A Look at House of Lies- Season 3, Episode 5: “Soldiers”

Time to break the boys apart! If last week’s episode showed us the strain of longstanding relationships, this week’s “Soldiers” focused on trying to fix broken bonds. It focused on realizing how good our lives can be, but we don’t see the big picture until we’re either reminded of it or until our way of life is threatened.

Soldiers- Chantelle's first appearance

The episode begins with Marty firing some golf balls off of his rooftop.  Perfectly legal, I assume.  As he heads into the kitchen, he spots a semi-clothed woman sporting one of his shirts.  Roscoe comes out and informs Marty that the woman, named Chantelle, played by Alice Hunter, is Jeremiah’s new friend.

Out comes Jeremiah, clad in just a towel, who informs Marty that Chantelle is a therapist and currently finishing her doctorate.  Jeremiah met her at a talk he gave- what does Jeremiah do in his free time?- and wants her to feel welcome.

To make Marty’s day worse, Monica is at the door, as she’s arrived to pick up Roscoe.  She has a cane this time, so I guess it doesn’t take much time for a stab to the thigh to heal.

Soldiers- Clyde meets with his psychiatrist

Having few people to turn to, Clyde relays his problems to a psychiatrist, played by Romy Rosemont.  He shares his horror stories of working for top tier management consulting firms.  He knows fear.  The psychiatrist suggests Marty may be the root of the problems, but Clyde is focused on finding a big move that will get him back in Marty’s good graces.

Soldiers- Doug and Sarah after making love

And I guess because we need proof they’re trying to have a baby, we cut to Doug and Sarah going at it like rabbits.  Sarah’s in complete control as she demands that Doug put his baby juice in her.  Yum, right?  When they’re finished, Sarah wonders aloud if Doug ejaculated.  But Doug insists that he made the noise and everything, so he must have come.

Soldiers- Doug tells Jeannie that he's withholding orgasms

Turns out he didn’t come.  And Jeannie is the one who has to stomach the news as she tries to eat a bagel.  Turns out that Doug has been withholding orgasms since he and Sarah made the decision to have a baby.  To be clear, he does want to have a child, but thinks that Sarah is moving too fast.  Did you see how fast she humps?  I tend to agree with Doug.

But Doug is now on the edge since Sarah has moves that get him close to climax.  As such, he’s got a lot of hot, sticky white goodness ready to come out, but he can’t find the time to pound one out.  Jeannie gives the most practical solution: do it in the shower, but Doug will not lower himself to the Neanderthal stage!  Plus, if he wants to do it in the shower, he needs preparation, lighting, props, maybe even a little Maroon 5.  I hope there’s not a website out there with Doug uploading videos of himself jacking off.

The two make their way to Jeannie’s desk and Jeannie suggests that if Doug is so wound up, he should just do it then and there.  Not in her office, though!  Also, he can’t take a mental picture of her.  Well, heck, that takes all the fun out of it if I’ve got Kristen Bell in the same building as me and I can’t take a mental picture of her.

Doug’s pud play will have to wait, as Marty comes in and informs the two that it’s time to put into action their plan to rid DollaHyde of Lukas.

Soldiers- Lukas and Jeannie on the golf range

So Marty, Jeannie and Doug head to the driving range.  Since Caitlin isn’t around, Lukas has to contend with hitting on Jeannie, with minimal success.  Lukas wants the news, plain and simple, no fancy consulting rhetoric.  Jeannie has another issue on her hands: driving Marty out of Dre’s arms and focusing on the task at hand.  Well, looks like Marty Kaan has himself a friend.  That doesn’t happen too often.  More than Jeannie, but she admits that she doesn’t need friends.  She’s pretty.

I feel like we addressed this last week…

Marty tells Lukas that the pod ran some statistical analyses on the Wal-Mart expansion idea.  It’s very lucrative, to say the least, but Marty puts a damper on the supposed good news by then mentioning that he had to do a side by side analysis given DollaHyde’s key demographic and name recognition.  And after that test, the plan would fail.  DollaHyde has to expand the brand.  The pod suggests products like backpacks and the like, which Dre is all for, but Lukas is not.  To him, DollaHyde sells lifestyle, not merchandise.

