The end of season five was a serious change of direction for the Showtime series Billions. Bobby Axelrod (Homeland‘s Damian Lewis), the head of Axe Capital gave up his constant fight with U.S. Attorney General Chuck Rhoades (American Splendor‘s Paul Giamatti) and Michael Prince (Ant-Man‘s Corey Stall) takes over his hedge fund. The reality was Damian Lewis wanted to spend more time with his family in England. The producer knew about Lewis’ desire so it wasn’t an abrupt between seasons shocker. The new season of Billions changes up the motivations of the extremely rich and keeps up the dogged determination of Chuck to keep them from devouring the Big Apple in their ego-driven schemes. Billions: Season Six changes up the formula without a bitter after taste.
“Cannonade” has both sides going through bumpy transitions. Chuck has taken up the life of a gentleman farmer in the historic countryside as part of a sabbatical. This would probably be a calm place except his really rich neighbor pays homage to his ancestors by firing off cannons at daybreak and night fall. This is driving Chuck nuts and he realizes his neighbors are getting sick of the twice a day booms. But they can’t do anything since he pays for various things around the town. But Chuck can’t stand it and starts an uprising against the rich guy. Michael McKeon (Laverne and Shirley, Spinal Tap and Better Call Saul) plays the patriotic businessman with just the right smug look. Back in Manhattan Mike Prince is revolutionizing Axe Capital. He wants to only invest in upstanding companies and only have clients on his Prince List that aren’t slimeballs. The staff isn’t sure if this new direction will work. Oddly enough, someone from the countryside finds themselves getting screwed over by Prince.
“Lyin’ Eyes” has Chuck back on the warpath against the billionaire class. He doesn’t think Prince is any more trustworthy as Axelrod. They want to turn Manhattan into their trainset. “STD” gives us a sense of the masterplan Prince has in mind. Turns out the 2028 Summer Olympics bid in Los Angeles is in jeopardy and he wants to bring the event to New York City. He’s got his own plans on building new facilities on the island. Trouble is he’s not the only billionaire that wants to bring the games to New York City. Like water polo, there’s a lot of vicious play under the water as everyone wants to be the savior of the Olympics. One person who doesn’t want the games is Chuck. He sees how the games will displace people, stick the city with buildings that will decay and screw up traffic for a month. “Rock of Eye” has Chuck enter a courtroom for a simple slam dunk case only to have the opposing attorney blew it up. Instead of getting revenge, Chuck recruits Daevisha Mahar (Sakina Jeffrey) to replace Kate Sacker (Condola Rashad). Where did Kate go? She’s working for Prince and his Olympic dream.
Piper Perabo joins the cast as Prince’s ex-wife. Funny to see the bartender from Coyote Ugly making things ugly for her billionaire ex-husband when he screws over her main sponsor. The new season also proves a profile boost for lawyer Karl Allerd (Mad Men‘s Allan Havey) on Chuck’s staff. Allen Havey was the last great late night talkshow hosts when his Night After Night aired on The Comedy Channel (before it was Comedy Central). If you get a chance, look up on Youtube clips from the show when he was shagging and bagging with Nick Bakay (Sabrina The Teenage Witch). The arrival of Prince gives Karl a bit more to do as he helps Chuck beat back the Olympic aspirations.
Billions: Season Six shows that even with one billionaire hedge fund executive exiled off the island, there’s more of them lurking in the skyscrapers eager to be the next King of New York. Chuck doesn’t get to take a day off from worrying that the extremely wealthy are going to use their billions to screw up the lives of the millions that live in the city. The plot about getting the the Olympics on Manhattan will keep you glued to the set for the entire 12 episodes of the season. The Axe might have fallen, but Prince is a worthy successor for Chuck to battle.
The Spark: Paul Giamatti (1:58) gets into his approach to acting and how he ended up in this career.
Becoming Wags (1:33) has David Costabile reflect on his character and how it’s changed over the seasons.
Blue Chip Cameos (5:23) identifies the famous faces that dropped by the show. This includes Gayle King and Megan Rapinoe,
CBS DVD presents Billions: Season Six. Starring Paul Giamatti, Maggie Siff, David Costabile, Condola Rashad, Asia Kate Dillon, Corey Stoll and Allan Havey. Rating: Unrated. Boxset Contents: 12 episodes on 4 DVDs. Release Date: June 21, 2022.
Tags: Allen Havey, Better Call Saul, Showtime