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Billions on Showtime, Season 5 Episode 5: Contract – May 31, 2020

Trust is the Most Valuable Currency in Billions

by Damianista | Fan Fun with Damian Lewis | May 31, 2020

So where to begin about this episode – entertaining, surprising, and heartbreaking – absolutely the best so far in Season 5? The best point of departure may be the definition of a “contract” as Axe gives during his game of billiards with Savion since we see a number of contracts – explicit or implicit – drawn, signed, or not, in one of the best hours Billions has given us in its history.

“Contract is an understanding between men that they’ll see things the same way, that they’ll keep code. That they’ll honor the spirit of their relationship even in unforeseen circumstances.”

Axe, Wags and Bach are sitting in Ms. Calder’s – the head of the office approving state charter applications – office clueless that Chuck was there earlier with Kate to convince Ms. Calder not to approve Axe’s application and thereby preventing a crime before happening!

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Billions Season 5 Episode 5 Recap: New York Times – May 31, 2020

Old Men

by Sean T. Collins | New York Times | May 31, 2020

Season 5, Episode 5: ‘Contract’

“Old man, take a look at my life — I’m a lot like you.” This week’s episode of “Billions” uses Neil Young’s song “Old Man” to tie a bow around two of its story lines. In the first, Charles Rhoades Sr. has kidney failure, and his advanced age (and bad habits) makes him an unlikely candidate for a donor. It’s a predicament even his son Chuck’s legal wizardry may be unable to remedy.

In the second story line, Bobby Axelrod discovers that his abusive grifter father has re-entered his mother’s life. In a fit of explosive rage, he threatens to cut her off if he ever discovers she is in contact with him again — and then destroys the expensive car she had given to the man after first receiving it from Bobby. With his confidant Wendy Rhoades by his side, Axe watches as the compacted hunk of metal is deposited in front of his father’s house, a final anonymous act of vengeance.

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Billions Season 5 Episode 5 Recap: Wall Street Journal – May 31, 2020

Bobby and Chuck Should Learn from the Godfather

by Paul Vigna | Wall Street Journal | May 31, 2020

Sometimes you gotta break a bank to make a bank. Or something like that.

“Contract,” tonight’s episode of Billions, (written by Theo Travers and directed by Adam Bernstein) finds Bobby Axelrod continuing his odd quest to start a bank, and destroying another bank in the process.

Axe’s plans for his hometown of Yonkers have evolved beyond just rebuilding every store brick by brick in his opportunity zone. He wants to be Yonkers’s bank, too. He’s applied for a bank charter from the New York Department of Financial Services. Of course, the state’s Attorney General Chuck Rhoades, for some reason, wants to stop him from getting the license.

We’re here to unwind what makes sense and what doesn’t. There’s a lot that doesn’t.

Continue reading Billions Season 5 Episode 5 Recap: Wall Street Journal – May 31, 2020

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Billions Season 5 Episode 5 Recap: Entertainment Weekly – May 31, 2020

Taylor’s New Venture Begins — Under a Cloud of Betrayal and Mistrust

by Kyle Fowle | Entertainment Weekly | May 31, 2020

You know, for a show that spends a lot of time engaging with ideas of masculinity and how it’s shaped, influenced by, or influential within politics, finance, and society at large, Billions hasn’t spent all that much time exploring the nuances of the father-son relationship. Sure, Chuck Sr. (identified as Charles from here on out) has been a consistent presence on the show, but there haven’t been too many story lines that tell us something larger about the Rhoades family and how the father-son dynamic impacted both Sr. and Jr. If anything, Chuck has always distanced himself from his father; he needs him, and he’s used him plenty of times, but he’s also embarrassed by much of his bravado and old school thinking.

“Contract” isn’t all about fathers, but it accounts for half of the episode’s storylines this week. At the outset of “Contract,” Charles is playing with his new daughter, following her around the house as she learns to walk and sitting on the floor with her while she plays with her toys. It’s an image that’s then echoed later in the episode, with Charles once again kneeling on the floor enjoying this newfound passion for fatherhood. Then he collapses, helpless. It’s kidney failure, and now he needs a transplant. Laying in a hospital bed, his swagger is gone. He’s frail, terrified, and begging his son to help him get on the transplant list.

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Billions Season 5 Episode 5 Recap: Vulture – May 31, 2020

Family Drama

by Sarene Leeds | Vulture | May 31, 2020

The “fathers and sons” theme is strong in this season of Billions, with “Contract” getting to the heart of why Axe bailed on dinner at his Yonkers childhood home last week — and Chuck being tasked with saving his father’s life. In both cases, the audience is asked to once again look at the humanity beneath the monster, and search for empathy. Billions revisits the watershed moment that set Axe on his path to wealth and power: His father’s abuse and subsequent abandonment when Axe was 12. As for Charles Senior, his brush with mortality — and the news that his wealth and status can’t override age and decades of hard drinking — has transformed him into a “scared shitless” child, begging his son to help him get a kidney transplant.

The long-term damage that Axe’s unnamed father caused is indisputable — we need no further proof than Damian Lewis’s voice cracking on a single line of dialogue when confronting his mother, Laurel (Patti D’Arbanville), over Papa Axelrod’s Yonkers reappearance. But while that explains much of Axe’s heartless actions through the years, does it excuse it? A similar question goes for Senior: Will Jeffrey DeMunn’s sublime hospital-bed acting be enough to win both Chuck and the audience over after Senior’s lifetime of abhorrent behavior? (I gotta say, those adorable pre-collapse scenes of DeMunn with baby Willow sure help — damn you, Billions!)

Continue reading Billions Season 5 Episode 5 Recap: Vulture – May 31, 2020