Soldiers- Clyde meets with Marissa at treatment center

Elsewhere, Clyde pays a visit to the Garden by the Sea treatment center to visit a woman named Marissa, played by Eliza Coupe.  She doesn’t recognize the random visitor, but Clyde sure knows her.  He wants to turn her business around, but she calls Clyde a bottom feeder, saying that she’s at the bottom of the barrel and just trying to survive.  Why waste time by preying on her vulnerability?  But fear not, Clyde.  She’s only screwing with you.  That’s happening a lot this season, I’ve noticed.

Marissa is the pioneer of the website Mediawolf, one of the top sites in the world, but the site does not belong to her anymore, but her family.  Clyde promises to help her out, but only if she helps him.  This then turns into a conversation about how ‘fuckable’ Marissa is and how much she’s a fan of anal.  Well, at least Clyde is happy, I guess.

Back with the pod, Lukas throws out the idea of marketing sneakers.  Of course, that’s the first thing the pod considered, considering how many broke hip-hop lines try it.  DollaHyde can’t afford to expose its bottom line before the IPO because it’s too big of a risk.  Sneakers are overblown anyway, but Jeannie has an alternative: build a firewall between DollaHyde and the sneaker entity, effectively splitting DollaHyde in half.

Soldiers- Marty describes actual DollaHyde plan to Dre

Lukas is all for it and drives off with the good news, leaving Dre and the pod to enjoy the actual good news: they managed to make Lukas think the shoe suggestion was all his idea so he’d focus on that, meaning the rest of the capital would stay with the clothing line.  Lukas, meanwhile, would get 100 percent of nothing.  DollaHyde is clean for its IPO.  Dre then suggests that Marty come over to his home that night to have dinner with his family.  Guess Marty better pick out a nice dress.

Soldiers- Clyde arrives at Kaan and Associates

Clyde arrives at Kaan & Associates with the intent to give Marty intel.  Jeannie reminds him that the two aren’t exactly on best terms, but Clyde is focused on the future.  He gets his chance to give his proposal to both Marty and Jeannie.  He can bring them the McClintock media empire.  Marty wants to hear none of it, but Jeannie intervenes, as she at least wants to hear the idea.  Clyde lets it all out: he knows he screwed Marty over, but feels that he’s been punished enough as a Judas Priest.  Working for Monica has been hell for him and he’s paid his debt.

Jeannie points out that the firm could use both revenue and an increased profile.  Marty concedes, noting that if the boss lady is on board, so is he.

Oh, and Doug, in his words, is able to put a baby in Sarah later on.  Good for him.

Soldiers- Marty learns that Monica has been fired

Back at Casa Kaan, we enter on Monica ranting to Roscoe about her situation: she’s been fired from Kinsley Johnson because she apparently creates a hostile work environment.  Oh, and Christy just happens to be related to the Treasury Secretary.  Marty offers to make some calls, but Monica’s got her pills, which are all she’ll need.

Roscoe’s plans to meet Lex at a skate park will have to go on hold, as Marty tells him to get ready to go to Dre’s home.  Roscoe then proposes just bringing Lex along, but Marty shuts him down.  Roscoe gets a bit confrontational with his response of Fuckthatshit.com (Trademark) and puts down his foot: if he goes, Lex goes.

But then Marty reminds Roscoe who’s in charge and while Jeremiah might have allowed it, he won’t, so he better get ready.

Soldiers- Dinner at Dre's home

Dre has a very luxurious home, to say the least.  Marty is immediately impressed with the landscape and even manages to hit it off with Dre’s wife, played by Bridgid Coulter, as well as his two kids: Justin, played by Myles Lamonte, and Rosie, played by Brooklyn-Bella.  Roscoe not so subtly comments on their warm family in comparison to the chillier one he has, but dinner goes off without a hitch.

