A Look at The Walking Dead #139: “From the Edge of the World”

The Walking Dead #139- Cover

The Walking Dead #139: “From the Edge of the World” is a good way for Robert Kirkman to slowly expand the universe he’s created as society slowly begins to rebuild itself and to show how the world has changed since the time-skip.  It’s not complete normalcy and we do get some roamer killing in this issue, but I felt this was a good way to catch us up to speed on what’s going on in the rest of The Walking Dead world since we’ve spent a considerable amount of time at The Hilltop.  Plus, the introduction of The Whisperers kept our focus on The Hilltop.

The Walking Dead #139- Maggie's reaction to Carl's disappearance

Actually, let’s start with The Hilltop, as this isn’t the main story this time.  Maggie seems to be doing just fine for the moment, but maybe it’s the adrenaline of her concern and anger over Carl’s disappearance.  Given how cordial the exchange was between Maggie and Alpha, she wouldn’t want Carl to ruin any chances of the groups coexisting.  Again, though, that’s a gray area since there don’t appear to be any established territory zones for The Whisperers.

The Walking Dead #139- Dante talks about Carl getting a piece of ass

Oh, and for a series that’s as grim as The Walking Dead, I did like Dante’s brief line about Carl chasing a piece of ass like Lydia, not just because the humor is inappropriate, but because he immediately realizes that he’s killing his chances with Maggie, not that he ever had any.  Plus, there’s no way that anyone would know at this point that Carl and Lydia had sex.  I don’t think either one of them would go around boasting.  But the look Maggie gave Dante after his less than well-timed line was priceless.

The Walking Dead #139- The Whisperers find Carl

As for Carl, though, the boy had better consider himself lucky that The Whisperers are being so cordial with him.  Even if he came of his own accord, Carl is still outnumbered, outgunned, and probably doesn’t know the terrain as well as The Whisperers do.  Again, I feel he’s motivated more to get Lydia back and less than getting to the bottom of who The Whisperers are.  At the very least, he seems to be in safe company, but this already isn’t going over well with Maggie, not to mention how it would go over with Rick since he placed Carl under her responsibility.

The Walking Dead #139- Ezekiel mows down roamers with Michonne's sword

So onto the main plot of this issue, starting with the reintroduction of Ezekiel, Heath, and another character we’ll get to in a second- it’s great to see these characters doing well and just nice to see them at all.  We’ve had slight references to the folks outside of the Alexandria Safe Zone and The Hilltop, but this is, I believe, the first time we’ve seen them or spent a significant amount of time with them since the time skip.

It’s also nice to just see how much these characters have progressed.  For example, we learn from Rick that they’re stockpiling ammunition.  This is a very big deal.  For the longest time, ammunition on The Walking Dead was to be conserved.  You find ways to take care of roamers so you can preserve as many bullets as possible and save guns for worst case scenarios.

It’s something that both the comic and the show have kept true to, but if we’re at the point where the characters have more ammunition than necessary, they’re pretty much able to neutralize any roamer threats they come across for the moment.  It’s a useful advantage that is sure to be a benefit for anything or anyone the characters come across now that they’re able to manufacture bullets at this rate.

The Walking Dead #139- Much more fish in the sea

The same applies to the fact that there’s so much fish in the river since there are less humans to explore the water and the roamers, presumably, keep away from it.  It’s morbid to say, but the lack of humanity means much more fish to catch.

The Walking Dead #139- Rick tells Ezekiel that they're stockpiling ammunition

In addition, it’s nice that the three communities have found a way to cooperate and trade resources in a much more civil way than Negan tried with his system, if you can even call it that.  I say three communities because, in addition to seeing characters like Ezekiel and Heath again, we get a reference to Dwight, who is apparently able to provide the neighboring communities with lumber.  So it appears that Dwight has managed to reform The Saviors and turned them into a much more productive under his leadership than under Negan.  I’m glad Dwight turned into an ally, as it would have been easy to keep The Saviors as antagonists even if they weren’t being led by Negan.  Now they’re of use to the other communities.

The Walking Dead #139- Michonne returns

Of course, the big moment of this issue was the return of Michonne.  It’s been a long time coming: twelve issues since the time-skip began and all we’ve had so far has been a brief reference to the character.  Now we see her, she looks great, and has had plenty of time to think while sailing the seas.  I’m looking forward to The Walking Dead spin-off series where Michonne decides to become a pirate.

But the free time on the sea has allowed her to do a lot of thinking and working.  Since her introduction, we’ve known Michonne as the loner, but she’s slowly integrated herself into the group.  However, that doesn’t mean she’s lost her sense of self.  We learn that she just up and disappeared, which concerned Rick, but it still bothered Michonne just as much.  Her relationship with Ezekiel became strained, so she just needed to get away.

The Walking Dead #139- Michonne talks to Rick about her family

As we dig into Michonne’s backstory, we learn that she’s been holding onto a lot of guilt- survivor’s guilt, to be specific.  She grew distant from her family and when the outbreak happened, she wasn’t there.  Sure, everyone has lost someone or something because of the roamer outbreak, but what separates Michonne from someone like Rick is that he saw their loved ones die before their eyes: it’s no speculation- Rick watched Lori and Judith get shot and killed during the Governor’s assault.  There’s no doubt that his loved ones are gone.

But not with Michonne.  Because she wasn’t there, she’s left with the nagging question of whether her family survived, though she’s positive that they’re dead.  There’s no way of knowing it, but this has eaten away at her for so long.  This is a very interesting development for Michonne and I like that Kirkman has given her this added dimension, as we know she’s had a lot on her mind since we last saw her.

The Walking Dead #139- Michonne talks about getting a do-over and being happy

This is something that has plagued the characters even before arriving at the Alexandria Safe Zone: is it right to have a do-over at life?  If so, does that mean you’re trampling all over your past life?  Michonne doesn’t want to allow herself to be happy because that would mean she’s disregarding her former life and allowing this new one to take place.  It’s as if she’s died, but would prefer to stay dead instead of having another chance to live.

Michonne could have the opportunity to start fresh, but what good is that life if she’s burying her past life?  I imagine this is something that many of the characters have grappled with as they try to maintain any sort of connection with their past lives.  Think about Rick talking with Lori on the phone.  Sure, he knew that she wasn’t there and it was all in his head, but he had some sort of connection to her.

“From the Edge of the World” was a very good issue that balanced multiple plots very well.  It continues The Hilltop storyline and put Carl in a potentially dangerous place as he travels with The Whisperers and put Maggie in a difficult position.  The world is slowly rebuilding itself and the three communities are working together to keep that revitalization going.  Michonne’s return is a welcome one and I’m glad she’s been able to do some thinking while out to sea.  Hopefully we learn what else she and the others have been up to.

But seriously, when are we gonna get that Michonne pirate spin-off series?

A Look at The Walking Dead- Season 5 Finale: “Conquer”

But not divide and “Conquer,” here we are at the end of The Walking Dead’s fifth season.  There’s been a lot of buildup to this as Rick and pals slowly assimilate to life in the Alexandria Safe Zone without letting it change them.

Conquer- Morgan held up by a member of The Wolves

The episode begins with Morgan awakening in a car, in a moment that I’m positive could double for a car commercial.  As he eats his breakfast, he’s confronted by a man, played by Benedict Samuel with a gun and a W on his forehead.  After a bit of history on wolves, the man is quite cordial to Morgan.  After all, he doesn’t get to meet people that often- maybe one person every two weeks at that.  And his group would normally just raid camps, but here, he has the opportunity to speak with someone as an equal.

But enough pleasantries.  The man has come for all of Morgan’s stuff, including Morgan’s body.  Morgan offers all of his items to the man, letting him know that this situation doesn’t need to get ugly.  As Morgan reaches for his gun, the man warns him against that and simply tells him to be very still.

Conquer- Morgan fights two Wolves' members

Luckily, Morgan is smarter than that and senses the ambush from another man.  Morgan overtakes the two and places them in the car before heading off.

