May I just say I will miss Billions so much? Thanks to Paramount+ releasing the new episodes Fridays at midnight, I watched the show two times until 2am taking notes. Then I slept on it and wrote all day Friday taking a lot of pleasure in putting together what I see, what I read between the lines, and my favorite part, speculating about what could happen next in this crazy ride! And I thank all my readers from the bottom of my heart for reading my recaps and or your kind support and feedback.
I give standing ovation to all brilliant minds behind and in front of the camera for this brilliant season and a very satisfying series finale, one of the best I have ever seen, with a number of Easter Eggs for die-hard Billions fans! Special thanks go to series creators and executive producers Brian Koppelman and David Levien for giving me my dream show for seven years. It has been amazing to have interactions with the best ensemble cast ever over the years. Thank you Kelly Au Coin, Chris Carfizzi, David Costabile, Daniel K. Isaac, Stephen Kunken, Toby Leonard Moore for being so down to earth on social media.
Biggest thanks go to the one and only Damian Lewis for always being very kind and generous with me when I caught him on the set and, in particular, for returning to Billions to do his thing one last time despite the sadness he went through in his life. He is the best and I cannot wait to follow and support him in his film and music adventures to come!
While our favorite show is coming to an end, we still have so much to say about it. We will post our Best of Billions Season 7 in a week followed by an updated Season 7 dining guide as well as a music guide and a location guide for the final season. We may even sit down and choose our top ten episodes of the entire series. And we hope you stay with us!
WHAT DID I TELL YA?
It is not what we see but what we do not see that dictates the plot in Billions. And so the series finale fills us in about what we have not seen in the last couple of weeks!
The rebels have a meeting at the new Axe Global headquarters as Chef Ryan, who is back from his trip to Copenhagen (the world capital of dining these days, courtesy of Axe) serves them cardamom buns! Axe saying “Worth it!” to Ryan who thanks him for his trip is one of the Easter Eggs that brings a smile to the hard core Billions fans!
“So, Game Day.. huh?”
I called it!!! Kate is with the rebels and Wags shouting “Coffee!” for Kate who has just arrived at the meeting, is yet another Easter Egg!
We now go back to eight weeks ago: Kate invites Wags to a meeting after their elevator talk in Episode 6 The Man in the Olive Drab Tshirt. Wags arrives at his favorite burger place Joe Junior with a big appetite but loses it as soon as he sees Wendy there also waiting for Kate! And Taylor joining them in a few minutes means they have been busted. However, thanks to Wendy’s super human persuasive powers, Kate decides to put her country before her personal interests and joins them.
Now, even though I called it that Kate would be part of the rebellion, I thought she has been in it from the get go, particularly after finding out about Prince’s untaxed billions in crypto in Season 6 Finale! But it turns out that Kate has been genuinely fascinated with Prince’s power that would get her what she wanted and needed a serious wake up alarm to find her way back. And here she is for the game day!
Prince is on his way to Camp David and the only person that can make decisions at MPC at the moment, Philip, arrives at the rebels meeting!
Well, I called this one, too! Philip was not a big fan of Prince after what he did to Philip’s favorite professor. We now go back to four weeks ago: Philip starts missing meetings at the company after the Ruloff incident in Episode 7 DMV.Wendy meets him at Corner Bistro and finds out that Philip does not want to see Prince “rising off the rubble of Marc Ruloff” but does not know what to do.
It is Philip’s lucky day because Wendy knows exactly what they need to do. And, lo and behold, Philip is in! Wendy just makes sure that the two of them have a meeting in Wendy’s office in which Philip openly says he would not participate in whatever Wendy, Taylor and Wags are plotting against Prince and so Prince keeps him close.
Remember Season 4 Episode 12 Extreme Sandbox where Axe sends Rebecca on a retreat with Wendy and destroys her business while she is off the grid? And now the rebels are doing the exact same thing with Prince.
As they are waiting for the game time, the rebels do not leave anything to chance. Hall, who is in disguise as a road worker lets Axe know that Prince is arriving at Camp David in 9 minutes. Prince will be off the grid for an hour and a half to two hours making this time frame available for the rebels to finish the job. And they get to it as soon as Prince, Scooter and Bradford hand in their cell phones at Camp David for security reasons.
Chuck’s task is to “stop the leaks” or, in other words, to make leaks all over! He gathers the entire SDNY staff to announce that they have a “source” who has shared information that six major natural gas companies are rumored to be in collusion with Russia, China and Iran. Since this concerns the country’s entire energy infrastructure, the SDNY has to prioritize this investigation and that everybody should keep mum about it. In fact, Chuck knows how loose-mouthed his colleagues are and that they will leak the rumors to the press in no time which would make people sell all the natural gas stocks they have and the price will hit rock-bottom!
