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House of Lies Season 2 Ep. 11 Recap: 'Hostile Takeover'

Photo: Michael Desmond/SHOWTIME

As always, spoilers lie ahead…One episode away from the season finale, this week”s penultimate episode “Hostile Takeover” saw relationships fall apart and our foursome pull back together, raising the stakes both personally and professionally as Marty and The Pod plan to flee Galweather.

We open with a shot of Jeannie riding shotgun with Nate (The Dildo King), whom she called after she got a flat tire, to work. The two exchange sweet banter about flat tires and road side assistance before Jeannie takes off and is greeted in the elevator by the boys. Clyde makes a comment about being surprised Jeannie showed up, which causes Doug to marvel at the fact the entire Pod is in the exact same place at the exact time. Which probably happens, I don”t know, innumerable times throughout each work day? The moment seems primed for a standard “STFU Doug” from Clyde or Jeannie, but Marty hands the task off to a cleaning lady. Hi-fives are had all around.

Tamara and Marty walk into his office, where Marty unveils that he has a venture capitalist interested in bankrolling Kahn and Associates. Tamara is less excited though, and reminds him of the pending Carlson deal and how much is riding on closing it. Marty tries to assure her that she can handle Carlson on her own, and that all is well, but she pushes him to stay on. In light of forthcoming events, the real reason for her anxiety is pretty clear. But Marty”s so blinded by love/infatuation/sex that he ignores the red flags flapping in front of his face. “Do this for me,” she says, and promises to do “the unspeakable” if he comes through for her. Draw your own mental conclusions/pictures for that, “cause I”m kinda at a loss.

Back at the kids” table, Clyde is being, for lack of better word, a jealous prick, riding Jeannie for making “personal” calls to have her car towed. He”s doing his usual shtick of cloaking his insecurity in arrogance, bragging that his club expansion plan will bring mountains of after work to Galweather once he sits down with the Dushkin twins. That”s right, the douche boys are back in town.  Clyde gets in a low bow dig on his way out about Julianne”s Pod offer not being based on merit. Doug, with all the subtlety of a two-ton sledgehammer, gives his apologies for Jeannie”s car troubles, before using them to make a segue way that”s about as transparent as Saran Wrap as to why Jeannie should be Sarah”s “L.A. gal pal” and “Sex and The City it up.” Jeannie scolds him for his dated pop culture references.

Doug pleads for to give Sarah a chance, but before we hear him give a shout out to a Beatrix Kiddo/Copperhead-style meetup, some random club rap drowns him out, signaling the arrival of the Dushkins. Their entrance is about as douchey as you”d expect, as the twins strut in in garish shades, pimp canes, pseudo-tough guy swag and duds they probably got from dumpster diving in Ari Gold”s and Bishop Don Magic Juan”s trash. Jeannie tries to veer out of their eyesight, but is snared into the meeting anyway.

Clyde starts to talk about his plan to expand the Dushkin brand through global nightspots, but the boys want to go the P.Diddy route–clothing lines liquor, and cologne. Speaking of cologne, they”ve made a prototype and christened it Snatch by Dushkin. Which smells exactly like…well, you know. Marty enters and exchanges idiot hand signals before recoiling from Snatch“s scent and asking Jeannie what”s the deal with her lady parts. Jeannie shifts the blame to the bottle, and Marty declines a Snatch spritz, opting instead to take in the “contact Snatch.” The lesser of two evils I suppose.

Marty changes to the topic to Carlson, and the twins explain he”s not happy with Marty at the moment, being that he blew him off for the P&G deposition. “When it comes to business he”s an extremely sensitive

soul,” one of the twins says. I”d settle on a lunatic insulated by enough money to live in his own pissy ferett, manic-depressive world, but that”s just me. Like Tamara, the twins have a lot riding on this deal, and pressure Marty not to screw it up. After Marty leaves, Clyde tries to shift the conversation back to a viable business strategy but the Dushkins have their hearts set on Snatch and set off to do a little focus group around the office.