Conquer- Bandaged-up Rick wakes up before Michonne

After a brief look at the ongoing adventures of Daryl and Aaron, we cut to a patched-up Rick awakening with Michonne at his side.  Rick laughs, prompting Michonne to ask him what’s so funny.  The whole situation reminds Rick of the train car at Terminus.  After all that, he’s still here now.  As for why Rick is in this location, Deanna wanted him put there.  Rosita was nice enough to patch him up.  Pete, for the time being, has been placed in another home.  Rick would have filled Michonne in, but between losing Noah and everything else, he couldn’t tell her about the gun.

Conquer- Glenn, Carol, and Abraham speak with Rick

Now, Michonne is still convinced that they need to stop living like they’re outside Alexandria’s walls, but Rick isn’t on board with that.  Glenn, Carol, and Abraham soon enter and Rick explains that he only took a gun from the armory just in case.  Deanna is planning to have a meeting to discuss what happened last night and what to do with Rick.  Maggie is currently with Deanna now to figure out what’s going on.  Carol advises Rick to just say he was worried about what Pete was doing to Jessie.  Say what they want to hear- same as what Carol has been doing.  Why?  Because these people are children and children like stories.

But if the nice words won’t work, they still have knives since the armory is being guarded.  If things go south, Rick will whistle.  Carol will then take Deanna, Rick takes Spencer, Michonne grabs Reg, and Glenn and Abraham will watch the crowd.  If they can’t get through, they’ll just slit their throats.  You know, like at Terminus.  Just hand over the armory and it’s done.  Rick didn’t want this, but he hit his limit.

Conquer- Maggie speaks to Reg and Deanna about Rick

Maggie tries to appeal to Reg and Deanna on tonight’s meeting.  Sending Rick out won’t work.  Deanna still made the choice to let everyone in, but now she’s putting a decision on a group of frightened people who may not have the full story.  That, Maggie says, isn’t leadership.  Even still, Deanna insists that tonight is just a forum for people to say their piece.  After that, she’ll keep making the decisions as she’s been doing.

Even still, Maggie insists that Rick just wasn’t thinking straight.  He was frustrated and has lost so much.  Sure, he took a gun and pointed it at people, but he didn’t pull the trigger.  That’s kind of a bullshit argument, Maggie.  Reg spits some history at Maggie: the cavemen were all nomads before they died.  Then people evolved into this and lived.  Civilization starts when people stop running, stop sending people away from the world, and they start living together.  That’s what he’s going to tell everyone tonight.

Conquer- Sasha sleeps with the walkers

Sasha takes a walker to a pit of other walkers that I assume she killed.  After dumping a body in, she rests in the pit herself.  There has to be a better way to sleep like the dead.

Conquer- Aaron tells Daryl about three exiled Alexandria members

Daryl and Aaron continue on and we learn about the people exiled from Alexandria: two men and a woman.  Davidson was their leader.  Aaron thought they’d work out, but they didn’t.  Since he brought them in, he, with the help of Aiden and Nicholas, had to drive them out and leave them with a day’s worth of food and water.  Though Aaron had their guns, he can’t afford to make that kind of mistake again.

Conquer- Carol speaks with Rick about tonight's meeting and their plan

Carol wakes Rick up and lets him know that he did a good thing last night.  They have more cover and everyone thinks that Rick has been found out.  And despite Michonne knocking Rick out- even though he deserved it- Carol is convinced that she’s still on their side, same as Glenn.  Rick didn’t tell them about the guns just in case.  He’s done lying.  So he doesn’t want to lie, but also doesn’t want to try and take over Alexandria?  Oh sunshine, you don’t get to have both.  Carol should say ‘sunshine’ more often.

Conquer- Maggie tells Glenn that she's talking to other residents about Rick

As Rick finally walks outside for the first time since the incident, Maggie tells Glenn that she’s making her way around to talk with as many people as possible to solve this issue.

Conquer- Gabriel leaves Alexandria to go for a walk

Gabriel, meanwhile, decides to take a walk outside of Alexandria’s walls for awhile.  He won’t take a gun, though.  The word of God is all that he’ll need.

Conquer- Rick tells Carl not to attend tonight's meeting

Rick tells Carl not to attend tonight’s meeting, but to stay home.  Home, that’s what Alexandria looks to be right now.  Carl still believes that these people will die without them, but Rick knows he may have to threaten someone.  He may have spoken his mind last night, but Carl tells him to say it so they can hear him, though Rick doesn’t know if they can hear him.  Okay, why does everyone keep saying last night?  It was broad daylight during Rick’s rant.

Conquer- Aaron and Daryl arrive at the Del Arno Foods facility

Anyway, Daryl and Aaron have arrived at the Del Arno Foods facility with a lot of food trucks waiting to be pillaged, but lost sight of the man in the red poncho.  Sometimes it happens, but you don’t get an opportunity like this every day.  If they head back, it means they’re giving up and home is 50 miles back.  There are bad people out there, but they need to keep looking for the good ones.  And when they find them, Daryl and Aaron will need to feed them.

Conquer- Daryl mows down walkers with a chain

The two enter and Aaron’s joy at finding a license plate is instantly killed when Daryl opens one of the trucks and springs a trap.  Walkers emerge from every direction.  The two cut down as many- Daryl makes effective use of a chain- as they can until they enter a nearby car.  The glass may hold for awhile, but for now, they need to find something that can block their view.  Also, inside the car, Aaron finds a note warning him that bad people are coming.  Don’t stay.

Conquer- Carol delivers a dish to Pete

Now Carol gets her moment to be a badass.  She heads to Pete with a dish and asks- nay, tells him to check on Tara since, you know, he’s a surgeon.  Pete wants her gone, but Carol is quick and to the point: she could kill him right now.  She would kill him, and who would believe she did it because she didn’t like him?  No one.  They’d think that he tried to hurt her.  He is small and insignificant.  In this world, he’s even weaker.  If Pete plays his cards right, he won’t have to die.  Oh, and though Carol wants her dish back, Pete destroys it anyway.  He didn’t even try it.

Conquer- Nicholas shoots Glenn

Glenn follows a trail of walker bodies and someone fleeing from Alexandria, but he’s soon shot by Nicholas.  You know, if Nicholas was a smarter man, he’d just finish Glenn off right there.  But no, let’s drag this out.

Conquer- Rick visits Jessie

Jessie gets a visit from Rick while she tries to repair her window.  She advises Rick against talking since people probably wouldn’t like seeing the two having a conversation.  Rick isn’t sorry about what he did, though, no matter what happens.

Conquer- Daryl smokes before he and Aaron prepare to take on the walkers

Back in the car that the walkers didn’t forget, Daryl and Aaron talk.  Daryl admits that he came out here so he wouldn’t feel all closed up at the Safe Zone.  Being out here is much more suited to him than being back in those houses in Alexandria.  Even still, Aaron still has faith in Daryl.  After all, he saw Daryl lead the rest of the group to the barn for safety during that storm.  That was the point when Aaron knew that he had to bring them back.

Eventually, Daryl decides to head out, while Aaron makes a break for the fence, and that’s not a request.  Aaron isn’t having that, though.  They fought all this way together and they’ll go out together, if need be.

Conquer- Morgan rescues Aaron and Daryl

Luckily, they won’t have to do that, because they’re saved by the arrival of Morgan, who draws enough walkers away for Aaron and Daryl to escape the car safely.  The three head back outside the gate and seal it shut.  After some introductions, Daryl wants to know why Morgan saved them.  Well, all life is precious, Daryl.  Aaron informs Morgan about the community in Alexandria, but Morgan politely turns the offer down.

He’s already on his way somewhere, but he’s lost, so he could use some directions.  He then shows Daryl a map- the same map that Abraham gave to Rick.

Conquer- Gabriel strangles a walker

Father Gabriel continues his battle against the elements when he happens upon a walker in the middle of a meal.  He’s ready to face the walker, but rather than submit, Gabriel strangles the walker with the noose around its neck.  He then crushes it and another walker’s head with a rock.