Philip has all MPC funds concentrated on the energy sector. But now he needs to deal with Spyros who gets suspicious not only over the concentration in the energy sector bout also over a long dormant account that out of blue has a lot of cash in it. While Philip explains that Mike and Scooter have mentioned some reserve that the algo dictates to be held for optimum timing. While Spyros is not convinced, Philip just ignores him.
The press starts whacking the energy sector with stories about collusion in the natural gas sector in no time! While Axe, Taylor, Mafee and Wendy have fun seeing the stocks going down, Dollar Bill is sitting at his Bloomberg at MPC desperate to turn the Bloomberg upside down because it is the only way to make positions head in the right direction!
As MPC is taking major hits, Philip says that their “the infant car seat of algos” will protect them. As they discuss whether the Exchanges would halt these stocks, we see Spyros leaving the premises quietly.
As Prince has his meeting with the President at Camp David, Kate meets her original mentor at the SDNY. Kate has sacrificed her political future, at least for now, by joining the rebels and destroying the very firm she has been the main legal counsel for. But Chuck is waiting at the SDNY with open arms to reward her with high profile cases that she can use as a springboard later to jump into the Congress. She tell Chuck to pencil her in.
And the two of them, finding their way back to who they were when they first met, make Bryan’s dream come true and have his law license reinstated. I remember that Orrin Bach is Bryan’s professor from law school and, who knows, his law firm may have a spot for him!
Prince’s state of total bliss from his meeting with the president is interrupted by a phone call which he finds very funny…
…until he does not!
The dream turns into a nightmare in an instant. The company portfolio is wiped out. Mike Prince is locked out of his company account. They are at Camp David in Maryland and have to fly back to NY in no time so Scooter can run to the SEC to have the stocks halted…
…but Chuck has already seen this coming and already has Attorney General Mahar with the SEC chair having a meeting with the heads of the Exchanges to make sure no trades are being halted or reversed.
When Prince gets into the office yelling at Peach to find Wendy fucking Rhoades for him, he realizes that she is actually here. And he grabs a printer and throws it through Wendy’s glass walls!
Prince: “What’s so fucking wrong with me that you’re sure I shouldn’t be president?”
Wendy: “Why don’t we start with how you act when things don’t go your fucking way? Now multiply that by a factor of your finger on the trigger.
Prince realizes they have audience…
…and as he is ready to tell everyone to get the fuck out of his office, there is yet another surprise: Governor Dunlop is here to quit Prince’s campaign and revive her own! Well, I called this one, too and I will brag about it. This is what I wrote in my recap of Episode 11 Axe Global:
“As both Axe ad Chuck assert that Governor Dunlop will reaffirm her candidacy tonight… surprise, surprise! Dunlop shows up at the peace talks and announces her support for Prince and that she would share the presidential ticket with him! Axe gets sarcastic with Dunlop that at least she got a decent price
And THIS IS IT, ladies and gentlemen! This is the plan! I bet this is how Axe and Chuck have laid out the plan for Dunlop. They may be looking disappointed at the table and watching the TV broadcast of Prince – Dunlop ticket quietly, but they should be smiling big inside.
Prince’s belief in his infallibility is his Achilles heel. He does not stop and think for a second that Dunlop accepting his offer to be on the ticket with him could be part of the plan Axe and Chuck have put together. Because in Prince, Prince trusts. I believe that Axe and Chuck have asked Dunlop to meet Prince late last night and accept his VP offer so that Prince feels infallible than ever. And Axe calling him “another run-of-the-mill usurper scrapping for turf in this room” just before Dunlop shows up is very calculated to make feel Prince even greater than the very great man he believes that he is.”
VOILA! Axe knew that having Dunlop on the ticket as his VP candidate along with her nationwide organization and supporters would guarantee Mike an invitation from the president to Camp David. And the rebels needed that meeting to have a time window in which Prince would be off the grid. Genius!
And guess what, Bradford now gets a job offer from Dunlop because he comes highly recommended by Wendy which Bradford seems to be surprised about! I admit I was wrong about Bradford. I honestly thought he would join the rebels once he realized that he could not be the filter/protector/buffer to Prince once he is in the White House but he did not. It is maybe because he is a campaign manager and used to working with megalomaniacs plus he may still be too young to see the big picture. But now that he jumps ship he is not offended that Prince calls him a rat and admits it is hard to breathe where Prince’s campaign is: underwater!
Scooter enters with more bad news. The exchanges will not be halting any trading and the SEC won’t let them reverse the trades. Where Mike Prince rightly sees blatant sabotage and market manipulation, they, the chair of the SEC and the State AG Mahar see a federal investigation into collusion in the energy sector and believe it is their job to protect the counter parties.
