TV

The ‘Billions’ Stock Watch: What Started Out As A Joke Has Turned Out To Be A Disaster


Showtime

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 — The best-laid plans

There are two main feuds on Billions right now, Axe v. Taylor and Chuck v. Connerty/Jock. Other, smaller feuds develop inside those like little devious nesting dolls, but those are the biggies. This week, both involved deep, well-planned attacks that went sideways at the last minute. We’ll start there.

Axe is trying to make a move on fracking, because of course Axe would be investing heavily in a lucrative business with potentially calamitous consequences for the environment. Taylor goes on television and blasts both the play and the man himself, which gets Axe all kinds of hot and mad and leads him to corner Governor Buffalo Bob Sweeney and get fracking legalized in the entire state. What we find out later is that Taylor was also way in on fracking (everyone on this show is terrible, as always). They had bought up the water rights earlier and basically just baited and antagonized Axe into doing the dirty work of pushing the bill through for them. A really solid own.

Chuck’s plan is more fluid and involves sticking it to Jock however he can. Chuck didn’t really care that much about the blockchain voting thing. He just wanted it because Jock didn’t, and he looped in the tribe from his father’s casino to help. (Big shoutout to the tribe’s leader, who pulled a classic Parks & Rec move by threatening white people with ceremony and forcing them to back down.) All of which went swimmingly until Jock called in Chuck’s police commissioner and turned the screws on him regarding the docks and such. Now, everything is a mess.

Just a bunch of heavyweights throwing haymakers at each other. No knockouts yet. All body blows. Something to keep an eye on, though.

STOCK UP — Sacker

Showtime

We like Sacker very much because Sacker is ruthless and also has eyes that can laser a weaker adversary right in half. This week, her ire was turned to Connerty, a man who is so intent on doing Jock’s bidding to ruin Chuck that he’s lost his line of site at the bigger picture. Like, he’s really out there trying to restrict voting rights just to get a small win against his nemesis and Sacker justifiably called him out on it. Was comparing him to a famous Nazi a bit much? Perhaps. But, counterpoint: All of Billions is a bit much, in the best possible way. It plays.

The meeting with her dad drove home her discontent even further. Sacker is getting the itch. She wants out of that shark tank. Where she lands is another issue.

STOCK DOWN — Wendy

Showtime

Wendy continues to spiral, to the degree that Bonnie is now kind of her life coach. Nothing against Bonnie, naturally, but that is not a development I saw coming. And speaking of things people did not see coming, I like that Wendy was surprised — at least initially — that Taylor and company would come for her medical license. Like, lady, you used very personal information from patient notes and years of treatment to break up a family. She should lose her license! That’s messed up. I’m sorry that she’s going through hell right now because her husband is a masochist in more ways than one, but come on.

STOCK DOWN — Boxing, generally

Showtime

The less said about this embarrassment to the sweet science, the better. I did appreciate that Billions basically turned into a Rocky movie for a bit in the middle there, though, complete with eyes of tigers and montages and trainers yelling at people. It’s a shame it didn’t work out for anyone, not Mafee, not Dollar Bill, not special guest announcer Rich Eisen, not anyone who placed a wager on the outcome. Just a disgrace.

STOCK UP — This guy

Showtime

Actually, wait. It did work out for this guy, the only person in the building smart enough and boring enough to bet on a draw. Who bets on a draw? I mean, in context it was brilliant because of course two middle-aged dudes who sit at desks all day would flail around hopelessly in an intense athletic endeavor like boxing, but… who bets on a draw? That’s so weird. Imagine cheering for a draw. “No one punch anyone!” I can’t think of anything less fun.

On the other hand, this guy doesn’t seem like someone who gets to shout “I win!” very often, so let’s let him have this one.

STOCK DOWN — Buffalo Bob and his contingent

Showtime

Tough night for Buffalo Bob, who got invited to what appeared to be a fancy fundraiser but what was actually an ambush where Axe and Chuck could force him to help with the fracking play. Poor guy. He never stood a chance and he knew he never stood a chance. That’s why he rolled over right away and gave them what they wanted. He looked so defeated. I felt as bad for him as I can feel for any corrupt and spineless politician.

The people I really feel bad for, though, are his staffers. They were promised a fancy dinner prepared by Axe’s fancy personal chef. There’s something gross about public servants dining like kings while sucking up to the powerful, but whatever. Another chat for another day. Just picture how upset you’d be if you spent all day thinking about this delicious gourmet dinner and then you had to leave before you got to eat it. God, I’d be so sad. Picture all of them at, like, Wendy’s later that night just sighing and imagining the meal the could have had. It’s heartbreaking, really.

STOCK UP — Hammon

Showtime

We like Hammon. We like that Taylor likes Hammon. We like that she’s a little cutthroat and we like that she’s supportive and we kind of hope she and Taylor start dating at some point.

This is our official stance on Hammon for now.

STOCK DOWN — Halftime Report, The Show

Showtime

Can I confess something? I thought this was a fake show. I thought this was a show that Billions made up. “Oh, come on,” I thought. “You’re telling me there’s some show where billionaires come on for cloud-soft interviews to talk about investing and yell at their enemies? Come on. I’ll buy a lot from this show in the interest of fun and moving the plot forward at a breakneck pace, but no. This is a bridge too far. I refuse to believe it.”

Well, guess what. It is a real show. Hosted by that real guy. What a stupid world!

STOCK UP — Rebecca

Showtime

Rebecca remains a good love interest for Axe because she’s as tough and savvy as he is and he respects that. I liked her speech about buying the department store for reasons that amount to “eff this, I own it now, girls can do anything.” Rebecca rules. I hope the show finds a way to give her more to do. It won’t be easy because the show already has a lot of characters that require a lot of attention, but Nina Arianda is so good and it’s nice to see Axe have an actual peer instead of an underling or enemy.

I suspect it won’t it well because things generally end well for anyone on Billions. I hope not, though.

STOCK UP — Waving off subordinates

Showtime

Tough to do this without looking like a huge jerk. It helps that Wags doesn’t care if he looks like a huge jerk. Because he is a huge jerk. I say this with love. Kind of.

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