Conquer- Abraham visits Tara and Eugene

Abraham pays Tara a visit. Eugene is asleep at her side while Rosita just watches.  Abraham tries to sit without waking up Eugene, so Rosita promptly knocks something over to fix that.  Eugene and Abraham…sort of make amends.  Eugene admits that Tara saved his life and cracked open his gourd in regards to considering implications he hadn’t.  Abraham got them there, but Eugene just crafted a top shelf lie to which a person with strength and heroism could apply their talents.  Eugene figures that Abraham needed that.  That isn’t really the best way to justify a lie, Eugene.  Abraham also apologizes for almost killing Eugene, even if he did have it coming.

Conquer- Gabriel returns to the Safe Zone

Gabriel returns to the gate and agrees to speak with Spencer later.  He also doesn’t close the gate upon returning.  He also doesn’t close the gate upon returning!  How do you actually do that?

Conquer- Glenn and Nicholas fight

Glenn catches up to Nicholas and their fight continues.  Nicholas manages to overpower Glenn, but leaves him for the incoming walkers…

Conquer- Michonne tells Rick to get ready

Rick admits to Michonne about the plan that he, Daryl, and Carol crafted.  They only lied because they weren’t sure how Michonne would take it.  Rick thought she’d try to stop him.  I mean, she did hit him over the head.  But that was for the others, not him.  They can find a way to make this work, and if not, Michonne is still with them.  Something may happen, but that doesn’t mean Rick has to make something happen.

Conquer- Rick notices the gate left wide open

But as Rick leaves, he finds the gate to Alexandria open and a trail of blood.  Whoops.

Conquer- Town meeting

Anyway, time for that meeting to begin, with or without Rick and Glenn.  Deanna begins.  They’ve assembled to talk about Constable Rick Grimes, how he stole a pistol from the armory and waved it at people, and what he said.

Conquer- Gabriel finds Sasha at the church

Meanwhile, Sasha pays a visit to Gabriel, as she feels that she’s losing her head, but Gabriel says that he can’t help her.  She feels like she wants to die, and Gabriel wonders why wouldn’t she want to die?  She doesn’t deserve to be in Alexandria.  What she did cannot be undone.  The dead don’t choose their lot in life, but the living must face the choices they make.  Bob was mutilated and consumed.  Tyreese deserved to be there, but not her.

Rick continues to search the area for intruders and happens upon a walker.

Conquer- Carol speaks in defense of Rick

Back at the meeting, members of Rick’s group speak on his behalf.  He wants everyone to live.  That’s who he is and who everyone else in Alexandria will be, if they’re lucky.  After all, he’s saved so many lives already.  Abraham goes a step further.  There’s an ocean of shit out there that these people don’t know shit about.  Rick Grimes, however, knows every fine grain of said shit.  Abraham really could have picked a better metaphor.

It’s Maggie’s turn.  Rick has a good heart and he really does feel the weight of his decisions.  All the group members who were together before Alexandria are still a family, and you shouldn’t try to break up family.  Wait, hasn’t Maggie lost both her father and, most recently, her sister?  You know, her blood relatives?

Deanna then addresses Gabriel’s comments from awhile back about how these newcomers would put themselves before the community, and now Rick’s behavior has demonstrated that behavior.  Though we know Gabriel said this, he’s not present, so Deanna is just going off of someone else’s word.

Conquer- Glenn puts a gun to Nicholas' head

Oh, Nicholas and Glenn fight some more, but Glenn doesn’t kill Nicholas.

Conquer- Man in red poncho is about to be killed

And our friend in the red poncho is killed by the two men from earlier, who manage to corral the walkers back into the trucks.

Conquer- Sasha considers shooting Gabriel

Having had enough of Gabriel giving her guilt, Sasha takes her gun and prepares to put him out of his misery, but Maggie enters and stops her.

Conquer- Rick delivers a walker to the town

Rick delivers a fresh walker’s body at the meeting space and berates the people for not having a guard at the open gate.  Hey, Spencer did tell Gabriel to close it, but this is exactly what Rick has been talking about.  He didn’t bring the walker in- it got in on its own.  The dead and the living will always try to get in because some of the living are inside the walls.    They’ll be hunted, used, and others may try to kill them, but the living can kill them first.

They can survive and Rick can show them how.  How many people does he have to kill just to save their lives?  That’s what he planned on, but he won’t do that.  He’ll teach them how to survive.  He isn’t sorry for what he said, but that he didn’t say it earlier.  They have to be ready for anything that comes their way.

Conquer- Pete kills Reg

Pete hasn’t got time for that, though, so he rushes in, ranting about how Rick isn’t one of them.  He ends up cutting down Pete in the process, and Deanna gives Rick the go ahead to kill Pete, which he does.

Conquer- Morgan and Rick reunite

Oh, hi, Morgan.  Damn, you guys got back pretty fast.

Oh, look, we get some post-credits stuff.  Looks like Michonne will hold onto that after all.

There were a lot of moving pieces in “Conquer.”  Some worked better than others, but it was an entertaining episode.  I don’t personally feel this finale needed to be as long as it was, but I’ll get to that later on.

Conquer- Rick arrives at the town meeting

Again, there are two warring ideologies at work here: Deanna’s path towards civilization that involves everyone, good and bad, pulling their weight and contributing to a growing society, or Rick’s kill or be killed method.  At the end of the day, we don’t seem to have settled on one, but the people of Alexandria seem to be warming to Rick’s methods.

Conquer- Rick laughs

Optimism is not ideal for this world.  Rick recalled Bob’s words about living in a nightmare versus the real world, when the nightmare is the real world.  The same applies to the people of Alexandria.  They know that danger still persists beyond the walls of the Safe Zone, but they’ve become too comfortable to living without many cares in the world.  They know how to live, but they don’t know how to survive, which is what separates the two groups.  Luckily, Rick now looks to be willing to teach the Alexandria community how to live instead of trying to just take over the place.

Conquer- Alexandra residents listen to Rick

And this has a lot to do with people realizing that Rick may have a point.  You can’t just coast through life without a care. You need to prepare for something like walkers entering your safe zone or violent people already living in your community.  If you can’t combat that, your civilization falls apart and your efforts are all for naught.  Rick’s group knows that, and it looks as if the Alexandria folks now realize this, especially with Pete’s outburst.

Conquer- Maggie appeals to Deanna about Rick

Like it or not, as Maggie said, Deanna made the choice of letting these newcomers stay.  That means having to adapt to change, and I like how Maggie is a sort-of mediator.  She’s still siding with Rick, but she’s willing to meet with Deanna to smooth over any issues.

Now would Alexandria fall to pieces if Rick and company hadn’t arrived when they did?  There’s no way to know for sure since they seem to have gotten along so far, but Rick’s group did give then a jolt to hopefully spring them into action and shake them out of apathy.  I’m glad that Rick’s group did ultimately end up siding with him, though wish that it wasn’t as easy because it took away the possibility of there being any in-group tension.

Conquer- Michonne with Rick

The closest we got was Michonne knocking Rick out last week and being left in the dark about the armory plan.  At the end of the day, though, she stuck with Rick because, although she believes that Alexandria can work, she knows that dramatic action may be necessary.  She’s just not as willing to jump to that conclusion as Rick is.  After all, she’s not the one who punched out Aaron upon first sight.

Conquer- Glenn compares Rick's plan to Terminus

However, this doesn’t mean that everyone in the group just goes along with Rick’s decisions without questioning their humanity.  This used to be Dale’s role, but that has now fallen to Glenn.  When Rick talks about potentially slitting the throats of Deanna, Spencer, and Reg so the others would comply, Glenn immediately draws a comparison between that and what happened at Terminus.  Glenn knows how harsh the world can be, but he won’t allow it to consume him.

Conquer- Glenn can't bring himself to kill Nicholas

That’s probably why he wouldn’t bring himself to kill Nicholas, as much as he wanted to.  He had every reason to, as well.  Nicholas did shoot him and leave him to be consumed by walkers, so not like any of us would blame him.  By the way, I’m curious as to how Glenn even got out of that walker pile in the first place.  He’d already been shot and fought with Nicholas, so he wasn’t in the best of conditions.  All of a sudden, though, he’s on top of Nicholas again. What hell?