Jeannie mocks Clyde until she can stand the stench no more and books it to the ladies” room. Julianne pops out of a stall, and zeroes in for her patented face-to-face intimidation until she gets a whiff of snatch and recoils. Hey, maybe it does have a benefit. Julianne”a off her game a bit anyway; her cool exterior cracks as she tells Jeannie she went to a business school reunion and learned from old classmate Karen Anderson, CEO of Demarc Consulting in New York, and according to Julianne, “the most passive aggressive narcissist you will ever meet (hmmm, better take a look in the mirror sister)” that one of her girls is making a move. Jeannie assures her she”s isn”t planning on making a move anywhere, and Julianne, regaining her terrifying aura, goes on a rant about New York. “I do not understand. People can think they can fuck me over,” she seethes, making the trash can top spring up with a steely step of her heel, “and get away with it.” She walks off, leaving Jeannie wide-eyed and frightened in her wake.

Mary heads out to meet his venture capitalist, but gets ambushed by Carlson, who has a copy of the deal in Vegas and will sign it, if Marty will ride with him. Marty agrees and the two set off on a bizarro road trip that ends with them in the dessert. Carlson asks Marty if he”s ever run into a problem he couldn”t solve and proceeds to unlock the back of his Hummer, revealing a stash of high-powered guns. Given how unstable Carlson is, I wouldn”t blame Marty for thinking he was about to sleep with the scorpions.

Back at the office, Sarah has arrived for her BFF tryout with Jeannie. After attempting to commiserate on boss-employee affairs, during which Jeannie mistakes the Rainmaker reference for Marty, Sarah spots Tamara and engages some horrible, fake junior high “ugh we hate her” spiel before waving to Tamara as she passes by. “No wonder her husband left and moved to New York,” Sarah says, causing Jeannie to put two and two together and tell Sarah she needs to make a phone call. Sarah interprets this as Jeannie attempting to blow her off, and drops the act, explaining she only went through with the whole “let”s be friend” charade because she loves Doug.

This seems to leave an impression on Jeannie, and she makes a call to the man she loves. Nate? Of course not. Marty, who”s getting a mouthful of the watermelons he”s setting up in the desert for Carlson to shoot at. Fun right? Jeannie reveals a source told her Tamara has taken a job with DeMarc in New York. Which also explains her reason for wanting to close the Carlson deal so badly. Marty”s hurt by Tamara”s betrayal, and is likely more than a little shocked–he”s used to being the user, not the one getting used. As Tamara reminded Marty and told us back in “When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth,” Marty hates being on the receiving end of a surprise. Probably even more so from someone he genuinely cared for. I mean who else besides April has he wanted to introduce to Roscoe?

Marty being Marty, his hurt lasts for about one point two seconds before he switches into revenge/conqueror mode. First on the list is ditching Carlson, which he does by duping him into thinking he”s actually having a good time blowing watermelons to bits, then taking off in his car. True to crazy-ass form, Carlson flips out and takes a shot at Marty as he drives away. Next is dropping by rival casino owner Mr. Pincus, pitching the  online gambling he rejected in the season opener and explaining that not only are all the successful casinos doing it, but Carlson wants to take his under performing casino over.

I groaned when I first saw this playing out. Fooling Pincus once by putting out the Carlson bait and him taking it once, shame on him. Putting it out there twice, shame on the writers. It felt lazy and unrealistic that a successful businessman wouldn”t want proof his most hated rival was really trying to sabotage him. Fortunately Marty provided proof in the form of Carlson”s cell phone–left in his car no less, but I”ll roll with the convenient plot manipulation–that contained the numbers of city officials. City officials who”ve done things like deny Pincus permits to keep him from renovating. Pincus”s desire for revenge beats his stubbornness to resist technology and a deal is struck.

Clyde”s still struggling to make the Dushkin twins see Snatch cologne and man scaping products for boys aren”t exact the stuff global brands are made of. Deciding a divide and conquer strategy would be better (and pretty easy, considering they have one brain between them) he convinces one twin the other is jealous and trying to drag him down the wrong path. Or something like that. The twin buys it hook, line and BS, and Clyde strikes a deal. Unbeknownst to him though, is that all his trickery is for naught, now that the Carlson deal is dead in the water and the brothers won”t be getting that hefty finder”s fee from Carlson. Since she”s in the know, Jeannie tries to temper his excitement, but Clyde”s jerkiness wears her down and she leaves him to his delusions. Jeannie tells her that Sarah really loves him, and Doug concurs, causing Jeannie”s mind to drift to thoughts of Marty.

