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Billions Season 3 Episode 1 Review: For Pure Enjoyment, Nothing on TV Quite Touches This – March 29, 2018

“Sharp script, a terrific ensemble cast and admirable attention to food and rock music”

by Ed Cumming | The Telegraph | March 29, 2018

Source: Showtime

When the finance drama Billions began, two seasons ago, the question was which of its two terrific protagonists would end up on top. Would Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis), the boy-done-good hedge fund billionaire, get away with his sharp practices? Or would he finally be outwitted by Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti), the blue-blooded US Attorney determined to bring him down?

As the third season opened, however, it was clearer than ever these two are not so much cat and mouse as two heavyweight boxers, slugging it out until they are both unconscious.

Axelrod began this first episode on the back-foot, having been masterfully tricked by Rhoades towards the end of series two over an investment in a juice company. His funds are frozen; his wife Lara (Malin Ackerman) alienated. But it wasn’t long before we saw flashes of his old fire. For Rhoades, meanwhile, the shine of his triumphant ruse de guerre was fading fast. A new administration had told the attorneys to ease off the financial cases, while Rhoades’s ambitions to become Governor of New York are opposed by his father, Chuck Sr (Jeffrey DeMunn).

The two principals have lost none of their presence, and look like they are having a ball. Lewis snarls even when he’s trying to smile, while Giamatti could growl the cape off Batman’s back. What lifted Billions through its second series were the supporting characters, many of whom were given plenty of room to breathe. There are performances to relish everywhere one looks. Brilliant David Costabile as Wags, Axelrod’s irascible deputy. David Straitharn’s “Black” Jack Foley, the kingmaker of New York. Toby Leonard Moore as Bryan Connerty, the conflicted rising star of the state attorney’s office.

Star of them all, however, is Asia Kate Dillon, the non-binary actor who joined the cast last season, playing a brilliant, and also non-binary, young trader, Taylor Mason. Dillon lit up every scene they’ve been in like phosphorous. The character has been duly rewarded, with a starring role at Axe Capital. In this episode they helped Axe reclaim his mojo; which means we’ll be seeing lots more of them.

Read the rest of the original article at The Telegraph