We have finished awarding 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, ten and eleven.
Let us conclude that tradition as we award our Most Valuable Players (MVPs) for the season finale. Here are the Billions MVP awards for Season 5, Episode 12, “No Direction Home.”
Best Damn Easter Egg Billions Has Ever Given Us – Bobby Axelrod’s date of birth is the same as Damian Lewis, as shown on Axe’s new Switzerland passport! DOB was listed as 11.02.1971 (the International format of DD/MM/YYYY) and Damian was born February 11, 1971. I have to believe this could have been Damian’s and/or the Writer’s Room way of gifting us a true piece of him, a small good-bye gesture ‘Farewell, thanks for watching me these last 5 years.’ It was a delightful offering to us…the TRUE-BLUE DIEHARD Damian fans. I’m quite verklempt about how the season ended even though I was prepared for this outcome (we’ve known of Damian’s departure from the show for almost two years), but at the same time cherish this tiny parting gift. For those that don’t know or may have forgotten, Billions brought me to Damian Lewis…Damian Lewis didn’t bring me to Billions. In all honesty, Axe’s departure from the show feels like a death and I need time to grieve the loss of this character I’ve come to enjoy so much. Similar to those of you who grieved the loss of Brody…this is my first experience with the loss of a Damian Lewis character. The realization is settling in that I won’t be able to see Damian on my television screen each year. Gulp.
First-Class Upgrade – Mike Prince
Mike Prince started the season already as a deca-billionaire on the cover of Vanity Fair. That said he was still a prince in the financial world where Bobby Axelrod was King. Axe beat him in Yonkers Opportunity Zone and also made his dirty laundry public. But Prince played the long game and persisted.
Lo and behold, in 12 episodes, Mike Prince, surpassing all expectations, has made Bobby Axelrod’s chair his own. He has certainly upgraded from prince to king.
Most Loyal Minion – Dollar Bill
He may be the cheapest man in America, but I am not uncertain Bill has class when it comes to loyalty.
“I worked for a legend. I’m out.”
And just like that – Dollar Bill has left the building.
Best Possible Fall – Bobby Axelrod
Social media is full of posts and tweets about Bobby Axelrod having lost. Are you fuckin’ kidding me? Under the circumstances – Bobby is a winner! Yes he may have lost 75% of his total assets but he has got $2B in his pocket and instant Swiss citizenship! Besides – he has the kind of freedom he may never have in America. The alternative? A pretty long jail sentence with all his assets frozen. No wonder Axe has a big smile on his face as soon as he crosses the Swiss border!
Ultimate Sports Mention – Ali vs Frazier
Axe: There are fights a man measures himself by, fights that take more out of him than even winning gives him back. Fights that make him. Ali had Frazier.
Chuck: I have you.
Axe:No, no, no. I have you. I’m Ali in this parallel.
Chuck: Another thing we can disagree on.
Sorry, Chuck. You are not Ali.
I admit I am very pumped up about this mention especially because I just watched Ken Burns’ brilliant new documentary “Muhammad Ali” on PBS. And, yes, Axe and Chuck are definitely Ali and Frazier, respectively – with their verbal exchange at the press conference being as intense as the Ali – Frazier press conferences! And I will hold on to the hope until the series finale that “our Ali” will come back at some point to reclaim his heavy weight championship title!
Most Justified Waste of Money – The Third Plane
Axe: I used to think it was a total waste of $60 million
Hall: The third plane? Of course it’s a waste, just like everything in the top right corner of the risk and control matrix. Right up until you need it.
Oscar-worthy Theatrical Performance – Wendy Rhoades
Should Chuck realize that Wendy knew Axe would flee the country, she could get in some legal trouble as a complicit. Yet Wendy gave an incredible theatrical performance at the heliport – looking utterly disappointed when it turns out that the chopper is empty and shedding tears over her beau who left her behind 🙂 Hats off!
