“That’s the problem with vacations. They always end too soon.” — Bobby Axelrod
Oh no, Bobby, we’ve been counting the days… it’s been such a long vacation!
But the good news is, ladies and gentlemen, Billions Season 7 is just around the corner! The seventh and the final season is premiering on Paramount+ with Showtime on August 11 and on Showtime at 8pm EST on August 13! And not just that but Damian Lewis is returning to the show and according to the media reports, he will have a meaty part in the final season ensuring that Billions will end with a huge bang!
This blog has had an interesting relationship with Billions. I launched Fan Fun with Damian Lewis only two weeks before they started shooting Billions pilot in New York City in 2015. Damian found out about the blog on Billions pilot set. Billions is my dream show come true: it has my favorite actor (Damian), my favorite place on earth (NYC) and what I teach and research (game theory) for a living! And not just that but I have written 60 episode recaps for God’s sake – I actually pulled all-nighters every Sunday to write the recap for the first three seasons! My blog mates and I have live-tweeted almost every episode along with the show creators, cast members, and fellow fans. I have even written a book about the culinary explorations in Billions!
I kept watching Billions when Bobby Axelrod left the show. And while I agree with most of you that, with Bobby gone, Season 6 misses the show’s most popular character, it is still a strong season with the great Corey Stoll bringing to life a different but equally corrupt deca-billionaire who has become Chuck Rhoades’ new nemesis!
We did not write any episode recaps in Season 6 since this blog is not about Billions but about Damian Lewis’ work. And now that he is back, we are thrilled to resume our weekly Billions recaps and analysis! I am also watching Season 6 one more time (I admit I watched it closely but not with the obsession I typically did when Damian Lewis was on the show!) to remember where we left our characters. I highly recommend everyone to catch up with Season 6 since, without question, some new characters introduced in Season 6 as well as several storylines will re-appear in the final season. In addition, Bobby Axelrod is not physically there but he has a constant presence in Season 6. And this was the biggest hint we had to make an educated guess that Bobby would be back! And now that he is back, WE ARE BACK, TOO!
Since Billions has recently dropped Season 7 official trailer as well as the titles and plots for the first couple of episodes, I am thrilled to think and write about what may come our favorite characters’ way in the final season. I missed writing about my favorite show so much!
Oh and I know that they edit trailers in a way so they do not give away much but a taste of what is coming. Still, I cannot help dive deep into the trailer, dissect it, try to put the pieces together and ultimately have fun! Speculation rocks until we have our favorite characters wheeling and dealing on our screens in August.
So shall we?
The first episode typically sets the tone for the season. And the plot from Showtime website points to where all three leading men stand.
“Prince’s political ambitions come with a surprising twist, and his intentions are met with skepticism. Wendy, Wags and Taylor turn to an old friend for guidance. Chuck aligns with an unlikely ally in hopes of leveraging his freedom. Season premiere.”
The plot does not mention Bobby Axelrod but he is certainly the “old friend” Wendy, Wags and Taylor turn to for guidance.
The final season sees the Prince Capital CEO Mike Prince kicking off his presidential campaign with his on-again, off-again wife Andy by his side. Does she know that her husband had a casual one night stand with Rian, an employee, after a party at his place? Bobby Axelrod has never done anything like that. Just sayin’…
In a system where politics and money are married for life, who could be a better candidate than Mike “Thomas Aquinas” Prince? Another rich man who thinks he can run for presidency because… well, he can… I am sure he will market himself as the good boy from small town Indiana who happens to be uber-rich! He can deceive the voters but not us who have already seen that Mike Prince is not the monster from Monsters, Inc. that he claims he is. He pretends he is there to do good but he is as big a monster as Axe. And, yeah, he even attempted to buy the White House with his billions in crypto! WTF?The saint who Prince was named after must be turning in his grave.
Wendy meets Orrin Bach whom we also missed in Season 6 to tell him that she needs to send a message to Bobby. From her body language, one can see she is not sending a romantic message. Wendy looks rather uncomfortable so she is doing it only because she has to. The reason? We could only speculate about it. My hunch is that Prince’s potential run for the White House is creating complications at the work place. We see Wendy telling Wags “he’s dangerous” probably about Prince at the Chinatown Staple Wo Hop.
And I can’t help but wonder whether what Wendy is talking about here is the same thing Ben Kim talks about when he says he thought he would have a panic attack in the trailer.
