The Unbeatable, Unstoppable, Unparalleled MVPs from Billions Season 5 Episode 3

We continue to award our Most Valuable Players for Billions season five in a compilation post called the ‘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. In case you missed it, here are the MVPs for episode one and episode two.

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 3, “Beg, Bribe, Bully.”

Gingersnap

Best Line – Wags when pondering the meaning and powerful feeling he was experiencing while pre-show gazing in awe at Nico Tanner’s ‘Implosion‘ paintings, to which he poses to Axe, “Sex, drugs and Cocoa Puffs?” Axe replies, “Close.” lol

Are you cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs like I’m cuckoo for Wagsy?

The Weasley Wildfire Whiz-Bangs Award – Gordie Axelrod for trying to multi-mine cryptocurrencies at the highest market prices so he could trade them back for Bitcoin, all from his dorm at Skinner Preparatory Academy.

But faulty wiring in the dorms caused a town blackout when he and some students bypassed the internal fusing in the mechanic’s room, overloading the grid. That’s some Fred and George Weasley scheming right there!

Biggest Slap in the Face Award – Todd Krakow for mentioning Cottonelle at a time like this! #OutOfStock

Terrific Nickname – Hard Bob’s pet name for Todd Krakow is “Special K.” I’m a bit partial to “Special K” because believe it or not, it is one of my nicknames 😉

Also, someone was hungry in the Billions Writers Room…that’s two cereal references in one episode.

Unrivaled Smug Face Award – Gawd, I’ve missed Krakow (played by Danny Strong) and his smugness.

Honorary Prep School Student – Wags. He just fits in. Facetiming with a 14-year-old girl sealed the deal.

Dogged Darwinism Award – Bobby Axelrod’s morning lesson, “It’s populated [the world] by people like me who will tear you apart. Nature didn’t select me. I selected myself by harnessing my nature.” Sheesh, there’s confidence, and then there’s everything else.

Lady Trader

Best Dressed – Well, I wait for it each season, so of course Axe wearing his Rainbow Rising tee is going to get my vote! As an aside, this was the second week that there was a coincidence with the music/band used on the show and it’s history. On May 17, 1976 Rainbow Rising was released – 44 years to the day Beg, Bribe, Bully was shown!

Best “Why Does This Make Me Think of a Hanna-Barbera Cartoon?” –

Biggest Hypocrite – For the third week in a row, it’s Mike Prince. “Not my intention to scoop you.” Yeah, right. As much as Axe is obsessed with Prince, I think Prince is just as obsessed with Axe! He plays the “equality” card, but for some reason I think he looks down on Axe, whether it be because of how he operates, or where he came from, I don’t know. But he definitely is a snob in my book.

Best Line – Wendy telling Chuck she wished he was ” a completely different man”! Don’t we all Wendy, don’t we all!

Best Worst Parent – Axe, for sure. I get helping your kids out, (I don’t have any so I’m speculating) but at some point they need to learn that actions have consequences.

Person I Would Hire In a Minute – Now that they are free, I’d hire Sara in a heartbeat! Smart, tough, and can make an admiral crumble like rock candy! That is a lady you want in your corner! Could she be the CEO Axe needs for his bank?

Best Speech (for the second week!) – I can disagree with Axe’s actions, but that speech in front of the kids! Yeah! He was full Gordon Gekko (could that be why his son is named Gordie?)! Anyone who knows me, knows that seeing the movie Wall Street, and that scene in particular, changed my life and put me on the path to trading. I would venture to guess a 17 year old Bobby from Yonkers may have had the same experience!

Damianista

Smartest Cookie – Roxanne

This young woman did not only make Chuck Senior fall in love with her but also divorce his wife of probably more than five decades to marry her!

Chuck was absolutely right in celebrating Roxanne in his toast at the wedding:

“She has done which I thought impossible. Turned my dad into a big pile of mush. Defanged the old wolf. Well. Made him into one of those Build-a-Bears with the bright red valentine for a heart and the cuddly fur to hold on to and hug. Certainly got him going to Build-A-Bear for his little daughter.”

And now Roxanne cleverly uses Chuck Senior’s legacy donations to Yale as leverage to get the warm welcome she and Willow deserve from the Rhoades clan. Go, girl!

Enormous, Humongous, Monstrous Ego – Bobby Axelrod

Axe has already had the honor of receiving this award from me in Season 4 Episode 11 Lamster when he said the following to his employees.

“I am the sun that warms you and the air you fucking breathe. Don’t forget that.”

It is official that Axe has God Complex and he believes he is the  Sun God, king of the gods.

And now he truly deserves the award once again as he makes claims only a Sun God can.

To Headmaster Kessel who says he will talk to him plainly:

“Like Senator Geary in Two. And as Il Padrino did in that picture, let me make you an offer.”

Why would the Sun God say sorry for anything?

To Skinner Prep Academy Student Body:

“Nature didn’t select me. I selected myself by harnessing my nature.”

Sure. Sun God > Nature

To Nico Tanner:

“I’m never wrong. Almost never… Really never.”

Sun God is the king of gods, obviously!

And if this is not an enormous, humongous, monstrous ego, what is?

Winklevoss In the Making – Gordie Axelrod

Gordie sets up the hardware to facilitate crypto-currency transactions and puts the bitcoins he gets as a reward back into trading for bitcoin. I agree with Axe that it shows initiative. Yes, he may not have calculated the risk/reward ratio well, but come on,  this is one young Winklevoss in the Making! Plus I noticed the A+ paper pinned on the corkboard in Gordie’s dorm room – it seems the young Axelrod is a good student.

