'Billions' Season 5 Episode 5 Review: 'Contract' is the start of new relationships, but the past isn't forgotten

'Contract' tries juggling multiple plotlines and manages to keep it from tangling. Each plot point is connected but is given just enough importance so as to keep track of the larger picture


                            'Billions' Season 5 Episode 5 Review: 'Contract' is the start of new relationships, but the past isn't forgotten
Paul Giamatti and Julianna Margulies (Jeff Neumann/Showtime)
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Spoilers for 'Billions' Season 5 Episode 5 'Contract'

There are times when 'Billions' throws in plenty of plotlines in an episode. This makes it particularly pleasing and leaves a lot to think about. 'Contract' is all about new relationships, some physical, some professional. One part of it is promising, the other part of it blurs the lines between being serious or just having a much-deserved fling. And all the while, the past still follows like a faithful friend serving a constant reminder of each character's roots. 

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It's hard. To sum up 'Contract', you could either make it all about the new relationships Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) and Wendy (Maggie Siff) form with different people, or we could make it about Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) trying to sort out his part to set up a better future. If 'Contract' were to be a pie, then it could be dissected into four equal slices as all of them take equal importance. 

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Slice 1: That Catherine Brant (Julianna Marguiles) cuts right to the chase and asks Chuck for his thoughts on penetrative sex is an indicator of where their relationship would go.  Wendy and Axe were meant to be the hottest couple in town, but it does seem like Nico Tanner (Frank Grillo) beats him to it. 'Billions' made no secret of the fact that sparks flew between the artist and Wendy and at some stage, it would eventually boil down to a relationship of sorts. Will they be cementing it? That's something time will tell. 

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Things could have moved faster between the four if not for a family emergency which sees Rhoades Sr (Jeffrey DeMunn) have some major kidney issues. And since we're on the subject of flings, let's not forget Kate Sacker's (Condola Rashad) hook-up with Jackie Connerty (Michael Raymond-James). The latter also gives Chuck a dose of his own medicine by getting him to meet Brian (Toby Leonard Moore).  Jackie, who appeared in Season 4 is hired to crack a safe and retrieve a ring for Chuck to help him with a deal that would stall Axe's bank plans. 

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It all started with Chuck approaching the bank authorities to request a decline Axe's proposal to open a bank for the community ( Jeff Neumann/Showtime)

Slice 2: As far as professional relationships go, Wendy and Taylor (Asia Kate Dillon) go ahead with their new venture— Taylor Mason Carbon, an initiative that focusses on projects pertaining to renewable energy and look at it as a way to make serious gains in their business. Trust is what Taylor brings as the deal to Wendy is 40% control of their partnership. They also bring in Lauren (Jade Eshete) on it along with new crew additions and that's a new direction for Taylor Mason Cap.

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Slice 3: Axe tries to make good on his Yonkers goof-up, but fails after Savion Williams (Akili McDowell) brands him a leaver. To make sure he wouldn't get on the bad side of the community he also manages to take the help of his mother. He also finds out that his father was back in town and that his mother was meeting him and it resulted in giving away her car to help him. Axe doesn't take kindly to this and exacts revenge his own way by crushing the car, literally. 

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Slice 4: It all started with Chuck approaching the bank authorities to request to decline Axe's proposal to open a bank for the community. Chuck asks Mrs Caulder to stall the approval in a bid to stop him from "preventing crimes" and in return offers to help sort a family issue. Keeping up her part of the deal, she declines Axe & Co's proposal citing multiple reasons— Why was there a need for greater banking in the zip code and also the need for a suitable candidate, which Wags (David Costabile) signs up for after interviewing potential candidates?

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To get dirt on the existing bank, Axe's team of Dollar Bill Stearn (Kelly AuCoin), Ben Kim (David K. Isaac) and the team carry a secret mission where they realize the bank has a history of racism, effectively giving Axe a chance to out them publicly and cause them to shut down. Despite this, Caulders doesn't give in leading Axe to deduce that either Chuck or Mike Prince (Corey Stoll) would be behind this. 

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'Contract' tries juggling multiple plotlines and manages to keep it from tangling. Each plot point is connected but is given just enough importance so as to keep track of the larger picture— the stoked rivalry. 

'Billions' Season 5 airs Sundays 9 pm ET on Showtime. 

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