The ‘Billions’ Stock Watch: Happy Holidays, Everything Is Falling Apart

05.27.19 2 months ago

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 UP — Axe

Axe had two big problems this week:

  • Wendy Rhoades, his most trusted advisor and indispensable on-site performance coach and/or staff psychiatrist (depending which title will cause her the least liability in the moment), is facing a hearing that might end with her losing her medical license, and her best chance at surviving involves blowing up a long history of implied doctor-patient confidentiality at the firm, which would leave Axe Capital vulnerable to scores of lawsuits that she could be deposed in to detail various law-breaking/law-bending tactics the firm has used over the years
  • He bought like a quarter-billion dollars worth of paintings and might have to pay taxes on them?

It says a lot about Axe that he addresses both of these issues with the same amount of intensity. It’s also worth pointing out that neither of these are sympathetic endeavors. The art thing is obvious because, boo hoo, some billionaire sociopath finance dude dropped nine figures on classic works of art, on a whim, and now he wants to skip out on the tax bill, and he’s willing to call in favors and commission replicas and pay off delivery guys to do so, even though he could write the $75 million check that afternoon and not feel it. I might heave my laptop out the window if I think about it too much. I hate everyone on this show very much. It is also my favorite show. I’m fine with this.

The other thing, the Wendy thing, is trickier because we like Wendy, generally, even as she slipped into villain mode for a few weeks. But she is definitely in the wrong on this one. She is so very in the wrong. She used patient notes to tear apart a competitor and that competitor’s family. She should lose her medical license. She should probably go to jail, to be honest. It’s important to remember that as she plans and prepares for the big hearing she might lie at. Everyone on this show should go to jail.

And yet, stock up. Axe solved one problem and, while he didn’t solve the Wendy thing yet, he did give a heck of a pep talk that was almost sweet and a little vulnerable. Did you see the thing where the two of them touched, softly, tenderly even? There’s always been sexual tension between Axe and Wendy but after this week you’d need a chainsaw to cut through it. This is worth keeping an eye on. Especially if you are Rebecca Cantu.

STOCK DOWN — Having a nice relaxing holiday

Showtime

The funniest part of this episode was the thing at the end, after Axe had called everyone in on New Year’s Day, after he had cut short his kids’ vacation to Fiji, after he had yelled at people and berated them and gotten privately furious that no one else was as empty and needy inside as he must be to expect them all to show up to the office on a national holiday, when he was like “GREAT JOB EVERYBODY, GO HOME AND ENJOY YOUR DAY OFF.” I laughed. I laughed out loud. He expected to be praised for it. What a lunatic. The only way I could have enjoyed it more is if the camera panned to the right to reveal a clock that read “4:54 p.m.”

The same goes for everyone else who was working like a crazy person on New Year’s Day. Connerty and Sacker and all of them. Good Lord. Sleep in one day, people.

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