Spoilers for ‘Billions’ Season 5 Episode 6 ‘The Nordic Model’
‘Billions’ has progressed at such speed and ‘The Nordic Model’ has shifted the episode into eighth gear. It’s a lot like the new BMW 4 Series Coupe’s Steptronic transmission where there’s a new gear to switch in a bid to heighten the adrenaline factor. In the case of Showtime’s hit financial drama, the latest episode sticks to the same pattern as the previous one as it moves from one storyline to the other at a quick pace.
Between Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) almost caught for tax fraud, Taylor Mason’s (Asia Kate Dillon) splendid pitch to a potential client and the Chuck-Catherine (Paul Giamatti and Julianna Margulies) relationship, it dishes out a power-packed episode that serves as a reminder of the scheming genius Axe is. The episode opens with Axe’s port being raided by a bunch of cops while Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff) and Nico Tanner (Frank Grillo) spend a bit of a romantic moment.
At the other end, Bobby is still in talks for Axe Cap becoming a bank and his negotiations with Madam Chairwoman to obtain a letter from the SEC supporting his bank. Except, she pegs him back looking at the dubious record Axe has built over time. ‘The Nordic Model also sheds light on Ari Spyros (Stephen Kunken) and his comic antics which serves well in an otherwise serious episode. Mason, in the meantime, plans to use that opportunity to show Axe there are better options to invest than be a bank.
Axe soon realizes the raid on his port actually was a targeted move. Dan Margolis (Daniel Cosgrove) was flagged for asking billionaires to park their paintings with him tax-free. It was more along the lines of him using Axe as a celeb of sorts for endorsing this deal leading Kate Sacker (Condola Rashad) to use that as a way to nail Axe for tax fraud. While going through the files, Chuck realizes he’s seen one of Van Gogh’s paintings at Axe’s house. It is revealed the paintings in the free ports are replicas and Axe cannot have an art expert sniffing around.
To make matters worse before Axe could actually move the real paintings to his place, he is ambushed by Chuck who gloats at him for getting the better of him this time around. To enrage Axe further, he spills wine on a painting. He also orders around-the-clock surveillance to make sure Axe and Co cannot get anything in or out of the building. Mason pitches to a potential client and despite facing stiff competition from Oscar Langstraat (Mike Birbiglia), Mason manages to nail the deal.
Coming back to the Axe-Chuck tussle of the arts, the latter realizes the only person standing in between Axe and him is Manhattan DA Mary Ann Gramm (Roma Maffia). To get her to back off the case, he uses a sex worker case that she fights for to link it to sex trafficking throw her off the present case and give it back to him. Cat Brant helps him make the argument despite her reluctance and based on the promise that Chuck wouldn’t actually indulge in such monstrosity.
Axe also manages to strike a deal with the sitting Treasury Secretary to help him with the SEC obstacle. In return, the head honcho earns a portrait made by Tanner. Talk about being an evil genius. In the end, to get the better of Chuck when he raids the apartment with a painting authenticator, Axe manages to get all the paintings under one roof. They manage to convert the apartment into an art studio and also play it that the paintings don’t belong to him at all, but to the Axelrod Charitable Foundation that maintains and runs the museum.
Just to not spoil that epic moment, this review won’t tell you how they did it. It is that sort of an episode that further shows the lengths Axe would go to stay winning, stay richer and get the better of Chuck. To end with, it is safe to call ‘The Nordic Model’ a pulsating affair. ‘Billions’ airs on Sundays at 9 pm ET on Showtime.