Billions is back and so is our MVP series! We continue to award our Most Valuable Players for Billions season seven 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 from the episode – from sports references, music and tasty food to pop culture remarks, shocking twists and ultimate paybacks. In case you missed it, catch up with the MVPs of the season seven premiere Tower of London, episode two Original Sin, episode three Winston Dick Energy, episode four Hurricane Rosie, episode five The Gulag Archipelago, episode six The Man in the Olive Drab T-Shirt, episode seven DMV and episode eight The Owl.
Now let’s dive in. Here are the Billions MVP awards for Season 7, Episode 9, “Game Theory Optimal.”
Time Travel to 1881 O.K. Corral – Wags crossing over enemy lines by going to Chuck’s SDNY office felt gunsling-y without the pistols. I could even imagine the smell of Michter’s whiskey on Wags’ breath that he downed for courage before storming out of Wendy’s apartment. His purposeful walk into SDNY with glaring stare as he marched through the assembly line of employees and past Chuck’s two henchmen Ira and Karl had all the feels of watching the Earps vs. the McLaury brothers in Tombstone. Fun fact, I used to work for a descendant of those McLaury brothers. Anyhoo, Wags informs Chuck that he will come for him if he does anything to hurt Wendy.
Footnote: I think the last time Wags was in those very SDNY offices was season one episode six ‘The Deal‘ when Bobby ripped up the $1.9 billion dollar check and threw it in Chuck’s face in the conference room.
Game of Thrones Vibe – Chuck referring to Prince as the “Mad King.” King Aerys II Targaryen, aka “the Mad King,” was the last member of House Targaryen to rule from the Iron Throne and Chuck wants to take down Prince before he ascents to the Presidency to rule from the Oval Office of the White House. Chuck just needs assistance from inside the King’s Court to depose him while keeping all their heads intact.
The Avengers – Chuck, Wendy, Wags, Taylor and member at large Axe. This superhero team is amassing at HQ, this time Chuck’s brownstone as the primary base of their operations. Their mission? To subjugate Prince. I’m just waiting for Iron Man (Axe) to get Chuck’s call. I guess that makes Chuck Captain America, Wags is Hulk, Taylor is Thor and Wendy is Black Widow. And while Billions would have you believe The Avengers are up against Prince, Scooter, Kate, Bradford and Philip (aka Thanos, Loki, Ultron, Abomination and Kang the Conqueror), I am more hopeful that some of those villains will end up assisting The Avengers in the Endgame. That will be the real mutiny.
Knight of the Templar – Wags. He has sole custody of the Holy Grail, an impossible-to-copy USB drive that holds copious digital evidence of Chuck’s illegal activities during his career, custom made by Chuck himself.
Supreme Seniorisms – My gawd, where do I start? LOL 😉
Ira thinks Chuck has gone batshit crazy for admitting all his illegal activity on taped video confessions and calls in Senior as reinforcement. Senior promptly admits to his boy “I hear you’re going full section 8.” This is an old mental health disparaging term.
Then referring to Ira, “I figured he was just allowing his anxiety to get the better of him, as his people have a wont to do.” Senior goes on to reprimand Chuck that destroying himself is like “Confessing when no salvation is actually available. At least his people [Ira] put their sins on the head of a goat and killed the damn goat.” Ira finally tells Senior to go easy on the “my people” stuff to which Senior retorts, “You’re right. I’m tense because I’m watching our boy fall apart. So I’m letting fly like I’m at the Club, not out in the world.” This my friends, is what we call a microagression.
The cherry on top is when Senior discusses debauchery island with his son. “You’re wallowing in your guilt. Do you think I’ve never felt guilt, Junior? I’ve felt it rise up to the bottom of my throat, do a reach-around and tickle by epiglottis. But did I self-immolate? No. I discharged it with a weekend on Isla Santana in the West Indies.” So apparently this escape charges one huge fee that covers an open bar and unlimited meet-ups with international professional secret lovers, what Ira refers to as a romp in the sun with nubiles LOL! Senior confirms this by admitting, “Oh, I have emptied my pockets and my glands (ewww) in that blessed place. It is real. So real that I had to play some golf to get a break from all the discharging of guilt. Came back a new man.” And by “discharge” he means…you get the idea. This whole story gave me the Jeffrey Epstein island creeps!
Finally, Senior delivers one of the best lines of the episode. Chuck tells his father a trip like that will not exorcise the guilt to which a dead pan Senior states, “You should get tested for low T.” LOL
Best Cinematography – The opening sequence showing a montage of New York restaurants of Billions past and present was a beautiful love letter and sendoff for the final season. While the characters of Billions are unforgettable, both the city of New York and the food were secondary characters in the series from the get-go. The montage included The Dead Rabbit, Russian Tea Room, Peter Luger’s Steakhouse, Keens Chophouse, Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream, Economy Candy and Una Pizza Napoletana, just to name a few. Brian Koppelman always endorsed Una Pizza Napoletana to his Twitter followers when asked for pizza recommendations. Personally, I’ve been to only two: Economy Candy and Russian Tea Room. I’ve been to a couple more restaurants that were featured in Billions, but they were not a part of this montage (Momofuku and Kellogg’s Cereal Cafe).
Wonderful Wizard of Billions – Chuck Rhoades
Chuck may not have a wand but he has his brain cells. He plays his game theory optimal and with his probably very long confession video – I mean he started violating the law as a line prosecutor – Chuck turns bubonic plague ratshit into gold and joins the alliance!