Conquer- Sasha gives Maggie her gun

Also what hell is Sasha.  We know the woman is losing herself.  Again, we already know this and she’s already had a chance to talk about this with Rosita and Michonne.  Having it here again felt a tad redundant because she’s already unhinged.  It only felt like it was here so it could be latched onto Gabriel’s subplot with him seemingly accepting the world for what it is.  Again, accepting the world for what it is, again.

Conquer- Gabriel crushes a walker's head

We saw him tear off his collar before, but now he’s willing to crush a walker’s skull.  I guess that’s an upgrade from the female walker he refused to kill before, but if Gabriel’s becoming more cynical, this isn’t exactly new for him.  The change is that he’s now willing to call out Sasha for the wrongs that she’s done and how she doesn’t belong in Alexandria.

That’s the whole theme of who survives and who dies that we’ve seen play out on this show a lot, particularly with the folks at Grady Memorial Hospital.  Who deserves to live and who should die?  Nicholas tells Glenn over and over again that he doesn’t belong outside the walls, while Gabriel believes that someone like Sasha does, but she got to live while good people like Bob and Tyreese died.  It’s interesting stuff, but I think these two storylines could have been saved for the next season so we could get more focus on the other plots.

Conquer- Daryl and Aaron stuck in the car

So let’s talk about Aaron and Daryl.  Again, I enjoy seeing the two work together and their walker killing adventures help balance out the normalcy we see in Alexandria right now.  Well, almost normalcy, anyway.  It was great to hear Daryl himself admit that he operates better outside of Alexandria’s walls, and we know he does.  Staying cooped up at those houses for so long would change him.

Conquer- Daryl and Aaron flee from walkers

The entire sequence at Del Arno Foods was one of my favorite moments of the episode because of how trapped the two were and the trap itself.  Using walkers as a trap isn’t new, but I can’t recall a trap as elaborate as the one set up by The Wolves.

Conquer- Morgan speaks with Aaron and Daryl

Luckily, though, Morgan arrived in the nick of time.  His rescue and takedown of the two Wolves’ members at the beginning showed how much he has changed since we first saw him in the pilot.  To survive on your own in this world is not easy, but he’s managed to pull it off and keep moving forward.  Now he’s at least back and reunited with Rick.

Conquer- Morgan sees Rick for the first time in awhile

That said, it’s pretty convenient for Morgan to arrive at the exact moment that Rick executed Pete.  Daryl and Aaron left the Alexandria Safe Zone at least two episodes ago and, according to Aaron, they were a good 50 miles away from home.  And yet, they got back to the zone in no time.

Conquer- Carol warns Pete

If we’re going to talk about badass characters, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Carol threatening Pete.  Carol Suzie Homemaker has managed to blend in very well, but underneath that calm exterior is a hardened killer who won’t hesitate to murder.  Hell, I think she’s probably been more assertive than Rick has as far as taking action against the Alexandria folks.  She never drops her guard, proving that when she says at the meeting how much Rick has saved her life, never mind how she saved them from certain death at Terminus.  That said, now she can’t get her dish back.

Conquer- Rick asks the Alexandria people how many of them he has to kill to save their lives

Then we have Rick, who remained resolute in his stance towards the people of Alexandria.  He refused to back down and I liked how he only apologized for not saying something sooner than he did.  Rick knows that his methods may be extreme, but in this harsh reality, they need to be.  One wrong move can lead to your death, so you have to be faster and kill before you wind up dead.

Conquer- Rick tells Michonne that they can and will talk to the Alexandria folks

It’s a philosophy that Rick has developed over time and made him into the leader that he is.  He would like a civil society, but knows that the walker outbreak is the society that they live in.  You have to fight to survive.  And if there were anyone qualified to lead these people to action, it would be Rick.  They’re going to need each other to survive, but they’ll also need to toughen up if they’re going to make it.

Conquer- Deanna gives Rick the go-ahead to execute Pete

Deanna giving Rick the go-ahead to execute Pete seemed to be the signal that the people of Alexandria are willing to accept what Rick is talking.  This doesn’t mean that they’re going to stop listening to Deanna, who learned the hard way about leadership, but the show is trying to compromise between the two leadership styles.  The question now is how Alexandria will look come next season.

If I had one complaint about this episode, it’s that I feel the separate storylines kept cutting back and forth between one another towards the end.  Again, the stuff with Sasha and Gabriel wasn’t really necessary and that could have devoted more time to Nicholas and Glenn or Daryl, Aaron, and Morgan.  I mean, the show literally jumped from one thread to the other, which made it a bit jarring to watch.

Conquer- Wolves Not Far

Overall, “Conquer” is a good ending to Season Five.  While the stakes don’t seem as high as they did in last year’s “A,” the status quo of the Alexandria Safe Zone is slowly shifting as the residents warm up to Rick’s ideals and leadership style.  Morgan’s return, particularly just as he witnessed Rick execute Pete, is a welcome addition and I’m interested to see how he’ll fit in Alexandria.  And let’s not forget those Wolves, who are apparently not far.  See you next season.

A Look at House of Lies- Season 4 Finale: “It’s a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit”

Huh.  I don’t think I heard anyone say the episode’s title this week.  Ah, well.  Here we are at House of Lies’ Season Four finale as Marty learns what happens when he takes on Denna.  Also, Clyde and Kelsey craft out their future with the app, Doug makes a blunder, and Jeannie gives birth.  It’s all happening right here, so let’s jump into “It’s a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit.”

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Jeannie in labor

The episode begins with Kristen Bell’s mouth.  Okay, that’s one way to begin.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Marty on stage

Anyway, we then flash back to one hour earlier at a party celebrating the new and improved Kaan & Associates.  Marty heads up to the podium to speak to the crowd until someone in the audience yells out a very vocal ‘Fuck you.’  Next thing we know, a glass is headed Marty’s way.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Time freeze, Marty explains his current situation

Time freeze.  Marty explains that he’s fucked right now.  Not just regular fucked, but triple-decker on toast points.  Denna prematurely pulled out of K&A, which has left him in expansionist interruptus.  The banks will float Marty if the companies that K&A took over will stay the course, if Marty continues his to have a trusting relationship with the CEOs whose companies Denna ripped and pillaged.  Marty is on the verge of making K&A the richest consultant firm on the planet, but he just needs to take a few more steps.  Time resumes and Marty takes a glass to the face.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Denna tells Marty that she's withdrawing financial and strategic support for K&A

Ten hours earlier, Denna storms into Kaan & Associates to have a word with Marty.  She claims that she’s dumping the company, but that makes it sound like she had an emotional investment.  Instead, she corrects herself: she’s withdrawing her financial and strategic support.  It’s worth the $20 million hit if she never has to speak with him again.  Denna’s feelings are hurt- a sensation she hasn’t felt since her high school dumped her.  Oddly specific.  However, Marty doesn’t back down since he feels that Denna used Roscoe as a pawn.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Clyde gets a call about an offer on the app

Three minutes prior to this, Kelsey, Clyde, and Doug discuss their app when Denna storms by.  Clyde then receives a phone call from a company that has a major interest in their app.  That company?  Why, Google, of course.  The three are ecstatic and plan to celebrate with a re-launch party, though Doug hopes that this moment of happiness means that he and Kelsey can have sex one more time.  Not gonna fly, Doug.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Marty tells Doug and Clyde that Denna has pulled out, the three make plans

Marty calls the three into his office and tells them that Denna pulled out.  The next move involves locking down all of the CEOs of the companies K&A acquired or they’re dead in the water.  How?  Through a series of letters of intent.  Marty reluctantly decides to talk with Grant Stephens himself.  Doug prematurely tries to save the day by telling Marty that the revenue from the app will mean that he, Kelsey, and Clyde can grandfather K&A, though Clyde tells him not to get too optimistic just yet.  The numbers sound promising, though- the lower end is $400 million and the upper end is closer to $1 billion.  As the two get to work, Marty gets a phone call.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Marty and Jeremiah speak to Roscoe

Two hours earlier at House Kaan, Roscoe prepares to head out when he’s stopped by his father, who tells him that the school will want to move forward with this vandalism case.  Marty will help as much as possible, but the school will either try to kick Roscoe out or worse, such as prosecute him for a hate crime.  Roscoe doesn’t think much of this, though.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Jeremiah lectures Roscoe on hate

And this is where Jeremiah enters the conversation and tells Roscoe for not really grasping just what he’s done.  He feels that Roscoe put more hate in the world through his actions and has no idea what kind of shit the world can and will throw at him.  People have died because they have skin color similar to Roscoe, but also for dressing or acting like him.  Now Roscoe went and made a mockery of what people like him have suffered.  Roscoe, now in tears, seems to have gotten the message.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Marty talks with Grant Stevens, played by Currie Graham

Back at K&A, Marty hopes that Grant is happy that his low level firm has now been acquired so it can now suckle at the triple Venti teat of Kaan & Associates. Grant, however, assures Marty that his company was doing just fine before the Global kill team came in and snatched them up.  And with Denna gone, Grant isn’t feeling so trusting right now.  He has two kids, one of whom wants to be a dressage rider- horse ballet, as it was.

