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, episode two, episode three, episode four, episode five, and episode six.
Let us continue with that tradition as we award our Most Valuable Players (MVPs) for the mid-season finale. Here are the Billions MVP awards for Season 5, Episode 7, “The Limitless Sh*t.”
White Rabbit Award – The entire Axe Cap group may as well been seeing a 10-foot Alice or a hookah smoking caterpillar with their ‘grab the rock and bring back the shiny shit’ mineral play because those v-shit magic beans (an ode to NZT-48 from the movie Limitless) had the entire office tripping hard with talks of harvesting a meteor and cornering the rare mineral market, all in the name of tech and aerospace from ground Chile. Instead of producing enhanced mental acuity, the ideas bubbling up in their frontal lobes was a mixture of rare side effects in a sparkling cocktail of useless information.
Eddie (Bradley Cooper) in Limitless on NZT-48:
Axe in Billions on Vigilantrix:
The Billions writers even paid homage to a scene from Limitless between Bradley Cooper’s character Eddie and his landlord’s wife, except it was between Victor and Axe. Victor (Eddie) showed off his ability to read Axe’s (landlord’s wife) thoughts by focusing on surrounding objects, reading the room, and drawing conclusions based on clues from his hypersensitive state.
Another tidbit: Daniel Breaker who plays Scooter in Billions also played a campaign manager in Limitless.
Innovative Moniker – Vigilantrix. It’s right there in the name. Awake (vigil) but plays tricks (trix) on your mind. Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!
Axe Being Axey Award – When Taylor surmised that the half life of the Vigilantrix was making Axe angsty, Axe’s retort had me laughing out loud: “Nope! Born this way. Stoked it! Intentionally. I preserve it.”
Olympian Pill Swallower – Dollar Bill Stearn. He doesn’t need water. No need to hide his pill in cream cheese or peanut butter like one does when giving a pet his daily dose. Just two slaps on the neck and down the hatch it goes like the rotten egg Varuca Salt falling down Wonka’s garbage chute.
Substantial Mood Killer – Coronavirus made an unexpected cameo, thanks to Krakow. Just like he firmly stated, “that shit spreads!”
Best Line – Ben Kim to Axe when he said, “It’s like my own mother took the form of your body. I can almost taste her ggori gomtang. It’s chilling…”
The Most Extra – Chuck when instructing his Yale students to dig up dirt on Krakow and find his allusive stained blue dress.
Best Director – David Costabile
Here is to a man of many talents!
David Costabile has not only brought to life the one and only Wags in this episode but he has also directed the episode. Congrats to Costabile for the terrific job he did in his directing debut and massive thanks for sharing a few personal BTS photos from filming Episode 7. ENJOY!
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The Ginger Biscuit giving me shit as I try to give him a note in this week’s episode of @sho_billions. Check out my directing debut! So proud and grateful for the opportunity @showtime and @briankoppelman and @davidlevien gave me. #bts #wags #wagsismyspiritanimal #wagsgivesdamiandirection
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Mid season unplanned finale which was our episode 7 directed by yours truly. This Sunday! Incredibly generous cast, crew and creators welcomed this rookie. What could be better than working with @asiakatedillon and Maggie Siff? The great DP @giorgioscalidp at the monitor helping me every step of the way. @sho_billions #wags #wagsisbehindthecamera
Most Unexpected Cameo – Maria Sharapova
It seems they have kept in touch after playing a game (or two) of tennis in Season 3 Episode 10 Redemption that Maria Sharapova now shows up as Axe’s date at the sushi-sashimi dinner at Chez Axelrod. Coming to think about it, Maria is Axe’s type, isn’t she? Tall, blonde, and ambitious, the former professional tennis player is now a successful businesswoman, too, with her candy company Sugarpova doing very well! And of course, from Axe’s point of view, a true show off to Wendy!
Slimiest, Shadiest, Scummiest Character – Dr. Swerdlow
“That puppy comes from the pupp-ette right here. She’s an illegal just over from El Salvador. And a match.”
As Dr. Swerdlow explains how he will secure a kidney for his Chuck Senior, Chuck in fact deserves the most honest confession award with his response:
“Even I can’t do that.”
