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 — Poop
It brings me great pleasure to report that a train filled with human feces played a major part in this week’s episode of Billions. My favorite part is that it wasn’t a metaphor. It would have been a great one, too. It sounds like a threat someone on this show would shout at an underling. “You get this done by tomorrow morning or you’ll be on a poop train to New Mexico.” But it wasn’t a metaphor. It was a literal train filled with construction Porta Potty poop — “night soil,” in the words of Senior — that smelled so foul that it a) caused multiple people to vomit within moments of encountering it, and b) almost got Chuck everything he wanted from Jock, whose home the poop train was parked outside of. That’s some funky doo-doo. Lots of nasty mud pies in there.
It was only one part of Chuck’s plan, though. He rolled his two missions this week — getting Senior’s dock business free and clear of cops, greasing the wheels to ensure Wendy’s medical license stays valid — into one. The poop went to Texas and the oncology doc from the Ice Juice fiasco got a visit. This last thing turned out to be more gamesmanship than an actual play. It makes sense. This doc gets hosed constantly so of course his plan to get released would get foiled at the last second in a rare bit of moral clarity for Chuck Rhoades. I’m glad he’s doing okay in prison, at least.
About that moral clarity: Chuck’s refusal to budge on the blockchain voting program means that his wife and father — the only two people who can push him around — are still in their respective messes. I assume this will remedy itself by the end of the season, only because Billions is a show where good things happen to bad people a lot. You saw Chuck’s eyes. He knows something is up with Jock and the voting thing. He’s going to find out what it is and burn Jock down with it. You wait and see.
STOCK DOWN — Taylor
Perhaps you’ve noticed this: Most of the shots of Taylor this week depicted them in the shadows, almost lurking. This is as clear a symbol as there is that Taylor is going all the way to the dark side. This and the fact that Taylor appears to be spending entire work weeks on plans to destroy Axe. When was the last time you even heard Taylor mention an investment or course of action that did not involve destroying Axe? Have we had one this season? I’m genuinely asking.
Either way, the plan failed. Taylor was not able to use Bensinger’s position to control the Saler’s board and make Axe’s life miserable by making Rebecca’s life miserable. There was an important lesson learned, though: Axe cares enough for Rebecca that he’s starting to act out of character. Why, it’s almost like the character whose parent-child relationship was just tossed into the shredder by Axe might want to strike back at him in a personal way! I’m not sure that I like this evil new lurking Taylor but I am sure that I would love to see Axe take a substantial loss soon, even if it does result in Nina Arianda leaving the show. That’s how much I’m sick of Axe. I’m willing to lose Nina Arianda over it. And she rules. It’s a very serious situation.
STOCK DOWN — Wendy
Wendy wants to go legit again because she’s realized the error of her unethical ways but her plan to go straight involves asking her powerful husband to crush anyone in her path no matter what, which also seems ethically dicey.
Wendy is having problems. Chuck chose free and fair elections over her and their marriage. I honestly hope her license does get revoked. She’s guilty. She did everything she’s accused of. Wendy is spiraling bad right now and she had no one to blame but herself and maybe Chuck for his press conference. (Wow, I almost forgot about the press conference. You know a lot is happening on a show when a main character outs himself to the world as a masochist and a few weeks like you’re like “Ahhhh, right. I remember now.”)
STOCK UP — Cereal, generally
Cereal is great. It’s a shame it’s mostly considered a food for children. I know the sugar is a problem. Most cereals — the fun ones, at least — have enough in them to take down a fully grown horse, which is about half of the sugar required to take down a human child. They’re basically candy, if you think about it. It’s something we as adults should get pretty mad about once we finish our tall stacks of pancakes drenched in butter and syrup. Yes, this is also basically a glorified dessert. But we’re adults now. We get to make the rules.
The talk about favorite cereal on Billions had me legitimately angry, for the record. Bensinger’s kid likes Honey Smacks? Honey Smacks?! I mean, they’re fine, I suppose, but if you’re doing a secret business meeting in a Manhattan cereal emporium, buddy, you go for that Cinnamon Toast Crunch. That’s the Cadillac of sugary cereals, right there.
