Here are the top 10 moments from “Billions” as Axe faces the reality of going home again, Chuck goes banking and Taylor starts assembling an all star team…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
When it’s all said and done, “Billions” season 5 might be defined by one particular moment when Mike Prince conceded the Yonkers Opportunity Zone to his rival Bobby Axelrod.
As much as Prince made it sound like he was graciously bowing out of the contest, he was actually hitting Axe with some hard truths about his upbringing and a world he left behind when he became a multi-billionaire. When telling Axe that he deserved the Yonkers Opportunity Zone because he stunk of the place, that was all he needed to hear to know he had to get out of that dipshit town.
Now in the latest episode of “Billions,” Axe is still dealing with the fallout from that conversation, which led to him abandoning a dinner he planned with the family that now occupied his former childhood home. He’s also facing a new kind of reality after discovering that his deadbeat father is back in town.
By the end, Bobby Axelrod finally goes home again and it’s clear that’s the absolutely last place he ever wanted to be.
Meanwhile, Chuck ratchets up his war with Axe by going after the banking license that he covets so much while dealing with some personal family problems of his own. Just as Chuck is starting to get his own romantic life back on track, he’s hit square in the face with his father’s mortality when it appeared Charles Rhoades Sr. was far too determined to actually die.
And finally, Taylor begins putting together the pieces to transform their hedge fund into an impact fund where they will finance environmentally friendly initiatives to make the world a better place while simultaneously earning a lot of money.
With that said, let’s get to our top 10 moments from the latest episode of “Billions” titled “Contract”…
1 ) Kidney Failure
Charles Rhoades’ Sr. has always seemed invincible but while playing with his new daughter Willow at home, he collapses to the ground in pain.
It turns out, Chuck’s father is suffering renal failure and he needs a kidney transplant to survive. The typically unshakable Charles Rhoades’ Sr. is finally staring back at his own mortality and it’s not something he’s comfortable with.
To make matters worse, Chuck’s father is ineligible for a transplant because of his age, liquor consumption and cigar smoking, which means he’s only going to have his son to rely on to find him a new kidney.
“You know I don’t rattle easy, Sonny, but I really need you to come through for me now cause I’m scared shitless.”
~ Charles Rhoades’ Sr.
2) Good Cop, Bad Cop
Bobby Axelrod is determined to own a bank but because he can’t get approved at the Federal level, he had to settle for state approval instead. As “Hard” Bob Beaufort told him, those state bank regulators are more apt to beg, get bribed or bullied in order to approve an application.
Sadly, Axe finds out that the top banking official in New York, Leah Calder, has already been bought because New York State Attorney General Chuck Rhoades paid her a visit earlier that day along with his top gun Kate Sacker to make her an offer she couldn’t refuse.
In exchange for delaying Axe’s application and then eventually sinking it like the Titanic, Chuck will find a way to get back a priceless family heirloom that her son gave to his now wayward fiancée.
While Wags wants to go good cop, bad cop on the regulator, Axe is confident that won’t be necessary.
It turns out he’s right because there was no good cop in that room after Culder delayed his application and essentially dropped a safe on his head like something out of a Coyote and Roadrunner cartoon. Of course, Axe figures it out rather quickly that somebody is turning the screws on the bank regulator and he smells this as a Mike Prince move or possibly Chuck taking away the thing he wants most in this world.
That’s going to require Axe to get a little more creative to take out the other major bank in the Yonkers area and finding a reputable CEO to run the business.
3 ) New Blood
With Taylor and Wendy teaming up to transform Mase Cap into an impact fund, the first thing they need to do is find the right muscle to put behind their hustle. That means either getting the current Mase Cappers on board or hiring new blood that will achieve the ultimate goal for the fund.
So Wendy brings in an analyst named Rian, who she tried to recruit to Axe Cap some time ago but got turned down flat because this girl isn’t all about the profits. Instead, Rian wants to make a real difference in the world and she’s got an algorithm designed to help her do just that.
She’s figured out a way to provide women’s health products (tampons) to needy countries all over the globe and by partnering with companies who can make biodegradable products, it won’t hurt the environment at all with the extra waste. Rian has done the math and this is a socially conscious program that also makes stacks of cash — exactly what Taylor and Wendy want right now.