“Goddamn (where is the G-D damn now, Mike?) fix is in across the board.”
Where is the G-D damn now, Mike? 🙂
Now that his God Complex is taking a quick break, Prince starts to get it. He questions Philip about firm’s capital being concentrated in the six natural gas stocks that all happened to be under investigation for an international scandal and that they are ultimately wiped out?
The situation turns out to be worse than wiped out. They have negative equity. Remember that Prince had Winston change the algorithm parameters in Episode 11: Axe Global to reduce profit temporarily as an objective to protect the downside. And Philip has never disobeyed. There must have been a glitch that lowered the company below their capital reserves prompting margin calls – which is a request for funds from a broker when money must be added to a margin account to meet minimum capital requirements – but the fund was not able to make it since Prince asked them not to pledge to private equity. In short, the rebels set the game up within Prince’s investment plans and parameters.
Prince then turns to Kate who he now knows has ratted Wendy, Wags and Taylor out so that Prince would trust her and Philip. He promises disbarment while Kate tells him that she told him fire them all while Prince thought it would not look good for his campaign! There you go!
And Taylor… they made sure the company lost a big piece of business in Episode 5: The Gulag Archipelago so the authority for huge trades would first go to Wags and then to Philip whom Prince trusts. But Taylor is spot on that they were not able to do that helium deal in the first place because Prince had handed in his phone at a private event with Killer Mike and Taylor or Philip did not have the authority to do a deal at that scale without Prince’s sign off. And it was Prince himself who made the consequent decisions about who would have sign off privileges.
And Axe is sorry to interrupt these fun exchanges but it is time for his favorite TV show – Damian’s comedic timing is perfect! And here is the US Attorney of the SDNY announcing that the rumors about the natural gas companies are just rumors.and they are closing their investigation. The energy stocks are now rising, they are becoming HOD (high of the day) but the MPC low risk algorithm sold them all according to the parameters Prince asked to be set!
And the “source” behind the rumors?!?! Well, he is sitting at his home watching the market movements closely. I agree with Chuck that Chuck Senior should better cover his tracks because Amanda Torre is after the ruthless who started the rumors! Besides, Senior is proud of his son who was able to set aside the fight he had with Axe for almost a decade to fight a bigger threat. And it feels good to hear that Chuck, who used to think that the heaviest letters in the alphabet were “J.R”, now finds them just right.
Prince finds his way to see the one man whom he still trusts. I admit I was wrong about Scooter. I think I have read too much into the “Murder on the Orient Express” reference that Wendy made to Wags in Episode 4 Hurricane Rosie. In the book, 12 people, all related to the victim, a vicious man who hurt so many people in the past, collectively commit the murder. And one of the murderers is the victim’s right-hand man. That is why I firmly believed that Scooter would join the rebels, but he did not. He was loyal to the end but now he wants to go find his own way. And when Prince insists that their mission was righteous and they just hit a snag, Scooter has a few words to say:
“I can’t say I committed blindly to it but I was blinded along the way by my sense of fealty. Loyalty to you.”
So he knew there was nothing righteous about the mission. He was just loyal.
While Prince says that he will bring criminal charges against the lot of them, it looks like a long shot. Prince has made the decision to give sign off privileges first to Wags, and then to Philip. Prince has made the decision to have the algorithm parameters changed so that the company ended up with negative equity. Prince has refused to fire Wags, Wendy and Taylor when Kate advised him to do so, because it would look bad for his campaign. It is simply brilliant that the rebels have got Prince at his own game!
And here is the dozen I believe that have actively participated in taking down Prince!
As Prince takes his leave, Axe asks his employees why he is seeing a lot of long faces around. Aren’t his former employees happy to see that Axe is back? Well, they would be, Dollar Bill says, if all their money did not get wiped out along with MPC funds!
But did it?
We go back to a rebel meeting three days ago: Axe who already said in Episode 11 Axe Global that he liked Chuck’s plan but did not love it, sort of rebels against Chuck now. He feels like the whole plan is Chuck’s guitar solo and he would want to introduce his own overdub 🙂 I believe this music exchange, coupled with Wags’ compliment, refers to thee supergroup Blind Faith but I would also take it as an Easter Egg about Damian playing the guitar with his fabulous band for over a year now! I have been to a number of gigs, and here is a video of him with a cover of J.J. Cale’s After Midnight which Eric Clapton made famous!
So Wags explains The Admiral’s Fund that aptly titles thee series finale: a little side pocket within the structure of the company for the “admirals” to enjoy the spoils of the best ideas: Remember Spyros mentioning a lot of cash in a long dormant account earlier? That is it!
