Billions on Showtime Season 5 Episode 6: The Nordic Model

A painting. A drawing. A kidney. A patent. Oh, and an IQ test!

This fast-paced and clever Billions episode gives us an extremely  fun hour in which Axe, Chuck, Taylor and Wendy all have to play fast chess to deal with both personal and professional matters. Anything is fair game to get what they want. Some win, some lose and some get, well, outright creepy! Continue reading “Billions on Showtime Season 5 Episode 6: The Nordic Model”

Bobby Axelrod: The Boy Whose Dad Never Came Back

It is no secret I have been fascinated by Bobby Axelrod’s backstory in Billions, in particular his family background. A few glimpses we had into the life of young Bobby in every season made me think hard and deep about his past as well as how that past seems to have shaped Bobby Axelrod’s life. I was able to see the trauma he went through in his relationships – from his marriage to his parenting to his friendships. And I sat down and wrote about Bobby Axelrod – the boy whose dad never came back. Continue reading “Bobby Axelrod: The Boy Whose Dad Never Came Back”

The Unbeatable, Unstoppable, Unparalleled MVPs from Billions Season 5 Episode 5

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, and episode four.

Let us continue with that tradition as we award our Most Valuable Players (MVPs) this week. Here are the Billions MVP awards for Season 5, Episode 5, “Contract.”

Continue reading “The Unbeatable, Unstoppable, Unparalleled MVPs from Billions Season 5 Episode 5”

Billions on Showtime Season 5 Episode 5: Contract

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”

“From the Trader’s Desk”: Home is Where the Heart Is? Billions S5E3 “Opportunity Zone”

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 S5E3 “Opportunity Zone””