Here are the top 10 moments from the latest episode of “Billions” as Prince’s business starts to spiral, Axe seeks to destroy him even further and Chuck comes up with a new plan of attack….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The war between Bobby Axelrod and Mike Prince has been the highlight throughout “Billions” season 5 and it appears that battle is only now truly heating up.
After revealing some of Prince’s truly dirty laundry last week, Axe watches as his enemy starts a downward spiral with business partners and investors abandoning him at every turn. That leads Axe to make more than a few questionable decisions in an effort the put his boot heel down on Prince’s throat once and for all.
Meanwhile, Chuck runs into some problems as he attempts to slow down Axe from getting the bank charter he covets so much. Of course, Chuck begins to realize that over the course of the past few years he’s lost pretty much everything that’s ever mattered to him largely due to his vendetta against Axe.
But will that make him more resolved to see this through to the end or will Chuck finally throw in the towel and put his efforts towards a new goal that doesn’t involve Axe?
Let’s take a look at the top 10 moments from the latest episode of “Billions” titled “Implosion” to find out.
1 ) Pizza Delivery
A new business venture for Axe involved investing in a master pizza maker named Anthony Mangieri (a real life pizza artisan based out of New York) after his cousin decided that he should no longer be slaving away night after night making pies when there was a bigger empire worth building on his name and recipes.
So Axe bankrolls the production of high-end frozen pizzas — the kind that taste just as good at home as the ones ordered fresh out of Anthony’s shop in New York City. Axe’s old pizza pal Bruno gives his seal of approval after tasting one of the pies and that means 100,000 units are being shipped to the United States from Italy to begin rolling out in a matter of days.
There’s only one problem — Mike Prince’s No. 2 Scooter Dunbar has made this his personal mission to hurt Axe. He uses Prince’s resources in the shipping industry to stop the boat carrying Axe’s pizzas over from Italy, which means the entire rollout will be ruined.
Wags manages to come up with a solution thanks to Anthony’s cousin ‘Manz’ after he discovers that the real secret to making these pizzas comes down to a particular type of oven only used in Italy. Axe puts down another $10 million investment to buy those ovens and create an entirely new order so they don’t miss the release window with grocery stores.
The end result is a smiling Wags chomping on a slice of pizza at Scooter’s local grocery store.
“I’m wondering if we can file the insurance claim on the spoiled merchandise directly with Prince? You know, since you tools bought into that shipping company. Oh you should try one of these. Fucking delicious. Freezer case is full of them.”
2 ) Skullfuckery
Following his virtual execution on live television after his former partner’s mother eviscerated him for essentially scamming her son, which then led to his death, Mike Prince is on the ropes in every facet of his business existence.
No longer becoming the Ambassador to Denmark is the least of his problems now.
Prince watches his beloved event ‘The Mike’ fall apart as Axe siphons off his most valuable guests and he’s even been removed as the face of the ‘Shake the Quake’ fundraiser that he was spearheading.
With Prince down and nearly out, Axe wants to go for the kill by bleeding out the last bit of humanity in him by going after the guy’s personal life. As much as Wags loves a public hanging, even he can’t understand why Axe can’t just relish his victory and let this one go.
“I am here for whatever you need and I’m always up for a bloody vanquishing but Prince is done. He’s bled out and you’re calling in favors for what? So you can fuck a dead guy’s skull? Michael Douglas only talked about it in the Bible. He didn’t do it. Besides, skullfuckery is not even fun to watch.”
But Axe refuses to give up his hunt until Mike Prince is actually dead and buried.
3 ) Corporations Better Than People
In a last ditch effort to stop Axe from getting his bank charter after acquiring the failing company called Plaintif-Full, Chuck visits with the Attorney General from the state of Delaware and asks him to file an injunction to ensure Axe Capital never become Axe Savings and Loan.
But the A.G. from Delaware isn’t interested in revving the engine on his fine sports car just to show he’s got the power much less than he wants to flip the switch on the electric chair to fry Bobby Axelrod’s dreams of becoming a banker.
Instead, the A.G reminds Chuck that he’s the cause of his own problems after he brought Plaintif-Full down by the power wielded from his office in New York. Meanwhile, Delaware embraces corporations — there’s a reason why so many credit card companies have addresses based there — and he’s not interested in sending a potential billion dollar business packing just because Chuck wants vengeance on Axe.
“I don’t believe corporations are people. They’re better than people because they don’t fuck up when they get so obsessed with one thing, they can’t see reality.”
~ Attorney General Moody
4 ) The Atomic Punk
The highlight from this week’s episode comes from an epic monologue delivered by Corey Stoll as Mike Prince after another investor is ready to jump ship and take their money elsewhere.
Despite his best efforts to convince the investor otherwise, Prince has no choice but to accept his decision before then offering to walk him to the elevator. Before he allows his guest to leave, however, Prince lays out a calm, cool and collected threat — complete with Van Halen lyrics — to let this guy know that walking away from him comes with consequences.
“Power is atomic and eventually this moment — this moment where one electron is slightly out of whack will end, the world will right itself again, I’ll be on top again and the curious thing is that I will have forgotten your name. I don’t believe in enemies. It’s not that I don’t have them. It’s that when you become my enemy, my next move — my only move — is to continue to rise. While you will eddy. Sink. Not by my hand but by your lack of connection to me. So walk out with your money, it’s yours. But you won’t be done with me.
“As the song goes: On every wall and place my fearsome name will be heard. I’m the atomic punk.’ I will remain so and you Matt will simply evaporate.”
~ Mike Prince
While the investor stays, Prince feels dirty for using those kinds of tactics and he refuses to do so again even as his man Scooter gives him the opportunity to hurt Axe by taking down his new pizza company.
5 ) Absolution
In an attempt to unburden himself, Prince goes to visit his former partner’s mother Brenda, who pretty much set fire to his entire world on television with her interview that revealed he screwed her son out of millions and then he died shortly thereafter.
The story has started to unravel all the good deeds Prince has done over the past couple of decades but deep down he knew that Brenda wasn’t being vengeful out of spite because every word she said was true.
In fact, Prince tells her as much during a sit down with Brenda where he talks about the dinner he had with David the night after telling him that he closed a deal that would earn him $200,000 but also cut him loose from their partnership when Microsoft was about to buy the entire company.
While David was enthusiastic about what they’d do next and he was so excited for the future, Prince could only think about the way he was about to take over with no strings tied to a partner with substance abuse issues.
“I wanted it all for myself”
~ Mike Prince
Needless to say, Brenda isn’t exactly impressed by Mike’s attempt to confess his sins and she has no interest in absolving him of the guilt that’s been tearing at him for so many years. Prince finally told the truth but now he’s got to face the consequences for his actions.
6 ) Fire Sale
Following his disastrous meeting with his former partner’s mother, Mike Prince returns to his office and instructs Scooter to start selling off anything and everything under their banner that is being harmed by his very public scandal. While Scooter vehemently disagrees with this type of action, Prince is quick to defend his decision by pointing out that they’ve built a house on top of a Native American burial ground and it doesn’t matter that the house is nice — it’s still desecrating a sacred site.
So now it’s time to tear it all down and begin building again from scratch.
Of course, it doesn’t take long for Rian to bring this to Taylor’s attention and they get the idea to buy up all of Prince’s positions in the green energy market, which will not only crush a competitor but it will give them a massive edge in the business they’ve been building.
Sadly, Axe doesn’t see it that way.
With Mike Prince down, Axe wants to play Quentin Tarantino and kick him a few more times like he’s Cheech Marin outside the Titty-Twister in Mexico.
“Like you said, he’s driving the price down. Now I want you to make those companies worthless”
~ Bobby Axelrod
Taylor eventually convinces him otherwise but Axe just can’t let it go so he calls up Mafee later that same day and orders him to sell off everything that Taylor Mason Carb owns that goes anywhere near the businesses that Mike Prince is dumping.
The end result is all of those companies go belly up and that leaves both Prince and Taylor enraged after it was proven that Axe’s thirst for revenge was worth more to him than money.
7 ) LLC
After turning down Chuck earlier this season when he was approached to help bring down Bobby Axelrod, Mike Prince shows up ready to help the New York Attorney General in any way possible. Only one problem — Chuck is done chasing the big bad wolf because he’s the one whose house keeps getting blown down in the process.
Along the way, Chuck mentions his last ditch effort to convince the Attorney General from Delaware to slow down Axe’s bank charter but even that plan didn’t work.
That sparks an idea in Prince because while he may not have the legal power of an attorney general, he does have billions invested in corporations that operate in Delaware. So Prince goes to pay A.G. Moody a visit about Bobby Axelrod while telling him that all of the corporations based in his state will be looking for a new home, perhaps in Wyoming, and then he’ll have to explain to the people of Delaware why their jobs just disappeared in the blink of an eye.
Helping out the New York Attorney General didn’t benefit him, but A.G. Moody realizes that his state can’t afford to lose a valuable businessman like Mike Prince so he ends up naming a trustee who will oversee every inch of Axe’s new bank. A person similar to the one who brought down Bernie Madoff — the kind of trustee who will make Axe owning a bank an absolutely living hell.
Prince then reports that back to Chuck, who decides to join the cause now that a real move has been made against Axe. Of course, Prince realizes that Chuck played him but turning down the previous offer of help because he knew that would only motivate him to do even more to bring down Bobby Axelrod.
Now with the trustee in place to cover Axe’s bank, Chuck decides to give his ailing father a reason to live by offering him the job.
Earlier in the episode, Charles Rhoades Sr. was online shopping for a coffin — but now his son has given him a real reason to live so he can torment Bobby Axelrod until his last day.
8 ) A Better Son
Axe receives a visit from A.G. Moody, who informs him about the trustee that will be overseeing his bank and the list of candidates was already whittled down to one.
After learning that Charles Rhoades Sr. would be making his life a living hell, Axe decides to turn the tables by finding out what Wendy was digging into when she got busted for looking at company medical records in last week’s episode. Wendy was hoping to find a donor candidate willing to give up a kidney to save her ex-father-in-law’s life.
With that kind of information, Axe goes into action and he’s more than willing to cross the lines that Chuck would never dare.
A few hours later, Charles Sr. is being prepped for surgery after he suddenly found a donor to give him a new lease on life but even the squirrely Dr. Swerlow — the rogue physician who can procure organs at a cost — doesn’t know how Chuck’s father worked his way up the list so quickly.
Chuck finds out moments later after celebrating the surgery with his father and touting how he’s going to live and together they’ll bring down Bobby Axelrod.
Chuck: “Now you get to live and be my man on the inside”
Charles Sr. “That’s true, sonny, but it may not work out the way you think”
Chuck is stunned by that declaration but he’s even more shocked when he walks out into the hallway as his father is being rolled into surgery and he meets the donor giving up the kidney.
It’s Danny Margolis — the longtime Axe associate, who loved swimming in the nude a couple of seasons ago when Bryan Connerty came to pay him a visit. Margolis says he’s doing a good deed but we all know he’s the match that Axe found in the company medical records and now Charles Rhoades Sr. has a new kidney as a result — and that also means Chuck just lost his inside man at the bank
9 ) The Art of War
Ever since he started working for Axe on a commission, artist Nico Tanner hasn’t been quite himself because he had never worked purely for money before. But after realizing the interest his art brings from the ultra-wealthy, Tanner can’t help but start catering to them rather than his own desire to paint and create.
Earlier in the season, Tanner was suddenly incredibly interested in what a very wealthy woman had to say about his painting, which then led to two more commissions being ordered. The only problem is Tanner lost his creative energy because he was no longer painting for his own passion but rather trying to produce something that a client would want to see hanging on a wall.
Wendy attempts to walk him back from the ledge but Tanner is barely hanging on by a thread.
After telling all of this to Axe, he decides to pull back the bank account that’s funding but also destroying Tanner’s instincts in a last ditch effort to bring back his original artistic integrity.
Sadly, Tanner is mostly just upset that his suddenly lucrative art career is done before it even really started and he’s even angrier that Wendy was behind it all. That’s when Tanner decides to tell Wendy that he really needs a girl to support him rather than psychoanalyze his every move.
Wendy responds by telling him the problem is that he’s looking for a girl rather than a woman.
Tanner lashes out by destroying the last painting he made for Axe after Wendy ends it with him. Later that night, Tanner smashes the studios and leaves everything behind in ruins.
When Axe arrives the next day, he tells Wags to clean everything up and sell the condo. He also instructs Wags to pack up a painting left on the floor that’s now covered in a bucket of black pain that was obviously the result of Tanner’s rage.
Despite his best efforts to destroy it, Axe believes this might be Tanner at his most emotional and that’s an original piece of art worth owning. Before leaving, Axe also finds the small drawing that Tanner made of Wendy in bed and he folds it up and places it in his pocket.
All season long there have been hints that Axe’s feelings for Wendy have transcended friendship and business and this appears to be another shining example that he wants her for something more.
10 ) Axed
Chuck is obviously disappointed that his father won’t be the inside man he needs at Axe’s bank but in a later meeting with Mike Prince that also gives them the idea to finally bring this giant down.
Prince realized watching Axe’s moves over the past couple of days that he’s not the cold calculating businessman who’s all about the profit — at least not when emotion gets involved. Axe was willing to overspend on his new pizza company for sentimental reasons and he also dumped all of his resources in impact investing just to hurt Prince while he was already reeling.
That makes them both realize that all they need to do is give Axe enough rope and he’ll hang himself while trying to take down Prince.
Prince is the bait, and Axe’s bank will be the mouse trap — and now with him free to do pretty much whatever he wants after buying off Chuck’s father, that gives him the means to make illegal moves and those will end with him in prison.
Just before this power session ends, Taylor arrives at the office determined to topple her boss once and for all after he essentially tanked her entire fund in order to tear down Prince.
“How are we taking down Bobby Axelrod?
~ Taylor Mason
Axe’s need to destroy Prince might be what ultimately leads to his own destruction because now he’s got three of his most powerful enemies all lining up against him. Expect a titanic sized collision before “Billions” season 5 comes to a close.