We continue to award our Most Valuable Players for Billions season five in our series compilation, 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 season five episodes one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten.
Let us resume that tradition as we award our Most Valuable Players (MVPs) for the most recent episode. Here are the Billions MVP awards for Season 5, Episode 11, “Victory Smoke.”
Antiquated Seniorism Award – Charles Sr. when discussing his renewed vitality. “Got the old ashes hauled this morning. Got laid is what I mean. Test flight. Went fine, if not quite as vigorous a session as I might like, but building to it, building to it.”
Flawless GIA Detector – Wags. It wouldn’t surprise me if Uncle Wagsy received certification from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) to detect the four “Cs” of diamond grading: clarity, carat, color and cut. No need for a loupe! From the naked eye he’s able to tell the jeweler, “Looks like Zales in a push-up bra. I want the 600-karat black opal, the uncut gem shit. What you got?” David Costabile would have been excellent in the film Uncut Gems.
Chief Crackerjack – This one goes to Wags, too. – “Ready for anything is basically my first, middle and last name.”
Coolest Musically Influenced Business Name – Fine Young Cannabis (FYC). I have to believe CEO Dawn Winslow, a former music producer, may have been influenced by the 80’s band name Fine Young Cannibals.
Most Appetizing Line – Scooter when he told Prince about Winslow, “She’s melting like a pad of butter on a short stack.”
Surprising Mary Jane Odor Killer – Febreze. Wags asked Winslow, “Is that insecticide keeping the red spider mites away?” She replies, “Febreze. So it doesn’t smell like a Wesleyan dorm room when I finally get it into the system.”
Supreme Master of Puppets – Axe when he told Prince, “I have strings attached to all of my fingers. When I yank ’em you are going to shake, rattle and shit yourself.”
Basically the opposite of no strings attached. pic.twitter.com/wwkD9jnRs5
— Billions on Showtime (@SHO_Billions) September 24, 2021
Best Subliminal Movie Reference – The Italian Job. I don’t know about you, but when I saw multiple Axe Bank armored trucks I immediately got all the feels for the movie The Italian Job. Axe is Steve (Edward Norton) trying to move his cash (gold in the movie) to a safe place before Prince, who would be Charlie Croker (Mark Wahlberg), tries to thwart his efforts. Look out for the mini Coops, Axe!
Albeit, Prince didn’t blow a physical hole through concrete to take Axe’s bank. He and Chuck, along with Kate and Taylor, just lured Axe into a trap like Charlie lured Steve. For now, we’ll just say “seemingly trapped.”
The Revengeful Avenger Award – Wags. New York’s top personal injury lawyer, Mick Nussfaur (played by Michael Kostroff), tried to steal his “Forever Bed” in season three and tricked him into dressing up in drag back in season four so Wagsy defiled his daughter Chelsea years later! Nussfaur’s face when he opened the front door to see his arch nemesis kissing his own daughter on his porch – priceless. “Hey there, Dad! Is it too soon? I look forward to long talks, throwin’ the ball around.” LOL
Substantial Mood Killer – Hard Bob
Wendy’s romantic mood – she is probably remembering her last phone call with Bobby – changes to utterly shocked in the blink of an eye as the elevator arrives:
Yet another hysterical Billions opening scene 🙂
Worst Dad – Mike Prince
Then don’t do it, Mike! Don’t use your children for your own selfish goals! But he does – and he does it as if life is a chess board and Gail and Liz, his daughters, are pawns on it. I so agree with Gail:
“Yeah, Mike Prince, you are kind of sucking right now.”
Smartest Person in the Room – Kate Sacker
Kate has proven she deserves her spot in the world time and again over the five seasons. And we have just seen yet another brilliant move from her.
Kate is protecting her dad by having him arrested – “a minor charge, some embarrassment, no jail time” – and the arrest helps Chuck, too. From Axe’s perspective, the arrest looks like Chuck’s doing to stop Axe Bank from taking FYC money. And this makes Axe even more aggressive in his offer to Winslow. Kate is right and her future is bright. Congress will only be a pit stop for her.
Matchless Chess Master – Chuck Rhoades
I am holding my nose as I give him this award because Chuck claiming he wants to take Axe in the name of justice is BULLSHIT. That said – he has done a brilliant job.
Chuck sets up the stage for Axe’s fall and spends the episode fine-tuning every move, tying every loose end, and making sure every piece falls in line. That is it? Checkmate? I do not want to believe it. But I have to admit Chuck has cornered Axe pretty badly this time.
