TV Club: Billions’ dueling alpha males stare each other down at last

“The Deal” is the riskiest episode of Billions yet because it shows just how easily its central conflict could be settled. There’s no problem in Billions that a signature and a couple billion dollars can’t fix. No lives are hanging in the balance, and the central relationships feel solid despite a concerted effort to make them appear to be in jeopardy. It’s just dollars and cents to people who have more money than they know what to do with. Though the episode ends with Bobby tearing up a nearly $2 billion penalty check, thereby reigniting the feud between him and Chuck, creeping up to the precipice of a plea deal serves as a reminder that the foundation of Billions is a conflict that can theoretically be resolved with the stroke of a pen and a trip to the bank.

The issue is not that Billions lacks stakes …

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