After four seasons, the task of reinvention can become difficult for even a show as wily and nimble as Billions, the immensely satisfying Showtime series about money and power. Given the combative nature of the plotting, one might worry there are only so many ways to reconfigure the pieces on the chess board; certain acts of narrative deception, like setting up an elaborate business deal only to reveal it's a con all along, might lose their ability to shock. The foundational dueling protagonists, Paul Giamatti's tortured Attorney General Chuck Rhodes and Damien Lewis's vindictive hedge fund guru Bobby Axelrod, eventually must stumble over in exhaustion from all the ethically questionable scheming and word-soupy monologuing, right?
And yet: Over 40 episodes in, Billions remains its best self. On a surface level, this season once again found the series discovering new ways to showcase the concerns, hobbies, and mouth-watering obsessions of the wealthy. At various points, there were pizzas prepared by Una Pizza Napoletana chef Anthony Mangieri, boxing training sessions courtesy of UFC brawler Stipe Miocic, and therapeutic car crushing arranged by Mark Cuban in his third appearance on the show. In addition to these flashy amenities, the show burned through plot like Mason Capital burned through cash, banishing John Malkovich's villainous Russian billionaire back to where he came from and turning Chuck's S&M secret into public knowledge. But like Mad Men, the darkly funny workplace drama that Billions occasionally resembles, the focus was always on what makes these gifted people tick.
In Sunday's finale, both Chuck and Axe temporarily defeated (and humiliated) their former protégés-turned-rivals -- Brian Connerty and Taylor Mason, respectively -- and, at least on Chuck's end, reignited the two mensch's own previously dormant feud. These developments were yet two more chances to hit the show's reset button. Where last season's finale found the triumvirate of Chuck, Axe, and Wendy Rhodes, the brilliant-yet-ethically-challenged performance coach at Axe Capital, sharing a bottle of wine together and planning a scorched Earth attack on the younger generation, this season found all the major characters realigned in new, tentatively brokered alliances. As noted Billions fan Mike Francesca said on Twitter, it was "tremendous."