The chink in the armor of what dictates weakness and what overcomes it continues to be a theme in the 6th episode of the 5th season of “Billions”: “The Nordic Model”. The question in basis is reflected in the idea wis what is the greater good against the aspect of the crime if any being committed. The Nordic Model refers to the legalization versus criminalization of sex workers which continues to be an interesting quandary in modern society (especially in Western countries) between the idea of choice and morality. The interesting proponent here is that it is not about the actual act but the power and politic behind it and how it serves to provide power, morally, financially or ethically to others. Chuck Rhoades is in a continuing quandary here simply because there is moves he needs to make out of vengeance and others simply out of honesty for a path opening to him. The angle of Julianna Marguiles character is great because of the choices she makes. It is very much brought into play in the final shot which won’t be given away here simply because it works to the root of the question. It is not about elitism but about choice and the reality of the movement. It provokes a very dynamic modern conversation especially in what defines that choice.
Axelrod on the other end seems to be back to form although a lot of his story-lines seem to fade into the background with less consequence versus Chuck which is a little off putting. Chuck’s ex-wife’s moves, though at the bequest of her boss Axelrod, also seem a little suspect especially perhaps in letting her guard down. She knows that she is in a den of snakes so it is surprising that her claws and shields wouldn’t be fully up a lot more. Taylor (as played by Asia Kate Dillon) realizes that the balance that no one in the series seems to maintain applies to her as well. She doesn’t want to become like Axelrod but her moves specifically in not overcoming or playing her hand too hard become a tell. No one in many ways, maybe except Chuck (despite sometimes being on the losing end), will be able to get out alive. A switch and bait move is key in this episode and provides some tension especially with Axelrod and Chuck in front of a painting where Axe’s armor splits for one quick second. It shows what might be down the road but it depends how each of the characters walk the path.
By Tim Wassberg