetically modified plumcot” exotic dancer named Brandi hit the main stage to Warrant’s Cherry Pie while her father Wags wilted away in the audience.
The next morning he told Axe,
“Her stage name was Brandi, but it was really Mandy. My Mandy. My sweet little Mandy. I didn’t keep my daughter off the pole. I got her out of there. I shipped her off to a facility.”
Best Head of HR – Let’s give it up for Wendy, and her quick thinking of asking Lauren to help with the allocator at Axe Capital. Not only was Lauren the right choice for the assignment, but making Lauren head of IR helps merge Axe Cap and TMC.
Best Use of U2 to Open an Episode (Again) – You have to be a good band to get on Billions once; but twice (and to open an episode!), and you’re a great band! U2’s Vertigo opens this episode and now sits along side “New Year’s Day”. Was it a coincidence that Sunday was Bono’s birthday? Evidently, it was!
Person I Was Most Envious of this Episode – Karl Allerd. I would have loved to be the one waterboarding Chuck! Karl has a background (CIA? Black Ops?) that I think I need to find out about!
Best 70’s Reference – “Keep you eye on the sparrow” This has to be a reference to the theme song of the 70’s detective series “Baretta“. Another famous line from that song: “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time”. If you’re a child of the 70’s, Sammy Davis Jr.’s voice was in your head the minute Axe said those words!
Biggest Hypocrite – And for the second week in a row, it’s Mike Prince. All that bull that was coming out of his mouth at that fireside chat made me want to hurl. Um, this is the same guy who flew in on his private plane to attend the conference named after himself? I have a feeling he’s going to win the Biggest Hypocrite award every week!
Man of The Hour – Bram Longriver
This is the name that apparently opens every door in pharma-medical world these days. You say “Bram Longriver” and people talk about his mystique, you say “Bram Longriver says…” and people listen what you have to say, you say “I’ve got Bram Longriver” and people are more than ready to work with you.
Who knew the Shaman Axe and Wags visited in Season 1 premiere The New Decas be the man of the hour??!?! So much so that the prince “steals” him from the king to get ahead in the psycho-ceuticals race 😀 😀 😀
Transcendent Translator – Maffee
Hats off to Maffee – I cannot imagine a better way to explain to Dollar Bill why Winston’s algorithm may not be working for him.
“So let me translate for you. A man can manage two wives. But you try to keep four wives going, you can’t keep everyone satisfied. Too many variables, not enough Bill. The whole thing crumbles.”
The “Hermione Granger” Award – Kate Sacker
Has there ever been a moment on Billions where Kate Sacker is not prepared to tackle a question?
Even when faced with a pop quiz, Kate does not only answer all questions right but also comes up with a complicated bonus question and gives the right answer to that one, too. No wonder Chuck will take her with him when he needs to talk in front of the Nine. The Harry Potter fans among you may know that Hermione Granger ended up being the Minister of Magic – and I am looking forward to seeing Kate in the U.S. Congress in a year!
Most Gloriously Pretentious Billionaire – Mike “Thomas Aquinas” Prince
Mike Prince does not only organize an annual conference that he has named after himself – quite a good hint about the size of his ego, isn’t it…
…but then he also arrives at “The Mike” flying his own seaplane as the conference guests are waiting to welcome him as if he is a miracle descending from the sky. Oh, and it does not stop there… The second he arrives, Prince starts bullshitting about expecting to be a smarter and a better person in 24 hours because of all the guests that have joined him here and blah blah blah. While he may have chosen the title “New Capitalism” for his most anticipated fireside chat with Axe at this year’s “The Mike” Prince is just a good old capitalist with a kind facade.
Ridiculously Delicious Cameo – Missy Robbins
If Bobby Axelrod is a carnivorous monster, I am a pasta monster! And I now understand all those professional wrestling fans who were over the moon to see Becky Lynch aka The Man in Season 5 premiere because I was over the moon when Billions had Missy Robbins, one of my culinary heroes, as well as her signature Mafaldine with Pink Peppercorns and Parmagieno Reggiano in this episode.
