‘Billions’ reviewr: Season 6 returns to its original formula without an Axe to grind
In shedding among its protagonist, the Showtime drama has actually basically struck the reset button, going back to its summary pitting an aggressive district attorney versus a similarly pugnacious billionaire investor. Yet the 6th season likewise increases the focus on the whole billionaire class, in a more pointed take a look at earnings inequality and all that requires.
Yet Prince achieved that victory with the help of New York Attorney General Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti), only to double-cross him, depriving him of the high-profile conviction that he was eager to secure.
Never one to shy away from a fight, Rhoades, naturally, has moved on to combating Prince, while Prince must go through the process of swallowing a company filled with hard-driving overachievers who worshipped at the altar of Axe and view him with understandable skepticism.
Those two scenarios unlock a whole lot of inherent drama, in a way that has reinvigorated a show that, frankly, had become a little stale. The storytelling suddenly feels tighter, fueled in part by the return to a clash-of-the-titans backbone.
“Billions” also benefits from the sharpness of its writing, which tosses off lines referencing movies like “Trading Places,” presents alpha males bonding over Harry Chapin’s song “Cats in the Cradle” and gives Chuck lines like, referencing his public admission that he had been in a dominant-submissive relationship, “No more skeletons in my closet to rattle. Let ’em just try to Spitzer me.”
The new season works in some amusing cameos, one capitalizing on Prince’s love of using basketball philosophy to motivate the troops (he’s a big fan of coach John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success), and another involving real-life journalist Olivia Nuzzi, with the threat of a damaging leak dangled over somebody’s head.
Nevertheless, the Rhoades campaign against a city run by a “cabal of billionaires,” and his railing against “plutocrats,” provides the sort of hook that, through five episodes anyway, has moved “Billions” from “hold” back into the “strong buy” column.
“Billions” begins its 6th season Jan. 23 at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.