A Look at House of Lies- Season 3 Finale: “Joshua”

“Joshua” brought things back to basics: aside from a few scenes involving Marty’s family, the focus revolves primarily around the main pod and their dilemma of the week. In this case, it’s a bigger problem that all but Jeannie could have imagined.

The very optimism and joy seen in Marty and Jeannie’s eyes at the end of last week was just a tease, as we know, given the information Jeannie shared with Samantha, that this rekindled relationship could not last long.

Joshua- Breakfast, Marty shows Jeannie how he whips the shit out of egg whites

The episode begins proper with Marty preparing breakfast. Jeannie is turned on by Marty explaining how he has to whip the shit out of the egg whites when making pancakes. I know that feeling. Neither of them is completely sure of what kind of bond they have, but they like it and hope it lasts for a very long time.

Joshua- Jeannie and Marty receive frantic calls from Doug and Clyde

Not long after this, the two find themselves back in bed when Marty proposes, gasp, an actual date. Tonight. With a real life reservation at a restaurant and everything! The date is on, but before Marty and Jeannie can get back to jamming, Marty receives a phone call. It’s from Doug, so Marty doesn’t take the call. So Doug tries calling Jeannie’s phone. No go there, either. Soon, both Doug and Clyde call their phones, indicating that something is very, very wrong.

Joshua- Federal agents at Kaan and Associates

Marty and Jeannie arrive at Kaan & Associates and find FBI agents swarming the office via search warrant. One of them hands Marty a document, but it doesn’t specifically state what they’re looking for. When Marty begins to get a bit angry, Jeannie suggests calling Ben Hyam to sort things out.

Joshua- Pod wonders who ratted them out about DollaHyde

When the pod assembles, Clyde presumes Monica is responsible, while Doug believes his email correspondence, where he referred to Marty as a “Stalinesque man child” might have tipped off someone.

Joshua- Jeannie calls Samantha

Jeannie leaves to make a phone call to Samantha, who had already left Jeannie a message. Even though Jeannie told Samantha about DollaHyde, she never sent the books on them and decided not to move forward with the idea of dumping them. However, since Lukas was a subject of the investigation and was murdered, things moved forward. Samantha reminds Jeannie that she should have understood blind ambition. Remorse rings in Jeannie’s voice as she tells Samantha that she has a good thing going, but now it can only go downhill from there. Samantha decides to cut things short- the two of them talking would only compromise the investigation.

Marty speaks to a client on the phone, thinking this Jimmy person is the man who betrayed the pod. In one week, this whole incident will just be a blip on the radar and everyone who turned on Kaan & Associates will feel pretty stupid that they dumped some of the best consultants around.

Joshua- Clyde, Doug and Jeannie react to Marty's PR plan

When Jeannie returns, Marty tells Clyde and Doug to find out if the leak was internal. Marty and Jeannie will keep clients from jumping ship and finding other consultants. Jeannie asks if Will’s pod should be taken off the road- oh, so that’s where they went- but Marty says no, as it would send off the vibe that things are going bad for the company. For now, they’re in As If Mode for the foreseeable future. If anyone in the press asks, things are going great.

Joshua- Marty talks with Blaine

And Marty sets this PR plan into motion by speaking to various clients. First off is Blaine, who stuck with Kaan & Associates even after Marty took down Galweather. Now they’re at the end of days. However, Blaine tells Marty that he only stuck with him because he thought Marty was a winner. Well, he’s certainly not a winner anymore.

Joshua- Marty talks with the Dushkin twins

And look at that, we get another appearance of the Dushkin twins, who tell Marty, point blank, that he’s not on their radar anymore either.

Joshua- Jeremiah and Roscoe about to head to basketball court

Later on, Marty arrives back at House Kaan just as Jeremiah is about to take Roscoe to the basketball court. Marty reminds Roscoe that Lex could be there and how hurt Roscoe was, but Jeremiah insists that the two need to fix it for themselves.

Joshua- Lex and Roscoe face off

And fix it they do! On the court, Lex is a bit rough with Ethan and Coltrane. Then he flat out kisses Coltrane and tells Roscoe that he’s next. Apparently Roscoe has always wanted to. When Roscoe doesn’t respond, Lex gets in his face and calls him a faggot, which is about as ironic as you can get. But Roscoe’s angry “Fuck you” dampens an already sour game of basketball. Lex leaves, as do Ethan and Coltrane.

Well, that was…pointless.

Joshua- Marty and Jeannie's date

Marty and Jeannie have their date. It’s the one thing Marty’s been looking forward to all day as he and the pod navigate their way through this messy shit-storm. Jeannie was what got Marty through the day. These past few days with her have been great, as they’ve helped remove so much misery from his head. Maybe now, the two of them can have something real.

Jeannie, however, wonders what will happen if the investigation blows everything to hell and destroys the company. Throughout the dinner, she’s very hesitant.