STOCK DOWN — Spyros
Spyros is a well-documented creep and weirdo and this whole coffee business with Bonnie is just more proof. Ugh. His face. Ugggghhh. I’m glad Bonnie is getting a nice cup of coffee out of it, and it’s clear that she does not require someone stepping in to protect her from anyone, let alone Spyros, but ugggghhh. I do not like this. I’m glad Axe yelled at him when he tried to Rambo-up the meeting about Flagship. More people should yell at him. Maybe Dollar Bill can smash into his car again. That would be fine. Anything to stop the face.
STOCK DOWN — Connerty
Tough run for Connerty. That’s really saying something, too, because the whole series has basically been one extended tough run for him. Chuck plays him like a Stradivarius. It’s even worse because Connerty always thinks he thisclose to victory before yoink the agony of defeat. It’s cruel. It happened again this week when he went to Chuck with Jock’s deal — get rid of the poop train and lay down on the blockchain voting in exchange for Wendy and Senior getting their desired outcomes — and Chuck shot him down. Did you see Connerty’s face? He was so sad. He has to take this to Jock and he’s going to get yelled at. He always gets yelled at. He’s getting a complex about it.
This is why I’m glad he’s now getting re-made by Dr. Gus, the brief and extremely intense replacement for Wendy that Axe hired. I don’t know if he’s the right guy for the job, which I say for many reasons but mostly because his user name at spin class is apparently “Kamikaze Doc,” but it should be fun, at least. Let’s see where it goes. Connerty might be fighting bulls at the beginning of the next episode.
STOCK UP — Bonnie and Lauren, separately
Bonnie was the only clear winner of the episode. She got everything she wanted by the end. She’s in Flagship, or whatever it’s called now; she’s on Axe’s good side forever or at least a week because of the FaceTime ruse with Taylor; she got to boink Dollar Bill in a minivan in a parking garage. Just victories all around. Good for Bonnie.
Lauren was also mostly victorious. Taylor’s new breathy Hall/Wags combo made the right call with the cereal meeting and the right call by putting Taylor on the spot and then leaned in for a kiss with her boss in the middle of the street. Another right call. The only reason I used “mostly” in the first sentence is because the plan with Bensinger eventually fell through. And because I’d been assuming Taylor would hook up with Sara Hammon, her other Wags. (Sara is Business Wags, Lauren is Party Wags.) I do not like being wrong. Please remedy this, Billions.
STOCK UP — Sanford Bensinger
I have no opinion on Sanford Bensinger, proud owner of the Chrysler Building and enough Saler’s debt to control the company, beyond saying that “Sanford Bensinger” is really an A+ rich guy name and I’m so proud of everyone at Billions for coming up with it.
STOCK UP — Mafee
Mafee has been putting his foot in his mouth all season. He shouted about Taylor’s desperation during an interview, he spilled the beans to Wendy, he probably talked himself into a speeding ticket off-camera at least a dozen times this season. That’s why it made me so happy to see him play the agent of chaos this week. Good for you, Mafee. You pulled off the psy-op. I’m so proud of you. You’re like an adult now.
Are we sure he let slip about Flagship on purpose? Given everything we know about him, it could have just been an honest and dumb slip. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if he’s even capable of subterfuge. Hmm. This is very interesting. But it doesn’t change the outcome. Whether he did it on purpose or purely by sweet and naive accident, Mafee caused havoc at Axe Cap for a little bit, until Axe sniffed it out. I’m still kind of proud of him.
STOCK DOWN — Slinkies
What a wonderful Grandpa Senior is. “Happy birthday, here’s a Slinky, now go eff off to the stairs while your parents and I discuss ruining our enemies.”
God, that poor kid. Everything with his parents and his dad’s very public admission about their unconventional love life, and now his rich and powerful grandfather gets him a damn Slinky for his birthday. A Slinky! Not “a Slinky and a check for $5000” or something, just one solitary Slinky. This poor kid.
Please do imagine Senior at a toy store buying a Slinky, though. Imagine him talking to the teen on the floor as he looks for it on the shelves. I feel cheated that I didn’t get to see it.