“Billions Has Never Been Subtle”
by Liam Mathews | TV Guide | March 23, 2018
Warning: There are light spoilers for Billions Season 3 ahead.
In its first two seasons, Billions — Showtime’s elevated soap opera about a crooked hedge fund billionaire and the U.S. Attorney determined to bring him down — was almost exclusively focused on the interpersonal manipulations of its characters. It avoided examining the larger world in which its titans played and how their petty feuds and reckless actions trickled down to the little people who bear the consequences of financial and political malfeasance.
There were brief flashes of it. Bobby Axelrod’s (Damian Lewis) brutal treatment of an already economically depressed town after his plan to build a casino there fell through is the most notable example, but mostly the show existed in a vacuum. It presented Bobby Axelrod as a bad guy because he’s a vindictive cheater and not for the real, broader reason, which is that the ruthless capitalism he engages in profits off the suffering of people he has the luxury of not thinking about.
That changes in Season 3, which premieres on Sunday, March 25. It’s not the Bernie Sanders Show all of a sudden, but it develops a political conscience it previously lacked. Which is good, because even though he’s a cool, smart guy who loves his kids, you’re not supposed to root for Bobby Axelrod.