And talking about Kate… she seems to be very involved in Prince’s campaign. We see her telling Prince that the gig is to protect him from all threats…
I wonder if this is her gig, or she wants it to be that of Chuck’s and so arranges a meeting between Prince and Chuck for them to smoke the peace pipe and combine forces. But why would Chuck agree to such an alliance? Well, because he knows about Prince’s dirty laundry, and Prince may help Chuck regain his seat as the state AG on the condition that he keeps silent and, who knows, if he becomes the President, he will need an Attorney General he trusts 🙂
After all, as the young man, a new character who is probably Prince’s campaign manager, is saying in the trailer:
“Everything you do now matters in a way that it didn’t before. Chuck Rhoades is paying attention.”
And it is way better for you to keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
So whatever the reason, Wendy, Wags, and Taylor decide to consult with Bobby who knows the ropes of the business better than anyone. In the meantime, I wonder whether what Wendy is talking about is the exact same thing that Ben Kim talks about when he says he thought he would have a panic attack.
Remember that Damian Lewis was spotted on Billions set with Maggie Siff, Asia Kate Dillon and David Costabile at the Tower of London in early November and, guess what, the title of the first episode is Tower of London! So it seems Bobby is currently based in London now. We see Wendy, Wags, and Taylor arriving at an amazing castle and we hear Taylor telling their former boss “if it happens, the consequences are so great.” And I am smiling as big as Wags when I think about Bobby Axelrod making moves that I never saw coming!
As Bobby gets together with his A-team, there is this inevitable question about him and Wendy. The two had a romantic relationship blossoming in Season 5 that they had to end before it started thanks to Chuck! And I know that there is a big group of fans out there rooting for Bobby and Wendy to get romantically involved while I am in the tiny minority rooting for them to remain friends. Yes, they had a moment, but as Wendy rightly diagnosed the situation earlier, it was all Chuck’s doing. Chuck’s erratic behavior pushed Bobby and Wendy towards each other at a time when they were single and vulnerable.
“Since the moment you set your sights on Axe five years ago, you have orchestrated a perfect plan to impel us together, which makes no sense. Unless someone knows you, which I have.”
As Axe has correctly pointed out in front of the reporters in Season 5 Episode 12 No Direction Home, this is not judicial, this is personal. And while Chuck admits it is partially about Wendy, it is all about Wendy. It has always been about her. I mean… he wants to arrest Axe at Axe Capital only because he wants Wendy to see him like that. What a little, insecure man! The man threw his best friend and his own dad under the bus, and used his own wife to destroy Axe, and ruined his marriage in the process!
In addition to Wendy’s diagnosis about how Chuck pushed her and Bobby towards eeach other, I know that Billions is not a “…and they lived happily every after” kind of story. Please do not get me wrong, I know that some good friendships can organically evolve into romantic relationships over time (my husband and I were very good friends first so I know the experience!) and it is obvious Bobby and Wendy have amazing chemistry. But a romantic relationship between them may not really work out since they are both dominant and control freak. Besides, Wendy knows about Axe’s past and what he could do to women in his life – from lying to Lara when it was convenient to him to destroying Rebecca’s business when he got paranoid about her intentions. Anyways, it seems the two have a scene together alone so we may find out about the status of their relationship.
That said – I am not expecting any sexual tension between them this season. And I admit my fantasy about the series finale is for Wendy and Chuck to get back together and the show ending exactly like it started… with Wendy peeing on Chuck 🙂 How fun would that be?
Having mentioned Chuck, what has he been up to?
If you watched Season 6 Finale, you know that Chuck and Dave, the current State AG, have dealt a huge blow to Mike Prince regarding his billions in crypto – billions of dollars for which he did not pay a dime as taxes. And at the end of the episode Chuck has promised to work undercover for Dave so they bring Mike Prince, who did things to Chuck that Bobby never did, DOWN together. We see, in the final season trailer, picketers with signs saying “Defend Chuck Rhoades” and “Champion of the Truth.” And it seems Chuck is returning to the State AG office with applause from his colleagues. Could it be that Prince helps him to re-take his seat as the State AG?
Damianista’s note (08/02/2023): As John Saccani, a Billions fan, reminds me, State AG position is an elected office so it is difficult for Chuck to go back there. But Mr. Saccani argues that, and I agree with him, the US flag pin that Chuck wears and that the office looks familiar, it may be that Chuck is returning to his former position as the US Attorney of the Southern District. But the same question applies: could it be that Prince helps him to re-take his seat as the US attorney of the Southern District?
Chuck is making the same speech that he made every time he had a new office that they would make the white collar criminals accountable at any cost. Is he talking about Prince? But we also see him meeting Mike Prince. So, is Chuck really working with Dave to bring down Prince or is he working with Prince to take Dave’s AG seat? Or is he pretending he is working with Prince to bring down Dave but he is actually working with Dave to bring down Prince? We hear Dave saying “you do have your eye on something” to Chuck in the trailer… could it be that he has his eye on her seat? 🙂
So, with his A-team asking for help from him, Bobby is BACK. And he is teasing someone:
“America… Land of the free… Opportunity. And self-determination. But you can’t escape your enemies, because I’m back now.. and I’m wide-awake.”
