TV Shows, Pop Culture

This is why you need to binge-watch Showtime’s “Billions”

Women are very much part of the cut throat world. Here to remind you of this undeniable fact are three tenacious women.

We all know that in TV, there’s very little room for female representation. As dubbed by The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film — it’s definitely a man’s (celluloid) world. A number of the shows I’ve watched are dominated by male characters, with only women casted as minor, “supporting roles.” Sometimes, though, those female roles can be played with such impeccable finesse that it steals the spotlight from the males.

That being said – when a show starts gaining steam and claims to have amazing female roles, I become immediately intrigued.  Who doesn’t love to see badass, opinionated women who are unafraid to make waves? Even cause tsunamis if they have to! Showtime’s Billions is one such show. Wendy Rhoades (played by Maggie Siff) and Lara Axelrod (played by Malin Ackerman) not only bring much-needed representation to the cast, but also a strong sense of dynamism to the show as a whole.

Seriously – if you haven’t watched Billions as yet, you’re really missing out. The basic premise, per IMDB, is “U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades goes after hedge fund king, Bobby “Axe” Axelrod in a battle between two powerful New York figures.” I’m not one to give spoilers, so I’ll leave it at that.

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As I browsed several reviews, I found that a common critique is that Lara has no life of her own — that everything she does for her family unsubstantiated (and feeble to say the least). I found myself disagreeing pretty heavily – these viewers weren’t paying enough attention.

Lara Axelrod not only has a huge role in her  family and business affairs, but also owns her own farm and restaurant. She’s tough, relentless and loyal. Her background remains vague throughout the first season – we just know she’s a former nurse and of a lower class upbringing. Despite the mystery surrounding Lara’s past, every scene with her is rife with tension. Her subtle gestures and controlled expression, juxtaposed beautifully with her apparent sunny disposition, are spot on. She is truly chilling to watch.

[bctt tweet=”Every scene with her is rife with tension.” username=”wearethetempest”]

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Maggie Siff plays Wendy Rhoades, a psychiatrist and performance coach for Axe Capital. Her performance is simply brilliant. Wendy is just as tough as Lara, and she takes great care when speaking. Her words are measured and bold as she delivers each line with a knockout punch. My favorite line of hers so far is when she says: “that’s one hell of a question to have to answer.”

Put these two powerhouse women together for a scene, and you’ve got some real explosive action. Seriously – what’s better than two strong female characters playing their roles brilliantly and who (for reasons I won’t disclose here – no spoilers!) even come into friction with each other? With each woman looking out for herself and behaving in accordance to her own moral standards, the there’s tons of rich storyline in the making.  These are the kinds of scenes that remain perfectly etched in my memory – the ones full of complicated power dynamics.

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Actress Condola Rashad, who plays Kate Sancher, is another brilliant addition to the cast. She plays her character with grace and poise, and is extremely fun to watch on screen. Rashad adds a more playful dynamic to the show, because she can keep the atmosphere light. She questions whether the ends justify the means, and yet her stunning performances always sneak up on you. Rashad has you simultaneously rooting for her and questioning her motives.

Women are very much part of the cut throat world. Here to remind you of this undeniable fact are three tenacious, silver-screen women: Kate, Lara, and Wendy.

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