And do you know how much such a horse would cost?  $800,000.  Get the fuck out of here.  Marty isn’t giving up.  He has financing in place and just needs Grant to sign the letter, but Grant’s company had been bought out on stock options.  If K&A folds, those stocks would be worthless.  Ne won’t sign.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Grant ranting at the party

Nine hours later at the party, Grant is still fuming and lets Marty know as much when he tries to address the crowd.  Grant throws a glass straight at Marty.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- John shows surveillance footage to Marty and Roscoe

At school, John shows Marty and Roscoe the surveillance footage and believes the video shows a clear culprit.  Marty decides to unpack this a bit.  Is John really willing to do due diligence to prove Roscoe is a culprit?  Will he involve forensics and go down the CSI route?  Hell, would law enforcement need to get involved?  That would mean prosecuting Roscoe, who would be tried as an adult, for a hate crime.  How many students would be scared away from attending as a result?

Something like this can drag on in the press for a long time or it could die in this room right now.  You’d be surprised how quick people can forget something after a fresh coat of paint.  John does believe the school has been through enough, but this is where Roscoe steps in.  He doesn’t want to be careful or lie.  He was scared, but he’s done with hiding and admits that he’s the one who spray-painted the wall.  He won’t live his life as a liar to himself or anyone else.  Marty seems surprised, but agrees.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Jeannie gets ready for party

Four hours later, Jeannie gets ready for the party when, all of a sudden, her water breaks.  It’s time.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Kelsey, Clyde, Doug, and Marty talk at the party

Back at the party, Clyde, Doug, Kelsey, and Marty deal with the negative mood being spread by Grant’s rants.  They need Jeannie’s wholesome good looks, but luckily, Jeannie is on the way via her car.  That’s important because, speaking of Uber, Doug says, there’s still the matter of that incoming call from Google.  By the way, no one mentioned Uber before Doug did.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Doug gets call from Google

Then Doug gets the magic phone call from Google.  Why he’s the one doing the negotiating is a question in and of itself, but he tries to negotiate for a high price.  Something closer to $800 million instead of the lower end $400 million.  However, it turns out the representative on the phone only meant a mere $400,000.  Clyde takes the phone and tells the rep to shove that offer because their app is off the motherfucking market.  Clyde has no intention of being like his father and doing nothing with his life.  He tells Kelsey that they’ll launch the app independently and sell it when it’s undeniable.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Jeannie at hospital

Meanwhile, Jeannie is at the hospital.  She wants her goddamn meds.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Marty appeals to the crowd

At the party, Marty recovers from his head would and readdresses the crowd.  He’s been trying to be a nice guy, but he isn’t.  He’s good at what he does, which is why he acquired all of these companies.  He wants to grow and make these CEOs wealthy.  To do so, they must stick with him.  They’re hesitant, but Marty asks for at least one year.  That they at least agree on.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Marty confronts Grant outside

As for Grant, Marty takes him outside, though Grant blames the alcohol for his behavior.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Grant signs the letter of intent

Nonetheless, Marty presents him with a vintage 275 and guitar.  All he has to do is sign the letter or he’ll spend the next five years in court for attempted murder.  Grant signs, but Marty borrows the car anyway.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Marty joins Jeannie at the hospital

He soon joins Jeannie at the hospital, who eventually gives birth to her child.  All looks to be well right now, except for one thing: Jeannie accepted the job offer at Davis & Dexter.  Well, then.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Flashback to 'Together'

After a brief flash back to Season Three’s “Together,”

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Jeremiah and Roscoe join Jeannie and Marty

Jeremiah and Roscoe join Marty, Jeannie, and their newborn child as Season Four of House of Lies comes to a close.

We’ve arrived at the end of the show’s fourth season and the second in which our main pod has struggled to maintain success and productivity with their own firm.  It’s been a challenge, but I feel the end result worked in their favor by making the members much more ambitious.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Three minutes earlier

I liked the “Rashomon” approach to this episode because it let us see events play out from different perspectives and time periods, which helped fill in the blanks during certain scenes.  This episode could easily have been told in a straight line, but it was something different, I’ll give it that.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Denna rants to Marty

Trust has been a constant theme this episode, whether it’s Marty and Jeannie not being able to trust each other at first, Clyde being unable to trust his father, or Doug trusting Sarah at all.  The management consulting job looks challenging, but even more so when the pod has to fend for itself.  After ending up under Global’s umbrella, though, they decide they still don’t want to play by someone else’s rules, so they decide to play by their own, regardless of the consequences.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Marty smiles at the camera

This episode in particular dealt a lot with characters accepting their flaws instead of trying to coast through life and imagining that they’re without spot or blemish.  We’re dealing with very flawed individuals and I appreciate that the show doesn’t try to make these people seem perfect.  If they just try to walk through life acting like nothing can affect them, they’re in for a nasty surprise when life suddenly decides to kick them in the ass.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Roscoe admits that he spray-painted the wall

That’s what I feel made Roscoe’s admittance much more important because he’s been acting like this spray-painting issue wasn’t a big deal.  But, as Jeremiah told him, that sort of attitude and action just puts more hate in the world and doesn’t help Roscoe’s case at all.  Glynn Turman is usually very warm and reserved in his role, but his rant to Roscoe was impressive.  Throughout the season, we’ve seen Roscoe rebel against Marty, Jeremiah, and his school because he felt he could weather anything thrown his way.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Jeremiah has words with Roscoe

But Roscoe is still a kid and still naïve.  He wouldn’t be prepared to face a hate crime prosecution or treatment he may receive from others who don’t like how he looks, dresses, or acts.  I am glad that he decided to fess up to the crime because he didn’t want to be a liar anymore.  He wants to live an honest life, starting here, and I hope he continues on this path.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Clyde crafts out his future

I think Harvey’s death ended up making Clyde much more ambitious than we’ve ever seen him this season.  Clyde isn’t a pushover or a man without a vision, but after seeing how his father ended up with nothing, he aspires to be something greater.  He wants to be someone, no matter how challenging, and carve out a long-lasting legacy.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Clyde tells Kelsey that they will launch their app independently

So he decides that he and Kelsey launch the Housecallz app independently because he knows and believes that their product is worth much more than Google offered.  I’m glad Clyde is taking this step because he’s ensuring that he’ll help market something that will last.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Kelsey is impressed with Clyde

Side-note, if this ends up being something that Clyde and Kelsey do themselves, I do hope this means that Valorie Curry stays on through the next season.  Kelsey is a fascinating character and a much more refreshing change of pace than the previous new members we saw last season.  Unlike Caitlin in Season Three, Kelsey knows that she’s smart and confident, and some of that has to do with Curry’s commanding performance.  She brings some new chemistry to Kaan & Associates, and given that this is her app, I think there’s plenty of room for her to stick around for awhile.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Jeannie's water breaks