“This is it. What you’ve been waiting for.”
Is Bobby talking to Chuck who trapped him in cooperation with Prince and forced him to escape to Switzerland? And where are they speaking? Is Bobby back in the US and Chuck is the welcome committee or vice versa? If Chuck is determined to bring Prince down, then one man he would want on his side is definitely Bobby.
The shadow on the right in the screen shot is Chuck, isn’t it? 🙂
Obviously, there is no reason for Bobby to trust Chuck. But then he is probably dying to kick Prince’s ass from his CEO seat. After all, it was Chuck and Prince (and Taylor, too) who worked together to force Bobby escape to Switzerland. Here is what I wrote in my Season 5 Episode 11 Victory Smoke recap:
“As Chuck and Prince talk about Axe like he is the Satan himself, they should look at the mirror to see two men who threw their best friends under the bus to get what they want before and who are now ready to manipulate two daughters, two dads, and one ex-wife only to see Axe in jail. Claiming that they are doing this in the name of justice is BULLSHIT.”
But after what Prince did to Chuck, don’t you think he should be missing Axe? Because whatever Axe might have done to beat Chuck in his own game, he never tried to remove his foe from public office. Prince plotting behind the scenes with Indiana A&M president to manipulate and distract Chuck and literally buying 2/3 of the NY State Senate to have Chuck removed from his State AG seat hints that Prince can be as ruthless, if not more, as Axe when he is keen on destroying an enemy. And then he betrays Chuck once more and went on to buy Axe Cap from Axe. Prince is happy to see Axe go away, but he does not think he needs to go away in cuffs.
“While that may be part of Chuck’s Cheryl Tiegs fishnet fantasy, it’s not part of mine.”
Hmm… I don’t have particularly good eyes but do you think the tall guy we see from the back in the background in the screenshot below could be Bobby? Is he talking to reporters upon his arrival in New York? But why is Mike Prince there for God’s sake?
It looks like the final season will also bring back characters that we thought have already left the show. Andolov is there in the trailer. He’s a Russian oligarch. And Showtime ex-chief David Nevins had said earlier that Billions Season 7 will deal with Russian Oligarchs in London. For those of you that do not know about Russian money in London… Russian Money, a lot of dirty money to be precise, has been prevalent in London since the end of the Soviet Union because the Russian oligarchs wanted to invest their wealth in other countries. So here you go!
Damianista’s note (08/02/2023): Damian said in a recent interview that we find Bobby in London making money out of the Ukraine – Russia war! Well, I have always said where everyone sees disaster, Bobby Axelrod sees an opportunity – September 11, anyone? So Bobby Axelrod has not changed much since we saw him at the end of Season 5. Damian adds that Bobby is doing business with a character we will enjoy seeing again. If the business is about Russia, then Bobby should be doing business with Andolov, no? 🙂
Chuck visiting prison in the trailer raises a question: Bryan and Dr. Gilbert? I put my money on the latter and I have my reasons for it 🙂
And Chuck Senior, who has got a second chance in life after he received one of Danny Margolis’ kidneys, seems to be back to his naughty ways. I am dying to know what he has done to be in the company of wind breakers!
In closing, I have to confess that I never thought I would miss Bobby Axelrod this much. I said it before and I will say it again. Billions is my dream show.
While Billions has been my dream show, Bobby Axelrod has never been my dream character. I completely agree with what Damian shares with New York Times:
“When I’m walking down the street in New York, it’s: ‘Axe, you the man!’” He’s a really despicable human being, but no one seems to care.”
But I also understand the appeal of the character because Damian has given Bobby Axelrod great depth, a human quality and some incredible physicality which I have discussed here.
And more importantly, UNLIKE Chuck Rhoades and Mike Prince, who claims to be doing what he does in the name of justice and who claims to be a monster from Monsters, Inc. respectively; Axe has always been honest about who he is. He has never pretended to be a Robin Hood or a Mother Teresa. And while he destroyed quite a few lives and businesses, UNLIKE Chuck and Prince, who threw their loved ones under the bus to maximize their own benefits, Axe has never hurt anyone close to his heart. And, UNLIKE Chuck Rhoades and Mike Prince, Axe has not pretended he is taking his every step within the boundaries of law. In short, unlike Chuck Rhoades and Mike Prince, Bobby Axelrod is not a hypocrite. He is a deeply flawed man who has the ability to shine when he remembers he is a human being – vulnerable and mortal.
So I cannot wait to welcome Bobby Axelrod back to my screen one last time in August. Let the manipulative mind games begin and may our boy come out on top!