After an interesting first season, Billions really raised the stakes with a great second season. The show always starts a little slower with a few episodes to reset the rivalry and establish what the characters are up to this time around. Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) is still wheeling and dealing with the stock market but now he's taking extra vengeance against the district attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti). Rhoades is mounting a campaign for governor and advancing his political future through big cases. Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff) looks for career opportunities elsewhere and flirts with other billionaires. Lara Axelrod (Malin Ackerman) takes a smaller role this season trying to start an IV business and growing angry with Bobby's shadiness.
The supporting cast was really solid this season as well with new faces and familiar alike. Mike "Wags" Wagner (David Costabile) was one of my favorite characters with his swaggering braggadocio mixed with a deep doubt and insecurity. The newest most interesting character is definitely Taylor (Asia Kate Dillon) whose genius brain for stocks and gambling appeals to Axe's killer instinct. Wags and Taylor interacting makes for some great scenes. Even Taylor can't avoid the investigation as Bryan Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore) tries to investigate and turn Taylor with no luck.
The conflict between Rhoades and Axelrod constantly flipped as the two men jockeyed for advantage over one another not relenting from petty hurtful actions against one another. Chuck tries to salvage his marriage with Wendy as Bobby hits a rough patch with Lara as well. Axe Capital has a weak quarter leading Bobby to make some desperate bids to have a big win. Chuck also struggles with an investigation into Wendy and his tactics by the District Attorney.
The best episode is the next to last with a huge twist, one of the best on television this year. Chuck and Axe will go all out to hurt each other. Nothing is off the table and anyone caught in the middle will suffer. There is a final scene of confrontation between the two that rivals the first season's end. The rivalry has heated up to a boiling point that will have an exciting payoff in seasons to come.
Billions really impressed me this year and I'm glad I stuck with this show. At times I had my doubts but a lot of episodes this season really paid off. This second season ends in an interesting place that will spell disaster and excitement for the future. The sacrifices were huge as this shown does not deal in small amounts, hence the title. Showtime has a lot of great shows and I'm glad that Billions fits right in there.