The “Miss Cleo” Award – I’ve never done this before, but I’m giving myself this award because it looks like I’m a honorary member of the Psychic Readers Network! I predicted in my last “From the Trader’s Desk” that YKC – Know Your Customer – was what was going to come back to haunt Axe. Other correct predictions: Wendy would not go on the lam with Axe because she would not leave her kids, that their perfect relationship was just a fantasy (“something real doesn’t have to look like a fantasy“), and Axe even uttered (part) of the title of my post when he tells Ben Kim “this is the end of the beginning”. Now if I could only predict the market as accurately….
The “Rip My Heart Out” Award – When the workmen were ripping the Axe Capital sign off the wall, well, you may have just as well have them rip my heart out. That was painful, as it made the end of Axe Capital all too real.
The “Can You Be a Bigger Douche?” Award – The way Chuck spoke to Wendy on the helipad earns him this award this week (although he has earned it most of the last 5 seasons for a laundry list of offenses). He is the ultimate sore loser, the kid who takes his ball at a pick-up game and goes home. That kind of kid may do well on the Upper East Side, but wouldn’t last a day in Brooklyn.
The “Hey, I Know That Place” Award – I always love when Billions is at a location that I know very well, and the helipad where Chuck was duped certainly fits that description. I worked at One New York Plaza for many years, and our office windows faced the East River. Not only did I have a great view of Brooklyn every day, but the Downtown Manhattan Heliport was also right below the building. During the years 1997-2003 I got to watch Marine One land on the helipad when ever the President of the United States would visit New York. I flipped off Bill Clinton and waved to George W. Bush while they landed on that helipad. Good times!
The “Who Loves Ya, Baby” Award – I get about 50-60% of the pop culture references on Billions (and get the rest thanks to Damianista’s posts and research!), especially if it’s 70’s television related. Last season we were graced with a Baretta reference, and this week we got Kojak! Who loves ya, Baby?
The “My Ears are Bleeding!!” Award – I may get hate for this, but oh well. I HATE Bob Dylan. I mean HATE. Did I say HATE? Yes. His voice is terrible (how can anyone understand a word he says?), and in my opinion, the most overrated singer/songwriter in the history of history. Why did I have to hear that slurring mess of a song twice in this episode? If you needed that song, why not the Rolling Stones version?
The “Worst Dad” Award – It’s not like this show is graced with great father figures – I mean, Chuck is as bad as his dad who is awful. Dollar Bill has two families. Wags has what, three? And Prince sold out his kids to get at his rival, but none of them compare to Bobby who abandons his two boys to go on the lam. I feel for ya Bobby, but speaking as a dad, that was totally uncool.
“Who’s left?” – So next year we have no Bobby, and Dollar Bill and Mafee have left the building. And I imagine we’ve seen the last of Spyros too. Shows have to evolve and so characters need to come and go – M*A*S*H and Cheers are both examples of great shows that endured the loses of classic characters and their replacements became just as memorable. But this stings. And while I like Ben Kim and Tuk, it’s just not the same. (Bobby’s hugs to them both were two of the most uncomfortable and unconvincing hugs I’ve ever seen). The only one I really believed was Dollar Bill. In some ways Dollar Bill was just as emblamatic of Team Axe as Bobby himself. His loss as a regular will sting.
(I also wonder how many of these character departures are due to the actors moving on to other ventures, rather than the writers feeling like their character had reached the end of their usefulness?)
That Being Said – The writers did a very nice job of setting up season 6 as the battle of Chuck vs Prince now – I am actually looking forward to it. Chuck seems to have a renewed purpose and Prince is a worthy adversary. But it will still take some getting used to.
My Hope For Next Year Award – Please writers, stop with the overabundance of references, whether pop culture, literature or sports – no one, and I mean no one, uses as many cultural analogies as these people do. And it comes across more as the writers showing how many they can jam into an episode rather than being actually useful. It didn’t start out that way – they were used in moderation for the first couple seasons. But then I think the writers enjoyed them and the reactions to them so much they decided to throw them in whenever they could, and now it’s overkill.
Sorry Lady Trader Award – Dylan is a songwriting genius, and once again they got the perfect song to close it out.