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 – Mentors
Between Bryan on a possible suicide mission to take down Chuck and Taylor starting a secret quant-based hedge fund in a basement after getting jerked around by Axe three or four different ways, it was a rough week for mentors. I suppose the Chuck and Bryan thing has been brewing for a while, though, considering Chuck did just fire him in front of everyone in a spittle-flinging show of force after Bryan tried to — correctly, understandably — tie him to the Ice Juice thing. But now Bryan is using the Attorney General’s leak-hunting at the FBI as a pretext to dig up dirt and it’s all getting very ugly. I remain convinced that he’s going to burst into a room like “A-ha! Gotcha,” at the exact moment Chuck is planning to take down Jock and it’s gonna muck it all up for everyone. Nothing ever works out for Bryan.
Taylor, on the other hand, after getting squeezed on money in the fund and hosed with the Birbiglia thing and lowballed on the bonus, is preparing to go to Grigor with a code created by a little jerk in the hopes of branching out solo. Axe will not like this. Axe very much looks at Taylor and sees a threat. This will get ugly.
A small part of me hopes Taylor bankrupts Axe and Bryan sends Chuck to jail and the next season is about Bryan and Taylor circling each other like cobras.
STOCK UP – Food, generally
It’s funny, sometimes Billions will lean a little heavy into the music/movies references and I’ll get annoyed by it, like “Okay, I get it. These people are familiar with pop culture. Got it.” But then the show will do the same thing with food — please do think back at how many references to food there were this season, from burgers to weird birds to Salt Bae and steaks this week — and I will hold none of it against anyone. It’s not like the show is being subtle about it. Think about the steak in this screencap, the one Chuck and Ira shared near the end of the episode. The sizzling and slicing and dripping… it was the most obscene thing we’ve seen on this show to date, including anything and everything Chuck and Wendy have done in their leather-clad leisure time. You couldn’t have shown in on network television.
STOCK UP – The old okie-doke
I love a good okie-doke, where you distract someone with something shiny in one hand and then use the other hand to wallop them square in the melon. Some would call this a cheap shot. I beg to differ. There’s no artistry to a cheap shot. An okie-doke takes planning and misdirection. It’s basically a magic trick.
And that’s what Chuck is doing to Jock. Setting him up to look one way, at a state investigation into his crooked Caracas-bound financial doofus, so he can get walloped by the federal investigation into the cover-up Jock will certainly set in motion to bury the first thing. I was so happy when they laid it all out. I like it when I get to root for Chuck. It’s the Giamatti of it all.
STOCK DOWN – Self-awareness
At one point in all of this, Chuck accused Jock of recognizing “no legal or moral authority but his own” and I laughed out loud. Chuck accused someone else of that. Buddy, that is rich. Like, I’m glad you’re going after Jock and I just said I support your semi-underhanded method of doing so, but let’s not get crazy here. You just blackmailed a judge into recusing himself and railroaded and oncologist to weasel your way into and out of a trial that involved a number of crimes you set in motion yourself. Take a deep breath. You don’t like Jock because he’s an asshole. That’s a good enough reason.