On Showtime, Billions season 4 has premiered and Bobby Axelrod is already making horrible decisions. In Billions, Damian Lewis portrays the founder of Axe Capital, an alpha male with a unique circle of faux friends. Based on the mogul's heightened sense of importance and unchecked ambition, Axe will likely spiral out of control in Billions season 4.
In Billions season 3, a non-binary prodigy named Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon) left Axe Capital to form her own company, Taylor Mason Capital. Meanwhile, Axe formed an alliance with his former nemesis Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti). The Billions season 4 premiere, however, highlights the internal chaos of the main characters, with Axe appearing to be the most vulnerable, despite his wealth and history of calculated power moves.
Bobby Axelrod impressively manages conflict in the Billions season 4 premiere, but he also struggles with his ego. Taking that into account, as well as previous story elements, it seems that Axe will ultimately be his own downfall in Billions season 4.
Axe’s COO Mike “Wags” Wagner (David Costabile) always provides excellent comedic relief on Billions. In the Billions season 4 premiere, however, Wags’ questionable sense of humor offends a Qadir emissary named Farhad - and within the fictional country’s U.S. embassy. Bad move. For the most part, Axe can handle Wags being Wags, but the COO’s behavior is especially problematic in the Billions season 4 premiere, at least given the rise of Taylor Mason Capital and the stakes at play.
Whereas Taylor compromises to land a meeting with the Qadir sheikh (she wears a wig and dress), Wags gets drugged and used as business leverage. Because Axe is fiercely loyal to Wags, he manages to reach a temporary agreement but also finds himself face to face with the dangerous Russian billionaire Grigor Andolov (John Malkovich) - and within the Qadir embassy. Wags’ erratic behavior is the first red flag to Axe's downfall in Billions season 4.
Axe and Grigor aren’t exactly best friends, that much is known. In Billions season 3, the Russian offers to kill Taylor, but Axe can’t go through with such an extreme move. As a result, the macho Grigor loses respect for Axe and ultimately funds none other than Taylor Mason Capital. The Billions season 4 premiere ends with Grigor warning Axe to stay away. It's not a suggestion but rather a command. Of course, Wags proceeds to fuel his boss’ ego, and it seems evident that Axe will indeed do everything he can to systematically defeat Taylor and Grigor in Billions season 4. However, chances are that Grigor won’t go away without causing some major damage to Axe Capital. To be clear, Billions probably won’t kill off Wags, but the showrunners may indeed kill off someone close to Axe, and all because he doesn't take Grigor's warning seriously.
Based on the Billions season 4 premiere, Axe will inevitably need a favor from Chuck at some point, even if the former U.S. Attorney doesn’t have the same clout anymore. In fact, Billions underlines Chuck’s comical decline in the latest episode, as he goes about town making deals while using a free city-wide parking pass as leverage. Since Chuck seems desperate, he's perhaps willing to throw Axe under the bus in Billions season 4. It wouldn't be out of character.
For now, Axe may need Chuck as the wildcard up his sleeve. Chuck does know how to get things done, after all. Looking ahead, Billions season 4 will likely mask Axe’s self-destruction with the self-destruction of others, such as with Wags and Chuck. Now, it's just a matter of which character will force Axe into a desperate move, one that will spark the story for Billions season 5 and Axe's downfall - but also perhaps set the stage for his subsequent rise back to power.