Majestic Mistake – Axe and Wendy as a couple
While Axe is making a risky decision to take money from the cannabis industry, what Axe and Wendy talk about on the phone is, well, Fiji!
Wendy has been emotionally distracted since she and Axe have recently opened their hearts to each other. And, as Wags rightly observes, she now wants to accept Axe as he is, and is not questioning his decisions. In normal times, Wendy would have given Axe a call and told him to approach cannabis money with more caution right away. She would actually have seen through Chuck by now, too! But now that they are a couple, instead of talking about the very serious matter at hand, the two are talking about fucking Fiji! UGH.
I know that many fans have been waiting for love words to be spoken between these two. Not me. And while I wish them all the happiness in the world, I also know this is not an “and they lived happily every after” kind of story. And it would be great if both Axe and Wendy got their shit together before it is too late! Otherwise, Fiji will only be a dream. And I think Axe’s last look is about understanding it; that is, they are two different people in friendship and a romantic relationship. The Wendy he has now is not the Wendy that has kept him grounded for years. And Axe seems to be asking himself: “What the fuck did I do?”
Favorite Shoutout of the Week Award: Anyone who knows me, knows my favorite NBA team is the Boston Celtics (the 1985-86 Championship Team to be precise), so it brought a smile to my face to see the Axe Team smoking the same cigars as the architect of that team, the iconic Red Auerbach. As they say, smoke ’em if you got ’em!
Best Ride of the Week Award: Is that the Jaguar XF I see Senior driving to Delaware? Well, if it is, and it has all the bells and whistles, we are looking at a minimum of $70K. Nice ride Sr.!
Best Spock Impersonation Award: I have likened Taylor to Mr. Spock from Star Trek in several past posts, the first time here. So, it was good to see them sticking to character and giving the Spock eyebrow raise to Lawrence Boyd. LLAP!
The “I’m Not at All Surprised” Award: Does it really surprise anyone that Rian has been in therapy twice a week since she’s 11? I thought not. Although I’d suggest she’d get her money back, because she’s still annoying AF.
The “Is This 1984?” Award: Axe on every screen at Axe Capital brought back 1984 in two ways: the George Orwell classic book “1984” (Big Brother is Watching!), and the Rockwell song “Somebody’s Watching Me” which peaked on the Billboard Charts at #2 in March of 1984!
Best Character – Chuck Rhoades Sr. I used to think that Wags got all the best lines. Now I’m not so sure. Chuck Sr’s lines are so deliciously wrong and decadent. I don’t know how Jeffrey DeMunn says them with a straight face. And I don’t know how the other actors can sit there and just react to it without cracking up – especially Maggie Siff – she is the recipient of some of his worst lines. This used to be Wagnerian territory, but now it belongs to the Senior Circuit.
Worst Sports Analogy – Steve Nash. Yeah, he was one of the greatest free throw shooters ever. In fact, he is #2 all-time behind one other person (duh) – Steph Curry. Curry would have made more sense as a choice for this random analogy. He is current. He was teammates with Kevin Durant, who made a cameo once before. Nash was great, but he also didn’t go out on his own terms like Senior alludes to. In fact, his last couple years in the league he was basically a nonentity for the Lakers. It was a very ungracious exit for one of the all-time greats, so I’m surprised they used him and alluded to him in that way. This reminds me of the Wilbury’s episode when they inferred that Petty and Dylan started the Wilburys. Harrison started the Wilburys.
Whatever Happened To? (Part 1) – Spyros. One throwaway line. That’s it? Hard Bob has taken over.
Whatever Happened To? (Part 2) – Sarah Stiles. Basically never made it back after COVID. Pity because Bonnie was a great character. But no explanation. Nothing.
Reference I Never Thought I Would See From This Crew – Damascus. Saul’s conversion? A Bible reference? Really???
Best Analogy – Red Auerbach. The Lady Trader has this right. My parents were born and raised in Boston. I grew up right as Larry Bird was coming into the league. I still have my Celtics jacket from that era. We all know about the famed ghosts of the Garden, the parquet floor, and Auerbach’s cigars. This analogy was spot on.
The MVP of the Episode – Wags. Wags has a bit of a rebirth since they got back. His character has been more involved and more spirited. And while I am not a huge fan of the “Wags becomes a daddy again” storyline, I do think his scene with Wendy where he shows his own ability to psychoanalyze was terrific. But that paled in comparison to the revenge play. That came out of nowhere, and I love it when they surprise me like that. This was writing at their best. You know back in Season 4 when Wags said he would get his revenge, you knew he would. But the writer’s ability to play the long game with this was true brilliance. It is this stuff I will miss when the show finally closes its doors for Season 5.