Best of Billions Season 7

Every good thing has an end. And while it is bittersweet to say goodbye to our  favorite show and characters on TV, to keep with that Billions state of mind, how about a fun visit to the best of Billions Season 7? Feel free to play along in the comments section. And for those just joining us, you can catch up on the rest by reading Best of Billions 1 , Best of Billions 2 , Best of Billions 3, Best of  Billions 4 and Best of Billions 5.

Best Episode

Damianista: As much as I loved the action in the series finale, I will go with Episode 11 Axe Global, a deeply cerebral episode, as my favorite of the season.

I would call Axe Global “the calm before the storm” in which Axe, Chuck and Wendy finally set up the game to take down Prince. The key to the episode is the three of them discussing Prince’s strengths and weaknesses in Chuck’s SDNY office and

“We’re facing an ambitious, competent, , confident, charismatic, socially conscious strategic thinker with high emotional intelligence and deep sources. But he’s morally complex, which means he likes to think he’s more ethical than those around him. And he’s not immune from engaging in questionable tactics to achieve his goals. That is a slippery slope and once place he can be hit. And he believes his own infallibility above all else.”

Prince is a very difficult target thanks to his strengths Wendy lists in her assessment of him. However, his intense belief in his own infallibility, which Axe himself had before his own fall, is his Achilles heel. Thanks to Wendy’s laser sharp diagnosis, Axe and Chuck collectively take very calculated actions to make Prince’s God Complex peak by the end of the episode so that he cannot see what is coming his way. Genius!

GingersnapFor me, the best episode was the series finale Admirals Fund, what I like to call Operation Restoration. The Billions writers and show runners seemingly hit the reset button and took us back to the good ole days, back to where it all began and complete with Easter eggs for us die-hard fans!

Some full circle moments include:

  • Axe is back at his hedge fund with all his Axe Cappers, sans Wendy and Taylor
  • Axe wears a Metallica 1981 t-shirt in the finale, similar to the Metallica Master of Puppets t-shirt he wore in season 1, episode 2 ‘Naming Rights’
  • Axe stood on a desk to mobilize his troops in the finale just like he did in season 1, episode 6 ‘The Deal’
  • Axe said “Worth it!” in the finale just like he did in season 1, episode 7 ‘The Punch’
  • Axe helps mastermind Prince’s Camp David off-the-grid trip in order to destroy MPC, just like he did to Rebecca Cantu in season 4, episode 12 ‘Extreme Sandbox’ when he destroyed her Saler’s business
  • Axe’s chef, Chef Ryan, is back and making cardamom buns for everyone
  • The song Homecoming by Josh Ritter was part of the finale soundtrack just like it was in season 2, episode 12 ‘Ball in Hand’
  • Chuck and Kate are back at SDNY
  • Bryan Connerty is able to practice law again, should he choose to do so
  • Taylor Mason Capital is now The Taylor Mason Foundation with a familiar TM logo
  • Wendy and Chuck walked away together in the finale and had dinner with their children, which had all the feels of a possible reconciliation
  • Wags yelled “COFFEE!” in the finale just like he did in season 2, episode 5 ‘Currency’
  • Wags summoned the troops with his 2 fingers in the finale just like he did in season 3, episode 8 ‘All the Wilburys’
  • The Admirals Fund seems similar to the Flagship Fund from season 4, episode 9 ‘American Champion,’ which was for Axe Capital elite employees, the best of the best. “First rule of Flagship is you don’t talk about Flagship.” – Dollar Bill to Bonnie
  • Neil Burger directed the pilot just like he directed the series finale

Lady Trader: I’m going to give this to episode 12, “Admirals Fund”. It was everything you want not only in a series finale, but in a Billions episode.  The callbacks to earlier seasons, the twists and turns, Axe in a Metallica shirt, all this and more just made this exit so satisfying.

The Tail That Wags the Dog:

I have to go with episode 10, Enemies List. The dramatic turn at the end when Axe confronts Prince at Lincoln Center left me salivating for those last two episodes. And while those last two delivered in spades, and could easily have been deemed the best, as my colleagues did, the table was set for them by the three-dimensional chess that played out in episode 10.

Best Scene

DamianistaI do not think that any other scene can beat the jaw dropper in Episode 10 Enemies List where Axe, donned in his Slayer t-shirt, is playing ‘Angel of Death’ to an utterly shocked Prince’s presidential campaign at Lincoln Center!

“Any idea where I can scalp a pair of tickets to this thing?”

Axe is looking for a pair of tickets since he has Derek, who is very eager to talk about his relationship with Andy to the likes of Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow, as his plus one 😀 Goosebumps!