The next day at the office, Marty tells Jeannie that they need an index of all their accounts and where they stand in terms of keeping them. From there, the pod will build a model that predicts the statistical likelihood of keeping or losing their accounts so they can put in the proper time and effort based on that outcome. While Jeannie would like two minutes of Marty’s undivided attention, she doesn’t get that chance, as Clyde and Doug enter with good and bad news.

Joshua- Doug and Clyde deliver the good and bad news

Good news is that they’re in the clear as far as DollaHyde goes. The federal agents came looking for two sets of books that they thought the pod had, but they didn’t find anything. The bad news is that the feds did find some incriminating stuff on the Colossal Foods and Free Range deals, with various crimes of collusion and conspiracy. The CEO of Free Range wants Marty’s head on a platter.

So the pod again speculates who could have done this when Marty asks Jeannie what her friend at the Department of Justice said.

With nowhere else to go, Jeannie admits that she told Samantha about the DollaHyde books because she wanted the DOJ deal so badly. But after Lukas was killed, Samantha just did her own thing.

Joshua- Feds arrive to arrest Marty

Before anyone can really soak this in, Samantha and some federal agents enter. Samantha lets Jeannie know that she’s in the clear, but Marty, however, is hauled off in cuffs. He tells the others to call Ben Hyam to meet him with the bail money.

Joshua- Jeremiah and Chantelle pick Marty up

That evening, Marty leaves jail and finds both Jeremiah and Chantelle waiting for him. Before they can go home, they have to make a stop at the Valley. The Valley?

Joshua- Roscoe at the Valley

Oh come on, not this again! All right, so Marty gets a chance to see Roscoe bust some crazy moves.

Joshua- Marty tells the pod about the future of Kaan and Associates

The next day, Marty arrives at the offices and appears to find no one else there but Doug, Clyde and Jeannie. Marty spent some time talking with his lawyer- things are not looking good for him. Everything points to what will be a very aggressive prosecution followed by Kaan & Associates going bankrupt.

Unless Marty is effectively removed. Kaan & Associates will continue to live, but Marty can play no part, even on the sidelines.

Before making his exit, he bitterly congratulates Jeannie on getting the power she always wanted.

Joshua- Marty in the desert

Sometime after this, we see Marty driving into the desert where he remains in solitude.

For all that’s happened on this particular episode and the season as a whole, I’m glad that “Joshua” kept things basic by focusing primarily on the main pod. Not that I mind Will’s pod or the other storylines, but the reverberations from what happened as a result of Jeannie’s actions required this episode to focus almost exclusively on the pod.

Joshua- Marty asks Jeannie about the one thing she wanted

From the start of this season, Marty and Jeannie have been in a constant power struggle, with Jeannie managing to one-up Marty when she pleased. We witnessed the rise and fall of their friendship, partnership and relationship as all three crumbled all at once.

Marty once told Jeannie during “Associates” that he’s worked to have something that belonged to him. He finally got that this season until Jeannie gutted him and forced him to make her a partner. But more than that, Marty got more than he bargained for when he ended up losing the one thing he attained. On the other side, Jeannie climbed higher and higher atop the food chain, disproving Monica’s claim that she was nothing, but when she finally won the keys to Kaan & Associates, it came at the cost of a relationship and trust not just with Marty, but Doug and Clyde as well.

Throughout the season, the main pod has struggled with getting what they want, whether it’s Clyde and Marissa, Doug and Sarah, or Marty and Jeannie. When things seem to go their way, they will say or do something that blows their prospects. And given how it was established earlier that Jeannie had connections in the DOJ, there’s no way this newfound relationship between her and Marty would last long, if at all.

The previous two season finales of House of Lies have been game changers. With Season One, Jeannie took down the Rainmaker as a she led a class action suit alongside other women whom the Rainmaker promised favors if they engaged in sexual relationships with him. In Season Two, the pod falls apart and here, the pod, after spending the season getting back together, is more splintered than ever with Marty not at the head anymore. And most importantly, there’s no winner here. Jeannie becomes the head of Kaan & Associates, but it comes with the heavy price of losing trust among the rest of the pod.

Meanwhile, is Marty becoming the sacrificial lamb by leaving the company in order to save it, or have his questionable business decisions caught up to him and he’s just trying to save face?

Joshua- Jeannie tries to explain the one thing she ever wanted

Jeannie has made power play after play this season and it’s culminated in her becoming the new face of Kaan & Associates. She’s been preparing for this moment ever since she became a partner and told Marty that she could take what she wanted instead of him giving it to her. When Jeannie first brought this proposition to Samantha, she agreed when Samantha noted that it was a messy way to get what she wanted.

Joshua- The one thing Jeannie wanted- was Marty

While Jeannie may clearly show regret in her choices, she still signs the paper work that makes her head of K&A. Her blind ambition didn’t allow her to see just how much she could shake up the foundation of the pod by betraying its trust. That’s nothing new to these four. After all, Clyde spent a good portion of this season getting back on Marty’s good side. Whether Jeannie will actually want to get back into Marty’s good graces is unknown. When she whispers that the only thing she wanted is him, she realizes too late that she’s screwed both of them out of a chance at genuine happiness. She knew things could get messy, but she probably didn’t expect to connect with Marty again before things went south for everyone. And I did like the callback to “Power” where Marty was unable to explain to Jeannie how being on his own would be worth it, if for one thing.

