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 — Axe Capital
Not a particularly great or strong week for Axe or his company or anyone who works there, really. Taylor’s new fund is the driving force behind this discontent, as Axe has found a new target to zero-in on to a degree that any mental health professional other than Wendy would probably describe as unhealthy at best and destructive at worst. And now it is time to talk about Wags.
How many times do you think Wags has been drugged and/or kidnapped, like he was in this episode while attempting to strongarm the sheikh on investment terms? You don’t live that kind of hedonistic lifestyle at night after spending all day ruining people without that being an occupational hazard. You develop enemies, is my point, both through your actions and your status and your words, especially if your words are, say, dismissive of one’s culture and religion and delivered while lounging comfortably on a couch inside their embassy, where diplomatic immunity provides cover. I’m gonna put the number no lower than four times.
You can see the setup here. Axe has settled — temporarily, at least — his war with Chuck and the law, and he has replaced it with a war with Taylor. Axe is like a shark. If he’s not constantly swimming, constantly looking for a new target to destroy, he might just sink to the bottom of the ocean. Is that what happens to sharks when they stop swimming? I gotta be honest, I started this paragraph very confident about this analogy and now it’s falling apart. It did feel right to say Axe is like a shark, though. I’m going to stand by that part.
Anyway, Axe is cornered right now due to the existence of Grigor and his wealth and his willingness to do things not even Wags would condone. So he’s also at war with a dangerous Russian oligarch, too. It’s fine. It’s probably fine.
STOCK UP — Honeybees
Let’s track Chuck’s honeybee routine from this week, which he kicked off after a terrifying pep talk from his father and a substantially more helpful one from his wife. He got the ski pass from Birch in exchange for a Wendy-negotiated B/B+ counseling session with Wendy. He traded the ski pass for tickets to a Hanukkah show. He used those tickets to broker a meet with the ambassador. He then used his connections with Axe — not okay with them being friends, not yet — to get a blank Dominican birth certificate by promising to move a charter school construction project in a way that will not inconvenience the ambassador’s son, and then he used that blank birth certificate to trade for the concealed carry permit he’d been hunting all along.
It was a fun way to show Chuck using his skills outside of his comfort zone. He got his swagger back after a speed bump or two, and he even found a taker for that sad Park Anywhere Pass, which was a running joke throughout the episode until it became the key to the whole thing. I whooped a little when I saw it developing in front of me, right as the ambassador’s handler started talking about tickets. Real underdog story for that pass.
It’s nice to see Chuck wheeling and dealing. He won’t be satisfied with any of this for long, though. I mean, as cool as it was to see Paul Giamatti operate, what did Chuck really do this week? He gave some rich bozo permission to carry a hidden handgun all over Manhattan, he moved an entire school because it was cramping the style of a powerful registered sex offender, and he greased the wheels so a flamethrowing teen could dominate his Little League almost half a year after passing the age cutoff. That’s not going to be fulfilling for Chuck. He’s gonna go after Connerty and Jock soon enough. He is also like a shark, although I’m not taking the analogy any further than that this time. Lesson learned.