There’s been a lot of focus on both Jeannie and her pregnancy this season.  Well, technically Kristen Bell’s pregnancy, but you get what I mean.  She started off getting a lot of attention in the season, but focus slowly shifted away from her as we approached the season finale.  She started of reeling from the effects of sending Marty to prison, but she’s put that behind her and is now, like Clyde, trying to focus on her future.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Jeannie tells Marty that she took the job at Davis and Dexter

So she accepts the Davis and Dexter job because it’s a great position and opportunity for her.  Now, would this mean that the show is slowly phasing Jeannie out?  I doubt it and I’m positive the writers will find a way to keep her involved with Marty, Clyde, and Doug, whether at Davis and Dexter or her working with the pod again.  Keep in mind that Season Three started off with the four pod members working in different places, but they slowly ended up working together again.  Though doing it again next season could be a bit repetitive, in my mind, it could also allow someone like Kelsey to graduate into Jeannie’s spot if Jeannie ultimately leaves K&A and doesn’t return.  Again, I’m speculating a lot here, but we’ll see what happens come next season.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Jeannie and Marty's new baby

Marty hits a low point by fighting back against Denna.  I’m assuming Denna withdrawing means that he did end up releasing the information that Joe Gideon provided him.  He was willing to fight fire with fire even though he knew he would end up getting more burned by it.  He refused to back down from a company that he started or let someone that he knew and trusted to just walk all over him.

The trouble with Marty is that he spends a lot of time putting out fires and trying to make everybody happy.  That’s never going to happen because you can’t please everyone, but Marty is certain that he can make this firm flourish with time.  It’s all a waiting game right now.  He can’t promise security and prosperity right now, but if he can gain the CEOs’ trust for the moment, he’ll try and have something later.

It's a Box Inside a Box Inside a Box, Dipshit- Marty asks the crowd for one year

His speech during the party felt very honest and it was a great job by Don Cheadle.  Marty knows that he isn’t a nice guy.  He’s willing to play dirty or try and sweep messes under the rug if it suits him or those he loves, as we saw with the surveillance footage, but he will not allow himself to be defeated.  He has a huge task ahead of him to hold onto all of these companies that he’s acquired and keep himself happy at the same time.  It’s an uphill climb, made even harder by the fact that Jeannie may be out of his work life soon, but Marty always finds a way to land on his feet.

This was a good ending for the fourth season and there are a lot of doors left open to explore for the next season: is this goodbye for Jeannie?  Will Kelsey and Clyde successfully manage to launch the app?  Will Doug eventually get to have sex with Kelsey again?  I mean, probably not, but we can wonder.  Will Roscoe ultimately learn from his mistakes?  And what will Marty Kaan do now?  See you all next season.

A Look at House of Lies- Season 4, Episode 11: “Everything’s So Fucking Obvious, I’m Starting to Wonder Why We’re Even Having This Conversation”

“Everything’s So Fucking Obvious, I’m Starting to Wonder Why We’re Even Having This Conversation.”  Now that’s a great episode title.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Marty interviewed by Aimee, played by Amy Rosoff

The episode begins with Marty being photographed and interviewed by a woman named Aimee, played by Amy Rosoff, who I swear looks and sounds exactly like Kendra James.  Marty is too focused with this and isn’t even at all bothered when Doug enters to tell him that Denna is in the building.  Neither is Clyde, who knows that Marty has this under control with the press play and corporate intelligence component.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Clyde and Doug talk about Denna, Joe Gideon, and Davis & Dexter

Say what?  Yeah, Marty had Clyde find a forensic accountant who would be willing to look into Denna’s financial history.  This accountant, Joe Gideon, has gathered competitive intel for Fortune 500 companies, conducted opposition research for presidential candidates, and worked in the CIA for 20 years.  Impressive résumé.  At least Clyde is working on something, while Doug is behind on what he needs for the upcoming Davis and Dexter meeting.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Denna and Marty clash during photo shoot

Aimee’s interview with Marty is interrupted by the arrival of Denna, who is already familiar with the journalist.  As Aimee has the two get together for a photo, Denna shares that she has interview requests with Business Week and The Journal.  She also figures that Marty is just trying to protect his ass.  The more publicly associated he is with the firm, the more his ouster would hurt the asset value of Kaan & Associates.

And Marty finds that clever if he was worried about Denna ousting him.  Losing the face of the company at this early juncture wouldn’t be wise.  Luckily, Denna says, she’s not trying to oust him.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Marty, Clyde, and Doug talk with Joe Gideon, played by Kevin Pollak

Marty, Doug, and Clyde then meet with Joe Gideon, played by Kevin Pollak, who is all set to do some human intelligence, but he’s wary because Denna Altshuler is very careful.  Even still, he will find some skeletons.  He’s that good at his job.  For example, he pulls up a photo of a hunky looking man, which may not seem that important until Joe reveals that this hunk is currently fucking Sarah Guggenheim.  More than that, he pulls up a credit card statement and finds a recent purchase for Astro Glide, which is a personal lubricant usually used for anal sex.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Marty joins Jeremiah and Roscoe at school

So Marty, having received a phone call from Marty’s school, heads over and finds ‘Die Tranny Faggot’ spray-painted on the wall.  He heads in and finds Jeremiah and Roscoe, who would rather just head to class instead of going home.  Both Dad and Grandpa, however, are just about ready to torch the school.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Jeannie, Clyde, and Doug get a tour of Davis and Dexter

Jeannie, Doug, and Clyde are given a walkthrough of Davis and Dexter by Brent Keeler, played by Paul McKinney, who speaks of the company’s growth in patents and revenue.  More than that, the company has a goal of reaching greater efficiencies while finding ways to cure the incurable.  Such a goal, Jeannie says, isn’t enough since Davis and Dexter’s high value R&D strategies are out of sync with the lower price point required for expansion into emerging markets, not to mention the blockbuster patents set to expire soon.  But hey, the company is working on a cancer drug.  That’s something.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Jeannie gets a proposition from Teddy Grammatico, played by Simon Templeman

While Doug and Clyde watch the magic happen, Jeannie is pulled aside by Teddy Grammatico, played by Kain from the Legacy of Kain series, better known as Simon Templeman.  Sorry, that’s the gamer in me coming out.  While Jeannie thinks that Brent is passionate, Teddy thinks that he’s a fucking moron who will be fired very soon.  Teddy wants to have dinner with Jeannie to discuss the possibility of talking with her about a soon open Chief Financial Officer position, not to ask her out.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- John talks to Marty and Jeremiah about the spray painting

Back at the school, John presumes that another student is responsible for the spray-painting and has the security footage, which Marty wants to see.  That, however, would involve going to the school’s attorneys.  As for what actions will be taken to make sure this won’t happen again, John has reached out to the Gay Straight Alliance and scheduled a forum on tolerance.  Also, counselors will be brought in if students want to talk.  Given Jeremiah’s reputation as a psychologist, John would want him on board as well.

Marty calls this a bunch of boiler plate bullshit and I can’t really disagree with that.  He’s hearing a lot of talk, but no apology.  This didn’t just happen at the school, but he believes that John let it happen.  A donor said boo and Roscoe suddenly became a pariah.  However, John has talked to Kathy, who has agreed to set aside the expulsion talk for a while.  Marty thinks that everything’s so fucking obvious, he’s starting to wonder why they’re even having this episode title-I mean, conversation.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Clyde finds Harvey at the office

At Kaan & Associates, Clyde tries again to call his father after Doug goads him into doing it.  He won’t have to, however, since Harvey is right there in the office.  The two head off to talk.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Good news for Kaan & Associates, until Denna

Jeannie and Marty, meanwhile, meet with some employees when Denna pops in- her conference call was canceled.  Grant, played by Currie Graham, has great news: he’s this close to reeling in Home Depot.  That is good news, but that would be a conflict of interest since Marty signed Ace Hardware last month, which is their biggest client so far.