Gingersnap: The best scene was from the series finale episode Admirals Fund between Chuck Rhoades (Giamatti) and his father Charles Sr. (DeMunn). It is not lost on me that the scene could be a nod/final send off – a hug to and from the beyond, so to speak – from Brian Koppelman (showrunner/writer) to his father Charles Koppelman whom he lost in November, 2022. In his quavering voice Charles Rhoades, Sr. tells his son Chuck Rhoades, Jr., “You did great. You marshaled all resources. You partnered with a man you’d tangled with for over a decade…that’s the kind of thing that gives me comfort for after I’m gone. The point is, I now know that you’ll be fine. You’ve learned all the lessons that I had to teach and then some.” Ugh. Insert tears and gut punch here.

To draw some comparisons, the character Charles Rhoades Sr. is an old school, blue-blood businessman who lives on the wealthiest stretch of Fifth Avenue in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Senior is of the upper echelon, high-born conviction with a not-so-subtle Bob Barker mischievous grin. He is the epitome of the WASP elite that dominated much of politics, the economy and high culture back in the day. He went to Yale and was a Whiffenpoof, and is high on the social ladder. He’s a member of the Yale Club of New York and stores his cigars in humidors at Nat Sherman Tobacco Lounge.

Brian’s father Charles Koppelman was born in New York. He was a music executive, held business executive positions at EMI and Steve Madden, and was Chairman of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. He was the former Director of A&R at CBS Records where he signed musicians the likes of Billy Joel and the band Journey, as well as played an integral role in the reunion of singer Frank Sinatra with Capitol Records while at EMI. I’d imagine he had an astute perspective you’d expect from an Elder.

L to R: Charles Koppelman and Jeffrey DeMunn as Charles Rhoades, Sr.

Lady Trader: The best scene for me was in the first episode “Tower of London”. Just seeing Axe back was the best thing ever! And the symbolism of being at the Tower of London known for being “the start of a procession to Westminster Abbey for the coronation of a new monarch”, we knew the King was back in the building.

The Tail That Wags the Dog: Best scene for me was the baby shower that disgusted Wags so much.  Just kidding – it was the scene in episode 10 outside the Lincoln Center – although it should be my least favorite since I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE AN EXTRA IN THAT SCENE!!  But I’m not bitter – no, not me.

Best Line

Damianista: Who would have ever thought that Chuck would welcome Axe, the very man he forced to flee the country, back to the United States with the following words in Episode 10 Enemies List? Obviously Chuck himself wouldn’t

“Never thought I’d say it, never thought I’d think it, but thank God you’re here.”

Gingersnap: Ira from episode 6, The Man in the Olive Drab T-Shirt. When Chuck announced he would do a favor for Bobby Axelrod, Ira retorts with, “Those words just tumbled out of your mouth like a meth addict’s teeth. And just as fucked up.”

Runner-Up: Chuck, also from episode 6 The Man in the Olive Drab T-Shirt, who dubbed Charles Senior “The guardian of the product of [Bunky’s] vas deferens.” LMAO

Lady Trader: Axe is back where he belongs at the end of “Admirals Fund”, and what is the most important thing he wants his troops to do? “Let’s make some fucking money!” Preach!

The Tail That Wags the Dog: For me the best line was in episode 6 The Man in the Olive Drab T-Shirt. Bobby is talking with Grigor and Grigor is obviously playing it tough with Bobby. Bobby gives a classic line of us “What in my history makes you think I respond well to threats?” and Grigor gives this chilling response, “What in my history makes you think it is merely a threat?” Chilling. Bone-chilling – and perfect for Grigor.

Best Song

Damianista: Josh Ritter’s Homecoming accompanying Wendy leaving Axe Global and Axe taking his CEO desk is a great Easter Egg. The song also plays at the end of Season 2 Episode 12: Ball in Hand where Axe makes the bail after getting arrested at 9/11 Memorial and goes out on a dark cold night and returns home to a broken marriage.  And now as the song plays in the series finale, Axe returns to the only home that he has: Axe Global.

Gingersnap: The best song is London Calling by the Clash from episode 1 Tower of London. Not only is it one of my fave songs from the 80’s, but it’s a perfect welcome back for Bobby Axelrod, the first time we’re seeing him since season 5, and we see him in none other than Damian’s homeland of London at the Tower of London.

Runner-Up: Take the Money and Run by Steve Miller Band from series finale Admirals Fund.

Lady Trader: The Cult’s “She Sells Sanctuary” was a great way to start Episode 3 “Winston Dick Energy”. I know you all thought I was going to pick Slayer, but even though the song fit the scene, I personally find the song a bit offensive, so it’s never going to be on my best of anything list.

The Tail That Wags the Dog: As always there were an abundance of great songs this season, just as there are every season. For me the best song though comes in the last episode, Blind Faith’s Can’t Find My Way Home. I have always loved this song. I love Steve Winwood’s voice. When they hinted at the Blind Faith reference I knew they had to play this song and sure enough, they did. I could’ve also gone with REM, but I more appreciate the choices from Life’s Rich Pageant in earlier seasons.

