Where ‘Billions’ Left Off on Showtime Ahead of the Season 5 Premiere

If you watched season 4 of Billions, you remember the unexpected direction the highly rated Showtime series took. During its fourth installment, we found former federal attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) and billionaire Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) joining forces for a change.

That shift had its pluses and minuses. On the one hand, we got to see what it was like for the two heavyweights to pool their resources in order to destroy lesser targets. And by late in the season both men faced formidable challenges.

For Chuck, maneuvering by Bryan Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore) and the U.S. attorney general threatened Chuck’s status (and freedom) at every turn. As for Axe, the defection of Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon) in the previous season threatened his wealth and power.

By the end of season 4, both Axe and Chuck had scored dramatic victories over their rivals yet remained vulnerable on other fronts. When Billions begins airing the first section of season 5 (Sunday, April 30 at 9), the show picks up from there.

Both Chuck and Axe ended season 4 with vulnerabilities

Paul Giamatti (Chuck Rhoades) and Damian Lewis (Bobby Axelrod) act inn ‘Billions’ Season 5. | Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME

Can someone vanquish so many formidable rivals yet end up with weak spots? On Billions, that’s the recurring theme, the juice that fuels the main characters. No matter how comfortable they feel after a victory, they expect someone to attack them from another flank soon enough.

That’s why Chuck and Axe never let their guard down. In the season 4 finale, both scored major triumphs. Chuck had buried Connerty and wounded Jock Jeffcoat; Axe had maimed Taylor, forcing them (Taylor identifies by they/them pronouns) to rejoin Axe Capital.

Ah, but things could never be that simple on Billions. Though Taylor will now report to work at Axe Capital, they’ve agreed to serve as a spy for Chuck. (The ever-paranoid public servant, now New York’s attorney general, knows better than to take his eye off Axe in these uncertain times.)

Chuck’s personal life is the most uncertain element of his existence at the close of season 4. After he manages to alienate his wife Wendy (Maggie Siff) once and for all, she leaves Chuck and starts crashing at Axe’s luxury apartment. This cannot stand in Chuck’s world.

Everyone turns against everyone in ‘Billions’ Season 5

(L-R): Condola Rashad as Kate Sacker, Paul Giamatti as Chuck Rhoades, Asia Kate Dillon as Taylor, Damian Lewis as Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, Maggie Siff as Wendy Rhoades and David Costabile as Mike “Wags” Wagner in BILLIONS Season 5 | Mark Seliger/SHOWTIME

By all accounts, the new season of Billions will be another round of “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” While Taylor must figure out ways to ply their trade inside Axe’s shop, they’re looking for a way to turn the tables on Chuck while dragging down Axe, too.

Chuck, naturally, can’t like the situation with Wendy and Axe. So the battles between Axe and Chuck will surely return. Meanwhile, a “social impact pioneer” named Mike Prince (Corey Stoll) becomes a thorn in Axe’s side this season, too.

According to a Showtime release, Wendy Rhoades will make the sort of moves that pit her against both Chuck and Axe in upcoming episodes. Finally, the arrival of guest-star Julianna Margulies (as Catherine Brant) means another player guaranteed to keep things interesting.

In the season 5 episode 1 preview, we hear Chuck mention “a triple cross,” which is the ultimate Billions tease. On this show, double-crosses are for amateurs. The real pros never stop crossing. It’s like breathing for Chuck and Axe.

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