Note from the editor: This article contains spoilers for 'Billions' series finale, titled Admirals Fund'.
After seven twisty, confusing seasons with more double- and triple-crosses than you could shake a stock certificate, "Billions" successfully landed its plane (OK, private aircraft) in its series finale. It was a satisfying conclusion that brought back the main players and gave them the chance to give their individual bows. It was strangely sentimental for a show that had so much bite and venom.
The final season found a way to elevate the stakes beyond high finance. Billionaire Mike Prince (Corey Stoll), who is running for president and displaying enough problematic qualities to inspire his inner circle, to turn against him, and to try and thwart this bid.
The finale, which crammed eight weeks of action into one episode, revealed that Prince was the one who had been outmaneuvered. His political campaign is in shambles, and the B' before his net worth has suddenly reduced to just a M.
The return of Damian Lewis to the show as Bobby "Axe" Axelrod, after he left the series, was a huge benefit. Not only did it create a worthy opponent for Prince but also provided the character with a payback since Prince forced him into exile.
The coalition formed to stop Prince brought Axe (Paul Giamatti) and Chuck Rhoades together. Their evolution from mortal opponents to reluctant allies earlier seasons made 'Billions,' one of the most addictive TV dramas, at its peak, before it (perhaps inevitable) began to lose its fastball - to borrow the show's penchant for pop culture references and sports metaphors.
Chuck's dad Jeffrey DeMunn said that Chuck, in an act of father-son love, which matched the sentimentality of the episode, had cleverly partnered up with "a man you've tangled for almost a year" to achieve his goals. It wasn't the catch game scene from "Field of Dreams," but the idea was the same.
The finale, written by Brian Koppelman & David Levien, leveraged the seasons' one-foot in reality arc, about a billionaire pursuing the presidency. It dealt Prince a cathartic revenge, saving the country for sure, while still allowing principals to make financial gains. Bobby told Mike during the final showdown: 'So yeah Mike, this is how it feels to lose.
Wendy (Maggie Siff), who was often caught in between Axe, Chuck, and Axe, found the balance at the end, when she chose to leave on her own, rather than share a quiet moment of peace with Chuck and the kids.
Mike 'Wags' Wagner, Axe's lieutenant (David Costabile), subtly summarized the challenges that all series finals face in an age of instant judgments and instant reviews, by telling one of their colleagues: 'Endings can be tough.' Somebody always leaves unsatisfied.
As 'Billions,' the Showtime series, signed off with the Steve Miller Band's aptly selected 'Take the Money and Run', the show could be proud of having met the challenge, and offered those who invested seven seasons of their time in the Showtime program a nice return on investment.
The finale of 'Billions,' which will air on Showtime on October 29, is currently playing on Paramount+.