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House of Lies Season 3 Ep. 9 ‘Zhang’

After putting the Dolla Hyde drama on the back burner last week, Lucas and Dre’s volatile partnership comes in to once again shake up Kahn and Associates’ world in “Zhang,” an episode that finds both Marty and Roscoe having their eyes opened to those close to them.

When we last left the former best friends, Lucas was holding Dolla Hyde hostage by firing senior staff, stopping payments on checks and generally fucking shit up. After a visit by the Pod to his hoodrich mega mansion went nowhere, Jeannie, with the help of a little sexy pool time, convinced Lucas to sell his share of the company. All would seem well, except his price tag is $150 million, which Dre does not have.

Which brings us to Marty hitting the links with Dre, scheming of ways to come up with the money. A tall order, as Lucas’ felon status has made it virtually impossible to wrangle any bank into sorting out their mess. Dre brings up Zhang, a rich Chinese businessman who, with a little butt-kissing, will buy Lucas out and become a silent backer. Marty tells him to pucker up, and Dre is off to China to close the deal.

Or is he? Enter Lucas busting into Kahn and Associates with a camera crew in tow. He knows Dre is in China, but the real reason for his visit is to take the Pod on a guided tour of their his stomping grounds in Compton. Marty declines but Jeannie accepts, and the gang spends the day viewing spots like Dolla Hyde’s original manufacturing/distribution building, the school yard where a childhood friend was shot and the storefront that served as inspiration for the company name, before finally ending up at the original headquarters.

Mixed in with the sight seeing and reminiscing are jibes from Lucas about how Dre has lost touch with his street-corner roots. But what first come off as backhanded insults are really the preamble to his grand reveal: there’s Lucas, not in China, sitting in a dank backroom making a seedy deal with the neighborhood loan shark. No one in the Pod is pleased–Dre is now legally tarnished, making the possibility of an IPO almost non-existent–but Marty takes it the most personally. As Jeannie has pointed out time and time again, Marty viewed Dre differently than most clients (how many business associates’ homes has he visited, let alone brought Roscoe to?); he knew Dre had a sketchy past, but thought he’d left it behind, and seeing him pulling a stunt worthy of Lucas visibly shakes him. Dre had the Huxtable-esque wife and kids, the house, the vineyard, but when his back was against the wall, he reverted to what he knew.

As for Lucas, he never planned to sell, so the best the Pod can do is figure out a way to consult for two partners who hate each other. All in all a good day at the office.

Roscoe’s day didn’t go much better. Sneaking behind Marty’s back to see Lex, he gets an invite to a krump off of sorts (are the kids still krumping?), which Lex disses and dismisses. All the adults in his life can see Lex for the controlling, negative guy he is (though getting a glimpse of his sad home life, where he must dress as a girl and answer to Michele, provides some context for his behavior), but Roscoe, because of his relationship inexperience and youth, can’t yet. Jeremiah helps him out by agreeing to drive he and Lex to the krumping–to which Lex snottily says “we didn’t say we were going”–so his grandson can figure things out for himself. Lex doesn’t waste anytime shooting himself in the foot, embarrassing Roscoe in front of the older kids and calling him a biter (not in The Walking Dead sense, but in the “you copy other people dance moves” one ) until Roscoe can’t take it and bolts.

When he comes home, Marty is ready to dish out a “don’t ever defy me boy” tongue lashing. But he can barely lift off on his rant before a tearful Roscoe collapses into his arms. Marty knows what happened without him saying a word; it doesn’t mean Roscoe won’t be punished, or that he isn’t angry with him. But after a day of being let down by others, an embrace of the familiar, imperfect as it is, is what both of them need.

Other Thoughts:

—Monica has enlisted the Pod’s services for a new protein shake she claims is going to blow up because it’s popularity among Milennials. Not sure if she’s really knows her stuff or if she’s just grasping at straws (was it me or did she come off a bit like she popped a Valium before strolling in), but having Monica interact with anyone is guaranteed to set off fireworks, so I’m all for it.

–Having Roscoe see the real Lex at the krumping event was a nice, subtle call-back to Marty’s dream earlier in the season, which involved Roscoe krumping in the middle of a dangerous construction site.

–For all the bad blood between them, the moment when Dre acknowledges to Lucas they’re longer friends and he agrees was sad, as for a brief second you saw just how much it hurts for these two men to admit a truth they’ve both likely known for some time.




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