'Billions' Season 6 Episode 1 Review: Move over Axe, the Mike Prince era has dawned

What makes the series future and popularity questionable is if they can fill the void that Lewis left


                            'Billions' Season 6 Episode 1 Review: Move over Axe, the Mike Prince era has dawned
Corey Stoll as Michael 'Mike' Prince and Daniel Breaker as Roger 'Scooter' Dunbar in BILLIONS (Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME)

Contains spoilers for 'Billions' Season 6 Episode 1 'Cannonade'

Right off the bat, there's no trace of Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) in 'Cannonade'. It seems almost unbelievable that 'Billions' decided to move forward without the presence of the charismatic Brit actor, at least for now, he's a notable absentee. Mike Prince's Corey Stoll is the new billionaire on the block, and things at Mike Prince Capital (Axe Cap is struck down) have been rather blue. The new season sees Prince now in control, and there's also Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) taking on blue blood even while on a break (He's gonna tell you it's not a sabbatical).

The season shows Chuck taking a break from his duty as AG and has vowed to return only if he can score a win (in this case, we'd liken to the injury-riddled Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning the Super Bowl again) big enough to make him feel get over the massive failure to bag Axe. 'Cannonade' makes Chuck's return to his position debatable. He's on his "working from upstate" mode and even a truce from Prince isn't good enough to make him suit up.

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Paul Giamatti as Chuck Rhoades and Corey Stoll as Michael 'Mike' Prince in BILLIONS (Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME)

 

Instead, he focuses on taking down Melville Revere (Michael McKean from 'Better Call Saul'), an obscenely rich descendant of a Revolutionary War hero, and an absolute snob. The man has made a living out of making and selling pepper spray and rubber bullets and has an eccentric tradition of firing booming cannons — morning and at nightfall ruining Chuck's peace. The AG makes it his life's mission to dampen the explosions after Revere rubs it on his face that the cannons are not going to stop boomin' anytime soon.

Meanwhile, Prince has his hands full with a staff that's still not over the absence and departure of their legendary boss. Mike and Scooter go as far as saving Wags (David Costabile) life by dialing 911 when the tracker ring they issue him suggests he is having a heart attack. A back-from-the-dead Wags is back to full strength and even takes a dig — “I’m not going out like Mr. Big,” he says, but is downright resentful that he is being spied on by his new boss. Wendy (Maggie Siff) gives him advice that may seem vague, but worked for Axe — "Do the unthinkable".

By the end of the episode, there are two changes — Mike Prince has seemingly won over the faith of his predecessor's employees, and Chuck scored a moral victory. But what makes the series future questionable is if they can fill the void that Lewis left.  There's also that question of how the clash between Prince and Chuck pans out. For now, Prince brings in the questionable concept of an "ethical billionaire" and that makes him quite a challenge for Chuck.

'Billions' Season 6 airs Sundays at 9 PM ET/PT on Showtime.