Lewisto and I have followed Chef Robbins and her divine cooking for over a decade from Spiaggia in Chicago to A Voce on Manhattan, and finally to her own wonderful restaurant Lilia in Williamsburg – one of the “hardest to secure a table” restaurant in New York. And it feels so strange to talk about New York dining scene during the quarantine.
Worst Day – three-way tie between Wags, Dollar Bill and Sara
Wow – a lot of our favorite people did not have good days. And this isn’t even accounting for the fact that Bobby got his ass handed to him by Prince – again, or that Wendy got railroaded by Chuck when she lost out on the apartment. But they can (and will) recover. These three, however, got punches to the gut, or the psyche. Look at the carnage:
Wags – not only did he not actually come through for his man Bobby when they lost to Prince, but he also lost the Chris Rock test. His daughter is a stripper. And he saw her strutting her wares (presumably). That is bad. I honestly don’t know what could be worse, but if anyone could sink lower, it’s Wags.
Dollar Bill – not only is his portfolio not measuring up, but apparently neither is he. He hasn’t had a big gain in a while. Right now he looks to be at best third on the totem pole behind Bonnie and Victor. He’s resorted to trying to shake down the quants for ideas, and that backfires in his face. So now he tries to adjust his game, and as a result he finds himself playing any other games. He needs a severe recall.
Sara – Where does she go from here? She’s a captain without a crew. It seems that Lauren is getting everything she wanted. Lauren is getting the prestige, the work, and Taylor. Sara right now has nothing. And she’s the one who brought Lauren in to Mase Cap! Think she’s regretting that decision about now?
Most Overdue for a Power Move – Kate Sacker
She is on fire to start this season, and good for her! It’s about time! Of everyone in the show, she has strayed the least from her moral center. (You might argue that Wags has not strayed far from his moral center, but that’s only because his morality is very, very limited.) Sacker is finally being given a chance to shine and I for one applaud this. #TeamSacker, here I come!
Worst Friend – Chuck
So who was Chuck worse to – Ira Schumer or DiGulio? Setting him up for a fall so that he has the security blanket to pursue what he needs. I want so desperately to root for the guy on the right side of the law but when he pulls crap like this, it’s very hard to do this. Talk about a flawed protagonist!
Most Obvious Villain – Mike Prince
In Seasons 1 and 2 you basically had a choice of who you wanted to root for and who you wanted to root against in Axe and Chuck. In season 3 we you were introduced to the obvious villain for Chuck in Jeffcoat, while Grigor was a dangerous foil for Bobby. In Season 4 Grigor and Jeffcoat were both obvious villains even though Grigor was soon gone. This season, we now have the obvious villain in Mike Prince. It is clear they are making him out to be this super-smug, super-successful deca-billionaire to be the foil for Bobby. Almost too much so. The whole Mike Conference was so obviously full of self-congratulation one can’t help but root against him. I almost liked it better in the first couple seasons when it was totally up to us who to root for. Maybe my impression of Mr Mike TA Prince will change when Chuck tries to get him on his side.
CEO of Safe Spaces – Dr. Mark Rutenberg, played by the late great Mark Blum.
Chuck is trying to piece himself back together, and maybe find a way to cope with his feelings that doesn’t involve whips and chains. Dr. Rutenberg is here with his clickers and his lights, to guide him through EMDR, and incredibly powerful therapy that I’ve personally experienced! Though I think Chuck would be QUITE the handful, as a patient. Hope he’s going in more than once a week!
Coldest Hot Take – Wags and Mandy
((Captain America PSA voice)) “So, you’ve just found out your daughter is a stripper. What’s next?” If your answer is anything but “her life is her own and she’s a grown-ass woman who can make her own decisions and who am I to judge as I practically reside in a strip club”, you are wrong, Wags. WRONG.
Worst Support of a Bad Decision –Bobby
In an effort to support his bestie, Wags, he offers to shut down a club, just because Mandy had worked there? Bruh…..weren’t you just hooking up with model half your age last night, man? OOF, the toxic masculinity!
Best Parting Words – Taylor Mason
They couldn’t convince Oscar to do business with Axe Capital, but they did find a way to remind him that they are usually the smartest person in the room. Their ability to see three steps ahead make them the sort of person you want on your side, whether in business or in chess.