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 — Anyone in the way of AxelRhoades
The alliance between Axe and Chuck is unholy and disturbing on a number of levels, like if the Joker and Batman teamed up, and yes, in this very strained analogy, Chuck is Batman. He’s the son of a powerful Manhattan figure and his crime-fighting methods extend beyond the traditional limits of the justice system and he also likes to wear leather at night. It’s all there if you squint. Kind of. Anyway.
This alliance, which I am not okay with, proved fruitful again this week, as the two of them managed to take a potentially dangerous situation (the police looking into the pension fund financial gymnastics between Bobby, Panay, and Raul) and spin it into a shared victory. Bobby pushed Panay out to get the fund back at Axe Cap, Chuck used the solid he did for Sansome to butt his way into the state AG race, and no one lost except two people of color who really didn’t do anything to anyone. (Whoops!) Panay wasn’t lying when he said this game is cutthroat. He just didn’t know he’d be the one bleeding out from the neck.
This won’t last. It can’t. Bobby and Chuck are not so different, really, in some ways, but very different in others. They both ruin people frequently and without much remorse, but Chuck is in it for the game and Bobby is in it for the hunt. Chuck collects chips, Bobby collects scalps. One day, maybe soon, maybe now that Chuck is pushing his way back into politics, Bobby will cross a line and Chuck will have to make a call. The series was borne from these two unloading haymakers on each other and it will return to that at some point. Connerty is small game. Jock’s days have been numbered ever since he put his feet up on that desk. Bobby and Chuck aren’t going anywhere. The Joker and Batman can’t be friends. It’s not how the universe works.
In the meantime, though, God bless anyone who gets in the way of these two. Maybe the Joker and Batman was the wrong analogy, after all. Maybe this is a Shaq-Kobe situation. They’ll collect a few rings but this will not end well at all.
STOCK UP — Rebecca Cantu
Goliath on Amazon is about 50 percent of a good show and about 60 percent of that 50 percent is the performance by Nina Arianda, who showed up this week as ball-breaking billionaire investor Rebecca Cantu. Nina Arianda rules. She has this incredible ability to play no-bullshit characters and she can communicate so much contempt with a single glance and she cusses in a way that makes you wonder why the rest of us even try. I am beyond ecstatic to have her on Billions. She was made for this.
It is also pretty cool that Axe has found a woman who can give it back to him as good as he dishes it out. This is no knock on Lara Axelrod, who terrifies me. Rebecca is of his world, though. She understands the game and plays it well and won’t stand for his hooey. It’s kind of like watching two great whites mate. If they have a child, that kid will be a billionaire by age 9 and in prison by age 14. I can’t wait.
STOCK DOWN — The Koslovs
Shouts to my new favorite characters on the show, the Koslovs. They were on screen for like 45 seconds and in that time they stuffed their faces in a vision of the potential future and flung a phone off a desk in the very real present. I love them. I hope they keep showing up throughout the year and keep getting the rug pulled out from under them, like the accounting firm in Parks and Recreation that kept trying to hire Ben. I hope they get angrier and angrier each time and break bigger and more expensive things until, in the season finale, Taylor and Grigor empty out their off-shore accounts and one of them shoots a helicopter with a bazooka out of rage.