In case you are not familiar with the Winkelvoss twins who Wendy mentions in the episode: the young entrepreneurs Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss co-founded HarvardConnection (renamed ConnectU) for Harvard students to communicate on an intra-campus online platform which they claim is the idea Facebook was based on.

The Winklevosses sued Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, for stealing their idea and ultimately settled for $65 million. The brothers revealed they held 1% of the bitcoin in circulation in 2012 via their company Winklevoss Capital. As venture capitalists, they seed-funded BitInstant, a bitcoin exchange start-up. Their current bitcoin holdings is over $1B.

Fakest Faker Who Ever Faked – Mike Prince

While Prince appeared only for a few minutes in this episode, it was more than enough to catch his bullshit!

“Not my intention to scoop you.”

Huh?

Prince paid Vanity Fair to get the solo cover.

Prince paid the shaman to get him on his side!

And yes, I know he paid the dealer, too! I bet Wags is right that he had to buy some “second rate dog shit” to secure the paintings.

While The Prince loves to talk equality, he seems to believe he is more equal than others.

Prodigiously Perplexed Parent – Wags

The utterly baffled look on Wags’ face when Georgie, his eldest, gives him the good news about Jesus is as priceless as when he found out he failed The Chris Rock Test.

Busted Keynesian – Bobby Axelrod

Who knew Bobby Axelrod was a Keynesian, well, when it came to his own child? The man who rocks and rolls the school auditorium promoting free markets cannot let those markets decide his son’s future and takes an interventionist approach!

When Wendy explains the pros and cons of letting the market do its work on Gordie, Axe cannot stomach the possible scenarios. And that is what I cannot stomach the kind of capitalism he promotes on the school stage where he encourages young people to be hungry, to be greedy. Hats off to Ben Mezrich, the writer of the episode, for the perfect storytelling!

TheTailThatWagsTheDog

Best Song – “Father and Son” by Cat Stevens (now Yusuf)

I LOVE this song. This was one of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar (mostly because it involves an easy chord structure.) A friend and I performed it at a coffee house in college – such a great tune, and a great way to open the show.

Best Movie References – The Godfather, Parts I and II – this may be the greatest pair of movies of all time, and the sequel may in fact be better than the original, which would be saying something. I counted at least two references to the movies – the Senator Geary line by Bobby talking about the headmaster, and then again when referring to the movie director’s horse. I think there was even a third one in there somewhere. Keep them coming. You can’t reference these movies enough!

Best Line Trade-Offs – Wags and Hard Bob – May I speak freely??  This was hilarious – as was Bobby’s forceful ending of this faux-politeness.

Best Line to a Kid – from Bobby to Siena

“Give us a call when you quit college, we’ll have a job for you.” Excellent on so many levels.

Best Acting Without Saying Much – Daniel Isaac (Ben Kim)

The scene where Ben is showing Nico Tanner the studio Axe has laid out for him.  Daniel Isaac may be second only to Stephen Kunken in creating delightfully uncomfortable character moments, and this one is no exception. As Nico is basically trying to get him to leave, Ben pauses there so awkwardly and you feel for him as he waits to actually leave. That could not have been easy for Dan to act out, just waiting there to get the right amount of awkwardness.

Worst Day (part 2) – Sara

I thought she had a really bad day last week, but that pales in comparison to this week. Now she’s gone.  I’ll admit that surprises me a bit, I didn’t think they would get rid of her altogether. Maybe she will come back in the second half of the season? Either way that was a quick decline.

Holliedazzle

Best Alliteration – The episode title! Beg, Bribe and Bully. LOVE IT. I am partial to clever titles, stage names, business names, puns, etc.  I love that these things just get the serotonin flowing just by existing.

Best Power Move – Axe

Who else can just say “naw, get on my fucking airplane, we ain’t done talking because I don’t have what I want yet.”

Biggest Hypocrite – Headmaster Kessel

To lecture Axe on his son’s mistakes. To be so arrogant to sit there, point fingers, tell him about how it’s about the PRINCIPLE of it all…all the while he is technically doing a bad thing, too!  Why didn’t he go through the proper channels to move that money to help those refugees?  Couldn’t he work through the appropriate steps? Why do those steps not matter in his case, but matter for Gordie?

Best Callback – Horse trading

In season one, when Chuck needed leverage, he attempted to “horse trade” by giving away Lonnie’s big case. Trading, leverage, finding what someone needs and using that against them, or to get what you need, is the very heart of this show.  It’s what it’s all about! Axe got the artist he wanted by giving him things he valued.  Wendy got her financial freedom while Chuck got his dad to resume his donations to the law school. Chuck Sr. got the family reunion and acceptance his new wife and daughter needed.  Everyone has a price. Everyone has a motivation. Where does horse trading end and exploitation begin?  That’s the very question this show loves to shine a light on, and this season is REALLY bringing to light the biggest nuance in that whole conversation: Power Dynamics.  Those dynamics were in full effect in this episode, and I think that’s what I love most about Billions. The exploration of those dynamics.  Keep it coming, I love it.

Author: Gingersnap

Management Analyst, part-time Adjunct Professor and Computer Software Consultant by day and Damian Lewis aficionado by night.

2 thoughts on “The Unbeatable, Unstoppable, Unparalleled MVPs from Billions Season 5 Episode 3”

  1. Another week of diversity! But we all agree Axe is not the best dad! With so much going on in the episodes, I’m glad we all see something different to highlight. I know it makes my re-watches more interesting because I look out for what everyone mentions!

    1. Yes – Axe is certainly not the best dad but he looks like a saintly dad when compared with Wags – everything’s relative, isn’t it? 😀

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