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Billions finale recap: As Chuck closes in on arresting Axe, not everything is as it seems

It was only a matter of time before Billions pulled the rug out from under us and revealed the true arc of this season. It happens every year (you could criticize the show for being repetitive, in fact, as there's generally not much structural change from one season to the next) and yet, because of the cast and the writing, it's incredibly entertaining. It's always a blast to watch the whole tower of cards come crashing down, creating chaos leading into the next season.

At the beginning of tonight's finale, Chuck walks into Axe Capital and asks if “he's in his office.” “Where else would he be?” replies Dollar Bill, “it's his office, isn't it?” “For now,” says Chuck. The implication, based on the season's events, is that Axe has retreated to his office, forcing Chuck to arrest him on his own turf and that Axe has accepted the impending arrest.

It's a bit of misdirection that propels the episode's events. We flashback 43 hours earlier, as Axe's team lays out the worst-case scenario for him now that, as the head of Axe Bank, he's accepted money from someone illegally selling drugs. As Chairman, Axe faces 15-20 years in prison on money laundering charges, along with the freezing of all his assets. Wags, as the CEO of Axe Bank, faces a similar sentence. “I will never walk into a jail cell with my name on it,” says Wags, telling Axe that he'd take extreme measures to make sure it didn't happen.

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