I’m quite frankly taken by surprise with this new shift in tone and pace of Billions. The TV series known for turning the heat up in every single episode was surprisingly mellow in its Season 6 premiere but still quite fascinating. This tone is set to showcase the distinction between Mike Prince and Bobby Axelrod, and it is Mike Prince and his actions that set it.
When the Season 6 trailer came out, it gave the impression that Mike Prince is a different kind of beast who would be completely manipulative and strike from the shadows causing more lethal damage than Bobby Axe ever could.
However, it looks like Mike Prince is a different beast but not how I thought. He does things very differently than Bobby Axelrod but does it right. Here’s how:
Mike Prince is the woke boss who wants to gain his employees’ trust and respect. Furthermore, he wants to keep his company’s reputation pristine. So he fires all the dirty investors and puts together ‘The Prince List’ where only clean investors will be taken as clients.
Well, in the beginning, we see Mike asking his employees to speak freely and even give them a health-tracking ring that could help their profession and get the best out of them work-wise. However, this move is merely a pretentious behavior on Mike’s part because he just wants eyes and ears on all his employees.
However, once everyone finds this out, he starts to understand that to build a new empire with Mike Prince Capital, he really needs to gain the trust of his employees, who are the best in the industry at what they do.
With multiple attempts to connect with Wendy, Wags, Taylor, and other employees, he seems to fail, and that’s when Wendy tells him that if he wants to change things and change the legacy of Bobby Axelrod, he must start from the bottom. While she says this metaphorically, we still don’t know how things would change.
He then goes to Wags, and the two realize they both need each other. Wags tells Mike that he knows what drives his employees and can come handy there.
What comes next is something I didn’t see coming at all. Prince calls all his investors, talks about his employees, talks about firing them, too, because they work under Axe’s mindset, and more.
His monologue builds up and ends with him flipping the scenario completely. He says his employees are the best in the industry, and even if he finds new ones, they would still operate under a mindset similar to Axe’s and every other company in the industry.
So instead, to create a new mindset, he ends up firing all dirty investors who have issues with the law. He wants to ensure that he’s in the good books of the SEC and, at the same time, wants to create a company with which people prove their worth to invest their money and not the other way round.
With one single move, he changes the status quo as he gains three main things:
- Respect of his employees who are now open to seeing what he’s got in store.
- A way to get Prince Capital clean, unlike Axe Capital.
- Ensure that people come to him to invest their money, instead of having it the other way round.
My only concern with this move is that I don’t think any company in the industry is completely clean. So, him trying to be the only pristine company might just be a front for something else he might be planning. After all, a scenario where he’s utterly flawless without any shades of grey doesn’t seem like Billions.
As for the story itself, The Prince List proves the brilliance of the writers and prevents the fans’ worst fears from coming true. While the fandom speculated that Season 6 would still be the story of Bobby Axelrod without Axe, Episode 1 proves that it’s now Mike Prince’s story.
All the attachments have now been torn off which seems to be paying off. Bobby was rightfully a legend in his own right and game, but Mike might be the same in his. I’m glad we’re getting a chance to witness just that.
Billions is an American drama created by Brian Koppelman, David Levien, and Andrew Ross Sorkin. The series is set in financial centres based in America.
The series follows hedge fund manager Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis), as he accumulates wealth and power in the world of high finance. The series premiered on Showtime on January 17, 2016.