Bobby Axelrod: The Boy Whose Dad Never Came Back – Part VII

Or should I say “Bobby Axelrod: The Boy Whose Dad Finally Came Back”? The Opportunity Zone project in Yonkers brings Axe a golden opportunity not only for receiving tax breaks but also for facing his past. Big time. I obviously knew Bobby’s dad was not a good husband or a good father, I mean the guy walked out on his wife and his 12 year old son, but still I never knew that Bobby has such a heartbreaking story where the wounds are still open and excruciatingly painful.

As he sits on the floor of his childhood room, a place where he thought he would never set foot again, Bobby shares with Wendy a story – this is not the entire story but only a glimpse into a very painful childhood –  about how it was back then. Continue reading “Bobby Axelrod: The Boy Whose Dad Never Came Back – Part VII”

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””

Billions on Showtime Season 5 Episode 4: 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”

From the Trader’s Desk: Sins of The Father – Billions S5 E3 “Beg, Bribe, Bully”

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””