Who is this guy? Is his name really Swerdlow? We do not even know he still has his medical degree but he, in his own words, is “still saving lives” through, well, organ trafficking! I mean Billions has two assholes as its two lead characters and we have met true villains like Grigor Andolov and Jock Jeffcoat over the years but never met anyone as disgustingly immoral as Swerdlow.
Stellar Snake Oil Salesman – Bobby Axelrod
While Axe in fact believes in the powers of Vigilantrix, his marketing skills of the pills fully echoes those of a snake oil salesman:
“Purely optional. But for those of you who are ready to cross the threshold and become a version of himself with the energy of a 17-year-old, focus of a 30-year-old, and wisdom of a 100-year-old, step the fuck up.”
And I laugh out loud seeing that the first customer in line is Dollar Bill whose book has not been doing great this season!
Most Notable Never-Seen Character – Ben Kim’s mom
She is like Vera Peterson in Cheers or Maris Crane in Frasier. Never seen but often present in her son’s words. And in this episode, when Axe tells Ben and Tuk not to ask other guys about their future but make their own future, we see once again the kind of presence Ben’s mom has in her son’s life.
“It’s like my own mother took the form of your body. I can almost taste her ggori gomtang.”
I think it is time we meet her 🙂
Massively Disappointed Girlfriend – Wendy
OMG. Wendy sees the sad fact that Tanner is yet another corruptible human being – courtesy of Axe! It seems that Axe has organized this whole viewing party to provide Wendy with concrete evidence that her new boyfriend is not who she thinks he is. Everyone has a price and even the seemingly “mythical incorruptible artist” Tanner pretends to buy into “bullshit interpretations” of his art when they come from a “socialite with a nine-digit bank account.” Yikes!
I wonder if Wendy and Tanner will still be together when Billions returns. And… (and I am quietly wishing for this) now that she knows there may be no incorruptible man out there, could Wendy ultimately get back together with Chuck? Tanner is not only corruptible, but also he is in denial about it. Chuck, on the other hand, has always been true to himself and to Wendy about his own corruptibility. Fingers crossed!
The Godfather is Back Award – OK, so the references from the greatest two movies ever took a week off last week, but it was back with a vengeance this week, with one of the classic lines – going to the mattresses. This means those last five episodes are going to be an all-out war between Axe and Prince – I’m ready.
Next Best Movie Reference Award – “Warriors! Come out to play!” How could Scooter NOT know this line???
One of the greatest movie lines EVER!
Saddest Omission – In my interview with Stephen Kunken and Kelly AuCoin back in March, they said to be on the lookout for this great scene with the two of them. They wouldn’t give specifics, other than it was in their minds the funniest bit between the two of them. So all season I have been waiting for that scene. And apparently it was supposed to happen in this episode. But as was explained by writer/producers Brian Koppelman and David Levien in their “Behind the Billions” podcast – they had to adjust the episode when it became clear it was going to be a mid-season finale, and so that scene got cut. So I will never know what got Stephen and Kelly all giddy. Sigh.
Most Awkward Moment – Wags
Wags has baby fever, but does his new lady know his true intentions? It didn’t look like it! Normally I’d find this drive endearing, but knowing the selfish reasons he wants a baby for…..it’s very unsettling to think that someone like him is going to bring a life into this world just to satisfy his ego and help erase his mistakes. Some people just shouldn’t be parents, and Wags is definitely one of those people.
The Most Murky Waters Award – Mike Prince
Were his intentions genuine? Did the whole thing really happen, organically? Or was Mike playing 4-D chess and making moves ahead of even the nimble mind of Taylor? We know what Axe thinks…. but what’s the truth? Mike is really great at playing sweet an innocent, but also can find that exact thing that makes you vulnerable, and poke it.
Best Lawn Chair Impression – Krakow
Get it? Cause he folded? Hahahahah oh what a weenie. Just the slightest mention of a little heat and he was ready to run for the hills. A scummy dude like him, making back room deals and bending the law to his every whim and need, you’d think he’d have more of a spine. Guess not!
Sharpest Focus – Axe
By the end of our mid-season finale, with the stimulants all worn off, Axe was back into his prime form. Well, at least as prime as he gets these days. Axe is once again ready to set his sights on his newest enemy, and make sure that no matter what, he ends up on top. There’s no cost that is too high, no person he isn’t willing to burn, to achieve victory. Even if he does get his bank, even if he makes more money than anyone else in the world, will it ever be enough for him?
We will see.