Yup. That about sums the Season Five debut and the return of Showtime’s long-standing blue-chip drama, Billions.
When we last saw Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis), Chuck (Paul Giamatti) & Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff), Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon), and company, new battle lines were being drawn as Chuck set his eyes on Axe once again and enlisted the help of former protegee-turned-rival, Taylor Mason. Of course, this was after Chuck vanquished his season four foes in the way Chuck Rhoades does things…
Now, we find Axe & Mike “Wags” Wagner” (David Costablile) celebrate the former hitting $10 billion in personal net worth. Back at Axe Cap, we find Taylor’s team and Axe’s team not getting along and Wendy trying to fix it, like only Wendy Rhoades can.
On the Chuck Rhoades side of things, he and Kate Sacker (Condola Rashad) bust a bitcoin mining ring that seems to be backed somehow by Bobby Axelrod, and Chuck wants him named specifically.
I’m not going to spoil the episode for you because it’s definitely a must-watch, but the tone has been set. Taylor has decisions to make as they find themselves stuck between two rivals, turned friends, turned rivals once again. Chuck and Wendy’s marriage has been in a bear market and is quickly coming to an end, while Chuck’s father is starting a new chapter marrying a much younger woman & the mother of his once illegitimate daughter, Willow.
We also get the bullish introduction of Axe’s newest rival, Mike “Thomas Aquinas” Prince (Corey Stoll), who is at least’s Axe’s equal if not better. Prince steals the cover of Vanity Fair and buries Axe in the accompanying article.
As Wendy tries to bring the fun back to Axe Capital, that is seemingly gone, she enlists the help of her friend, WWE Women’s Champion, Becky Lynch. “The Man” shows up in a fun scene where she “does the job” for Wendy on a typical Tuesday in the office in a stunt to rally the troops. “There’s nothing more noble than taking a beating and making someone else look good for the good of the whole damn operation”, Lynch suggests.
This seemingly pays dividends and draws a round of applause from both sides. We’ll see if this can pull the Axe/Mase collaboration together for the long haul. If you read my Ringside Apostle articles, you know I’m not a huge fan of Becks, but this was done well and didn’t take away from the episode at all. I’ll call her involvement an asset.
Overall the S05 premiere opened up the balance sheet and set the stage for an all-out war and a definite triple cross this time around. My only complaints are that it wasn’t a 90-minute premiere and that I have to wait until next Sunday to see where things are leading. If you’ve been watching Billions since the beginning, this ep boosts your overall return on investment and the outlook for the future of this season is a total bull market.
In other words, sit back, pour yourself a glass of the finest scotch (I prefer whiskey) and strap up for a roller coaster of a season ahead as the long con begins. Billions is back and in the words of Bobby Axelrod, “Heads will roll.” 4.5/5 Bibles.