"Billions" recap: Ax isn't done dealing yet (2023)


"Billions" recap: Ax isn't done dealing yet (1)

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There is a very distinct difference between the big players in the world ofbillionand those who only pretend to be big players. There is a lot of money and influence flowing through the halls of hedge funds and government, and money can only breed corruption and arrogance. Capitalism is competition and where there is money there is ruthlessness. The system is designed; it encourages violence.

The difference between the great sharks and the minnows is evident in the opening scene of A Generation Too Late. Ira meets the woman he wants to make his fiancee for dinner at a fancy, expensive restaurant. He had planned to propose marriage that night, but after the Ice Juice crash and fire left him with no money to spend. Unable to give his far too young and beautiful fiancée the "wedding she deserves," he suggests waiting. She agrees all too quickly while adding more than $200 worth of white truffles to her pasta appetizer. Ira's face says everything it needs to say. He's not a big shark. He's a minnow.

Wealth and money is obviously a big part of itbillionas a whole — I mean, the show's title kind of gives it away — but A Generation Too Late is particularly interested in weaving stories about how money affects how these characters see themselves. It's been an issue since the start of the season when Ax gave up his right to trade and yet found that giving up wasn't easy for him. It's not even because he's driven; it is because it has been a long time since he has known anything but immense wealth and power.

In last week's episode, Ax managed to deport an innocent woman because it was what was best for him and his power. This week, after signing a breakup agreement with Lara, he's doing what he can to get that $2 billion off the ground. He buys in outside help and woos his buddy Raul, the ex-cop who now has a lot of influence over the board members of the police pension fund. He even asks his chef to recreate a certain burger he shared with Raul, who continues to defy Axe's tricks to convince him they should work together. However, Raul knows the law, and he doesn't want even a whiff of Ax (not the body spray) on him...for now.

One of the great things about A Generation Too Late is that everyone is caught up in financial and legal drama, and might not have to be if they could learn to live just a little differently. Wealth has tainted their sense of what they really need in life. Lara balks at the idea that she'll only have $300 million to live with the kids, and Ax agrees. He thinks it's unacceptable. It's not her "lifestyle". Similarly, Ax tries to force Michael (Hari Dhillon, who returns for a bigger arc) to secretly and illegally manage his $2 billion by using the man's failed business. Showing him there's no way he can live on the $40 million he'll end up with, so Michael agrees to come on board.

Back at Ax Capital, the pursuit of money takes a different turn when Taylor joins Wags in interviewing "quants" for the company. Essentially, a quant is a "quantitative analyst," someone who brings to Ax Capital an algorithm that mimics what real humans can do, but much, much faster. Wags and employees are angry that this is happening and see it as a threat to their jobs. However, Taylor does not give up. They believe they must explore every avenue to make money, and Ax agrees.

The scenes in which Taylor and Wags interview their contestants are among the best in the episode. They're funny and mysterious because we don't really know what Taylor is looking for. Plus, Asia Kate Dillon and David Costatable have great chemistry as Taylor and Wags, and the contrast in their personalities is endlessly entertaining. Finally, after they apparently bumped into a great employee who used to work at NASA and Taylor refuses to hire him, we learn that Wags had the guy put a backdoor in the algorithm, which essentially makes all the employees look good would let. Taylor isn't really mad, but rather sees an opportunity: They'll build their own algorithm instead.(summary continues on next page)

For an episode that doesn'tReallyMoving substantively along with the season's larger storyline, A Generation Too Late is certainly a busy episode. There area lotCome on. Most importantly, Dake and Brian add another blow to their case against Bobby Axelrod. Ax once again takes a big step behind closed doors. He goes to Ira, who is weak after realizing that his fiancee will not marry him without promising him lots of money later, and offers him a deal. Ax will pay him $30 million for his worthless Ice Juice stock and throw in an expensive engagement ring on top of that, all in exchange for not testifying in the caseAndlater not to file a civil suit. Essentially, he's offering guaranteed money now instead of promising a lot more money later. Ira can't resist, and that sends Dake and Brian drifting once again.

Brian in particular is a mess, and he's beginning to see that Chuck has made some shady, mysterious moves that he wouldn't agree with. After a drunken confrontation with the Burke brothers, Brian goes home and posts a picture of Chuck and his father on his whiteboard, like a detective bringing up another suspect. He says he "can't look away" that Chuck and his dad are involved in all of this one way or another.

In other words, Chuck feels the pressure both inside and outside of his office. There's the revelation of Brian, sure, but there's also the fact that the Attorney General is sticking with his orders for Chuck's office. He's already mentioned that he's hired many white-collar crime cases in the name of the free market, and now he's asking Chuck to prosecute a prisoner who killed a guard. The problem? The prisoner is innocent as he was beaten by the guards day after day. Brian insists this is exactly the kind of vulnerable person they should protect.

To his credit, Chuck agrees and tries to take steps of his own to keep the case from going to court. He gets the warden to release some information to the media, which gets the case a lot of attention in the national press. Chuck reckons that will be enough for the AG not to want to prosecute and risk the bad PR. Of course, this corporation is the kind of "law and order" corporation that doesn't give a damn what bleeding liberals think. He sees the comments on Breitbart — seriously, he's quoting the site — and tries to pleaseThepart of the population.

Chuck's office has no choice but to follow the AG's orders, but that doesn't mean he's done fighting. He sets up a "war room" for Kate to continue working on the cases that really need her attention. Of course, this balancing act cannot last long and at some point there will be a showdown between Chuck and the AG. When it happens it becomes explosive.

Even more than the first two episodes, A Generation Too Late does a great job of expanding the scope of the storybillion, making this a show that's not just about Ax and Chuck's feud. They have so much more to worry about, from dwindling funds to quants to racist AGs. It is fitting that the episode ends with Ira proposing with the ring ax bought for him. The cycle of corruption continues. Everyone is digging a bigger and bigger hole with no end in sight.



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