Joshua- Jeannie becomes the head of Kaan and Associates

From the beginning to the end of this season, Kristen Bell has delivered a fantastic performance. In my opinion, this is the best she’s done in the series at this point. She can be cunning and manipulative, but calculating at the same time. I enjoyed the little moments that showed her nervousness, such as not being able to look Marty in the eye during their dinner or taking multiple drinks. This is a woman who made a quick ascension to power and the end result is not what she wanted.

Joshua- Jeannie on phone

I never got tired of watching Bell perform this season and kudos to the writers for fleshing out her character. Jeannie is stepping into Marty’s shoes, right down to Marty saying that Jeannie ‘Out Marty-ed Marty Kaan.’ I’m curious as to whether she’ll remain the same person she’s always been, or has Marty’s influence changed her for the worst.

Joshua- Marty realizes that Jeannie is off the hook of the federal investigation

And Marty has just lost control every which way. Like Bell, Don Cheadle has delivered one great performance after another. We see his mounting desperation as the world he created crumbles around him. If I wanted to stretch, I’d almost say he’s living out the dream he had in “Power” where he woke up in some desolate land with Jeannie pointing a gun at him. But that’s a giant stretch.

Joshua- Marty learns that Jeannie told Samantha about the DollaHyde books

Though Marty is interested in the future of his company, he’s also concerned about his future with the family he’s made through the pod. When Jeannie reveals that she told Samantha about DollaHyde, there’s genuine hurt in Marty’s voice and facial expressions. He knew Jeannie was a force. When Jeannie first asked for parity, she told Marty, point blank, that she would not hesitate to throw him under the bus, and that’s just what happened. Though Marty no doubt feels blindsided by Jeannie’s power play, he had to have seen this coming, given how much she’s been able to one-up him. We learned this season that Marty preferred Jeannie as someone who worked under him, not alongside him. Their relationship has been combative and explosive, yet despite every disagreement, until these past few episodes, they’ve remained tight.

At this point, if Marty has to take himself out of the picture to salvage everything he’s worked for, he’ll do it. Is it selfless? I actually don’t know, because, again, the whole Colossal Foods and Free Range dealings were shady business arrangements. Did Marty just think he was untouchable? He certainly had to have. After all, the Free Range and Colossal plot line just seemed to drop once DollaHyde had been introduced. So now that all of the dirty laundry has caught up to him, Marty sacrifices himself for the sake of the company. However, it’s only because Jeannie forced his hand. If Marty could have found a way to fight these legal battles and remain a part of Kaan & Associates, I’m positive he would have.

Joshua- Doug and Clyde as Marty leaves

Doug and Clyde, as expected, are second bananas this week, as they’re mostly here to react to the federal business. That said, there’s real disappointment and even a bit of frustration in their faces when they learn that Jeannie told someone from the Department of Justice about the pod’s less than honest work. Will they remain at Jeannie’s side? Very possibly, but I doubt they’ll be as willing to trust her.

Joshua- Doug talks about his fantasy novel

And though Doug and Clyde had little to do, I did get a laugh out of Doug’s dream science fiction novel about a deeply erotic exploration of interplanetary love. I suppose these are the things that some consultants do in their free time.

Joshua- Dushkin twins

And I did enjoy the brief re-aappearance of the Dushkin twins. Like the return of the Rainmaker, it was a nice way to show some acknowledgment of already introduced characters as opposed to constantly moving forward. And I have nothing to say about Roscoe and Lex’s little rift because I’ve lost interest. Though seeing Marty hug Roscoe was probably the happiest moment he’s going to have a for a very long time.

“Joshua” was a game changer. Jeannie is now the face of Kaan & Associates. After her long climb, she’s attained the power she craved and claimed she could have at any moment. She finally has it, but she also lost a chance to be happy. Marty, meanwhile, is for parts unknown, with Doug and Clyde in the middle.

Season 3 of House of Lies started off as a new beginning for the main pod. Each started off in their respective pods, but as the season progressed, the wheels were put in motion to reunite them as one big family again. We’ve seen them bicker and laugh as they dealt not just with an expanded pod, but their interpersonal conflicts. Jeannie and Marty’s clash took center stage as the two warred for influence, and yet both had spotlights flashed onto some of their insecurities that make them the flawed characters they are. The strength of this season came from the powerhouse performances of Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell, who made these characters feel more real than they ever have before.

What began as a chance for the pod to start over ended with them more broken apart than they’ve been before, and as a result of the actions of one of their own, not an outside source. It makes you wonder: is all the power and control worth getting your hands dirty and sacrificing your friendships and relationships? Given the business Marty, Jeannie, Doug and Clyde find themselves, rarely do we see them happy for a prolonged period before reality sets in and they’re just going through the motions of management consulting and screwing over clients to get ahead. Now as we await Season 4, we’ll see if what’s left of the pod can remain together and how long until their relationship is threatened even further.

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