Of course, Rian’s hiring puts everybody under the gun at Mase Cap with Winston’s job already being threatened but he struggles to get Mafee on board with his conspiracy theory.
“Conspiracy? Sure. Start a subreddit, it’ll go great with the Stevie-Wonder-can-see truthers.”
4 ) Sign on the Dotted Line
Just as his bank troubles are heating up, Axe finds out that a local reporter in Yonkers got wind that he skipped out on dinner with the kid and his mother who live in his old house. He can’t get the story killed right away but the reporter is counting on either Savion or his mother giving him an interview to tell their side of things.
Axe is determined to keep Savion from talking so he ambushes the kid in his neighborhood and takes him out for a game of pool with a $500 cash prize to the winner. Axe throws the game, Savion wins but he’s not interested in the overly obvious bribe to keep him quiet.
“You got what you needed and then you flaked on dinner. Ain’t the first time. That’s a pattern and I recognize it from my own life. So that other shit is null and void. And you? Well shit, you can fuck off.”
5 ) Down and Dirty
As Axe continues to plot to get his bank, he employs his team to find a way to bring down his only major competitor in the Yonkers area.
Thanks to some stealth camera work from Ari Spyros along with Ben Kim, Tuk and “Dollar” Bill all playing their roles, the Axe Cap team discovers that Vark Bank is playing favorites when it comes time to offer loans. The gay couple with racially diverse backgrounds got a trash rate while the random, single white guy was offered a rate so low that the bank might not even make any money.
The entire idea came from Axe Capper Everett Wright, who explained the sad realities of racism that still exist in America.
“I learned a lesson the hard way when I was buying an apartment in the city. Sometimes it’s better to let your white fiancée from Riverdale do all the talking.”
After planting the story, Vark Bank takes a massive public hit and the Axe Cap team celebrates by giving the reporter a brand new Armani suit and the rest of the team heads to Vegas for a night out on the town. As for the banking problems, Wags decides that he would be the perfect CEO to lead this new venture — despite his reputation, he’s squeaky clean from a legal standpoint and Axe knows where his loyalties lie.
6 ) The Big Payback
Chuck shows up at prison to visit Bryan Connerty to pay off his part of the debt owed to his brother Jackie for retrieving that family heirloom.
When he shows up, Chuck tells the guards to remove Connerty’s handcuffs as he prepares to hear whatever his former protégé has to say to him. Without uttering a word, Connerty blasts Chuck with a stiff right hand that sends him falling backwards onto a table.
The guards rush back into the room to cuff Connerty again but even Chuck can’t fault him for what happened.
“Fair’s fucking fair”
7 ) The Demolition Man
With the Rhoades’ family headed for divorce, both Chuck and Wendy are ready to re-enter the dating pool
For Chuck, that’s a dinner with Cat Brant, who he first befriended during his introduction to the law students at Yale University. Because Cat understands Chuck’s instincts, she’s a little more accepting to his proclivities when it comes to sexual satisfaction but she’s not afraid to ask him point blank if he can still enjoy himself the old fashioned way.
By the end of the night, Chuck has a woman not named Wendy in his bed for the first time in many, many years.
Meanwhile, Wendy gets closer with Axe’s commissioned artist Nico Tanner, who has found inspiration for the series of paintings he’s being paid to create. Tanner first calls on Wendy to visit his studio as he shows off the work he’s been doing and then he takes her to a building scheduled for demolition to display where he finds his inspiration.
It seems Tanner finds peace in destruction and that’s what he’s painting whenever he puts brush to canvas. But now he’s finding a different kind of inspiration thanks to Wendy and he explains that to her just before the two of them kiss for the first time.
“Well, I’m hoping that we’d be here together and this way when the world is crumbling around us, I know I’m holding onto something good”
8) The Age of Consent
In order to get back the engagement ring belonging to Leah Culder, Chuck has to get rather creative after he finds out that there are no great legal means to force the ex-fiancee to return the property. So Chuck calls in Jackie Connerty — older brother to his former protégé Bryan Connery, who is currently occupying a spot in a New York State Prison. Jackie is an expert safe cracker and he helped Bryan, which ultimately played into his brother getting busted.
