Billions Finds A Sexy Use For The Fibonacci Sequence

Billions Finds A Sexy Use For The Fibonacci Sequence
Image: IMDB

One of my favourite high-budget shows of the past few years is Billions. It depicts the war between US Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) and hedge fund genius Bobble Axelrod (Damian Lewis), with Wall Street as the battleground.

It’s smart, funny and the performances are astounding. But what has really caught my attention in season three (which is currently airing on Stan) is the significant increase in nerdy references that don’t make me want to projectile vomit. This week – the Fibonacci Sequence in a bouquet of flowers.

The general increase in geekiness has in large part been due to the character of Taylor, a non-binary employee of Axe Capital who is basically running the joint.

They are a good balance for some of the Wall Street bros, as well as one of the only characters who actually understands the importance of technological advancements in the sector.

Having them explore AI and machine learning from the perspective of a hedge fund leader has been genuinely fascinating. And perhaps more importantly, getting to watch them pick up a ‘venture philanthropist’ over a game of Netrunner has been god damn charming.

But back to the math.

I’ll try to avoid too many spoilers here, but Taylor is sent a bunch of delphiniums. When questioned as to why their beau didn’t spring for roses, they explains how these are significant, as they relate to the Fibonacci Sequence.

For anyoneone unfamiliar, this is where each member of a sequence is the sum of the previous two members. For example, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89. When it comes to flowers, this occurs within the petals.

Delphiniums contain 8 petals, which makes the sequence 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8. Hot.

And while the show’s explanation of the Fibonacci Sequence may seem a little ham-fisted for those who learned about it during high school algebra – I enjoyed the general inclusion.

I feel like Billions generally does a good job of tipping their hat to us nerds, but without being obvious or condescending. Well played.