Season 6 Episode 4: ‘Burn Rate’
Six hundred dollars for coffee with Kate Sacker; $46,863 for Wendy Rhoades’ wardrobe; $162,500 for a night in a Covid-free brothel with Wags; $300 million for Mike Prince’s new yacht, plus an extra $300 million to neutralize his carbon footprint. We’ve said before in this area the belief of professional wrestler Ted DiBiase (also known as the Million Dollar Man), “Everybody has a price” He dominates the world of “billions”. The show has never been more realistic before.
In one of the most daring style choices the show has ever made – you can argue most At my most daring and objectionable – this week’s episode of “Billions” freezes the action over and over again and tops the charts, showing the cost of all the brands, grand schemes, and illegal indulgences Michael Prince and his staff enjoy. Did you know that a special pork roast with restaurant owner Rodney Scott costs $25,000? A batch of quaaludes and a courier to deliver them get you $8400? The cost of multiple characters’ personal wardrobes and grooming routines on a given day, annual per capita income of this country? You definitely do now!
It doesn’t end there. At the end of the episode, as the Prince looks down on the workforce from the balcony, the sums of all the money they’ve produced fly overhead, like the stats for characters in a video game. Then, with the fourth wall breached, all the main Prince Cap actors pause for a group portrait, looking straight into the camera as their luxe listings and price tags for those luxuries float behind them. Just want to take up arms with Chuck Rhoades the next time he pulls out a pitchfork or pitchfork.
It’s a dazzling device, courtesy of episode director Chloe Domont and writers Lio Sigerson, Brian Koppelman, and David Levien. (Koppelman and Levien co-created the show with New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin.) He literally makes the show’s subtext his own.
And given the behavior of the show’s protagonists in this episode, it couldn’t be pointed out more. Get Chuck Rhoades. It’s still out to foil Prince’s effort to make New York the home of the 2028 Olympic Games at all costs. This week, that meant abandoning the man of the people plan he had embraced almost immediately and alerting the city’s major telecommunications companies that Prince plans to provide the city with free Wi-Fi forever as part of his Olympic bid. fi secretly siphoned the unused signals of these companies. Big Telecom made this plan very sweet.
You might think Prince would backtrack on this one, but no, not really. Rather than jeopardize his Olympic candidacy with a major war, he just gets into bed with telecom companies by deciding on two weeks of free Wi-Fi for the city during the Games.
This infuriates Taylor Mason, who pushed Prince towards the Wi-Fi plan from the very beginning. In addition, connecting the Big Apple would be just one part of the plan, which would also enable the company to set up free wi-fi in sub-Saharan Africa. Taylor compares Prince’s meager gift to a free shopping bag; “People love free tote bags!” he answers.
But his overall message to Taylor is much more direct. “I am independently rich,” she says. “You are not; you Type rich. That’s great, but if you want to change the world, nine digits won’t do it.” With this, a new ambition ignites in the brain of Mase Carb’s brilliant founder. Taylor will no longer settle for the $100 million fortune that was once seen as the threshold to bring about positive change in the world. Now, it has to be a billion. (Minimum, we guess. Billions are like Pringles: Once you explode, you can’t stop.)
As for Chuck, things are going really badly. When she tries to form an alliance with New York’s governor, Bob Sweeney (Matt Servitto), she is politely rejected. “I know I have to make fun of one of you two lunatics about this,” Sweeney says playfully, but for now he’s enjoying his newfound power over the two biggest players in the state.
Meanwhile, Prince begins wooing Chuck’s right-hand man, Kate Sacker, asking him to quit his job and become chief counsel for New York Games, then prep for his congressional run. When he dutifully informs Chuck of this offer, Chuck tells him to wait before refusing, and he tricks his best friend Ira (Ben Shenkman) into stepping into Prince for the position.
For a moment, Prince seems to be considering the idea – who better to neutralize Chuck than his best friend, right? The Prince’s chief minions, Wags and Scooter, are surprised that the boss even gives the time of day.
But he is not. This is all a trick for Chuck to keep his eyes on the real target, Kate. Tired of being told by his mentor to wait for his moment in the sun, he decides he’s no longer in the father-figure business and joins Prince Cap with all the perks, not under Prince’s protection but as his peer. Chuck is greatly disappointed, but he has no one to blame but himself, as Kate’s political ambitions are constantly subordinated to his favour. (Well, her and the Prince’s bottomless bag.)
There is a tremendous sense of loss as Kate drives away in her expensive chauffeured vehicle. He was always ambitious, but at the same time seemed incorruptible, at least as long as he had a clear picture in his head of how to achieve his goals, and that picture never involved running to the other side. It’s a bummer to see him give up.
But it’s also exciting. What can a steel-trap mind like Kate’s do with unlimited money? Instantly makes Prince Cap a more formidable force than it is. So when we see him in that group portrait, his wealth soars in seconds, which is both sad and exciting to say he fits right in.
The sequence, which reaches its climax in which we see everyone’s personal price tag, is accompanied by a lethal injection of Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like a Wolf”. Not only does this describe the voraciousness of everyone involved, it’s also a hilarious return to a line earlier in the episode where Chuck describes an intimate part of the governor’s anatomy ringing “loudly as the bell rings on ‘Hungry Like'”. Wolf.” They are indeed quite loud!
In a fun side plot, Wags and Scooter must work together to woo (bribe) the committee responsible for choosing the host city of the Olympics. Unfortunately for Wags, this conflicts with his and fiancee Chelsea’s attempts to have children. So he maintains his bad boy reputation by paying a sex worker to mimic their loud encounters and coaches him to a grand end as he sneaks out of the brothel window.
Committee members also get a candid club performance by Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi; Chuck’s attempt to foil Prince’s plans by including New Jersey in the bid. Even though University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari showed up early to give Prince Cap a pep talk, neither man makes a cameo.
It’s worth noting that Mase Carb’s star employee, Rian, was immediately opposed to the free Wi-Fi plan in both New York and Africa. He can’t understand how logical the numbers are and is unconvinced by Taylor’s or Prince’s moral justification for the spending.