Sunday, January 31, 2016

Round Two: Billions

Billions: Season 1, Episode 2 “Naming Rights” (B+)

This show blazed into its second episode with the same awesome ferocity that it demonstrated in episode one, and I’m completely hooked. So are other viewers, apparently, as the show has already been renewed for season two! Axe was the focus of much more of the episode than Chuck, but I think they’ll share the attention over the course of the series. Staging an internal compliance drill made to look like a SEC raid was a brash and brutal move, but ultimately things went pretty well, except for the arrogant employee who Axe decided to fire as an example. The relationship between Axe and Wendy is clearly so intimate that she feels comfortable threatening to walk out and calling him on making a stupid mistake by firing someone who was volatile and would definitely seek retribution. Telling him about what Axe did to the last guy who tried to screw him over seemed like it was more than enough to convince him to keep quiet. I’m intrigued by Axe’s wife Lara, who seems much friendlier and more genuinely down-to-earth than him but was more than happy to support him in his revenge play. Humiliating the family of a man who nearly ruined his life by forcing them to accept a $16 million reduction in what they thought they were getting was an intense moment, and it really shows what kind of man he is. Jerry O’Connell’s Steven Birch took a deal very quickly to cut down his prison time, and I doubt Axe will be too happy about that. It’s very disconcerting how quickly Terry Kinney’s bagman got to Kate and turned her into just the inside spy that Axe needs as the US Attorney’s office is gunning for him.

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