Best Minion

DamianistaScooter. The man is LOYAL. I really expected him to be a part of the revolution but, no, he was loyal to the bitter end. And I wish him best of luck with the baton!

GingersnapMy favorite sleaze ball Doc Swerdlow, in all his monogrammed tracksuit wearing glory. From post-mortem jizz retrieval and starter wives breaking the seal, to ball-peen hammer dick pills and naming off his preferred kink acts, nothing says creepy uncle vibes like the Doc. Here’s a montage:

Lady Trader: Every season it has been Wags, and that will never change. The most loyal man you will ever find! Viva Wagsy!

The Tail That Wags the Dog: I’m not sure how we’re defining “Minion” here, but if we’re going by a not-the-top-dog person, then it has to be Wags. He is and has always been the quintessential sargent-at-arms. Plus my moniker is named after him, how can I NOT vote for him??

Best Axe/Wendy Scene

Damianista: Axe and Wendy’s final hug in the series finale because that puts full stop to the Axe-Wendy romance which I have never been a fan of an restores their deep connection that I have always adored.

GingersnapEpisode 2 Original Sin when they embrace at his castle, Haddon Hall, after Axe’s two year hiatus. No words necessary.

Lady Trader: The look on Wendy’s face when she turns around and sees Axe for the first time in “Tower of London” spoke volumes, and conveyed the same sentiment we were all feeling!

Best Axe/Chuck Scene

DamianistaIn one of the best opening scenes in Billions, Robert and Charles, as they call each other, meet at an airport in Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands) in Iceland in Episode 6 The Man in the Olive Drab Tshirt.

The scene is all about respecting the adversary, as Grigor Andolov rightly points out, who knows about your abilities the most. But what I love the most about the scene is the niceties exchanged between Axe and Chuck which I missed so much. No “hello, how are you?” needeed.

Chuck: I always wanted to see Vestmannaeyjar in the dark.

Axe: Best way for a newly installed U.S. attorney not to be tracked.

Chuck: And for an international fugitive not to be extradited.

Axe: Something for everyone.

Gingersnap: Episode 12, series finale Admirals Fund when Robby and Carlos exchanged some niceties about working together in the battle they waged against Prince, reminisced about how each other had changed and said good-bye with a thank-you and handshake.

Lady Trader: After they have come together to vanquish a common enemy, Axe and Chuck share a genuine moment of mutual respect in “Admirals Fund”. But, Axe is gonna Axe and Chuck is gonna Chuck, so we know this is short lived, but nice to see.

Best Wendy/Chuck Scene

Damianista: Chuck and Wendy sitting at the DMV office together as Kevin takes his second road test in Episode 7 DMV. They are not the US attorney Chuck Rhoades and MPC performance coach and head of HR Wendy Rhoades. They are Kevin’s parents.

I know that many fans entertained the idea of a romantic relationship between Axe and Wendy but I have always believed in Chuck and Wendy as a true couple. They had the best partnership in the show. And their exchange here at the DMV office attests to WHY I have been holding out for these two to get back together…

Wendy reveals that she knows Ruloff’s technology being classified is Chuck’s doing. Chuck’s defense is that he hurt the professor but is now keeping Prince at bay! And, he adds, this could have gone a lot of different ways once Wendy connected Chuck with Philip.

Chuck: “But then you knew that.”

Wendy: “Yep. I suppose I did.”

These two have perfect communication that I find very reassuring and adorable. They belong together.

Gingersnap: The final scene of episode 12, series finale Admirals Fund. Wendy, Chuck and their children enjoy a meal together, along with hibachi chef Bryan Connerty. Wendy and Chuck display genuine smiles towards one another and the writers leave it up to us fans to decide their final act.

Lady Trader: In “Admirals Fund” Chuck is waiting for Wendy outside of Axe Global. She tells him the only way her relationship with either Axe or Chuck will work is if she finds her own way, and Chuck knows that is true. Chuck willing to give Wendy space to to grow, and Wendy knowing that is the best thing for her shows the growth in their relationship.

The Tail That Wags the Dog:

I’m with Lady Trader on this one. When Wendy walks out of the building and looks to her left to smile, you’re hoping it is Chuch that’s there, and sure enough it is.  I’m glad they mended their relationship there – that above all the others was the one I wanted repaired.

Best Friend

DamianistaIra. He has always stood with his bestie who did not shy away from throwing him under the bus to get what he wants. Moreover, he took a risk and actively participated in the revolution against Prince.

GingersnapIra. He has always been there for Chuck, despite Chuck screwing him over in the past and Ira was an integral part of assisting Chuck this entire final season.