Denna settles the dispute by asking about the market caps for the two companies: Home Depot’s market cap is $130 billion, while Ace Hardware’s is a measly $990 million.  Screw you guys, that’s still a ton of money.  Anyway, Rachel, played by Carmella Riley, and her team have returned from Ann Arbor and are set to give a full topdown to Con-way Freight.  Another conflict of interest, due to the involvement of R+L Carriers.  But yes, again, Marty’s selected client has a smaller market cap.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Harvey and Clyde at a cafe

Harvey and Clyde talk at a café.  Well, Harvey talks about Clyde hopefully finding some stability with his job.  He then talks of how he took his wife for granted, but Clyde wants to focus on the present.  His father has good news, though.  He wants to go away for a summer trip now that he’s cancer free.  Yep.  Turns out he’s been seeing an herbalist, but he did go to an oncologist after that.  He can’t remember the name of the hospital, but after a brief description, Clyde recognizes it as Cedars.  The herbalist’s name?  Alphonse.

So yes, Harvey just needed a jumpstart and he knew that Clyde wouldn’t accept him unless otherwise.  Clyde, however, is livid.  Did his father just come to get close?  All he did was sit in Clyde’s apartment and be an asshole.  Not all the time, though.  He also did it as Clyde’s job as well, though.  Harvey is nothing but lies, bullshit, and a man who never succeeded at anything.  Just as Clyde prepares to leave, Harvey feels a twinging feeling in his chest.  Clyde thinks it’s more bullshit from his dad.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Harvey has a heart attack

But then the heart attack happens.  Whoops.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Denna and Marty talk about trust and the company

At the end of the day, Denna concludes that it was a good day for Associates, but less so for Kaan.  Marty is wise to Denna’s moves, though.  His employees couldn’t have landed those particular clients on their own at that moment, but Denna’s name did open some doors.  It helps to have that name recognition, you know?

What is Denna’s play?  Does she want to make Marty so miserable that he walks away?  No.  Denna tells Marty that she can’t let him go since he’s the face of the company.  However, without an actual client base or power, he’s just a figurehead.  No matter how many clients Marty finds, Denna will get bigger ones.  Denna doesn’t see herself as a villain, though.  Marty brought her in for help and that’s what he got.  In return, he says that she rejected her future offers and, as a result, spit on one of her biggest clients on her.

Denna has given Marty more room than she has to most, but she agrees to call off her dogs if she feels that she can trust Marty.  That won’t be hard since he’s already her bitch.

Clyde returns to K&A and gathers his things, but isn’t even in the mood to banter with Doug since it was Clyde’s on ranting that, he feels, led to his father’s heart attack.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Marty tells Jeannie that Denna traded insider information to short the Gage Motors stock

Marty rages against the phone when Jeannie enters.  Turns out that Denna traded on insider information to short the Gage Motor stock.  Denna knew all along.  She’s taking away everything that makes Marty formidable and threatening.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Jeannie knows Denna got her the job offer

Then something hits Jeannie: Denna is also responsible for Jeannie’s job offer.  Well, sort of.  Denna put up Jeannie’s name for it.  Teddy Grammatico is no pushover, though.  He doesn’t just hand a position to someone he doesn’t want.  Jeannie isn’t taking it, nor is she taking any of Denna’s semi-feminism bullshit.  Good.  We could all do without that, really.  Even if this opportunity doesn’t come often for women, Jeannie can get the job of a lifetime herself.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Jeremiah wonders about Roscoe

At House Kaan, Jeremiah says that Roscoe isn’t properly processing what happened to him, instead hiding behind teenage bravado.  Marty disagrees.  It’s just a case of some asshole fucking with him and Roscoe decided to not let it get to him.  That sort of thing doesn’t need to be fixed because it sounds a lot like strength.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Joe Gideon has information on Thomas Altshuler

Joe Gideon arrives with information on Thomas Altshuler: Denna’s father, a D.C. lawyer and advisor to several Presidents.  His honestly has been built on reputation, but everyone steps in dog shit sometime.  This particular pile involves some shady dealings with a Middle Eastern International banking company.  They paid Tom a hefty fee to keep an illegal takeover of an American bank quiet.

When a district attorney wanted to pounce, Denna used her power and influence to ward off an indictment.  Thus, Thomas’ name never hit the papers.  Well then, Marty has himself quite the silver bullet, courtesy of the tooth fairy, as Gideon wouldn’t want to be the person responsible for unleashing this monster.  Marty makes a call to Aimee.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Marty and Roscoe watch the school surveillance footage

He also receives the surveillance footage of the perpetrator spray-painting the school wall.  However, something seems very familiar about this individual, despite wearing a hood.  Marty calls in Roscoe, who notes that the hood brand is Zero, which Roscoe himself also wears.  When Marty asks his son if he knows who that is in the video, Roscoe responds that he doesn’t and heads back to his room.

We’re one episode away from the season finale and seeing Marty struggle to maintain his power after going up against Global.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Denna tells Marty she needs to be able to trust him

What is power without actual power?  Marty grapples with this as Denna exchanges his clients for better ones.  On the surface, it seems like Denna is just helping Marty by providing him with much more valuable clients.  A good idea, but this also robs Marty of his built up clientele base and, as he points out, only makes him a figurehead.  He’s still head of Kaan & Associates, but just in name only.  He talked early on about firms being afraid to break the rules, but now that he’s done that, he has to stay on the offensive and not let Denna walk all over him.

And with the possible exception of the shady bank dealings, Denna has always been one step ahead of Marty and even Jeannie.  Most of Marty’s possible angles have been pre-thought out by Denna.  It’s a near impossible scenario, yes, but I can’t deny how crafty and smart Denna is and how far ahead she mapped this out.  She couldn’t have predicted every single scenario, but she knows Marty very well and could guess how he would act on some of his moves.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Smile for the camera, Marty and Denna

Marty can’t make a move because Denna always manages to outfox him.  There’s a good parallel between this and what Roscoe’s enduring right now.  Marty tells Jeremiah that Roscoe isn’t letting what happened get him down.  The same applies to Marty, as he’s refusing to back down and just give into Denna’s demands, choosing to fight instead.  However, just like Denna reminds Marty, he’s fighting a battle that he himself brought on.  He needed Denna’s help to solve the Gage Motors issue, but that came with certain terms and conditions.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Denna talks with Marty

He wanted her to rape and pillage his company, and while she hasn’t done exactly that, she had managed to take a lot of Marty’s influence away from him.  This isn’t one of the terms that Marty agreed to, but given how well he knows Denna, like Ellis, I feel he could have prepared a bit better for this.  Now, with a smoking gun in his hand, he’s ready to seize the moment that he previously missed.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Clyde tells off Harvey

In fact, that seemed to be a trend with the pod this week, as they grappled with seizing upon an opportunity handed to them or letting life play out normally.  Clyde had his moment by telling off his father after spending so much time holding back.  It’s one of Ben Schwartz’s best performances this season, in my opinion.  He wanted to put his father on the spot for all the bullshit he put him through and he finally did, but it’s because he chose this moment that may have led to his father’s death.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Clyde and Harvey's final conversation

At the same time, Clyde at least had a final moment to be with his father instead of learning from someone else that he had died.  It really does suck what Harvey put Clyde through, past and present, and it’s unfortunate that this had to be the final exchange the two shared, but I’m glad that Clyde put the past behind him and called out Harvey for him being a terrible father.  It really felt like this had been something that Clyde had been holding onto for years and he finally got to let loose.  A very satisfying moment brought down by his father’s death.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Jeannie gets a CFO job offer, possibly

Jeannie also has an opportunity presented before her with this new job opportunity, but she’s not looking for a handout or favor, especially from Denna.  Given how much Jeannie prefers to get somewhere on her own steam, it’s easy for her to turn down Denna putting in a good word for her, no matter how lucrative the offer.  Unlike Denna, Jeannie isn’t looking to be some sort of figurehead for women in the business industry.  Her strength comes from who she is as an individual, not her gender.  Regardless of the nice offer, I still think she’s going to stick with K&A.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Doug learns that Sarah has moved on

And Doug…well, I still say that he should have found a way to stick it out with Sarah since she balances him out, but I do hope she makes an appearance in the future.

