Indies And The Underground

"Exposing New Music To The Blog-Reading Masses"

House Of Lies Season 3 Ep. 6 ‘Middlegame’

Photo Credit: Showtime

Oh what a tangled web we weave. After manipulating Dolla Hyde co-owner Lucas (T.I.) into creating a  new shoe line completely separate from the rest of the company–essentially pushing him out with a worthless product–Marty, Lucas’ partner Dre (Mekhi Phifer) and the rest of the Pod’s carefully laid plans come crashing down in “Middlegame.”

While it’s visited its share of bars, season three of House of Lies, has, until now, been largely bereft of the club and casino scenes of the first two seasons, where our crew would mix their penchant for deceit with debauched shenanigans. “Middlegame,” the entirety of which takes place at what Marty dubs “The Dolla Hyde Trojan Horse Party,” is a glorious reminder of the hilarious insanity that can ensue when you stick these people (and the clients they represent) in a room with strobe lights and alcohol.

All is going smoothly at first; everyone is sipping champagne at the Trojan Horse Party, a weirdly themed, trying-too-hard-to-be-arty affair featuring a giant chess board with models dressed like couture-meets-Victorian-era Spy Guy pieces. The whole thing reeks, as it was no doubt meant to, of some third-rate rip off of a Kanye West set piece circa My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. But I digress. Lucas is toasting to his destined-to-fail-product, encouraging his recently neutered dog to hump a waiter’s leg. Jeannie’s bonding with Katelyn by telling Doug it was racially offensive to bring dark chocolates as a gift, which he (of course) stupidly buys hook, line and sinker. And Marty’s still deep in the bromance haze with Dre.

At least until Dre attempts some mental jujitsu of his own, sending a guy to pose as one of Lucas’ henchman to follow Marty around and tell him Lucas knows of their plot, all in an effort to test his loyalty. Not cool, at least to Marty, who attempts to ream Dre out only to be met with an “it’s just business” brush off. And it’s hard not argue to with him; though he apologizes later, Dre makes the valid point that Marty would run similar game if he was in his position. As we know, Dolla Hyde is his baby, and handing even one of the reins over to someone else is scary. Marty, recognizing that perhaps he momentarily mixed real human feelings of friendship with business, accepts his explanation.

Unfortunately, shit is already well on its way to hitting the fan by that point. You see, Katelyn and Lucas did a little bonding of their own over being sneakerheads, and when the latter offers the former the chance to the head up the consulting work on the account, all she can choke out is a tell-tale “oh.” She didn’t say “I don’t want the job because it’ll be like booking a double suite on the Titanic,” but Lucas picked up on her tone and body language nonetheless.

Look, I get Lucas had to have some clue to tip him off to Dre’s scheme, but I have a hard time believing Marty or Jeannie would ever pass such sensitive information on to an underling. Wouldn’t the whole ruse have worked easier if only the inner circle knew the truth?  But what’s done is done. Once Lucas senses treachery is afoot, he puts the pieces together at startling speed, telling Jeannie in between kisses (oh yeah, Jeannie and Lucas kissed–how’s Marty gonna like them apples?) how the whole party and the motorcycle Dre gives him as gift are just bigger versions of the jewelry his partner gave as parting gifts to jump-offs in his single days.

Things go from bad to worse when Lucas’ crew find his dog dead after getting into some dark chocolate a certain numb nut *cough* Doug *cough* left under a table. Then a plastered Doug confesses to bringing about the canine’s demise while simultaneously making an ass of himself. Already pissed, Lucas spots Marty and Dre yucking it up and snaps. He runs over to Dre and cold clocks him, and well, the Trojan horse has been exposed.

Clyde is back in the fold, but barely. He’s been reduced to sipping bottled water (he’s abstaining from spirits at the moment) and taking verbal jabs from Will, who’s lecherous and douchey in the same way Clyde is, but has better luck with the ladies thanks to his frat-boy looks. Marty’s still holding him at arm’s length, reminding him the only reason he’s back in his not-good-at-all graces is a promise of bringing in his new girlfriend/former media mogul Marissa’s company. The universe throws him a bit of bone when a drunk Will pukes all over Jeannie’s heels, but it’s small consolation for being number one on Marty Kahn’s shit list.

Jeannie needles him, as is her way, but utters a few telling words about her current feelings, both professional and personal toward Marty. “The idea behind it,” she says of his horrible decision to work for Monica, “not putting all of your eggs in the Marty Kahn basket. That was smart.” Judging from her behavior with Lucas, both in “Middlegame” and in next week’s episode, it looks like Jeannie is taking a similar approach.

Add A Comment