Lady Trader: Scooter never joined the rebellion, never once questioned Prince, and was happy to put aside his own personal aspiration of conducting the New York Philharmonic. That is some true loyalty right there.

The Tail That Wags the Dog: Has to be Scooter – what he put up with in Mike’s ego, and as good as he was in carrying out his tasks. Even at the end, when he realized he had gone too far with his blind loyalty, he still showed deference and decency. I hope he does take Wags up on that offer.

Best Single to Catch

DamianistaBryan, assuming that he is single! Bryan is one of the few in the show that is not obsessed with power. Moreover, he is good-looking, he has his law license back and he has the skills and moves in the kitchen! So he’s mine!

GingersnapAxe. Where do I sign up? 🙂

Lady Trader: You would think Axe would be my logical choice, but as much as I admire him, and share so much in common, I think we would really clash at times. So that being said, I would choose Taylor. The smart, logical thinker would certainly be one to have amazing conversations with.

The Tail That Wags the Dog: I’ll go with Kate Sacker – elegant, powerful, brilliant, beautiful and in the end she finds her moral compass again.

Dola Rashad as Kate Sacker in BILLIONS, Season 7. Photo Credit: Mark Seliger/SHOWTIME.

Most Appetizing Food

Damianista: Chef Kwame Onwuachi’s  “Afro-Caribbean-by-way-of-the-Bronx” plates at Tatiana in Episode 5 The Gulag Archipelago.

I am super impressed that Wendy’s name can secure a last minute dinner reservation at arguably the best restaurant in NYC these days!  Chef Kwame has named his  restaurant after his beloved older sister who took care of him when they were kids as their mother was a chef working in NYC.

The chef makes a cameo in the episode to start Wendy and Bradford off with a few things: Chopped cheese with black truffle, and curried goat patties with a few dipping sauces. YUM! I’ve been trying to make a reservation for months to no avail. And this makes those plates all the more appetizing for me!

GingersnapMeatballs from Rao’s where you can only get a table if you are a regular patron or a guest of a regular. Axe and Governor Nancy Dunlop shared a meal at this restaurant in episode 11 Axe Global and it looked nom nom…so did the meatballs 😉

Lady Trader: That steak that Chuck had at Peter Luger’s in Episode 2 “Original Sin” was amazing! So rare it could have walked to the table! YUM!

Best Twist

Damianista: What Chuck does to make Wendy, Wags and Taylor trust him with taking down Prince in Episode 9 Game Theory Optimal makes him the wonderful wizard of Billions.

Chuck may not have a wand but he has his brain cells. He plays his game theory optimal and with his probably very long confession video – I mean he started violating the law as a line prosecutor –  Chuck turns bubonic plague rat shit into gold and joins the alliance!

Gingersnap Best twist is that the writers/showrunners had Axe in three heavy metal concert t-shirts when they typically only have him in one per season. Great series send off even though I didn’t get my Iron Maiden!

For season 7 Axe wore the following:

Episode 10 Enemies List – Slayer, Album: Reign in Blood
Episode 11 Axe Global – Guns N’ Roses, Album: Greatest Hits (classic bullet logo)
Episode 12 Admiral’s Fund – Metallica: the band’s general 1981 tee. Axe brought it back full circle to season one when he wore his Metallica Master of Puppets t-shirt.

Lady Trader: Governor Dunlop joining Prince’s ticket just so that Axe & the gang could get him to Camp David and off the grid was tremendous! Prince never saw it coming!

Best Character Development

DamianistaMike Prince. When we first meet him in Season 5, Prince looks like a billionaire who wants to do good. As Bobby Axelrod declares himself a monster, Prince responds with a laugh that he himself could only be a monster from Monster, Inc. But then we learn slowly but surely that this is Prince’s public face.

Prince is lying to himself since he has a firm belief in his moral superiority while he is as big a monster as Axe is. Prince is a believer in Great Man Theory, that he is one. And it is ultimately his God Complex that helps the rebels to take him down.

Gingersnap: Scooter Dunbar, Prince’s loyal confidant. Not unlike Rian, Scooter has gained self-awareness and wants off the ride. He called Prince “hubris and self-aggrandizement run amok” and admitted, “I failed to help you steer and this is where we landed: broke and broken.” The Maestro-in-waiting has found his self-worth and will embark on his own solo mission with his own baton. As he bids Wags adieu, he tells him how they’ve changed each other for the better.

Lady Trader: Bobby AxelrodThe Axe we meet in Season 1 is very different from the Axe we see at the end of “Admirals Fund”. Can you even imagine the Axe of old letting both Wendy and Taylor leave Axe Global? We have seen Axe stalk Wendy when she left in Season 2, and he tried to decimate Taylor when they left in Season 3. Axe is a better friend to both now, letting them go in order to succeed on their own.  Axe does the selfless thing by not trying to browbeat then into staying. If you recall, this was the man who let Donnie die sooner rather than later because it was more beneficial for him!

