The Most 'Billions'-y Things That Happened on 'Billions' Season 5, Episode 7

Showtime's Billions takes place in a reality all its own. Technically that's true of pretty much every work of fiction, but it feels especially so for the show created by Brian Koppelman, David Levien and Andrew Ross Sorkin.

The whole series is a high-stakes pissing contest that's dressed up like a prestige TV drama set in the world of New York finance. Really, though, Billions takes place in a different, even more heightened world—one where stock bros and members of the federal law enforcement are hyper-articulate and as fluent in sports and film references as they are in obscene insults.

Imagine a world where splashy cameos, extravagant dining and skullduggery are par for the course. Think of a place where people are constantly seduced by power, prone to operatic levels of pettiness and vulnerable to what the NBA's Pat Riley has called "the Disease of More," to throw in a Billions-esque shoutout. Picture a reality where Paul Giamatti is not only the Attorney General of New York, but also an out (and somewhat proud) member of the BDSM community. Consider the existence of a realm where John Malkovich is a Russian billionaire and speaks in the same thicker-than-whiteout-conditions accent that he had as Teddy KGB in the 1998 film Rounders—not a coincidence, since Koppelman and Levien wrote Rounders. Try to believe that Damian Lewis could somehow be from Yonkers. Once you've done all that, then you'll have an idea of what goes on in the world of Billions.

And to celebrate the show's compelling brand of absurdity, we're keeping track of the most Billions-y things that happen on Billions this season. For highlights from the latest episode, brace yourselves and head below.

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Axe can't resist trying an experimental new drug that will make him feel limitless—you know, like the guy in that movie, "Limitless." Showtime/Jeff Neumann

This Episode Is Actually Titled "The Limitless S**t"

Yes, that title is indeed a reference to the 2011 Bradley Cooper flick Limitless. In that movie (which later became a short-lived TV series of its own), Cooper stars as a guy who takes a drug that improves his brain function to the nth degree. (Or, as Phyllis from The Office once put it, "Isn't that the one where the guy becomes limitless?") And that's exactly what goes down at Axe Capital this week—sort of. But we'll have more on that in a moment. For now, take a second to appreciate that episode title, which is just a peak Billions Bro move—even more so than calling this season's second episode "The Chris Rock Test."

Axe Takes a Drug Called "Vigilantrix," and It Lets Him See the Matrix

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When an actor who appeared in "The Irishman" tells you about a new "play" that you can make a killing on, just politely decline. Jeff Neumann/Showtime

So, about those limits! Louis Cancelmi's Victor tells Axe about something he picked up at a pharma conference: a new productivity-boosting drug called "Vigilantrix." (Yes, that's really what the show's writers decided on.) According to Victor, it dials you all the way in to whatever you're doing. "It's the Limitless s**t," he says, giving this episode its name.

Axe, naturally, can't resist, so he takes the pill, which is more Pepto-Bismol-colored than red, but we're still keeping an eye on it. Regardless of the pill's color, it has Axe's pupils fully dilated and him literally seeing numbers flying out at him, as if he can read the universe's code, man.

Soon enough, pretty much everyone on staff at Axe Cap is following their leader down the rabbit hole, and they're trying to corner "the rare mineral market." People are doing business, making trades and other... finance-type things, all while under the influence of a drug that has yet to be approved by the FDA.

Eventually, Asia Kate Dillon's Taylor Mason—who, luckily, was out of the office when everyone decided to run an impromptu clinical trial—realizes that all of their coworkers are tripping out of their minds and about to crater the entire hedge fund. Taylor convinces Axe to cease all business after a stern talking-to. "This drug is warping your judgement," they say. "This isn't the Limitless s**t, it's the Scarface s**t." So that title was a lie this whole time!

Chuck Tries Relating to His Students By Quoting Billie Eilish

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If you had to guess which song from Billie Eilish's debut album was Chuck's favorite, which would you pick? Jeff Neumann/Showtime

Chuck brings his students from Yale Law into his New York City office and tasks them with an assignment: Dig up dirt on the Secretary of Treasury, Danny Strong's Todd Krakow, so Chuck and Condola Rashad's Kate Sacker can build a case against him. That's all well and good, but more important is how Chuck tries to relate to the youngins.

"Oh, when I look out at you all, I'm reminded of my younger self," he says, "and in the words of your Billie Eilish, 'The best of me, the best of me, is you.'"

... We'll handle this the same way that Sacker does—by moving right along.

Todd Krakow Hears the Same Subway Screech as Michael Corleone

This week's savviest Godfather reference involves the aforementioned Mr. Krakow. In a ploy to get him to incriminate or sabotage himself, Chuck and Sacker meet with Krakow and tell him that, officially, they can't confirm there's an investigation. That's because there is no investigation of any kind involving Krakow or his cabinet-level associates, but they of course don't let Krakow know that. They simply plant the idea in his head that there is some sort of investigation.

Sure enough, the next time we see Krakow, he's freaking out in the middle of a meeting at the New York Fed. Every bit of innocuous back-slapping among besuited colleagues sends him deeper into panic, to the point where he's suddenly hearing the awful screech of a subway train in his head, exactly like Al Pacino's young Michael Corleone in The Godfather, right before he pops Sollozzo and McCluskey.

It's not the most overt nod to Francis Ford Coppola's classic in this episode—near the end, Axe explains what the phrase "go to the mattresses" means—but it is the most artful. Chuck and Sacker's plan works out exactly as they envision, too; when the subway noise becomes too much for Krakow to bear, he leaps to his feet and starts leveling accusations against people in his Fed meeting, saying that he won't be a part of a criminal conspiracy. Well, he also won't be a part of the Treasury Department any longer, either, because he's forced to leave his position before the episode's out.

And with Krakow out as Secretary of Treasury, that means Axe's scheme to start a bank has been derailed as well.

We'll have to wait and see what the fallout from all this is, though. Billions is going on hiatus after this week, because production on the fifth season was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully, the cast and crew will get to finish filming at some point this year, but for now, it's unclear when this season will resume. Until then!