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: Healthy father/son relationships
You know how sometimes you’ll meet someone and be like “Man, that person is a real piece of work” but then a few months later you’ll meet their mom and/or dad and it will all make sense, suddenly. That’s the way it is with Chuck and his dad. What a mess. This week we learned about two of the only times that Chuck’s dad has expressed pride in his son: Once when Chuck lost his virginity to a prostitute on his 14th birthday (as part of a transaction set up by his father and uncle) (very normal), and again this week, some three decades later, when Chuck used strongarm backroom tactics to force his father to lie about the Ice Juice fiasco — basically taking the blame for looting Chuck’s trust and throwing Ira all the way under the bus in the process — in order to protect the money tied up in the casino land deal from last season. Chuck is still is a big ol’ complicated piece of trash who wants to do the right thing but can’t get out of his own way long enough to not blackmail a judge or ruin his best friend in the process, but he also kind of never had a chance.
But why type all those words when I can just post this picture of Senior planting a big sloppy mouth kiss on his son on the stoop. I think that might sum it all up pretty well, too.
STOCK DOWN: Charity?
The big Axe plot this week dealt with charity work and we learned that charity is… bad? That’s the thing about Billions, man. You’ll think for one second that someone is about to do a good thing because it’s the right thing the to in the grand scheme of things and then the next 10 minutes will be spent discussing whether charitable giving is efficient and concocting okie-dokie disinformation campaigns so the people involved can make millions of dollars under the guise of helping Sub-Saharan Africa. Real kick in the pants this show is sometimes.
STOCK UP: James Wolk
Rest in peace, Craig Heidecker, the brilliant space pioneer played by James Wolk whom I had been referring to as Sexy Elon Musk until I learned his name last night. Man, what a career James Wolk has going. The guy has played memorable roles in three of my favorite shows. Look at this resume:
- Played Bob Benson on Mad Men and showed up the one time at Joan’s apartment in a tiny white bathing suit
- Played Jackson Oz on my beloved Zoo and slapped an evil four-star general while shouting “Where’s the sloth?!”
- Played Sexy Elon Musk on Billions and blew himself up in a spaceship after sleeping with Paul Giamatti’s wife
STOCK DOWN: Bryan Connerty
Man, tough week for Bryan. Just when it looked like he had a win, when he figured out the ruse Chuck and his dad pulled to lure Axe into a desperation revenge move, and he had everyone cornered into letting him move forward with it all, he had the rug pulled out from under him in front of his boss (also in on the ruse). Not great.
Also not great? The people he’s questioning about it keep pulling the “Well, here’s my penis” power move on him. First it was Axe’s skinny dipping cohort answering questions fully nude next to the pool and now Chuck’s dad is dropping his towel in the locker room and heading into the shower. That’s a tough move to counter. You can’t just match it by getting naked yourself, especially not if you’re in a suit. You’d look like a lunatic. He’s gonna have to figure something out. It’s becoming a real problem for him.
STOCK UP: Wags
The thing about Axe’s situation this season — dealing with the criminal charges, giving up his trading license — is that it’s given Wags less to do. He already didn’t have, like, a lot to do. His main responsibilities at the firm, as far as I can tell, are saying “Great idea, boss” and then barking out profanity-laced orders based on whatever the idea was. But now, with Axe mostly sitting around watching movies and using his security goons to orchestrate sneaky maneuvers, Wags is stuck interviewing nerds with Taylor and engaging in warfare over burial plots.
And you know what? I love it. The burial plot thing was fun because it put him out in the world with regular(-ish) people and I do love seeing that degenerate attempt to be a person. I want to see him grocery shopping next.
Two other Wags notes:
- His burial plot adversary this week — a philandering personal injury lawyer named Mick Nussfaur — was played by Michael Kostroff, also known as crooked defense lawyer Maurice Levy from The Wire.
- Mustache points were extremely sharp this week.