In the hit television series “Billions,” you are about to enter a world filled with high finance, power plays, and intrigue. In “The Gulag Archipelago,” the plot takes interesting detours and turns that keep viewers interested and hankering for more. This episode has a mix of unforeseen alliances, character struggles, and the constant quest for supremacy in the competitive world of banking. The episode presented key developments that clarified the goals and objectives of the characters even though it may not have offered any major surprises. In Season 7, Episode 5, titled “The Gulag Archipelago,” we (www.tvacute.com) delve further into the nuanced lives of our favorite characters.
Billions Season 7 Episode 5 Recap
The official joining of forces by Taylor, Wendy, and Wags in what can only be referred to as an embryonic Fifth Column or Rebel Alliance is one of the episode’s high points. Their cooperation paves the way for possible changes in the balance of power in the financial sector. This newly discovered oneness is not without its difficulties and dangers, though.
Wags, meanwhile, benefits significantly from having the ability to sign off on investments. He now has more power within the company as a result of this development, which further complicates the power dynamics at play.
This episode’s main issue revolves around Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti), a guy noted for his strategic skills, becoming caught up in a very unimpressive plot. Chuck is charged with assisting his deputy in avoiding a different kind of scandal—what he dismissively refers to as a “vanilla” sex scandal—after successfully navigating the world of high-stakes financial and personal crises.
This situation started as a result of a mugging that involved Chuck’s friend Ira. Chuck is adamant about getting Ira’s phone back because it has graphic videos of him and his wife. This determination sends Chuck down a complicated path. He turns to lying about the contents of the phone, citing “national security implications” to gain access to the CCTV. The phone cannot be returned to its owner after the robber is caught because it becomes evidence in a national security case.
The next task for Chuck is to successfully negotiate with Dave Mahar, the attorney general of New York, who is holding Ira’s phone hostage. Given that Chuck’s previous activities have harmed his connection with Dave, this proves to be a challenging undertaking. Dave’s demands are quite clear: give her the phone and make her First Chair, Special Assistant United States Attorney in the prosecution of Michael Prince (Corey Stoll). Chuck is in a difficult situation since he is divided between being loyal to Ira and wanting to keep control of the Mike Prince inquiry.
The episode gives viewers an insight into Chuck’s personal and professional struggles, but it also makes viewers wonder how easily he gave up control of the Prince investigation. Is there more going on here than what the eye can see? Chuck can have a secret agenda or hidden goals.
In a side story that momentarily holds our interest, Bryan Connerty, a former coworker of Chuck and Kate Sacker, is revisited. Former prisoner Connerty has made a comeback as a hibachi chef in Queens. Given his awareness of their prior deeds, Kate’s visit to Connerty raises questions about his possible influence on her political future. Connerty promises Kate that he won’t reveal their secrets and advises a cooperative relationship.
The most perplexing element of this episode, though, is Kate’s hesitation to run for office herself. She appears to think, instead, that joining Mike Prince’s presidential campaign will give her the advantage she needs. Viewers may wonder where her story will go in the series after this change in her character’s trajectory.
Viewers are still waiting for the intrigue that will define the major conflict involving Michael Prince Capital (MPC) and its developing Fifth Column. In this episode, Taylor orchestrates a separate plan that, at best, has a short-term negative impact on Prince’s portfolio. The most important result of Taylor’s activities is Wags’s acquisition of new approval rights.
The main argument in the MPC revolves around Taylor and Philip’s dissatisfaction with their meager authority. There is an imbalance of power inside the company because Michael Prince must approve any new investments that are more than $500 million. Taylor leads a big project that requires a buy-in of more than $600 million while Prince is occupied pursuing Killer Mike for a presidential endorsement.
As a result of Prince and Scooter turning in their phones during their meeting with the rapper-activist, MPC ultimately loses out on the chance to get this big funding. It turns out that Taylor’s plan was a setup. Taylor and the team would have found a way to obtain the money regardless, Prince claims, even though he accepts his part in this expensive mistake.
Wendy (Maggie Siff) meets Wags and Taylor in the MPC headquarters after this financial disaster. Taylor’s admission that he engineered the financial loss prompts debate over the long-term wisdom of pursuing solo undertakings. It’s obvious that such separate efforts may not be in the best interest of their shared aims, yet Wendy chooses not to give Wags a reprimand like she did Wags in a prior episode.
Wendy feels secure after hearing that Wags now has sign-off rights since she knows they have the resources needed to create a sound strategy. With Taylor firmly on board for an internal takedown, the scene is set for the allusions to “The Gulag Archipelago” by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to come full circle.
The audience is left hesitantly seated in the center of their sofas, which is disappointing because it’s heartening to watch these individuals finally recognize the necessity of working together. “Billions” has a reputation for trickery, turns, and complex power plays, so much more will be required to keep the audience’s attention.
As we consider this episode, numerous important aspects become apparent. A prospective romance between Wendy and Bradford Luke raises suspicion, Toby Leonard Moore’s facial hair attracts attention, and Taylor and Philip’s humorous conversation about “The Hunt for Red October” offers a fun break.
Asia Kate Dillon’s delivery of “Don’t call him that” when Ari Spyros makes a reference to “President Prince” stands out as a memorable line reading in a series famed for its catchy one-liners. While fans cringe at how poorly Spyros mistreats Van Halen.
In conclusion, “The Gulag Archipelago” may not have revealed anything revolutionary, but it did pave the way for significant advancements in the ongoing struggle for supremacy in the high finance industry. “Billions” keeps viewers on the edge of their seats as alliances change, individual goals collide, and power dynamics change, eagerly expecting the next move in this complex chess game of money and influence.