'Goliath' Series Finale Recap and Ending Explained: What Happened to Billy McBride?
That’s it for Billy McBride. The final season of Goliath dropped on Amazon Prime Video on Sept. 24, bringing to a close the story of Billy Bob Thornton’s alcoholic Los Angeles lawyer. So, how did the show wrap things up for Billy?
[Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Goliath Season 4 finale, “It’s Time.”]
Billy, Patty, and Sam take down Zax Pharma in the ‘Goliath’ Season 4 finale
Much of Goliath’s series-ending episode took place in the courtroom, as Sam Margolis (Jena Malone) and Patty Solis-Papagian (Nina Arianda) faced off against crooked, greedy pharmaceutical exec George Zax (J.K. Simmons).
George took the stand, and on cross-examination, Sam got him to admit that his brother had been working on a non-addictive opioid. He also testified that he’d acted on the advice of outside counsel — namely, Billy — when deciding to halt development of the painkiller. That opens the door for Billy to testify about his work with Zax. And when Sam cross-examines Billy, she makes a stunning decision. Thanks to Billy, she knows George was behind Tom True’s (Elias Koteas) death. She opts to expose her own involvement in George’s plot in order to take him down.
Billy initially refuses to help Sam implicate herself. But when Patty takes over questioning, he explains that Sam was working with George the entire time. Billy was brought onto the case because he was one of the only people who knew about the non-addictive drug they’d failed to develop, which proved that they knew their other drug, Trimodone, was addictive. Sam and George knew he wouldn’t be able to break attorney-client privilege and use that information against the company.
Zax Pharma ordered to pay $14 billion in damages
Billy then drops another bombshell, revealing the payoffs George and his co-conspirators gave to Margolis & True for throwing the case. However, Billy emphasizes that George exploited Sam and she’s not really at fault.
The jury orders Zax to pay damages of $14 billion. An irate George approaches Sam. He accuses her of scamming him out of $2 billion, but she just laughs, knowing she’s likely going to prison.
The case is over, but Billy has one more trick up his sleeve. He gives Rob (Brandon Scott) a copy of the surveillance video that shows Tom’s abduction, suggesting that George and his cronies will soon be facing criminal charges.
Billy says goodbye to Brittany and Patty
The final episode of Goliath also features the show’s main characters all going their separate ways. Early in the episode, Billy and Brittany (Tania Raymonde) say a bittersweet goodbye, though it’s nice to see the long-suffering Brittany get a happy ending. She’s returning to Chicago with her boyfriend. She tearfully tells Billy she can’t worry about him anymore, but she thinks he’ll be OK.
After the trial, Billy and Patty also say goodbye. She’s staying in San Francisco, on her way to becoming a named partner at Margolis & True and having finally gotten the recognition she deserves as a lawyer.
“I want you to know that in my mind, I’m giving you a hug right now,” Patty says. Billy doesn’t quite have the words to express what Patty means to him, but that’s fine, because she knows how he feels.
Billy makes a choice in the final moments of ‘Goliath’
It was clear at the start of this season of Goliath that Billy and his daughter Denise (Diana Hopper) fell out during his recovery from the season 3 shooting. But what exactly went down was a mystery until the finale. In a flashback at the beginning of the episode, we learn that Billy’s determination to drink himself to death led his daughter to cut ties for good.
All season, Billy was wavering between the land of the living and dead. Now, having helped win the case he seemed to have been brought back to work on, it briefly looks like he might be ready to give up on life. The mysterious woman he’s been seeing around San Francisco shows up at this door. The woman — Death — hands him a ticket and tells him it’s time.
Next, Billy is back in Hadleyville. The noon train he’s been waiting for all season finally arrives. The conductor — portrayed by Julie Brister, aka Marva — escorts him aboard. She warns him it’s a one-way ticket, then shows him to a seat across from his late father (Robert Patrick), who urges him to get off the train.
Billy takes his father’s advice. As the train pulls out of the station, he sees his former partner Cooperman (William Hurt), whom we saw briefly earlier in the season, when he implied he didn’t have long to live.
Billy wakes up from his dream. He leaves his dreary San Francisco apartment, while in a voiceover we hear Jack Kerouac reading his poem “October in the Railroad Earth.” In the episode’s final moments, Billy’s back at Chez Jay. Denise walks through the door and he turns to greet her with a smile. While we don’t know if they’ve fully repaired their relationship, they’re at least on the road to reconciliation. It’s a surprisingly optimistic, but still satisfying, ending for a character who has experienced a great deal of darkness over the past four seasons.
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