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 UP – Access
It is very cool that Billions is making Taylor a person. There was a robotic quality to the character last season that fit what the show was doing, mostly, but as Taylor has fit in and grown and become an important player at Axe Capital (and an important part of the show, with Axe banned from the office), the character needed more than “good at poker and math and bad at people.” I very much support the idea of Taylor and Tech Birbiglia — I’ll learn his name if his character keeps showing up, I promise — carrying on a torrid cross-country romance. Or Taylor just continuing to display human emotions. It was kind of a big deal when Billions — and I say this with love, but Billions? — introduced a non-binary character last year and it’s a bigger deal now that they’re giving the character love scenes.
I dig that, even if the transformation from quiet robot into master of seduction seemed to happen a little fast, which I have decided not to care about because it could be a manifestation of Taylor’s new embrace of power as the boss at Axe Cap and also because it was really cool fan service that the members of the Billions slash fiction forum would have been clamoring for if they existed at all.
That all very good. So is “Do you want access?” as a pickup line. Write that down, nerds.
STOCK DOWN – Wendy
Wendy is conflicted out the wazoo and it’s really becoming a problem. Her Switzerland routine with Axe and Chuck was always kind of dicey, given what each of them do and the way she knows for a fact that they do it, but now she’s advising Axe how to proceed with a criminal trial hanging over his head while she’s giving Chuck bedtime greenlights to use information learned from her stolen patient notes to trap Axe in the Ice Juice fraud. It’s a lot. Part of me knows the show is better with her in the middle balancing the egos of the lunatics she’s attached herself to, but another part of me wants to shout “MAKE A CHOICE, LADY.”
But she also did this move to kick Dollar Bill and Spiros out of her office, so I can’t stay mad at her.
STOCK UP – Clandestine meetings
Bobby Axelrod is the king of the clandestine meeting. He must be having them, conservatively, 10 hours a day. Yes yes, the meetings are usually short, but he has to drive to each one without getting tailed and prepare for them and meet with his creepy shark-eyed security duo before and after each one. It’s a miracle he gets anything else done. His daily planner must read, like:
9am – Clandestine meeting (bird-watching)
11am – Clandestine meeting (dock)
12pm – Intimidate witness at hot dog stand
2pm – Clandestine meeting (sidewalk)
4pm – Brood in multimillion-dollar penthouse
6pm – Continue brooding, possibly while meeting with lawyer
8pm – Private dinner at exclusive restaurant that you have scheduled for the sole purpose of intimidating an employee
10pm – Clandestine meeting (tunnel)
Glad to see he’s keeping himself busy.
STOCK DOWN – Bryan Connerty
Bryan is full-on going after Chuck, with Dake and Sacker and freakin’ Lou Avery from Mad Men all conspiring against him. Kid is taking Ls left and right. It was Rhoades senior last week basically pantsing him in the interview, and this week it was Boyd — who looks kind of like if Anthony Bourdain had gotten way into Ayn Rand — more or less saying “Congrats, you figured it out. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a fraudulently obtained boat to sail outside your jurisdiction.”
Tough break, kid. Keep working on that wall.
STOCK UP – Kate Sacker
I missed Sacker and I’m glad she got more to do this week. I was kind of ecstatic when she sold Bryan out to Chuck. I don’t know why. I like Bryan and I support what he’s doing and I respect that he’s the only person out there trying to fight the good fight, but yeah. I hope the two of them cut through the chowder-thick sexual tension and have sex on Chuck’s desk.
STOCK DOWN – Opening credits
Billions has no opening credits sequence. At least not one with a full theme song and everything. The show just uses a brief shot of the Manhattan skyline as the title comes up and then bang we are right into the action. This is a very Billions way to proceed (I could see Taylor cutting a longer version because it’s inefficient and I could see Axe cutting it because gimme gimme gimme more more now now now), but still, it is my opinion that Billions needs a theme song. Here’s one I’m working, set to “All Star” by Smash Mouth:
Hey now, it’s some Billions, Axe and Chuck feuds, make trades
Hey now, it’s more Billions, short some stocks now, get paid
All the shares gettin’ sold
You’ll only survive if you’re bold
Work in progress.
STOCK UP – Mafee
Mafee is a sweet doofus and I am completely sure that Axe Capital will get raided one day and he will take the fall alone because no one bothered to tell him everyone was fleeing to South America with new identities (“Aw, man” I picture him saying as he sees the empty, gutted building and a squad of law enforcement agents screaming into the parking lot), but I love him dearly and always will because he is the type of person who greets people with “Waddup brawler?”
STOCK DOWN – Pants
Really rough season for pants. Everyone is taking them off during intense conversations or just flat-out not wearing them. A quick rundown:
- Axe’s Ice Juice conspirator talked to Bryan fresh out of a skinny dipping session
- Rhoades senior whipped his towel off and showed Bryan The Full Portfolio is the locker room
- Dollar Bill ripped off his pants and shirt in public while shouting “Strip or retire!” to prove to Axe that he wasn’t wearing a wire and also because Dollar Bill is an insane person.
I feel like next episode someone is going to short belts and make a fortune.
STOCK DOWN – Craig Heidecker
Was it a little weird to anyone else that the show’s version of Elon Musk, a man named Craig Heidecker who was played by James Wolk aka Bob Benson from Mad Men aka Jackson Oz from Zoo, whose dalliance with Wendy was discovered by both Chuck and his father, and who was a hero to Taylor, just died in a freaking rocketship explosion on live television and not one person mentioned it this week? Seems like it would have come up.
“Hey, how’s that pharma play looking?”
“What? Oh, sorry. Was just thinking about how Handsome Elon Musk blew up in that rocket the other day. Pharma play is coming along.”
STOCK UP – Otis Redding
The Bill-Spiros beef was fun because it served no real overarching purpose, outside of maybe making Wendy think she can solve Chuck and Axe’s issues with a sit-down. There’s a lot going on with the whole Ice Juice fiasco, between Chuck blackmailing judges or doctoring files and Axe holding shady rendezvous all over Manhattan with various people who can bury him for the crime he definitely committed (and, also, screw Axe for the Donnie thing, which I had forgotten but am now very angry about all over again), so it’s nice to take a little diversion to let two borderline cartoon characters — literal lol when Dollar Bill stole the newspaper — whack each other with frying pans for a bit. Or luxury vehicles. Either way.
“Try A Little Tenderness” still bangs, by the way. Listen to it again now. Builds slow for a minute or two and then suddenly Otis Redding is shouting his entire soul at you out through his mouth. I’ve had it on repeat all day.
STOCK UP – Wags
Light week for Wags. Basically just poured whiskey for Wendy and talked about doing drugs off of ladies’ hip bones. Probably shouldn’t even mention him, let alone bump his stock up.
And yet… the mustache.