Season 4 of Billions – Review

Contains Spoilers!

“Wags (David Costabile) falls for a cruel joke” reads the caption for this image

Season 4 of “Billions” follows the complicated dynamic between Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) and Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) as both of these mostly devious men struggle to maintain their respective forms of power and influence—Axelrod is rich, Rhoades has the law on his side, even if the ‘law’ proves to be almost entirely corrupt.

Meanwhile, Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon) emerges as a new rival for Axe Capital. Taylor was Axelrod’s protégé but left to start their own hedge fund. Their new company quickly becomes a major threat to Axe Capital, leading to a tense battle between the two firms.

Attorney General Waylon “Jock” Jeffcoat (Clancy Brown) becomes a key player in the conflict between Axelrod and Rhoades. Jeffcoat’s political influence and manipulation of the justice system creates obstacles for both men, forcing each to come up with new schemes to stay afloat.

Chuck’s personal life becomes increasingly complicated as he deals with the repercussions of his tainted marriage and struggles to balance his desire for power with his sense of morality. His relationship with Wendy (Maggie Siff) suffers even more as she begins to question his actions and motives.

As a subplot concerning the Taylor Mason character, Taylor’s father appears at his kid’s hedge fund seeking help for his latest great idea. Their relationship tells much about the prevailing winds in America today. As a non-binary character, Mason’s personal identity as neither male nor female is handled differently by various supporting characters but ultimately is beyond question. Meanwhile, their dad has to adjust because his difficulty in understanding and accepting the chosen gender of his child is just simply wrong. The issue is not ignored by any stretch of the imagination but there’s no real discussion. Non-binary is right and even intellectually examining it is beyond the pale. Dad eventually turns out to be the ‘loser’ in more ways than one and Taylor becomes more complicated in practically everything except questioning their chosen gender identity.

Funnily enough, when Wags (Mike Wagner) is deceptively called to a drag party with a bogus invitation, his enemies take a photo of him and say they’ll use it against him “not for wearing a dress” but for apparently crashing an elite gathering as a brazen social climber. I personally think the script “not for wearing a dress” was the show’s way of covering itself. Wagner goes gaudy, doesn’t look nice and much ado was made about his getting in drag beforehand. If it wasn’t about “the dress” the creators sure made a big deal about it in the program.

“You’re going to look pretty on page 6,” his enemy mocks after the photo.

To me, it seems the young androgynous Taylor is untouchable but the older male Wags dressing up as a woman is fair game for shame, which is just another kind of discrimination.



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