He is also much more gracious. Even though Bill and Victor didn’t join him at Axe Global, he still made sure the plan to take down Prince would not hurt “his people” and made sure they became very wealthy men by being in the Admirals Fund. We all remember what he did to Rebecca when he thought she was working with his enemy. Oh, and he did leave Prince with $100M. The old Axe would have taken every last penny like he was Scrooge McDuck!

Best Snarky Moment

DamianistaWhen Prince asserts in Episode 11 Axe Global that Axe has failed in nearly everything he’s tried to hurt him…

Prince: “Sadly, your move to hire back your people out from under me failed like nearly everything you’ve tried lately.”

Axe: “Not everything, Mike.”

We find out that Andy has packed her things and left for Colorado to be with Derek. And guess what… Derek sent a picture to Axe

Damian’s dead pan delivery is everything. Can it get snarkier than this?

GingersnapFrom episode 2 Original Sin when Andy pulls her best Samantha Jones’ Playbook move on Prince.

Their unconventional and open marriage arrangement is a concern for Prince’s campaign manager/political consultant Bradford Luke, who asks each of them to make a list of their sexual partners for the past five years. The look on their faces trying to remember is straight out of Sex and the City! They may as well just started counting on their fingers and toes like preschoolers. LOL But the icing on the cake is that it took Andy longer to make her list than Prince. Daggers are better than bone saws, Prince!

Lady Trader: We may never know what exactly Derek whispered into Mike Prince’s ear in “Enemies List” but it was certainly enough to stop Prince from destroying Wendy. The snarkiest moment and we never even heard the words!

Funniest Moment

Damianista: Chuck Senior has the best lines. And he makes me laugh hard when he scolds Chuck about not using the proper table etiquette at HIS table in Episode 6 The Man in the Olive Drab Tshirt! Look at the pic below. Chuck is using the fork with his right hand which is no-no for Senior

“Continental style in this house, left hand, tines downward. This look like Ruby fucking Tuesday to you!?!?”

I am still laughing!!!

Gingersnap: When Spyros slaughters Van Halen’s I’ll Wait song in episode 5 The Gulag Archipelago. After that mock drumming, air guitar playing and cringeworthy voice, I’m definitely not captured under his spell. But I do give Stephen Kunken kudos for imitating the motion of sliding down the neck of the guitar like Eddie.

Lady Trader: It’s so nice to see that Axe has such lovely manners and offers his guest a hot beverage:

“Mike. You should have told me you were coming so I could’ve had a strong, fresh-brewed cup of get the fuck out waiting for you.”

Best Reference

DamianistaI have to go with Philip referencing to the most expensive movie made at the time of its release in 1995: Waterworld. Not because it is a great movie, it is not, but because it brings back sweet memories!

Waterworld is the first movie my then boyfriend now husband Lewisto saw at a movie theatre in the U.S. back in 1995. I still lived in Turkey at the time and I vividly remember our IRC chat where I asked him all about the movie! Because, as long-time readers of this blog know well that there was Kevin Costner way before Damian Lewis! And Lewisto calls him “your ex” to this day. Haha. 

I have to note that this is, I believe, the fifth reference to a Kevin Costner movie (the previous ones being Dances with WolvesField of DreamsTin Cup and The Untouchables multiple times).

Gingersnap Deliverance movie reference from episode 10 Enemies List. Victor surmises The Terrible Trio – Prince, Scooter and Kate – have screwed over Wags and sent him up the Cahulawassee River without a paddle regarding his new demotion (aka fucked him in the ass). Victor says to Wags, “They put a belt around your neck and told you to squeal like a pig for them, didn’t they?” Wags retorts, “I’ve got a real pretty mouth.”


Lady Trader: I will admit that the references I am getting in each episode are few and far between, but the Frank Sinatra/Jilly Rizzo one in Episode 5, “The Gulag Archipelago”  I definitely got! My knowledge and appreciation of the Rat Pack is mostly due to the hysterical Dean Martin Roasts, and Don Rickles’ roast of The Chairman jokes about how Jilly is Frank’s “muscle”.

Best Dressed

DamianistaIt is almost a draw between Kate and Wendy but I give the edge to Kate because Wendy wears only black and I love  color. Kate’s orange coat, her gray dress, her burgundy satin blouse and her zip front midi black dress are only a few pieces that immediately come  to my mind as perfect wardrobe. It is a shame she will not be able to wear them at her new job because it is probably not right to wear a $1395 Giorgio Armani dress or at a public office 🙂

Gingersnap: Wendy, but Kate is a close second. Wendy sets the battle tone of the entire season in just the opening scene of the first episode Tower of London as she walks to work on the streets of New York in a bruised-up garb of black and blue to the fitting anthem Because I’m Awesome by the Dollyrots. In other episodes she can be seen wearing silk shirts by Elie Tahari and drenched in Cartier jewelry. You can read about her Cartier pieces here.

