Sunday, March 12, 2017
Billions: Season 2, Episode 3 “Optimal Play” (B+)
This show likes to pit opponents against each other, and what better place for that than at a poker table? It doesn’t surprise me at all that Axe participates every year in an epic poker tournament, and Dollar Bill has a certain vicious energy that makes him the perfect wingman. I completely understand why Axe would rather swap him out for Taylor, who is enormously analytical and also impossible to read. For however much Axe is prone to gloating, he does it in an effective way, and Todd celebrating so ungraciously was a miserable mistake that led to his getting utterly crushed by Taylor during their rematch, and schooled just beforehand about why he was going to lose. I’m not so sure why Wendy went either, since she really was just there to knock Axe off his game, something that she didn’t manage to do even though he lost anyway. Taylor and Gus’ interactions are intriguing, and I think we’re learning a lot about Taylor and what actually motivates them. Wags is continuing to indulge in his craziness, eagerly purchasing a full bottle after learning that it’s priced at $800 a glass. Lara is finding a new purpose for herself that’s tied in a bit to Axe’s business, and I’m curious to see where that goes. While all this is going on, Chuck and his staff are onto something completely different, only related to Axe through his connection to Lawrence Boyd. I’m not sure what the point of McKayla helping out after being targeted by Brian despite knowing that she was innocent was, and I’m not sure what lasting effect that’s going to have on Brian and on the team in general.