And what inspired me to think of Chuck as The Wizard of Oz is the “Billies of Oz” tweet by Damian from the set! PRICELESS.
— Damian Lewis (@lewis_damian) May 8, 2023
Greatest Entrance – Wags
The way Wags enters the Southern District of New York for the first time since Season 1 Episode 6 The Deal where Axe tears up the $1.9B check and throws it at Chuck’s face…
…is simply PRICELESS. I can also honor him with a “best friend” award because he is there not for himself but for Wendy, his best buddy who is “a woman made of the best stuff.”
Ultimate Sports Mention – Simone Biles
You have probably noticed by now that I have zero interest in golf, baseball, or professional wrestling, namely the sports Billions has referenced the most over the years. But gymnastics is another story. I grew up with a mom who loved gymnastics, so I love the sport and always follow the European and World Championships as well as the Olympics closely. And there may not be a better mention than Simone Biles, the most decorated gymnast in history, when the sport is concerned. She is the G.O.A.T.
Most Forensic Trader – Rian
I am positive that Rian’s goal, when she enters Prince’s office with a tablet in hand, is not to pitch Mental to the boss. She, for some reason, wants to use Mental as an instrument to make sure the boss touches her tablet so she can get his fingerprints, and in turn his DNA from it.
It may be a long shot, but I always thought that the one-night stand with Rian could haunt Prince at some point (think about the number of American politicians who fall from grace thanks to their affairs!) And now I suspect that Rian may be pregnant and is trying to understand if Prince could be the dad! Yes, Billions has made me such a cynical person! 🙂 Regardless, Rian definitely deserves the most forensic trader award!
Prominent Invader of Personal Space – Mike Prince
Given that he gave every employee a tracker ring when he took over Axe Capital, I should have known that Mike Prince would not shy away from further invading his employees’ personal space! Recording private conversations around the office and justifying this shameless act by saying that they had to take appropriate measures because they took over an adversary’s company?!?!?! What the actual fuck? And I do not believe for a second that Prince is kind enough not to bug the bathrooms!
The Lazarus Award: This award goes to the writers. After last week’s episode (which in my opinion was so bad I didn’t even do a Trader’s Desk on it) it is great to see the writing back from the dead, and one of the most Billionsy episodes in a long while.
The Tricky Dick Award: When Scooter admitted to Kate that he has had the whole office bugged (I still don’t believe they didn’t bug the johns!) that was some Big Brother shit! But since we need to keep it political, I went straight to Richard Nixon and his sound-activated taping system that was installed in the Oval Office. We know how that ended, so let’s hope history repeats itself here.
The Memory Lane Award: The opening montage of restaurants past and present from Billions was great! Very nostalgic and could also be a homage to Damianista’s book “Appetite for Power: Eating, Drinking & Deal making in NYC: A Billions Guide“, available on Amazon now!
Best Record Collection Revisited Award: Back in Episode 3, “Winston Dick Energy”, I gave Mike Prince this award because of the vinyl record collection that was visible in his home. This week, I spied with my little eye a few of the album covers: Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls” (a double album no less!), Nirvana’s “Nevermind“, The Who’s “Who’s Next“, Bob Marley and the Wailers’ “Legend“, Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way“, and even Ozzy Osbourne’s “Diary of a Madman” – and that’s only the ones I could recognize with the background not being in focus. I might not like Prince at all, but damn, he does have good taste in music.
The MOAB Award: Once our favorite co-conspirators agree to work together, Chuck knows they need just one more piece to the puzzle – someone near and dear to their hearts. Well, that my friends is Bobby Fucking Axelrod who is going to be their MOAB, which is described as “a large-yield bomb”. Yeah, I think that a perfect description!
They’re Back!!! – This is for the writers – this episode was classic Billions – the three-dimensional chess game they play with the audience – this was fun – albeit unsettling – to watch. Last week was like comic relief – it didn’t advance the plot at all and we really didn’t gain much from it – almost like how musical numbers are described in Something Rotten – a Broadway show you all should see.
How Far They’ve Fallen Award – Kate Sacker – she went form being completely on the side of the law to now turning a blind eye to every legally questionable move that Prince makes. Surveillance cameras in every corner of the room, even the offices? I think there is more behind this, but right now she looks like she has lost all of her ethics.
Best Opening Montage – the restaurants of NYC – brilliant ode to one of the key features of this show over the years – how they love to eat and eat well.
Best Cultural Reference – Warner Wolf – Warner was a sports broadcaster who got his start in Washington, DC where he grew up. He also did the same in NYC for a while which would allow for Scooter to know who he was. Warner’s catch phrase when going to the sports highlights for the evening was “Let’s go to the videotape.” Anyone who grew up in DC knew this phrase. So props to the writers for that one.
Next Best Cultural Reference – Tom Watson – 1982 US Open – I wasn’t really watching golf at that time in my life, but I’ve gone back and watched enough clips of the greats of the past to appreciate who Tom did on 17 and 18 that year to beat out Jack Nicklaus and win his first US Open. Tom was one of the all-time greats.
Most Unethical – Prince and Scooter – installing the camera system after using the tracker rings as decoys? Whatever happened to the idea that Prince was trying to be the ‘good’ billionaire? Have they just abandoned that idea? What he is doing is at least as bad as anything Axe did. Karma is a bitch man – and in this show, everyone ends up answering for their misdeeds.