Soldiers- Dre and Marty agree

When the two men have a moment alone, they talk family and what they’d do to maintain what they have.  While Lukas may be considered family to Dre, he’s still toxic to everything Dre has worked for.  Even if there’s no coming back, Dre is fully ready to do whatever it takes to protect what’s his.  And so is Marty.

This episode put the pod on friendlier terms, even if a bit adversarial at times.  Bit by bit, the pod is coming back together, but without completely eliminating the new pods, though if we’re never going to see JC or Benita again, at least they got Jeannie’s trump card on Galweather Stearn.  The old status quo is being brought back, but the season is still setting up the direction they’re going.  The pod may not be in the most ideal of places, but the main cast realized this week that what they have so far is worth protecting and defending, particularly with Doug and Marty.  They’re not where they’d like to be, but they wouldn’t trade it for anything else.  “Soldiers” also dealt with happiness and securing your future, as Jeremiah and Clyde are trying to do.

It felt more light hearted than the more serious two episodes, as there’s more focus on the comedic aspect of the show.  It really speaks to the writing that the core of the show remains intact despite the tonal shift.  It’s still the same show, but the characters are cutting more wise cracks, particularly Doug and Jeannie when discussing Doug withholding orgasms.

Soldiers- Sad Doug cannot orgasm

Let’s begin with Doug, actually, whose nervousness about having a baby in his life is put on display again with his inability to fully have sex with Sarah.  We know he’s not backing out of it for sure.  He chose Sarah he loves her and she makes him happy in ways that no one else can, save for Jeannie if he gets a mental picture of her in his head.  Doug has a good life with Sarah and her decision to stop taking birth control is by no means a deal breaker, but at least he’s giving thought to his decision instead of just jumping into it headfirst, like it seems Sarah is.

Soldiers- Doug goes down on Sarah

Side-note, Jenny Slate seems to be having a lot of fun with this role.  Sarah is not a malicious or vindictive woman- she just has a wild side.  Nothing wrong with that in my book.  She wants to have a family and Doug, in her eyes, is the right man for the job.

I like the idea of Doug being tightly wound by withholding orgasms, as he’s already pretty reserved as is.  I couldn’t help but laugh at the idea of him openly sharing his story of woe with a clearly grossed out Jeannie and even wanting to masturbate in her office.  More than that, when Doug told Jeannie that he wished Clyde was around to talk to and Jeannie responds that she thought Doug wanted Clyde to jerk him off- that’s an example of the humor that works so well when the pod clicks and I’m glad to see it making a comeback.  Also, just how much preparation does Doug go through into getting himself off?

Doug is less loose than the other members of the pod, which is why his choice of words often comes across poorly, as evidenced when he repeatedly gets in Lukas’ bad side.  Though he’s getting back into the groove of things.

Soldiers- Clyde brings his McClintock proposal to Marty and Jeannie

The same goes for Clyde, whose looking neater this week than he did during “Associates.”  Clyde knows that Marty won’t throw him a lifeline, so he’ll have to find a way to force Marty’s hand.  At least at first he thought he only needed Marty’s approval, but more on that later.  It’s possible that Clyde’s time in jail did help turn him around, but at least he has a goal in mind through his “in” with Marissa.  He’s done his homework on MediaWolf and is ready to prove himself not just to Marty, but to the pod.

Soldiers- Clyde's envy of Doug's life

His sense of self-worth is returning, as he’s back to trading barbs with Doug instead of becoming timid at the sight or sound of Monica, who had him bound tight.  Granted, Clyde is taking a huge risk to win Marty’s favor, but I like his determination.  Besides, he has nowhere else to turn to at this point.  It’s a huge gamble, but at least Jeannie is willing to hear him out.  And I did enjoy Clyde telling Doug how good he had it with a woman that loves him.  He tells Doug that he has everything and doesn’t even see it, while Clyde has next to nothing and is constantly reminded of it.  His dislike of Doug turns to envy, which showed last season when he continually hit on Sarah until Doug told him off.  It’s a good way to flesh out his character arc.

Soldiers- Clyde's psychiatrist

And while I find the idea of psychiatrists in television shows are just an easy way to get characters to talk about their problems, at least here Clyde has someone he can turn to since Marty won’t hear him out.

