In one of the best episodes of the entire series, which I would call “the calm before the storm” Axe, Chuck and Wendy finally set up the game to take down Prince. The key to the episode is the three of them discussing Prince’s strengths and weaknesses in Chuck’s SDNY office where Wendy does her thing:
“We’re facing an ambitious, competent, , confident, charismatic, socially conscious strategic thinker with high emotional intelligence and deep sources. But he’s morally complex, which means he likes to think he’s more ethical than those around him. And he’s not immune from engaging in questionable tactics to achieve his goals. That is a slippery slope and once place he can be hit. And he believes his own infallibility above all else.”
Continue reading “Billions on Showtime, Season 7 Episode 11: Axe Global”
Who would have guessed we would see Chuck Rhoades saying the following words to Bobby Axelrod?
“Thank God, you’re here.”
YES! Axe is back and all the world is right again!
Bookended with two showdowns between the King and the Prince in London and New York, Episode 10 Enemies List gives us a tale of two cities that sees Axe and Chuck work together to free Wendy from Prince’s trap and ultimately get their alliance together with the goal of stopping Prince from being the next POTUS.
Continue reading “Billions on Showtime, Season 7 Episode 10: Enemies List”
First things first. Apologies for not writing a recap for Season 7 Episode 8 The Owl. I was traveling in the UK last weekend to attend Damian Lewis’ music gigs in Brighton, Manchester and Leeds. And then I was in London catching Damian at a fantastic theatre event to mark the centenary celebration of Noel Coward’s first musical revue London Calling. So I missed Episode 8 and was not able to write an episode recap for the first time. That said – I watched the episode and my main take aways are as follows.
First, Chuck very rightly points out, a man with zero self-doubt should never hold a position of absolute power. Prince’s hawkish approach to nuclear conflict at The Owl is a bone-chilling sign to what kind of a president he would be.
Second, Andy knows Prince better than anyone and that the rescue mission could go wrong only if Prince wanted it to go wrong. “You wanted him off the mountain” he says. “And he’s off the damn mountain.” I would not be surprised if we saw Andy standing with the opposition against Prince in the weeks to come.
Finally, I have no idea if The Owl has been inspired by a bizarre old and rich white men in the woods kind of gathering in real life but it gives an accurate portrayal of what is wrong in American politics today: old and rich white men have disproportionate power in decision-making.
Now on to Game Theory Optimal: As someone who teaches game theory for a living, I HEART the title. It is a poker term. a player attempts to play perfect poker so that their moves cannot be exploited by their opponents. Game theory optimal incorporates mixed strategies where a player incorporates bluffs and semi-bluffs in their value bets to have a balanced game. The strategy ultimately dictates that the player makes the decision to maximize their utility. And the title is very fitting for this episode in which all our characters attempt to play their perfect game! The episode has some of the best writing this season, and gradually moves the plot to the climax of the last couple of episodes. I know we are in for a thrill ride!
Continue reading “Billions on Showtime, Season 7 Episode 9: Game Theory Optimal”
A road test. An amazing technology. An evening at the casino. This fun episode aptly called DMV demonstrates once again that nothing is what it seems in Billions!
It is time for employee performance reviews at MPC but the employees are not comfortable about it thanks to the recent employee survey and feedback drama at the firm. Even though the boss recuses himself from rewarding and punishing anyone on the team, the employees are feeling uneasy with the composition of the review panel; e.g. Scooter, who is not in touch with them at all (they do not even invite him to the movie night because they know he would never show up!) is sitting on the review committee. They ask the panel to skip the review for a year… Continue reading “Billions on Showtime, Season 7 Episode 7: DMV”
In one of the best opening scenes in Billions, Robert and Charles, as they call each other, meet at an airport in Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands) in Iceland and set the tone for the episode. This one is all about respecting your adversary. Grigor Andolov rightly points out that one adversary you should respect is the one who knows about your abilities the most. And the title of the episode is a clear tribute to President Zelensky and the people of Ukraine to whose resilience and determination Russian President Vadimir Putin has had zero respect whatsoever. Continue reading “Billions on Showtime, Season 7 Episode 6: The Man in the Olive Drab T-Shirt”