So where to begin about this episode – entertaining, surprising, and heartbreaking – absolutely the best so far in Season 5? The best point of departure may be the definition of “contract” as Axe gives during his game of billiards with Savion since we see a number of contracts – explicit and implicit – drawn, signed, or not, in one of the best hours Billions has given us in its history.
“A contract is an understanding between men that they’ll see things the same way, that they’ll keep code. That they’ll honor the spirit of their relationship even in unforeseen circumstances.”
Axe, Wags and Bach are sitting in Leah Calder’s – the head of the office approving state charter applications – office clueless that Chuck was there earlier with Kate to convince Ms. Calder not to approve Axe’s application and thereby preventing a crime before happening! Continue reading “Billions on Showtime Season 5 Episode 5: Contract”
Times have changed and times are strange
Here I come, but I ain’t the same
Mama, I’m coming home
Mama, I’m Coming Home – Ozzy Osbourne
TGIF and welcome to The Trader’s Desk. As has been the pattern the last few weeks, I’ll give a brief explanation of what an Opportunity Zone is, some quick observations, and then focus on Axe and why “stinking” of Yonkers is a double-edged sword for him.
What is an Opportunity Zone? (The WSJ review of Billions gives a really great explanation – I use some of it here)
Opportunity zones are real. The idea is part of the 2017 tax overhaul (however the Treasury Department just finalized rules for them in late 2019). Investors who have significant capital gains can take that money and invest it into an opportunity fund, for which they get a tax break. The fund in turn invests in businesses in designated disadvantaged neighborhoods. There’s no limit on how much you can invest, but you need to keep it invested for at least 10 years to get the tax benefit. That makes it less attractive for hedge funds, which likely won’t want to tie up their capital for that long. Consequently, in the real world, hedge funds have not moved aggressively into opportunity zones. There is also the question of just throwing money at these areas. While building shopping malls, business complexes and some housing is nice, if you don’t address the root of the issues, then in a few years all you have are empty shopping malls and business complexes. Continue reading ““From the Trader’s Desk”: Home is Where the Heart Is? Billions S5E4 “Opportunity Zone””
While Opportunity Zone as a golden opportunity of tax breaks for the rich stays at the heart of the story, all kinds of opportunities – pursued, missed, noticed, favorable, fitting, promising, unique, rare, ample – abound in this week’s episode! Oh, and I think love is in the air for some!
The Bobby Axelrod that I came to like – the boy who grew up in Yonkers and beat the odds to become the billionaire that he is today – makes an appearance in the first few minutes of the episode… Continue reading “Billions on Showtime Season 5 Episode 4: Opportunity Zone”
Kings will be crowned, and the word goes around
From father to son, to son
“Father to Son” – Queen
Welcome back to the Trader’s Desk. This week Billions seems to have Daddy issues! I’ll get into that, some observations, and then my thoughts on Axe and his audition for the role of modern day Gorden Gekko!
I think it was fitting that this episode opened with the song “Father and Son” (and a big thank you to Damianista and Gingersnap for educating me on the singer and the song, as I had never heard of it!). We all know that Axe and Chuck have some major Daddy issues, and those were on display this week, along with Axe setting some up for his son Gordie. Also, did anyone else notice the plethora of The Godfather references? Now that’s a movie about Daddy issues! And let’s not even start about the state of Wags’ kids because he was an absent father. This episode should have been shown on Father’s Day! Continue reading “From the Trader’s Desk: Sins of The Father – Billions S5 E3 “Beg, Bribe, Bully””
I love the saying attributed to Woody Allen that “90% of life is showing up.” And while I believe it applies to the 99% of the population, 90% of life for the top 1% seems to be begging, bribing and bullying their way into everything – business, art, and yes even education. Written by Ben Mezrich, and set around these three actions, this episode gives us a wonderful hour that provides food for thought about essence of a person – the soul – as well as fathers and sons.
As Father and Son– one of the best songs ever written by one of the greatest songwriters of all times – opens the episode, we find out the apple does not fall far from the tree.
The son in question is Gordie Axelrod who is turning his dorm room into a bitcoin farm to make money – lots of it! But exactly like the bitcoin farm Kate busted in Episode 1 The New Decas, Gordie’s bitcoin farm needs so much power that it does not only cause outage in the school building but also in the entire town. Continue reading “Billions on Showtime Season 5 Episode 3: Beg, Bribe, Bully”