The Billions Stock Watch is a weekly accounting of the action on the Showtime drama. Decisions will be made based on speculation and occasional misinformation and mysterious whims that are never fully explained to the general public. Kind of like the real stock market.
STOCK DOWN — Axe
The important thing to remember here is that Axe is fine. He’s fine. Everything is great. He’s just sipping scotch at night in a multimillion-dollar glass compound while discussing plans to destroy his enemies and considering plans — brought to him by an underling named “Victor,” which is also fine and not a name an evil henchmen would have — to also destroy someone he cares about if it will further his goals even a little. That’s all. It’s not like he’s pretty clearly becoming a supervillain. It’s not like he might one day poison Manhattan’s entire water supply to cash-in on a short term stock play, regardless of how many people it kills. He wouldn’t do something like that. Unless the return was really good. Or even pretty good. He’s fine.
Here’s my big question in all of this: Who was he talking about destroying at the very end of the episode with all that talk about Saler’s toxic debt? Was it Rebecca, his new girlfriend who made a smart business play that also could have saved their relationship if Bobby wasn’t a psychopath who is so hellbent on destroying Taylor that even the tiniest bit of compromise registers as outright treason in his mangled brain? Was it Wendy, his trusted advisor who has been to hell and back this season after being outed as a dominatrix by her power-mad husband and just lost her medical license because of actions taken during the feud with Taylor? Was it… someone else? Is there anyone else Axe cares about even a little? Who knows?! Not me!
Between this and his big “I am the sun that warms you” speech to the foot soldiers who tried to stage an intervention earlier in the episode, I think it’s safe to say this is the most unhinged we’ve ever seen him. He’s too out there for Dollar Bill. When you’ve lost Dollar Bill, I mean, that’s bad. It’s not great. It’s not fine.
STOCK DOWN — Lies
Wendy came clean in her hearing and was promptly stripped of her medical license, much to the chagrin of Orrin (Axe Cap’s counsel and a top-three character on the show), who gave her this terrific advice before the hearing: “I can’t tell you to lie. I can only tell you that they’ll never be able to prove it, and it’s the perfect solution to all your problems.” His face when she told the truth was great. He was so disappointed. I would watch an entire episode about one full day in his life.
Wendy seemed to feel good about it, though. She looks unburdened. The truth is, as far as her job prospects are concerned, losing the license makes not a whiff of a difference because she’ll be doing the exact same thing under the title of Performance Coach or whatever. She called out Spyros right away and stepped up for the Axe chat when called upon, even if it didn’t work. Her pride is dinged, for sure, and there’s still a pile of rubble all around her home and work life, but she seems to be in a better place. That’s good to see. I root for Wendy even when she’s doing gross things to further the interests of gross people.
STOCK UP — Having multiple phones
I can’t stop watching this. I’ve been watching it for 15 minutes now. I’m supposed to be writing a section about Chuck and Senior and their calamitous week, with plots against the Attorney General and FBI stings of upstate hotel rooms and “the idiot” who helped secure the land deal at the center of it all, and yet, here I am, watching Giamatti juggle phones like an NBA general manager at the trade deadline. Look at him. Look at the little bounce he does in the middle. What an absolute icon. I can’t be expected to focus on anything else while this is happening. I’m not that strong.
Ugh. Okay, fine. I’ll say this about the Rhoades family saga, too: I am coming around on Senior. He’s a monster and a creep and morally bankrupt goon but a) he is so much fun now that the show leaned into his eyebrow-arching evil nature, and b) it’s fun to see him turn all that dismissive energy toward an even more unlivable character, like Jock. That’s it. That’s all I’ll say. Back to watching Chuck doing his cell phone lambada. Leave me alone.