TV Club: Billions shorts its viewers’ ability to understand characters and their motivations

What Billions does well: present complicated financial schemes simply and clearly enough that someone who is hopeless with money can understand them, or at least get the general idea. What Billions doesn’t do so well: allow the audience to process the emotional fallout from these various transactions without cluttering the scenes with needless expository dialogue, ham-fisted metaphors, and foreshadowing that comes charging down Wall Street like a herd of maddened bulls.

The Nigerian currency play that fuels this hour’s wheeling and dealing sounds like an email scam from the ’90s at first, but writer Brian Chamberlayne lays it out so that we can grasp the moves Axe has to make to pull it off and the obstacles that stand in his way. A flaw in the manufacture of a thin-screen smartphone has caused the manufacturing company, one of Axe’s major holdings, to take a nosedive on the …

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