Lower Right: Embroidered silk shirt by Elie Tahari

Lady Trader: Kate Sacker was basically on a catwalk every episode. She certainly upped her game in the fashion department once she became a MPC employee (money will do that). Sad to say she is going to have to make some more “sedate clothing choices” now that she is back at SDNY!

Best Prop

DamianistaThe memory stick with Chuck’s confessions on it. Can you imagine watching it in its entirety? 😀 I wish Billions writers had released it separately!

GingersnapJock Jeffcoat’s cowboy boots from episode 2 Original Sin.

I gave Jock the Mary Katherine Gallagher Award (all you SNL fans out there know what I’m referring to) for smelling his new leather cowboy boots like she smells her armpits!

Lady Trader: The Tower of London to make sure we all knew who the real King was and that he was coming back for his coronation!

Tower of London at night, UK

Best Wags Words of Wisdom

Damianista: Wags’ description in Episode 10 Enemies List of the person the alliance needs for their operation against Prince to be successful would make the perfect job ad!

“Need the instincts of a truffle hound mixed with a Daniel Negreanu-like ability to think 9 moves ahead, mixed with the cold and steady hand of a sniper a la Barry Pepper in (Saving Private) Ryan. The full package.”

It is perfect because there is only one person that fits the description!

Gingersnap: After Wags scared the cockroach Winston out of hiding in episode 3 Winston Dick Energy, he bogarted Winston’s investment dog and pony show by putting on a recreation of the 1940’s (radio) / 1950’s (television) game show This is Your Life where guests are surprised with a presentation of their past life, full of jubilant music and embarrassing moments. Those of you who read my posts on this blog know that I’m a huge game show junkie, especially the oldies.

“You were born in 1989 in Ardsley, New York, to parents Freddie and Carlene. Excelled in school. Then to MIT, where you had your first and only girlfriend. But she dumped you. I wonder why that was? Perhaps your internet search history has the answers. Also while in Beantown, you hacked the College Board to change the SAT scores of Boston Latin students. You’re so good, Winston. Do you know that? So singular in your talent that your coding signature is unique. Immediately identifiable. That’s right! And we found that it’s been used to hack several Government agencies. This includes a NATO breach in which a gigabyte of classified information was stolen and posted online to prove NATO’s vulnerabilities. Heroic in some lights, but fucking illegal in all others. That attack was attributed to the group which you, Winston, have been a part of for at least a decade. Kid, I know how it feels to have your purpose sucked out from beneath you. But let us point to the road back. Oh, and we’ve renamed it (algorithm software). Trojan Defense. Winston Dick Energy (WDE) is a name only a man with a very, very small energy source would choose.”

Winston’s browser search history:

Browser search history is a bitch. Why does Winston care where former Subway-sandwiches-spokesperson-turned-child-pornographer is now? Gross!

Best New Character

Damianista: Governor Nancy Dunlop

The badass Montana governor makes the greatest entrance in Episode 8 The Owl with the following words to the old, rich, white men who are regulars at the very bizarre, men running naked in the woods kind of gathering:

“Hey boys! Are you cold? Some of you seem cold. I saw a few of you answering the call in the trees back there. They were definitely cold.”

Dunlop is smart, confident, and direct. She may be a bit too centrist for my taste, but at least she does not see nuclear war as an option! I wish her good luck on her trip to the White House 😀

GingersnapDr. Eleanor Mayer, first seen in episode 3 Winston Dick Energy. What a rich character. Small but mighty! It’s that very allure why you don’t see her coming.

Wendy accuses her of rustling up her cattle (patients), but Dr. Mayer counters they weren’t noticeably branded until she dug deeper and found their burns. Ouch! She goes on to school Wendy stating their shared patients’ compulsive behavior is disguised as purpose by Wendy and her performance-based modality keeps them imprisoned on the hamster wheel. Yikes! And the Billions writers keep on giving when Dr. Mayer pronounces, “So, you’re either an errand girl or Christ-like in your desire to serve the wastrels – feeling their pain, making it your own. You salve them and ready them again to put their souls in peril.” Wow! Nail Wendy to the proverbial cross, why don’t ya! Woooo chile, Wendy met her match. Checkmate.

The Tail That Wags the Dog: Bradford. A total opportunist and completely full of himself, but he was just what Prince needed for his campaign, and he also commanded any scene he was in. I didn’t like what his character stood for, but I respect the strength of the character and certainly the actor who portrayed him.