Marty arrives home to find Jeremiah staring out at Tamara, who”s alone on the terrace. After crushing his dad”s hope that Tamara”s not exactly wifey material, he offers Tamara a glass of wine, and fills her in on the details of his latest coup. Tamara stammers and says she would have told him about New York. “Sorry I hurt your feelings,” she says in a voice that”s all business. He cuts through her crap and says she screwed him. In a sad, ironic moment, she says, “How far did you think this thing was gonna go? You think I don”t know who you are? I know exactly who Marty Kahn is.”

Apparently she didn”t know him as well as she thought.  In fact, the last line makes her entire dalliance with Marty suspect. At first she criticized him for selling out, then encouraged him to strike on his own, but didn”t believe in him enough as a businessman or a boyfriend to go further down either road with him. Was she really in love with him and got scared, or was she being manipulative all along? Her trepidation is understandable–after all, this is the same man who paid own his brother to go away, tap danced to cover up racist business practices by corporate imbeciles and stole his then-pregnant wife”s prospective client while she was in labor with his child. He”s got issues aplenty. But he was also equally willing to run off with Tamara and at least try to build a life with her. In the end though, Monica was right in that neither walked away unscathed.

Interspersed with Marty and Tamara”s breakup are shots of Jeannie and Nate getting down with the get down. All would be beautiful in this love nest except that Jeannie can”t help but blabber about Marty and Tamara. Or about Tamara”s betrayal. Or about how wrong Tamara is for not being straight up with Marty about going back to her husband. Talking about your boss”s love life while banging your current sorta boyfriend? Girl stop the madness! And she does (in mid coitus no less), knowing that Nate was a good guy for which there was no logical reason to break up with, but knowing herself well enough to (finally!) acknowledge her feelings for Marty.

Marty makes a call to Jeannie to assemble the troops at the office. Cut to a shot of Marty greeting the rest of the Pod and telling them to soak Galweather in. “Come this time tomorrow. We know longer work here.” Honestly, I was kinda let down at the sight of Doug and Clyde. On one hand, it”s great the Pod is sticking together and hatching a grand escape. On the other hand, it would been great to see the tensions play out between Clyde and Marty after the latter basically destroyed the business he schemed so hard to get. It also would have been interesting to see what the fallout would have been if Marty found out about Doug”s solo success. If anything, the second scenario would have left a much bigger cliffhanger for next week”s finale. But I”m sure Julianne will bring the drama.

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5 Legacy Comments

  • Comment by Absurdist posted April 06, 2013 at 00:36

    Okay, I’m just gonna say it, and then I’ll finish reading the recap.

    The Dushkin twins? Like most douches, they’re compensating for something. I’m betting that when they get completely shitfaced, after they’ve run off even the least desirable of the girls in their clubs with their unbelievable boorishness, they go home, drink even more, and then take turns fucking each other.

  • Comment by Absurdist posted April 06, 2013 at 00:42

    Oh, and the Dushkins only have about two-thirds of a brain between them.

  • Comment by Absurdist posted April 06, 2013 at 00:53

    1) Yeah. Unstable as she is, Monica’s not completely stupid.
    2) Tamara: perhaps inconsistently so, but manipulative from the jump. She wanted to play the girlfriend card even when Marty was pushing for a three-way, because she needed his attention all to herself to accomplish the Carlson deal.
    3) I’m curious about how this season finale is going to out-do last season’s. Julianne has been a bitch, but she’s not been as blatantly inappropriate and unprofessional as Marco Pelios, so it’s not as though anyone can just blow her out of the water. I think it’s likely that she could be around for parts of season three, because I really don’t think she’ll be through with Marty by a longshot. She will be after his balls in a big way, such that Tamara may actually go under the radar (assuming Tamara doesn’t try to fuck Marty’s life up herself).
    4) I can’t believe they’ve let the whole race thing go so utterly. Anvils dropping so heavily usually leave holes in the floor, and all that can’t have been only about building tension with Malcolm.

  • Comment by Digg.com posted April 07, 2013 at 13:11

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  • Comment by Kevin posted April 08, 2013 at 22:26

    @Absurdist: You’re probably right about the Dushkins, but hopefully they aren’t crossing the line to incest town. And you’re right in that they did drop the race issue for all intents and purposes with Malcom’s exit.

    @Digg: Thanks for the compliments. Nice to know the recaps are being sent out into the black void.