The Punch opens with a bang and throws a number of punches, literal and metaphorical, at us all.
We find Axe doing laps in his Hamptons pool and listening to Replacements’ The Ledge that goes “I’m the boy they couldn’t ignore, for the first time in my life, I’m sure” on his waterproof headphones. We cannot ignore the boy does not look okay today. We have never seen him like this before. The pressure is taking its toll on Axe. He is at the end of his rope. Continue reading “Billions on Showtime, Episode 7: The Punch”
This episode halfway thru the season opens with a scene I didn’t expect to see until series end. That’s where we start and that’s where we’re taken, into an episode that feels like a season finale. I’ll get to that starting scene in a bit. First, we must draw all hands to deck, look up and witness the King. Axe climbs up on office furniture, his head nearly grazing the dropped ceiling, and he gives his troops a war speech worthy of Patton.
Yesterday we came under attack from an unscrupulous adversary…
Unblinking, unflinching, determined righteous passion. Despite the zeal, Damian somehow keeps the speech from being over the top. It’s a rapid spitfire rallying speech, then, just as rapidly, Damian draws the energy he just exerted right back in. It’s this masterful balance between release and stillness, between exertion and absorption. Wendy watches from the sidelines and she feels the rawness too. Witness her halted breathing, and the decidedly dilated pupils watching Axe on stage, then the averted gaze as he descends and walks past her, spent. I’m making this all sound vaguely sexual aren’t I. Well, probably because it IS.
The King is back. He loves what he does. He, in fact, lives and breathes what he does. Real or not, he tries his hand a bit in having the good life — collecting fresh eggs in the morning, quality time with wife and kids, prospect of getting on his new boat and sailing to Galapagos… And maybe, just maybe, there is really a moment where he thinks there could be another life he could be living.
But the fact is Axe Capital is where the good life is for Axe.
Maybe not the perfect life as the smug on his face is gone the moment he comes eye to eye with the Windbreakers raiding Axe Capital to get to “Dollar” Bill… But it must be something about the game that he just cannot give up… Axe advises Danzig after his “deer shooting” spree: “What drives you does not understand enough.” It’s obvious what drives Axe does not understand enough, either. Is it the adrenaline? Is it the sweet feeling of winning? What drives Axe? Continue reading “Billions on Showtime, Episode 6: The Deal”
As the credits roll, 9/11 widow June, wife of Axe’s deceased business partner, Rake, seems to have penned a manuscript and is thanking her publisher for giving her a book deal. Bryan is getting in good with the FBI. Meanwhile Axe sips his morning coffee as a truck pulls into his driveway. Again, the Billions writers seem to have effectively taken the beep-beep-beep of a truck backing up and the cranking chain sound of its opening door out of the strict purview of the mafioso drama.
What do you see in this picture? I see two modern day gladiators going at each other big time as millions of viewers are watching them on Showtime and rooting for one or the other 😀 Yes, we are not living in Roman Times, so at least, one does not need to physically die for the other one to survive, but still one’s career probably needs to die for the other one to survive and thrive!
Well, we talked earlier about teams being more or less well-defined on Billions: On one side, we have Team Axelrod led by hedge-fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod along with his wife Lara Axelrod and his right-wing man Mike “Wags” Wagner; and on the other side, we have Team Rhoades led by US Attorney Chuck Rhoades along with his assistant attorney Brian Kennerty and assistant District Attorney Kate Sacher. The only character that we have had difficulty putting in either camp is… Wendy Rhoades. Continue reading “Who’s got the POWER in Billions? Bobby? Chuck? Or Wendy?”