Best Chemistry

Damianista: I voted for Axe and Wags for 5 straight seasons but this tim I go with Chuck and Ira.

These two, despite everything that happened between them over the years, have such a real friendship and they are so adorable sharing the leftovers from Dave’s peace offering sweet potato pie in Episode 5 The Gulag Archipelago.

I think the things Ira says about Chuck, that he could always see the big picture and has done the right thing, is about the Chuck we have never known, the Chuck we have never met, but who Chuck was before we met him in Billions. After all, Ira has known him way longer than we have!

GingersnapAxe and Wags. Always have, always will. Modern day Shaggy and Scooby. Obviously Wags is the dog Scoob.

Lady Trader: I truly enjoyed the friendship that developed between Taylor and Wendy. They have come a long way from when Wendy used session knowledge to damage Taylor. Wendy telling Taylor she was proud of them was a touching scene.

The Tail That Wags the Dog: Wendy and Wags: These are two actors who were at the top of their craft this season. When Wags is getting grilled by Prince for almost sabotaging the presidential campaign by doing an end around with the hurricane victims, the communication between those two done with their eyes was absolute acting brilliance. And the scenes they had this year (usually over a meal) showed such a great connection between the two key characters. Obviously they were missing their Axe, but they found solace and comfort in each other.

Best and Worst Axe Moments

DamianistaThe best Axe moment is Axe calling Prince to welcome him to the rest of his life in series finale. Yikes!

The worst Axe moment is when Axe tells Wags, Wendy and Taylor in Episode 2 Original Sin that the best they could do is to support Prince’s presidential campaign because this is the only way they can get rid of him  – it is an Axe that has still not recovered from his loss two years ago.

Gingersnap: Best Axe moment is from Episode 10 Enemies List when he shows up at Prince’s campaign gala wearing his Slayer heavy metal t-shirt with Andy’s lover Derek as his plus+one, which is chef’s kiss and the only way to slay your opponent. Surprise, Axe isn’t hiding out in Switzerland or his London castle!

Axe announces, “Any idea where I can scalp a pair of tickets to this thing?”

Axe and Chuck worked a prison swap behind the scenes together. Apparently Kai Huang Liu’s plane to Taiwan was diverted to Macau near China where he was traded for Derek. Axe then grinds the salt in the wound by telling Prince, “You know, he got here so last minute, he hasn’t had a chance to catch up with Andy. Yet.” And Dereck is happy to tell Anderson Cooper or Rachel Maddow about his tryst with Prince’s wife Andy and all about their open marriage should Wendy become cannon fodder. Surprise, Prince!!!

Then Axe delivers Prince a cutthroat diatribe ending with a couple of doozy zingers, “It’ll be the end for you. Forget about Andy’s embarrassment. The entire country will think of you as a man who couldn’t satisfy his own wife. They won’t care about arrangements or you getting yours. They’ll just know that she was bivouacking with the Mountain Man instead of shacking up with you. And you have to know there is nobody in this country who’s gonna vote for President Cuck. You see, this is the problem with squaring away your enemies list. You wake up all your enemies in the process. Smelling salts in all our fucking faces.

And maybe the most reason this is an epic Axe moment for me is because of Damian’s acting ability with one look. When Derek starts describing Andy’s freckle on her ass and the way she exhales when she orgasms, the side eye is brilliant. A real testament to Damian’s stage acting in theatre.

The worst Axe moment is also from episode 10 Enemies List when Taylor had to wake him from his two year slumber to remind him that he’s a bad motherfucker. Literally the protégé had to counsel the mentor.

Taylor reminds Axe that even Icahn, Buffet and Ackman could strategize the needed moves, then Taylor brought it back full circle to season 2, episode 3 ‘Optimal Play‘ by re-quoting back to Axe his own advice, “A bad motherfucker once told me ‘Hate is nature’s most perfect energy source. Endlessly renewable.’ Lean into that feeling. Because what this is going to take is one hate-fueled bad motherfucker.”

Lady Trader: Axe had a ton of good moments, but one stood out for me. He liked, but never loved the plan to take down Prince, because it would also damage a lot of “his people”. Figuring out a way to not only protect their money, but increase it by putting the employee money in the Admirals Fund was genius! He had no “worst” moment, because this was Axe 2.0!

Best Cameo

DamianistaKareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of the greatest all-time basketball players, who won a record 6 MVP awards, shows up to help Chuck get back to his true nature in  Episode 3 Winston Dick Energy.

Abdul-Jabbar helps Chuck, who still has not recovered from the loss he had in Season 6, understand that losses may help him to be the player he wants to be.