So the plan is to siphon the employee money into the Admirals Fund and buy the natural gas stocks when the price hits the bottom. I believe this is the algo that Taylor works on when Axe enters their office and tells “the kid” to work with him going forward. Thanks to Axe guesting on a two-guitar band, everybody is now 3X and rising. No wonder Axe calls this one his “Magnum Opus.”
And they spare two lucky souls. One is Spyros who goes all the way to Camp David to alert Prince but does not receive a warm welcome from the Marine Guards! Wags, who thinks he is becoming soft in his old age, kept Spyros’ money in Admirals Fund. And Philip did not leave his uncle out, either. So Scooter is back to being a rich man but he is determined to go on his own path and grab the baton, his own, and not that of Leonard Bernstein’s.
And with this announcement, Axe jumps on the desk, exactly like he did in Season 1 Episode 6 The Deal after Dollar Bill’s arrest to mobilize the war machine, reminding us the badass boss that he has been all these years.
Axe assumes the lease of the office space and declares that this will be the new HQ for Axe Global. And now that he has freed all the hostages, he hires them all back to kill for him “in an epic quest for fucking alpha.”
So we come full circle. Axe and Chuck get back to where they began seven years ago, in Wendy’s words, as they sniffed each other and did not like the smell…
And while they have partnered to take down Prince, they know that this is a one-album supergroup like Blind Faith with Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood.
Robby and Carlos are now going back to what they are doing best as men who are wiser than they were seven seasons ago! As Chuck tells Axe that he’d better manage the company right, Axe gives Chuck back the memory stick with Chuck’s confession video on it in the spirit of their partnership. Chuck owes him one and all the world is right again 🙂
With the Admirals Fund play, Taylor has probably exceeded their $1B target so they are determined to leave the world of finance to go into philanthropy. So putting aside his dream of “you and me, together again, kid” and, as a last act of charity, offers his protege the Axe Global HQ in the city. When Taylor arrives there they find “Taylor Mason Foundation” written over itAxe and Wendy has been the most intriguing relationship in Billions. I know that a lot of fans wanted them to get together as a couple, and they were close in Season 5. But I have always admired their deep friendship and written a 10-part series on their relationship – go figure!
I believe that a man and a woman can have a relationship based on care and trust without any sexy time. Understanding each other with words is a beautiful rarity. And that is what Axe and Wendy have.
So I am one of the satisfied viewers with this. Axe and Wendy are still the same people in the same city with a shared history and they will stay connected. But Wendy will follow her own path, manage Mental, the tele-health company, and help a lot of people. And she already has her replacement lined up for Axe Global: Dr. Mayer. I was wrong about her. I thought she was sharing information with Scooter. And I also thought Rian would use the fingerprints she collected from Prince somehow. Billions has made me such a cynical person! 😀
Josh Ritter’s “Homecoming” accompanying Wendy leaving and Axe taking his CEO desk is another great Easter Egg. The song also plays at the end of Season 2 Episode 12: Ball in Hand where the boss makes the bail and goes out on a dark cold night and goes home to a broken marriage. And now as the song plays in the series finale, Axe is back to the only home he knows: Axe Capital / Global.
As Axe is ready to re-decorate his office, his right-hand man is also itching to find his own path! Wags is considering to move to Miami once he helps Axe settle down, a lot of hedge-funds have been heading that way. Hmm… now that Billions will have Billions: Miami spinoff, will Uncle Wagsy be part of it? Intriguing!
And what does Axe ask his “intrepid souls” to do? One thing and one thing only: To make some fucking money!
While I am happy to report that the final season has granted almost all of my expectations, wishes, and fantasies, the scene that makes me the happiest is to see Wendy and Chuck say these words:
As they have a family dinner at the Hibachi complete with Bryan’s show their smiles are genuine. These two belong together.
I think I am also getting soft in my old age like Wags because I find myself tearing up towards the end of the episode, especially in the “epilogue” segment. But when you think about it, I have been deeply invested in these characters over the years. I launched this blog a week or two before they started filming the pilot episode in NYC. Damian found out about Fan Fun on Billions set as he was filming the well-known “FU Money” scene. I have written 71 episode reviews (I missed Episode 8 The Owl this season because I was following Damian and his band in the UK!), character analyses, dining guides, location guides and we’ve collectively chosen thee MVPs of Billions episodes. I also live-tweeted every single episode in the first five seasons. I even wrote a book for God’s sake 😀
I know every good thing has an end, but it still feels hard to say goodbye to my dream show coming true and giving me giggles and goosebumps for seven seasons. Thank you, Billions, for everything.