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Billions - Tie Goes to the Runner - Review

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The new season of Billions meets us right where the last season ended, in the fallout of the Ice Juice play. The oft-repetitive cat and mouse game came to a head at the end of season 2 with Bobby getting arrested and Chuck burning many personal bridges to ensure it. While it made for an impressive finale, the latest Rhoades/Axelrod showdown left audiences wondering: where can the show go next?

The season begins with the introduction of a new "Jock," the new Texan Attorney General played by Clancy Brown. He congratulates Chuck on getting Axe, but reminds him that Deke who will be getting the glory and the credit. He orders Chuck to steer clear of any more Wall Street cases as the new administration is friends with the business community, and reminds the audience that "there's a new sheriff in town." The president’s name is never spoken, but the implication is so thinly veiled the veil may as well be made of cellophane.

While Chuck and Wendy seem to be stronger than ever, whips and all, Bobby and Lara are separated and headed for divorce. Things are so bad between Lara and Bobby that she has enlisted Steven Birch (Jerry O’Connell) to manage her money. This shift will be an unfamiliar change for audiences as we see how each couple deals with their new relationship statuses. I’m excited to see the direction these relationships take throughout the season.

Taylor is now in charge at AxeCap now and while I felt as though they were an interesting addition to last season, I have a lack of interest in them leading the firm. I’m with Dollar Bill. Axe Capital without Axe just feels wrong. I’m all for expanding the world, but for one of our main players to be playing a new game in the shadows doesn’t quite have the same high stakes feel. I look forward to seeing how this storyline plays out and if he will be able to trade again any time soon.

Speaking of Axe’s predicament, he begged his way into an exclusive idea dinner with all the main players on Wall Street, something he never participated in before his legal troubles. With a Bill Ackman look-alike and real-life traders like Michael Adams Karsch, Marc Lasry, and Michael Platt, it’s the type of event that Axe used to make fun of. His participation smelled of desperation and felt out of character. However, sending Taylor in his place with the best idea of the night, did not and was a reminder that the Axe we know and love will not be going anywhere anytime soon. He’s still in the game.

Overall, this episode left me feeling underwhelmed. While the cat and more game did get tired over two seasons, this style of play makes the show feel forgettable and boring if I’m being quite honest. Here's to hoping the rest of the season is better than the first hour we got on Sunday.

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