The other day I wrote about Seasons 1 – 2 of the TV series “Billions.” I drew the analogy of the Toronto Maple Leafs, a good team, and the Boston Bruins, a great team, implying that Billions was like the Leafs but not the Bruins. In other words, good but not great.
That analogy might not resonate with too many readers because hockey is a Canadian thing. If I had talked about some NFL team more Americans might have taken notice. But I don’t follow the NFL or the CFL, for that matter. Too violent and grunty for my tastes.
Since writing that review the Leafs made some trades and picked up two new players, rounding out the team considerably. It’s too soon to say but they seem to be in a better place to at least make it past the first round of the playoffs this spring. Likewise, Billions made some changes and seems somewhat fortified for Season 3.
Some TV shows get boring by the third season and some get better. Billions clearly falls into the latter category.
Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon) proves to be not just a cold mathematical savant but a character with real emotion. At least, Taylor seems that way for a while, until they go rogue and rationalize their betrayal of Axelrod toward the end. Taylor lives in a fantasy world of math and algorithms and doesn’t realize that Axelrod is actually being nice by talking to them after the betrayal. Axelrod could have just ordered a hit from a scary Russian investor and transnational criminal (Grigor Andolov played by John Malkovich) who treats killing people as thoughtfully as say, choosing items at the supermarket. “You want it? You don’t? Either way fine by me,” he says to Axelrod with a vacant air.
Axelrod, himself being a borderline and not a full psychopath, doesn’t want the murder seemingly more out of a desire to watch Taylor suffer at his own hands instead of giving them a free and easy ‘pass’ to the afterlife.
So Axelrod’s choice is not endearing but indeed a relief. Taylor may be arrogant but they’re also fairly interesting and add another dimension to the show.
The close of Season 3 is a nice surprise. The two main antagonists – Axelrod and Rhoades – are both thoroughly screwed and sit around a table with Wendy Rhoades to chat strategy after forging a new alliance. This reminded me of the idea that even the worst enemies can eventually be friends and even laugh at their former conflicts in the afterlife. Not sure if that really happens but it would be sweet.
Most of the soundtrack to this show is not to my liking. But someone else might enjoy the gritty metal songs and emotional ballads that may have moved me in my early twenties. Another downside is the overuse of historical turning points and film cliches. It’s almost as if the writers are trying to impress us with their ability to look at Wikipedia. The dialog is just too rich with metaphor, sometimes falling flat because not many people would really talk like that, not so often anyhow.
That much being said, Season 3 is definitely an upgrade from Seasons 1 – 2, and I’m looking forward to Season 4, with the DVD currently in transit at the Toronto Public Library.
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I generally don’t like doing plot summaries so asked ChatGPT to provide a positive review for Season 3. The results were impressive, except for the overuse of the word “triumph.”
The season picks up right where the previous one left off, with the intense rivalry between Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti), the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and billionaire hedge fund manager Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) showing no signs of abating. The stakes are higher than ever, as Chuck and Bobby engage in a battle of wits and power that will determine the fate of their respective careers and reputations.
One of the standout plotlines of the season is the introduction of a new character, Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon), a brilliant quant who becomes an important player in the high-stakes world of hedge fund management. Taylor’s character brings a fresh perspective to the show and provides a fascinating look into the world of algorithmic trading.
Season 3 also delves deeper into the personal lives of the show’s main characters, exploring their relationships and vulnerabilities. Chuck and his wife Wendy (Maggie Siff) face new challenges in their marriage, while Bobby must navigate the fallout from a personal tragedy.
The writing in Season 3 is as sharp and witty as ever, with the show continuing to explore themes of power, ambition, and loyalty. The acting is also top-notch, with standout performances from Giamatti, Lewis, Siff, and Dillon.
Overall, Season 3 of “Billions” is a triumph, delivering on the promise of the first two seasons while introducing exciting new plotlines and characters. Fans of the show will not be disappointed, and newcomers will find plenty to love in this thrilling and sophisticated drama.
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Just touched this up with a few minor edits… mostly synonyms. No change in meaning whatsoever.