The second season of Billions is in the books. Over 12 episodes, we saw casino deals go south, familial bonds stretched to their breaking points, and people violently vomiting up all-natural neon energy drinks. It was, to be clear, kind of a lot, and it all led to a pretty big moment for the show. Spoilers are a-comin’, obviously, so crack open an Ice Juice and buckle in. The time has come to talk Billions season two.
Chuck gets his man
After two seasons of taking Ls of varying sizes and shapes, Chuck finally caught Axe red-handed and had him carted off to jail in front of the whole world. And all he had to do was ruin his father, bankrupt and embarrass his only friend, repeatedly alienate his wife, sit back and allow Axe to poison a half-dozen gambling addicts, strongarm the Attorney General, and blow through his entire $27 million dollar trust. If we’re using a cat and mouse analogy, this strategy was a little like the cat burning the house down and plucking the mouse out of the rubble. (The darkest episode of Tom & Jerry ever.) It drove home the point that the two of them are flip sides of the same coin — ruthless, risk-taking, self-destructive — and showed the lengths to which they will go to destroy each other. When Chuck says it was worth it, please consider the cost.
And when you’re done considering that, consider this: Where exactly does Billions go from here? Yes, there will be legal things happening. We will see much more of Axe’s lawyer, which is good, because I love him. But two seasons in is a little early to shoot that shot, isn’t it? Breaking Bad gave Walter over half a decade before bringing the law down. Although maybe that’s not the best example. Walter White never really had a proper adversary on the law side until Hank’s toilet revelation. Maybe the best way to describe this is as a Reverse Jim/Pam-Ross/Rachel situation. A “Will they, won’t they?” but about ruining your sworn enemy. You can only build up that tension for so long without paying it off.
It will be tricky to move from here, though. Axe can’t really go to prison without wrecking the dynamic of the show, and if he wiggles out of this they can’t just, like, keep arresting him every season to keep the dance going. Things have to change, in some way, or this all kind of falls apart.
It is profoundly hilarious to me that the entire season — the entire show, to this point — hinged on the fraudulent IPO of a product called “Ice Juice.” Ice Juice! Billions is and always will be the most Billions show on television, and Ice Juice is the most Billions name of a beverage start-up I can possibly think of. I’m so happy. Still, this is only the second most Billions moment from season two, as the most Billions moment was Wendy Rhoades cheating on Chuck with a sexy version of Elon Musk who was played by Bob Benson from Mad Men. I might never get over this.