Chuck knows Jackie has been casing a Bugatti dealership looking for a new car to steal but more importantly he knows the elder Connerty wants his brother at a better facility than where he’s currently staying. If Jackie can retrieve that ring, Chuck will make sure that Bryan is transferred to a better prison camp and he might even put in a good word with the parole board when it comes time for the former U.S. Attorney to secure his release.
Jackie agrees to help under one condition — Chuck has to pay his brother a visit in prison. There’s something personal Bryan needs to tell him and this can’t happen over the phone. Chuck agrees and Jackie is back on the prowl.
After Jackie retrieves the ring from the ex-fiancee’s apartment, he heads over to Kate Sacker’s place to offer her the bounty of his heist. She tells him that he then has to place it back at Leah Culder’s office to complete the trade and Jackie will follow through after setting up Chuck to get punched by his brother in prison.
The tension between them ratchets up as Jackie talks about the rush he gets from completing a job like this one and Kate wonders if he does it all for the girls.
“I don’t like girls. I go for smart, complicated women.”
With that, Kate heads off to her bedroom, unbuttons her blouse and waits for Jackie to do some clothes removing of his own. Kate has an interesting choice in men considering her past with Bryan but something tells me she’s not looking for a long term relationship.
As for the ring, it magically shows up in Leah Culder’s safe (courtesy of Jackie) and with that, Axe’s dream of owning a bank in New York comes to a crashing halt.
9 ) All In
As Taylor begins moving forward with plans to transform Mase Cap into an impact fund, there’s a question about the loyalty that Wendy is showing towards the project. It’s no secret that her first loyalty will always lie with Axe but Taylor also knows they have to cut her into a share of the profits for this partnership to truly matter.
While Lauren cautions Taylor to tread lightly when it comes to trusting Wendy, they decide to go in the complete opposite direction when deciding on equity shares.
Taylor: “The path of our negotiation leads to 25 percent of my piece.
Wendy: “Yes, I think that’s fair”
Taylor: “Which is why I’m giving you 40. I need to be senior but I need you fully invested and without doubt.”
And now the new impact fund moves forward with Taylor and Wendy working in concert for the greater good at Taylor Mason Carbon.
10 ) Daddy Dearest
Axe has serious issues with his father — that’s been documented numerous times during five seasons of “Billions” but his parental struggles escalated in a major way with this latest episode.
After visiting his mother in hopes of having her talk some sense into Savion and his mother about going to the press with the story, he notices she’s no longer driving the Lexus he purchased for her. She gives him a story about not needing all the bells and whistles and downgrading to something simpler.
A quick look into the records proves that Axe’s mother didn’t sell the card but instead gave it to his deadbeat father, who has returned from California. Axe then goes to tell his mother what he discovered while offering her a stern warning about where they go from here.
“I’m warning you now: If you ever speak to him again, I will know it and I will cut you off and you will be left with nothing. Just like him.”
As far as Savion and his mother, Axe circumvents that problem by purchasing their house in Yonkers and buying them a much better place in Scarsdale along with clearing their debt. Axe warns Savion that his absentee father will turn up at some point asking to rejoin their lives but he should cut him off at the knees when he does. He also tells Savion that at some point in the future if he ever needs a doctor, a lawyer or a plane to get out of some place, he can call Axe for help and he’ll be there no questions asked.
Later that night, Axe calls on Wendy as he sits in his old bedroom and reminisces about his life growing up there under the ilk of an abusive father. The memories haunt him, which is why Axe just couldn’t go to dinner that night with Savion and his mother. He might not burn it down but at least by purchasing the house, Axe has closed the legacy of torment this place has on him or anybody else that could ever inhabit it.
“I can make sure no one ever lives in this fucking place again.”
As for his father, Axe pays a late night visit to the house where he’s staying along with a gift. It’s the Lexus that his mother gave to him except Axe repossessed it and had it compacted into the size of a refrigerator box. Axe’s father flips out when he sees what’s left of the car but across the street, his son sits with a certain satisfaction to know that the man who hurt his family and then abandoned them is now once again left with nothing.
“Billions” returns for a brand new episode next Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime. Check out a preview below: