Here are the top 10 moments from the “Billions” season 5 debut where Axe faces off with a new enemy as Chuck plots against him while dealing with a battle of his own at home with Wendy…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
“Billions” is back and season 5 is off to a tremendous start.
Last season, Chuck and Axe worked together for the greater good, which meant each of them assisted the other with their shared goals. Chuck wanted to become New York State Attorney General and Axe needed to get rid of Grigor Andolov while simultaneously plotting Taylor Mason’s downfall.
By the end of the season both men had what they wanted but Chuck decided that Axe had been asking for far too much. When he began looking at the ruin that his life had become, Chuck realized that Axe was at the heart of almost all of it.
So Chuck decided to take down Axe once and for all and he drafted Taylor into his cause. He busted them just like Axe requested in order to bring Taylor’s fund to a crashing halt and force them back into his employ. Secretly, Chuck wanted to use Taylor as his insider against Axe.
Taylor relented and agreed but they have a plan of their own — to watch Chuck and Axe train their guns at each other and just when it’s time to open fire, they will move out of the way. Once Chuck and Axe have been destroyed, Taylor can go along with their fucking day.
That catches you up with where we left “Billions” in season 4 so with that said, let’s get to our top 10 moments for the debut of season 5 titled “The New Decas”…
1 ) The Best Man
The episode opens at a wedding between Charles Rhoades Sr. and his new bride Roxanne — the girl who had his baby a season ago after he built a casino on her family’s reservation.
Of course, it’s not all champagne and celebration because Chuck is now officially separated from Wendy and the two of them are still in the same room together. Chuck is surrounded by his new group of pals — the same people he used to help him bring down Jock Jeffcoat and Bryan Connerty a season ago — as they continue to jab him about somehow letting Wendy get away.
After his father steps in for a Valentino like dance with Wendy, Chuck tries to reconcile ever so briefly with his soon to be ex-wife but she wants none of it. That’s when Chuck is handed the microphone and asked to give his best man speech.
Now Chuck is well known for his less than conventional speeches — just ask the people attending “Black” Jack Foley’s funeral last season but this time around just when it appears that he’s going to go scorched earth on his father, he surprises everyone in attendance with a complete 180.
“I am not gonna say nice things about my dad. I don’t want to. You all know what I would say. You all know the truth. No, instead I want to …(dramatic pause) … celebrate his magnificent bride, Roxanne.”
2 ) Sweat Lodge
It seems a challenging year battling Taylor Mason and destroying his ex-girlfriend Rebecca Cantu left Axe in a bit of a reflective state so he took a sojourn with Wags to Alaska where they get into a sweat lodge, take some sweet hallucinogenic drugs and begin plotting the downfall of anybody opposing them.
An almost euphoric Wags essentially starts chanting as he realizes that this is a massive war to wage but that just means more heads to chop.
And chop, chop, chop as Axe joins him on this decapitating mission.
“That’s a whole lot of war to wage. That’s a whole lot of heads to chop. Heads to chop. Heads to chop! Mess. Messy mess. Beautiful mess!”
3 ) Rhoades Scholar
“Maybe it’s time to stop listening to what Rhoades’ men say and decide what we think for a fucking change.”
Despite Charles Rhoades Sr. getting married, his ex-wife is still there in the audience watching while joined at the same table by her wayward daughter-in-law. Wendy is begrudgingly at the wedding regardless of her current situation with Chuck and she reminds her mother-in-law that maybe listening to the Rhoades’ men is what got them here in the first place.
Just about then, Senior asks Wendy for a dance and he tells her how much he’s going to miss her being part of the family. She then reminds him that no matter what happens with Chuck, he will always be a part of her life because he’s grandfather to her two children.
Senior makes one more plea to try and convince Wendy to give it another go with Chuck but it would appear his tactics are falling on deaf ears.
“Go get some ass if that’s what you want and then re-up with the unit.”
~ Charles Rhoades Sr.
4 ) Fucking Nerds
After hiring Kate Sacker to work in the New York State Attorney General’s office, Chuck puts her on the trail of a crypto-currency operation that’s siphoning away a town’s electricity to mine for Bitcoin. The result is the town being forced to pay higher rates for more electricity, which is then passed onto the taxpayers — and you can begin to see why this little operation has landed on Chuck’s desk.
More importantly, Chuck knows this operation is being fueled at least in part by Bobby Axelrod and his new life’s work is finally bringing that man to his demise.
Chuck sits down with the two geniuses running the operation and he lays it out in rather plain terms — roll over on the person who orchestrated this plan or they’ll alone suffer the consequences.
“We’re not here to discuss monetary theory though. We’re here to discuss who put you fucking nerds … sorry engineers … into business.”
While the pair admit Axe was one of the Wall Street types getting benefits from the plan, he didn’t set this whole thing up. Instead, they point the finger at the town’s supervisor as the person who allowed them to absorb so much electricity from their crypto-mining programs that the entire county endured a brownout.
5 ) Tribal Politics
With Axe away, the troops at Axe Capital have been at play — mostly tormenting each other since Taylor Mason Capital was absorbed into the company. It seems a toilet was reversed and the water spray went in the wrong direction, which targeted a Mase Capper.
The unprofessional tactics have the entire Mase Cap team on edge but the tension goes both ways. As Tuk explains, the Axe Cap group have been dealing with a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude from the Mase Cap team as they use computers and quantitative trading programs to decide where their money should be invested.
“Suck my Node.js, Bill.”
Wendy finally calls an end to the meeting while telling both teams to come up with ways to make a more productive business place or next time she’s really going to get mad at them.
6 ) Bad Company
The trip to Alaska doubled as Axe’s own vacation after he reached a personal net worth of $10 billion, which put him in very rarified air. In fact, Vanity Fair has decided to do a cover shoot dubbed ‘The New Decas’ (thus the title of the episode) to discuss the state of the $10 billion club that Axe just recently joined.
At first, Axe downplays the importance of the photoshoot and subsequent article because he’s on a road trip with Wags that still has 3,400 more miles on motorcycle to go. But the mere mention of the name Mike Prince brings Axe barreling back towards the continental United States because that’s a tease he just can’t pass up.
Mike Prince (played by season guest star Corey Stoll) apparently has history with Axe and none of it’s good. That’s why Axe wanted to fly back to the east coast in order to participate in this photoshoot.
Obviously this is going to be a main focus for the season as Axe prepares to do battle with Mike Prince but details about their history together remains a mystery. It’s clear, however, that Mike looks like a bastion of virtue, which is a far cry from his $10 billion counterpart.
“Ball coach in high school told it to me, I never forget: You make sure the guy passing the ball to the guy passing it to you gets as much credit as you do for putting it in the hoop.”
~ Mike Prince
Now it seems like Mike is baiting Axe into participating in an event called ‘The Mike’ where they will share an open forum and speak together during a special session for those in attendance.
7 ) The Most Fun Place on Earth
“Start tossing midgets or something. Or call ‘em little people if that makes you feel better. But toss ‘em.”
Wendy meets with Lauren to ask for her help but then turns to one of Taylor’s most trusted associates to see what can be done to change the morale and the mood inside Axe Capital. Lauren then relays to Wendy that Mafee told them all stories about how Axe Cap used to be the most fun place on Earth to work — where the associates could be eating sushi off someone’s body one day and then jumping on a private jet for a last second trip just for fun as a group outing.
These days, however, the entire team is besieged by hitting their numbers and nobody is having very much fun. So Lauren makes her suggestion straight out of “The Wolf of Wall Street” to hopefully lighten the mood.
So Wendy makes a call to an old friend of hers who shows up the next day to help rally the troops. That friend is none other than WWE champion “The Man” Becky Lynch, who gets introduced via a staged fight with Wendy that gets everybody’s attention.
Afterwards, Becky tells the team about her job as a professional wrestler and how it relates back to what they are doing at Axe Capital.
“At the end of the day, we’re all part of a bigger family, all right? And we all do the job for each other, which is what we call it when we let someone else pin us. Because there is nothing more noble than taking a beating and making somebody else look good for the good of the whole goddamned operation.”
~ Becky Lynch
The speech helps to unite the Axe Cappers with the Mase Cappers after the tension between the two teams finally came to a head.
8 ) Too Big to Fail
Axe visits Wendy and wonders if he should be angry that she allowed him to walk into that photoshoot where he was blindsided by Mike Prince or if he should be thankful for it. He then admits that even after he hit the $10 billion mark in his net worth, there was no sense of joy or excitement.
Wendy goes onto tell Axe that allowing himself to feel that achievement would be like admitting that he won rather than the fact that he’s still in the race. Axe’s drive isn’t to reach a milestone but to rather keep besting his competitors and she just put another one on his radar in Mike Prince.
The rivalry gets even more fierce after the cover of Vanity Fair is revealed but rather than a group photo, it’s Mike Prince all by his lonesome. Axe then reads the article where Prince essentially calls his way of investing nothing more than ghosts of the past while he’s focused on building a better future.
Axe is now determined to topple Prince’s empire but he can’t go after this shark with a bucket of chum and a giant fishing rod. If Axe is going to knock this Prince off his throne, he’s going to need a coup d’etat.
“He’s too big, he’s too powerful. Man’s a Grizz. A Kodiak island sized and dangerous. We got to get close to bring him down.”
With that, Axe puts in a call to his old rival — one that Mike Prince has been expecting ever since the Vanity Fair cover dropped. Axe agrees to attend this conference where he will join Mike in a fireside chat for the masses. Axe obviously sees it as an ambitious move to get closer to Mike but it certainly appears as if another member of this exclusive $10 billion club invited this get together.
Seeing these two spar should be rather interesting.
9 ) Lines Are Drawn
Following the wedding, a distraught Chuck decided to seek comfort in his favorite pastime — a little sadomasochistic romp with his favorite uptown mistress. Unfortunately, Chuck’s time away came at a cost when Wendy was trying to call him after their son Kevin got drunk at the wedding and suffered through alcohol poisoning.
A visit the next morning didn’t go much better as Wendy told Chuck that it was finally time they severed ties. She wants a divorce.
She asks Chuck to have his office draft a press release to go out later that day so neither of them will be blindsided by the news and also so the press won’t engage in a feeding frenzy if either of them are seen in public with a new boyfriend or girlfriend. Chuck agrees but then turns his attention back towards his clandestine operation to topple Bobby Axelrod, which once again distracts him from what Wendy needs.
The next day — with an assist from Lauren — Wendy releases her own statement announcing plans to divorce Chuck while calling the split “amicable.” Obviously, Chuck is thrown off by the move and that only further exacerbates his already strained relationship with his soon to be ex-wife.
10 ) Second World War
Back in “Billions” season 2 when the war between Axe and Chuck was reaching a fevered pitch, the billionaire hedge fund manager struck a low blow at his adversary. After learning that Chuck had sold a set of prized books — first edition copies of “Second World War” by Winston Churchill — Axe not only bought that copy but every single one he could find on the open market.
It was a quiet gut punch that would hurt Chuck while reminding him that no matter how many good deeds he does, Axe still has all the money in the world to buy or sell him.
Back at Axe Cap after the appearance by Becky Lynch, Axe sits down with Taylor for a meeting of the minds. He knows they haven’t been settling into this new role and it’s finally time for all the cards to go on the table.
So Taylor reveals to Axe that Chuck is coming after him again despite their supposed friendship. Axe had an idea that’s what was happening and this is just the confirmation he needed. Now that Taylor is back in the inner circle, Axe asks for their advice.
Taylor tells him to remind Chuck that they are friends and what happened the last time they went to war with each other. It nearly ended with both of them staring down a prison sentence.
So Axe arrives at Chuck’s home with a set of those prized books as a gift for his friend. He also gives him a not so subtle reminder about what happens when they are at odds with each other.
“I want you to remember when we weren’t friends how the world was a very hot and uncomfortable place. And to that end, I would also like you to help me keep it cool.”
He asks Chuck to kill the case against those crypto-miners. Chuck tells him the case is too far along to just close it but instead of making it a criminal case, he’ll turn it into a civil matter, which means Axe will pay a fine and everything goes away.
Later that night, Chuck meets with Kate and he tells her about the “triple cross” that’s happening right now. He knows Taylor betrayed him and revealed his true intentions to Axe, which means his every move will be scrutinized now. Chuck has also invited Kate into his own inner circle and they will now be truthful about everything that’s happening, which means they are now in session to draw up plans to bring down Bobby Axelrod for good.
The closes moments catch up with Taylor, who has been pulled in every direction since their fund was destroyed and they became a pawn in the war between Chuck and Axe. Taylor decides to cash in a gift certificate from Lauren where they go to a destruction room where they are invited to smash everything inside as a way to let go of that simmering anger inside.
When the war is all said and done, Taylor wants to be the last one left standing but there is a long way to go until Axe and Chuck are finished battling.
For the music in this episode, check out two different Patti Smith tunes that were featured “Summer Cannibals” and “Gone Again” as well as the classic track “Bad Company” by Bad Company.
“Billions” returns with a brand new episode next Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime. Check out a preview below: