'Billions' Season 5 Finale Review: The price of freedom is high, it always has been
Spoilers for 'Billions' Season 5 Episode 12 'No Direction Home'
As the end credits for 'Billions' roll, it leaves questions lingering. The theme is Freedom, and it echoes with Steve Rogers' "The price of freedom is high..." speech. It's the sort of a finale that takes time to grow the fact that Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) has learned what it is to lose. It's bittersweet. In his world, it's like eating a pizza that's gone bad, a car that doesn't purr like his Royce, a wine that's not from his vineyard. He's a man who's lost it all, and yet, he's free. It was a price to pay, but he had the moolah to make that happen, and it did.
'No Direction Home' sees winners and losers, and it is hard to see Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff) end up as the biggest of the latter. For all the love she pined for, she made the right call when it comes to choosing between family and newfound love. It's a pity the finale saw Axe and Wendy's blossoming, long and unexplained romance come to a screeching halt, but it's understandable, this was about Axe, and though it feels like he beat a hasty retreat in a battle where winning was a fantasy, there's no doubt he will be back — ruthless and stronger.
The finale marks the end of the Axe Capital era, and it justifies it doing so. Mike Prince (Corey Stoll) is the winner, fair and square, and the unlikely ally who uses the 'Keep your friends close, your enemies closer' to give Axe a way out. He gives Axe a way out, but he takes a lot in return, and Axe moves to Switzerland where extradition rules can't touch him. Loyalty comes in the form of Dollar Bill Stern (Kelly AuCoin) who walks out with his head held high. Wendy. Taylor (Asia Kate Dillon) and Wags (David Costabile) will all be part of Prince's organization for a while.
Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) happens to be the other loser, but he's gunning for revenge. He's not done, not by a long shot. What makes his loss sweeter is that Prince just manages to rub salt on his wounds as he now owns Axe Cap and has plans to run it the way he wants to. The final ten minutes of the 'Billions' finale is the aftermath after the King sort of... abdicates, you know what we mean.
Loyalty can and cannot be bought, it just depends on where you're standing. It's heartening to see Bill walk out after quitting. He knows Axe is out there and he can change things around. Whether he will be the new Wags, only time will tell. It feels like the finale makes Axe appear a lot more human. He's accepted defeat, and he's resigned to the fact that he isn't above the law. So he did what he could best and he kept his word to his loyalists. 'Billions' Season 6 will almost certainly feature the big names and the storyline will spill over. How it starts is anyone's guess.
'Billions' Season 5 finale airs at 9 pm ET on Showtime.