BILLIONS (S5E4) “Opportunity Zone”: There’s No Place Like Home

Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) may have drastically changed throughout five seasons, but one thing that always stays true about him is his boundless love for a place he grew up in, Yonkers, New York. He cares about the people. He loves all the places and restaurants. He also tries his best to always support the local business however he can, and even takes care of the new family who now lives in his childhood home. It’s true, Yonkers is pretty special to Bobby. It’s a place that reminds him of all the hard works he has to do to get where he is right now. After all, there’s no place like home, right?

Things Are Getting Messy

This week’s episode ‘Opportunity Zone’ sees Bobby, once again, pouring all his heart and soul for Yonkers. He wants to win the opportunity zone bid to reach his goal of revitalizing his childhood neighborhood. But that’s not his only goal. With Bobby, there’s always another agenda. And this time, it turns out that the primary reason he wants to win the bid is that he assumes it will be a good PR story for him to get the bank license he’s been after since the whole shaman’s debacle two weeks ago. But it’s not Billions unless there’s a big roadblock for our antihero along the way. And by a roadblock, I mean Bobby’s new rival Mike Prince (Corey Stoll).

After spending most of last week’s episode behind the curtain in favor of Bobby and Gordie’s father-and-son bonding time, Mike is ready to take down Bobby again this week by also entering the opportunity zone bid. But unlike Bobby, Mike isn’t driven by sentimental reason. He just simply wants to see Bobby lose. That’s his goal from the start. But up until this moment, the show still hasn’t informed us what is exactly the reason behind Mike wanting to defeat Bobby. Is it because of what Bobby’s done to him in the past? Or is there a much bigger play? We’ll never know for sure. But it’s Billions we’re talking about here, so it wouldn’t be surprising if actually there’s no reason at all, and that Mike just likes a good old rivalry. Whatever it is though, both Stoll and Lewis have done a really great job of showing the rivalry that their two characters have.

BILLIONS (S5E4) "Opportunity Zone": There's No Place Like Home
source: Showtime

Bobby’s challenge, however, isn’t just Mike. So is his old nemesis Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti), the New York Attorney General who’s been trying to find the right angle to entrap Bobby again. In an attempt to weaken Bobby’s opportunity in winning the opportunity zone bid, Chuck asks for his father Chuck, Sr.’s (Jeffrey DeMunn) help. He wants him to expose Bobby’s misdeeds in front of the judge that will decide the winner of the bid. But of course, things do not go well whenever Chuck, Sr. is out on the public. The man really needs to work on his manner and mouth. And Chuck really needs to start realizing that asking for his dad’s help will only make things worse.

It’s honestly really thrilling to see Chuck and Bobby’s rivalry taking the show’s center stage again after having to step back for the majority part of season five so far. And now with Mike is on Chuck’s radar as a possible ally, things are really getting messy rather quickly. Especially with Chuck’s brilliant righthand woman Kate Sacker (Condola Rashad) who also now dedicates herself fully in destroying Bobby after knowing that her dad Franklin Sacker (Harry Lenix) is now working together with Bobby to get into banking. Let’s see who comes out victorious in the end.

Better Call Wendy

While the boys are on a pissing contest, back in Axe Capital HQ, the non-binary math genius Taylor (Asia Kate Dillon) is having self-doubt. Not only do they lose a COO, but Taylor also potentially loses Mafee (Dan Soder) going forward. And worst of all, Taylor must also face the consequences of their action last week as they intend to persuade a big oil company executive to go environmentally friendly. But all these personal issues that Taylor has is nothing that Wendy (Maggie Siff), Axe Cap’s performance coach, can’t fix.

BILLIONS (S5E4) "Opportunity Zone": There's No Place Like Home
source: Showtime

She not only helps Taylor to get their head back in the game but also moves things around Axe Cap while Bobby is on the opportunity zone bid against Mike, and Wags (David Costabile) is busy trying to reconnect with his children. It’s a testament to Wendy’s ability that even without their two heads, both Axe Cap and Mase Cap are still functioning pretty well. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise actually, considering how throughout five seasons, it’s always been Wendy who saves the day and cleans up all the messes in the end. She’s really that good and talented. You don’t want to mess with her.

But this week’s episode marks a new higher point in Wendy’s personal and professional life. First, she might have just found someone new to date after her divorce with Chuck, who himself also finds a new love interest in a sociology professor named Cat Brant (the always brilliant Julianna Margulies). If you think that someone is Bobby, you must think again. In spite of some will-they-won’t-they situation, it’s not him. Instead, it is his painter Nico Tanner (Frank Grillo), who this week is having an artist block.

BILLIONS (S5E4) "Opportunity Zone": There's No Place Like Home
source: Showtime

While in an attempt to help Tanner gets his mojo back, Wendy quickly deduces that his struggle comes from his fear of disappointing Bobby, a man who’s given him so much money for exclusive rights to his next eight paintings. And without a beat, she asks him to close his eyes and just visualize the moment where he’s successful with this project. She also tells him to start “create the f***ing painting,” which, of course, is successful in helping him find his motivation back.

Wendy’s biggest achievement this week, however, happens after she secures a deal with the Big Oil CEO that Taylor fails to do earlier. She’s being offered by Taylor an opportunity to work together on a secret business of collecting money from oil companies, which she clearly has an interest in. It’s obvious at this point that everyone needs Wendy, and even wants her to be on their side. That’s really a good position that she’s in. And if by the end, Billions is actually about how Wendy comes out victorious while the other characters are busy trying to destroy one another, that certainly won’t be surprising either.

Final Thought

Four episodes in, and Billions season five is better and more thrilling than ever. New alliances are formed, things are moving fast, and the stakes are just getting higher each episode. And beyond that, each actor also brings their A-game in every single moment. If the rest of season five can keep this fire going, it’s really gonna be a season to remember.

What do you think will happen next with Wendy and Taylor’s new alliances? Let us know in the comments!

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