Soldiers- Marty offers to make some calls for Monica

Briefly on Monica, by the way.  She shares some parallels with Clyde in that she is too proud to accept help, but Monica isn’t a person who would go out of her way to ask for it, especially from Marty.  As much as she and Marty have been at each other’s necks, there’s genuine concern in Marty’s voice when he hears of Monica’s firing and I get the feeling that he would do something to at least help keep her afloat.  She’s literally been crippled and now her demeanor has caught up to her through her firing.  She hasn’t hit rock bottom yet, but the slow manner in which she moves with her cane and the lack of extreme venom in her voice shows that this is Monica in a weakened state.  And I guess it doesn’t take too long to heal after being stabbed in the thigh and having an artery nicked.

Though I have to wonder why Christy didn’t just use her connections to complain about Monica’s hostility in the first place as opposed to stabbing her.  Also, what’s she doing working at a firm if she’s related to the Treasury Secretary?  She could have been much higher up than where she was, but I’m dwelling too much on this.

Soldiers- Jeannie insists Marty consider Clyde's offer

Jeannie had her high moments with the past two weeks so now we’re seeing her make good on her promise to go toe-to-toe with Marty.  The fact that she’s with him when Clyde makes his proposition and her reminding Marty to stop making buddies with Dre show that Jeannie is as much in charge of this situation as Marty is, maybe even more.  She’s as smooth as Marty is, but is more direct in her approach, such as when she tells off Lukas.  True to her word, Jeannie’s power play was a business move and while she and Marty may still be on speaking terms, she’s far less cordial and more professional.  She’s probably the only one right now who can call Marty out on trying to hold Clyde’s betrayal over him forever as opposed to just starting over.

Soldiers- Marty talks about life and kids with Dre and his wife

And then there’s Marty, who has some nice parallels with Dre when it comes to family.  This week showed Marty with a particularly full plate, starting with Jeremiah and Chantelle.  Though Marty doesn’t have an ideal family, he does have a set way of doing things and Chantelle’s presence violates his living space.  That and, you know, her wearing his shirt and prancing around the kitchen half-naked.  Marty tries to fit his life into a perfect fantasy but, as Jeannie told him, that fantasy doesn’t exist in reality and he’s unable to control everything the way he’d like to.

Soldiers- Roscoe and Marty argue

Same applies to Roscoe.  Sure, Roscoe wanting to invite Lex is very last minute, but I don’t see it being a huge deal.  However, I could see no reason to invite Lex other than to give Roscoe something to do while at Dre’s.  Marty speaks before thinking and saying that Roscoe and Lex are like a circus cuts to Roscoe’s core, but also speaks to Marty’s character: he often puts his circumstances and problems above everyone else’s.  Roscoe’s choice of lifestyle doesn’t mesh with how Marty expected him to be.

Marty wants stability in his life, but he’s losing it from all sides.  Like he tells Dre, he’d do whatever it took to protect his family, but the people close to him are pulling away.  The very people Marty would fight to protect are the very ones he’s alienating through his own words.  I like the look at Dre’s family life in comparison to Marty’s, as it symbolizes what Marty could possibly have without major family drama.  Or at least for now, as we aren’t told too much about Dre’s family.  Both men want to secure what’s theirs, but for Marty, every day has been a battle with him being flanked on all sides, Jeannie especially being the one to expose his defenses.

Soldiers- Marty to Jeannie after accepting Clyde's proposal

Now to me, Marty doesn’t seem like the type to try and sabotage Jeannie in order to preserve what’s his, but you never know.  And I can’t help but love the look Marty has when Jeannie has decided to hear Clyde’s proposition, as if he knows that she’s capable of wielding just as much power as he is.

“Soldiers” came another step closer to returning the status quo, but with some major
changes.  It provided a major boost for Doug and gave Marty a personal connection through Dre and his family.  What lacked in major drama was more than made up for in the show’s black comedy.  I do hope that the new pods aren’t slowly phased out, as we’re given passing references to Christy and Caitlin.  All in all, another solid episode.

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