GingersnapBryan Connerty in episode 5 The Gulag Archipelago, who I dubbed the Homecoming King. Turns out Kate Sacker accelerated Bryan’s release from prison to ensure he wouldn’t be a liability when she runs for Congress and he now works as a chef at the hibachi restaurant Shogun in Queens! Bryan does have culinary skills though. He made the infamous onion volcano, spun the egg and tossed it into the top of his chef’s hat after playing bouncy ball with it on his spatula, juggled the pepper mill behind his back and showed off his knife skills by chopping up that egg so fast and harsh like he was dicing Chuck into a million little pieces. Check out his chef’s skills here:

Lady Trader: We expect sports figures, chefs, and hedge fund titans to make cameos in Billions. But never did I think I would see  President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy! He certainly was not on my cameo Bingo Card!

Best of the Rest

Damianista: Wendy Rhoades.

No wonder show co-creator and co-executive producer Brian Koppelman calls Billions “Wendy’s hero’s journey.” Wendy has always been at the heart of the show connecting the two leading characters. And, in the final season, she is the character that holds it together. She is the one that initiates the revolt against Prince knowing that it could be very costly for her in the end.

And once they are done with Prince, Wendy takes her most balancing action and leaves Axe Global.

Wendy knows that she was the reason why Chuck started to chase Axe seven years ago. Now that both men are back to where they started, she does not want history to repeat itself. She wants  to keep her relationship with both Chuck and Axe. I do not think leaving the company she helped build and grow is a trivial decision for her. But witnessing Chuck’s “bloodhounds can’t stop blood hounding” moment in the rebels meeting may have facilitated it. And I believe it is much better for such a bright, strong and independent woman to follow her own path. Wendy Rhoades is my spirit animal.

Gingersnap: Charles Senior and all his Supreme Seniorisms.

In episode 3 Winston Dick Energy while trying to give Chuck a pep talk, Charles Sr. claims to have become, in Chuck Jr’s words, “groin cousins” with Ivana Trump! “I attended the opening of Bedminster Golf Club. Did you ever meet his first wife? That woman was an athlete! We made the beast right on the green of the second hole. Which is all very ironic considering where she now lies once again, rest in peace.”

In episode 6 The Man in the Olive Drab T-Shirt: Charles Senior is aghast at Chuck’s breakfast table manners and demands a certain etiquette, “Continental style in this house, left hand, tines downward. This look like Ruby fucking Tuesday to you!?!?”

In episode 7 DMV: “DMV stands for dumb motherfucking varmints.”

In episode 9 Game Theory Optimal: “I hear you’re going full section 8.” This is an old mental health disparaging term meaning bat-shit crazy. Then referring to Ira, “I figured he was just allowing his anxiety to get the better of him, as his people have a wont to do. At least his people [Ira] put their sins on the head of a goat and killed the damn goat. You’re right. I’m tense because I’m watching our boy fall apart. So I’m letting fly like I’m at the Club, not out in the world.”  Microagression anyone?

The cherry on top is when Senior discusses debauchery island with his son. “You’re wallowing in your guilt. Do you think I’ve never felt guilt, Junior? I’ve felt it rise up to the bottom of my throat, do a reach-around and tickle by epiglottis. But did I self-immolate? No. I discharged it with a weekend on Isla Santana in the West Indies.” So apparently this escape charges one huge fee that covers an open bar and unlimited meet-ups with international professional secret lovers. “Oh, I have emptied my pockets and my glands (ewww) in that blessed place. It is real. So real that I had to play some golf to get a break from all the discharging of guilt. Came back a new man.” And by “discharge” he means…you get the idea. This whole story gave me the Jeffrey Epstein Pedophile Island creeps!

Finally, Senior delivers one of the best lines of the episode. Chuck tells his father a trip like that will not exorcise the guilt to which a dead pan Senior states, “You should get tested for low T.” LOL

In episode 10 Enemies List: When referring to his absentee house staff, “He made me send home the domestics for privacy.”

When sitting in as an unappointed moderator at the ‘Take Down Prince’ assembly meeting, “The only object lesson that I see is that this D-team, this poor man’s McEnroe/Fleming, couldn’t take down a Christmas ornament.”

The pride Senior felt seeing his sonny-boy play good host by ordering food for the their conclave, “You think you’ve one-upped me, but I smile like Jim Nabors because it’s the only proof I need that I did one thing right in regards to your rearing.”

That Gomer Pyle smile!

Here is 7 minutes of Chuck Sr. being unhinged in the entire Billions series:

Lady Trader: 3 Metal Shirts This Season!! And the absolute best part? No Guns ‘N Roses song! Halleloo!

Author: Damianista

Academic, Traveler, Blogger, Runner, Theatre Lover, Wine Snob, Part-time New Yorker, and Walking Damian Lewis Encyclopedia :D Procrastinated about a fan's diary on Damian Lewis for a while and the rest is history!

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