‘Billions’ episode 12 (finale) review: Chuck and Axe fight … but for what?

Billions season 1Sometimes, in the quest to put out fires, you occasionally end up starting a few yourself. Over the course of “Billions” season 1, Chuck Rhoades was armed with a fire extinguisher, but somehow still managed to trip over a canister of gasoline before even getting to the finale Sunday.

In this episode, everything burned — and really quite beautifully. It was clear from the moment Chuck looked at Wendy’s computer that she would eventually find out about the betrayal, and she already has. While he used that information to try to get Axe on police payoffs, in turn he ended up losing his marriage and the family that he had. He knew his formal case was done for, and he was scrambled. He just scrambled too far, and crossed a line he knew he shouldn’t have crossed.

For Axe, he also scrambled too much and his ego started to land him in hot water. He has felt bigger than everything else and it only made some sense that it would be a surprise charge that ended up rattling him to the point where he considered leaving the country. He levied accusations at Wendy, betrayed her trust, and left himself in a place where he no longer has her, either. This is such an interesting place for these characters to end up, seeming that after a full season of each person feeling like they had Maggie Siff’s character in her grasp, now she’s on her own, but far from out of the show. (Does anyone else feel like Wendy is the strongest character by a mile?)

The best news coming out of this finale in terms of entertainment for the future is that for now, both Chuck and Axe are still out on the streets and capable of causing more chaos and carnage. It could even come at home for both of them, especially with Axe trying to store his money at home for the time being (which isn’t exactly a great spot to leave Lara in). Neither one of our male leads has much of a leg to stand on anymore. They’ve lost partners in many forms, and in the end, despite their many differences, we think the message the show is sending here is clear: A shark is still a shark, and it doesn’t matter what waters they swim in. If you pursue something to zealously, there is a good chance you’re going to be bit. Finale Grade: A-.

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