Close The Door
House of Lies Season 1 Episode 12 recap
I like to think I'm a pretty decent traveller. I'm not a two flights a week type, but I fly a fair bit, and know the drill. Move fast and efficiently, and have your work nearby so each time you have to change locations you can start up again. But all airports are not created equal. Dulles was my particular nightmare, but I was in the Tampa airport last night as I checked in with my friends from Gallweather Stearn. Tampa is not a commuter airport, particularly. It's not like an O'Hare or LaGuardia or somewhere people have a strong sense of urgency. So it occurred to me, as I looked around, that being in environments like these is what makes Marty and his team think they're so superior: they have things like travel down to a science and they also have massive exposure to the parts of America whose money they're manipulating every day. It matters. It makes them who they are.
Goodbye first season of House Of Lies, which I came to love. You were often uneven, but always compelling, with people who felt like real people, doing things that were interesting, not attractive. I like that all these people are so good at what they do. I loved that Clyde was in the "25 under 30". Monica is evil, probably, but she's good at what she does, and she relishes it, and it's part of her self-esteem. This is the first time in a while that a program which shows us the evils of being a workaholic also shows us the glories. It treats its maybe-horrible, certainly-talented central characters with respect and honours why they feel their dubious talents are important and worth exploring. I might be the only one, but I think this is unusual. People always talk about how the best stories come from family and friends, but doesn't that shape who you are when you go to work, where you spend over 50% of your day?
As for the big reveal - that Marty knew Jeannie was their “Norma Rae” - well, at the risk of saying I said so, I really liked that he was the one who was able to read her and know she could bring down the Rainmaker. It's exactly who he is, and who she is, too. Which is a nice victory for them both (and definitely shades of Veronica Mars, right?) but I wish we had had Jeannie alone for a little while longer, create a little more tension before she was joined by the other women. It was a little too fast.
But there's no lack of tension, because also too fast was Wes's descent into hurtful asshole; but this didn't feel like a misstep. There is exactly this kind of guy who is supportive and empathetic and wonderful until he's hurt, and then he will strike hard and fast to crush you so you don't dream of thinking you hurt him. What a stupid thing to think. Why would you think that? You're obviously stupid.
While Roscoe's leaving felt a little constructed to me, I can buy that he's getting older and he always did know the way to hurt Marty; I'm just not buying that that one's going to stick. Now that she got what she wanted, will Monica really actually want Roscoe? This, too, was also the first episode where the gimmickry bothered me a little. The speeding back and forth was fine, but unnecessary, and it gave the show an... 80's quality, maybe? Between that and the dancing on clouds and the long machine gun sequence, it was probably a little much but it was also giving the guys who do that stuff a chance to go wild, finally, at the end of the season. It just wasn't what makes the show memorable.
What will stay, however, is the ramification of that last scene with Jeannie. We all knew this. We knew that she and Marty were the same, that they think and breathe the same way. And maybe it was only a matter of time before they stared at what was going on between them in the face. But this isn't a relationship in the making. The line "Is a house really a home when your loved ones are gone?", which was beautifully placed, reminds us that these two have come to the most logical port in a storm. But they'll never trust each other enough to be each other's other halves - they're far too similar for that. Also, I have to give a nod to how “Out Of Sight” that scene was and I would bet money the drinking scene with Clooney and Lopez was the inspiration for this one, and I really relished it.
It is, of course, also completely clear that this show was carried on Cheadle's shoulders with an assist from Bell, and I have never enjoyed him as much as I do here. The guys though are completely great, and I'd be interested to know whether the show is doing anything for their careers. Ben Schwartz is, of course, a commodity in his own right, but will this show rocket Josh Lawson to notoriety? What about the incredible, and sorely missed, Megalyn Echikunwoke as April, who I couldn't have predicted I would love so much?
These are always strange experiences, the shows you love that don't register with most people. But I know the faithful connected with this show, and there's no wonder. It aims really, really high. Thank you for all your emails about this and what an odd and unexpected pleasure this show was. But quit looking into a consulting career; nobody's as funny as Clyde or Doug out there.
Attached - Kristen Bell on Saturday at the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative meeting at George Washington university.