Monday, January 21, 2013

House of Lies Season 2 Episode 2: When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth' Recap



As always, spoilers are ahead...

Last week our gang landed a casino account with one Mr. Pincus after much subterfuge and pulling many a thing out of their asses. If season one showed us anything, the Pod knows how to cut loose, so Sin City is the perfect setting for more misadventures.

Marty, Clyde and Doug are out in Vegas to check out Mr. Pincus' casino while Jeannie meets with interim CEO Julianne for a little pow-wow. Julianne gives her spiel about rebuilding the company and cultivating the best people and all that jazz. But she missteps when saying she just met Jeannie--but ah ha!--Jeannie worked as a volunteer for her failed run for governor. Julianne tries to change the subject, but Jeannie twists the knife further, calculating the $100 million she spent on her campaign to four hundred million quarters.

In a last effort to keep it cordial but firm, Julianne says she feels Jeannie is not "embracing the spirit" of what she's offering. Which allows Jeannie to cut through the crap and lay out what they both know to be true: Julianne isn't interested in mentoring her, but only in finding a way to get rid of her so she and the other whistle blowers in the "Rainmaker" sex scandal won't sue. An "oh snap" seems in order for our girl, but not so fast. Without skipping a beat, Julianne tells Jeannie she won't sue because it would make her poison in the industry, and that while if wouldn't be good idea to fire all the whistle blowers, it wouldn't hurt them to can one.

Jeannie maintains her game face while Julianne needles her about her work performance not slipping and makes a dinosaur metaphor. But Julianne's an old pro and has her psychological ace in the hole. The new females she hired came highly recommended by--guess who?--Marty, "Whose opinion I know you trust quite a bit," she says, pouring salt on the wounded look on her face. Jeannie gives her glare and says "is that supposed to scare me?," in her steeliest voice, but Julianne's not finished. "The hot shot young consultant on the face track to partner who starts fuckin' her boss just in case. A girl like that. She's not afraid of anything," she says, with same sunny smile on her face as she whisks Jeannie out the door. Checkmate Julianne.

Meanwhile the boys go to meet with Mr. Pincus, whose secretary tells them their associate is already in his office. The guys think it's Jeannie, but surprise, its Marty's old business school classmate Tamara, aka Nia Long *claps with queenly delight.* But back to the recap at hand.The meeting starts out pretty routine, until Clyde puts his foot in his mouth by suggesting Pincus remodel his casino like the Vibrato. More on that later.

In the elevator post-meeting, Tamara spills a little tea on she and Marty's college days at Berkeley. Apparently he was fond of rocking cornrows and playing "Smoke On The Water." Marty tries a little intimidation, telling her hates surprises. But Tamara doesn't flinch and hits him where he lives, telling him he loves surprises, but only when he's not on the receiving end. She's been out of the consulting game for a minute and is hell bent on making a name for herself. "Don't worry I not hear to outshine you" she says. To which Marty fires back "well don't worry if you were boo, because I'm the goddamn sun." And it's on like Donkey Kong.

Marty meets Jeannie in the lobby, and they trade a few jokes about her sleeping with Julianne. Light banter turns to awkward silence about their drunken night, and they decide to let the awkwardness linger. Cut to Clyde and Doug at the buffet table, where Doug goes on some long rant about the cost of laying out pimento loaf versus shrimp and how we're all being hustled by restaurants. Not that I don't love a good food conspiracy, but it's just shrimp dude. It's not that deep. Anyway, they join Jeannie at the table, who gets about a five-second heads up on Tamara before she walks up to their table. "Jeannie yes, your legend proceeds you," she says, getting in the first shot of shade.

Before the claws can really come out though, a security guard accosts Doug for being in a betting area. Since he's been banned from all of them for a card counting scam he helped conceive back in the day. Shocking right? I mean Doug seems so nerdy/slightly creepy around women/innocent right? Except for when it's revealed Doug gave his ill-gotten gains away to the homeless and then tried to get them back by arguing blankets would put the homeless at a disadvantage when they "returned to nature." Oh Doug. He's willing to go quietly at first, but the ish really hits the fan when he can't take his beloved shrimp. Arm twisting, shouting and slurping a shrimp with his mouth ensues as Jeannie and Clyde look on in delight. Meanwhile Tamara is horrified, both by Doug being led away and her other two co-workers' reaction. Welcome to the Pod girl.

Later, Marty and Clyde go to the club and run into the Dushkin twins. Insert your own douchebag joke here. And the two definitely live up to their last name, embodying every douchey (for lack of of a better made up word) stereotype of someone you've likely witnessed by someone showing their ass in the club. But they aren't completely useless. The boys own the club and know Carlson, aka the owner of Vibrato and Pincus's nemesis.

The next day, the Pod has a strategy meeting. Jeannie suggests remodeling the casino, while Tamara thinks going the social media route via a gambling app would better. Jeannie and Tamara exchange barbs until Marty breaks things up and chooses the remodel. Jeannie should be happy, but breaking her self-imposed drinking ban with a gin and tonic says otherwise. At dinner that evening, the team is on the same page with Mr. Pincus until Tamara says their idea is terrible. Marty pulls her aside and she explains their plan would but Pincus under. Marty, of course, doesn't give two craps if their strategy brings in more dollars or brings on the wrecking ball.

Tamara however, actually cares about not blowing up every bridge behind her and --gasp!--giving clients a honest answer, and says going along with their decision would tarnish her brand. Marty counters and pulls out "the Pod trumps all" card. "I thought you were smarter than this," he says. But again, Tamara flips things around, telling Marty he's the short-sighted one for valuing today's payday over long-term relationships with clients and a future that may not include Galweather--if he ever leaves Galweather. "What's that supposed to mean?" Marty asks, opening the door for Tamara to criticize him for "dropping checks into the laps of people you hate," and settling for "a pat on the head."

Their conversation reveals another layer of Marty's past. It looks as though at one time he aspired to mix a little ethics and moral conscience with his business. We already know he's sold his soul, or at least is well on his way there. But is he in so deep he can't see the beyond cutting one client's throat to get to the next? It's an echo of what Skip told him last season about having to deal with all the damage he leaves in his wake. Marty counters by saying he vanquished his foes (vanquishing foes? Awesome) at the firm and has for all intents and purposes, made Galweather his bitch. No arguments here. But it's clear she touched a nerve.

Back at the table, Marty tries to sell the social media strategy and manipulate Pincus by saying they already pitched the plan to someone else, and letting Pincus falsely connect the dots to Carlson. But it backfires and Pincus leaves. Too bad, so sad Tamara. Of course, Marty and a drunken Jeannie know the answer to their problem. Carlson! Carlson! Carlson!

The Pod heads back to same club as the night before to find him. Marty learns that the Dushkin twins are planning on opening some clubs in the Vibrato, so it looks like he and Clyde will be partaking in more douchebaggery soon enough. Jeannie spots Tamara at the party and, pissed that she'd even show her face, as well as trying to forget about dropping the L bomb to Marty, she's off to have a little fun with the DJ. But one glance at Marty while spinning on a turntable makes her remember that he said "I love you too," that night.

Crap this isn't going to end well.






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