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 – Usurping
Season three ended with a whole bunch of usurping, and not necessarily the usurping we expected. We saw Taylor’s big play coming because we saw Taylor Mason Capital grow from four quants in a dimly lit room to, uh, one quant in a dimly lit room and Mafee all alone at a trading desk. There is money, though. Lots of money. Billions of dollars, all of it spirited away from Axe after the cap raise that Taylor so desperately wanted to be a part of, which we now see was a ruse that involved preying on Wendy.
There are two ways to feel about this. One is to say “Good for Taylor,” because Axe was always going to be Axe and there’s no real room to grow when the guy whose name is on the door keeps you under his thumb and considers it to be a show of trust and vulnerability. The other way is “Screw Taylor,” because it hurts to watch what you thought was one of the show’s few redeemable people morph into a damn capitalist supervillain. I’ve been pinging back and forth between those two positions so fast that watching me do it must be like watching a very annoying tennis match.
The bigger usurping, though, and admittedly I’m just using that word as many times as I can because I like it and I don’t know when I’ll have a good opportunity to use it again, involved Epstein and Connerty and Dake and Sacker teaming up to sell Chuck out to Jock. This one was also tipped off a little bit, way back when Sacker told Chuck that one day the things he taught her might be used against him, but it was still a surprise. Who really saw Jock making it out of this season unscathed? Not this recapper, that’s for sure.
I do feel a little bad for Sacker, though. Connerty got the top banana gig (which the New York media would have a field day with, considering he just got fired like two weeks ago), Dake got the pleasure of seeing Chuck crumble in person, and Sacker got… what, exactly? I don’t know what was in it for her. Maybe she just loves usurping.
STOCK UP – Unholy alliances
The result of all this usurping was this sit-down between Axe, Chuck, and Wendy, technically their second of the season, with the first coming back during the Ice Juice Fiasco, when they were discussing patsies and flim-flams and railroading mostly innocent oncologists. This is not that, though. That was opposing sides working together out of necessity. This is a meeting of the minds. An alliance. Kind of like if the Joker and Batman started working together. I’m not sure which one is Batman in this analogy. I think it’s Chuck because he’s the one circumventing the law in the pursuit of something between justice and vengeance. But Axe is the billionaire playboy. And then who is Wendy?
This is too confusing. I’m excited about it, though. There’s a legit chance a bitter Chuck and a betrayed Axe poison the city’s water supply for kicks. I’d watch that show.
STOCK DOWN – Ambushing potential hires
Taylor tried to poach three Axe employees. Mafee was wooed during the Hold Steady concert and agreed to leave because Mafee is a spineless lump of tapioca pudding with a face attached to the front of it with masking tape. (I love him.) Ben and Wendy turned their offers down, though, after getting approached outside of a subway terminal and in a parking lot, respectively. That was so weird and creepy. I like to imagine Taylor just loafing around in each location for like 45 minutes, waiting impatiently to pop up and make the pitch.