Everything's So Fucking Obvious, I'm Starting to Wonder Why We're Even Having This Conversation- Roscoe watches the surveillance footage

Meanwhile, did Roscoe indeed spray paint the school wall himself?  If so, was it to make a statement?  We can’t know for sure yet whether it was really him, but judging from Marty’s reaction, it seems like he already knows who did this.  Whether Roscoe actually did this and what will come of it remains to be seen.

So after reaching one dead end after another, Marty looks to have his smoking gun, but the question is now whether he’ll play it.  After all, Gideon didn’t want to be the one to play that sort of card, and Marty has used up most of his other options, so it looks like he has the advantage.  Even if he does, where does he go from there?  He’s defied Denna once, so chances are she’d be expecting another sort of counterattack.  We’ll see.  Here’s to the season finale.

A Look at The Hunting Ground

The Hunting Ground- Poster

Some statistics: 16 to 20 percent of women are sexually assaulted in college.  88 percent of women assaulted do not report the crimes.  Less than eight percent of men on college campuses commit 90 percent of sexual assaults.  Although less than four percent of college males are athletes, they commit at least 19 percent of sexual assaults.

Oh, but colleges and universities across the nation have been cracking down on what’s being called a nationwide epidemic.  For example, in 2012, 45 percent of colleges reported a whopping zero sexual assaults on their campuses.  That is absolutely unbelievable…no, I mean I actually find that hard to believe.

Now I’m not an expert on sexual assaults (or anything, really), nor is it news that I follow on a regular basis.  Hell, for the longest time, I didn’t even think I knew anyone who had ever been sexual assaulted.  Granted, that number has only gone from zero to one, but the point I’m making is that it isn’t something I myself have kept track of.  Of course, campus rape is an ongoing, complex issue that makes you question not the victims themselves- though that seems to be the case a lot- but the institutions that promise to give so much to students, yet often fail them.

And this is what can make The Hunting Ground a bleak, yet somewhat uplifting documentary to watch.

I approach this a tad differently than I would a film or television show because this is a documentary.  There’s no three act structure.  There are protagonists, antagonists, and an open-ended conclusion, but, like most documentaries, this film is here to present you with information.  If you’ve followed the campus rape crises, chances are a lot of this information and even the statistics given are things you already know.  That’s fine.  However, I still feel that there’s something to gain from watching this film.

One professional reviewer went as far as to say that the documentary should be made mandatory for anyone attending college.  I don’t know if I’d go that far, but I do think anyone, whether college-age or above, can learn something here, if you don’t lose faith in university administration, anyway.

The Hunting Ground- College Acceptance Letter reactions

The film is deceptive with its opening, but I think that’s intentional.  We start off with a video montage of high school seniors reacting to their college acceptance letters.

Okay, I need to be cynical and crass for a moment, but I must wonder aloud why we’re in such an age where we need to have a video reaction to everything that we see.  Think about how many YouTube videos you can find of people reacting to movie trailers, television shows, and audience reactions.  There are some YouTube channels that are nothing but people reacting to stuff that others have watched.  Why do that in the first place?  Part of me wants to blame the explosion of reactions to the Red Wedding on Game of Thrones, but I’m certain that this began well before that.  My point is that we don’t need to see your facial expressions, screams, and cries as you react to something that I’ve already seen.  Are you doing it for posterity?  Stop it.  Stop it right now.

I can have an opinion on things too, you know.

Anyway, we get a series of prospective college students reacting happily to the news that they’re about to spend the next few years at a prestigious institution.  We watch both parents and children react with joy and absolute elation, see the move-in process as kids leave home and go on their own, and see university presidents and officials deliver speeches filled with optimism about the future.

The next generation of students have untapped potential and everyone at these institutions are here to provide guidance that will lead the students to their moment.  Right from the start, there’s a real sense of hope and confidence that incoming students will enjoy the next few years and if they have any issue at all, the university system will be there for them.

Then we’re introduced to two students: Andrea Pino and Annie Clark.  This film is still a documentary that discusses ongoing campus rape, yes, but the story outside of this revolves around the efforts put forth by these two women, spearheaded after their own respective assaults.  While the documentary itself is still great to watch, I do like that we’re given two people to follow because it helps place their stories in a larger context instead of making them feel like isolated incidents, because they aren’t.

The Hunting Ground- Andrea Pino

The first, Andrea Pino, was a high school valedictorian and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Sounds promising, until that spring when a guy she thought was a nice guy banged her head on the bathroom tiles and then had his way with her.  She didn’t scream, though.  At that point, you just hope that you don’t die.  Pino, however, wasn’t the only one assaulted that weekend.

The Hunting Ground- Annie Clark

We then have Annie Clark, another UNC Chapel Hill alumna who had been assaulted.  Apparently, sexual assaults are enormous on college campuses, but few actually speak up about it.  Hell, two of Clark’s friends were assaulted before classes even started.

From this, the film divides into two: we follow Andrea and Annie’s efforts and outreach with campus rape, but we’re also given a significant amount of history, statistics, testimonies, and issues related to this subject, just to name a few.

I’ve heard of a few isolated incidents of campus rape here and there, but unless it worked its way into the mainstream, it wasn’t something I followed.  Also, I never got the sense that it was as large as the film made it out to be.  That’s not to say I thought it only happened at certain campuses and not others at all, but the list was staggering.  I mean, UNC, Stanford, University of Virginia, Florida State University, MIT, University of Southern California, Swarthmore, Brandeis, University of Connecticut, Yale, Tufts, George Mason, George Washington…Harvard Law School?  And those are just the ones I managed to write down while taking notes in the cinema.

On the surface level, one wouldn’t think there’s much that connects the schools, but you’d be wrong.  That’s my naïveté showing, but the film does a good job shining a spotlight on these institutions and how they apparently failed to protect the students.

Before and after the assaults, there’s a lot of hope from both the victims and their parents that the collegiate system will be with them, when that ends up not being the case.  Despite how candid the retellings by a number of victims, many of the tales end with disappointment.  Part of this is due to victim blaming.

The Hunting Ground- SlutWalk

If you’ve heard of SlutWalk, then you’re well familiar with this already.  What were you wearing?  How much did you have to drink?  Did you scream for help?  Why didn’t you bite off his cock and take it with you to Heaven?

The Hunting Ground- Don Lemon, CNN

Wait…

Hell, Clark shares that a female advisor told her that rape is just like a football game.  First off, what?  Second, the hell?  Third, I emphasize female because you’d think a lot of the folks blaming or looking down on victims would be men, but no.  Clearly there’s no solidarity among genders here, not that there ever was.

However, there seems to be some semblance of solidarity among university officials when it comes to suppressing knowledge on these cases, but the question is why?  Well, colleges are a business, don’t you know?  See, the universities have to protect their brand, so, if need be, it’s important to suppress information.  Obviously college entrance rates would drop if parents received letters saying that there’s been a significant amount of sexual assaults on their campuses.

Now that’s where things get hazy: do colleges take the risk of keeping parents and students well aware at the risk of lower acceptance rates or sweep everything under the rug and make promises for change?  The answer may seem obvious, but not to those who have brands to protect.

The Hunting Ground- Alumni Weekend

And there are other reasons, too.  Alumni, particularly those in fraternities, contribute large sums of money to their alma maters.  You don’t want the well to dry up because you’re known as a rape-tolerant campus, do you?  The issue appears to be that some universities’ priorities don’t align with that of victims.  Universities want to do right by students, but they also have an image to maintain.  Money speaks louder than rape victims, apparently.

That said, the tone some university officials took in the film was quite striking.  It felt like career politicians reading off a script, the amount of times officials said they would take reports ‘very seriously.’  It helps to have a media sound byte out there so you can point back and say that you’re doing your job to help the victim, you know?

But even then, that goes a step further when it comes to outright denying victim claims.  Using words like false, untrue, and ‘just plain wrong’ discredit a victim’s story.  Who are you going to believe?  The heads of prestigious universities or some girl or guy that some think may have had too much to drink?

I’m asking far too many questions for what’s supposed to be me giving my take on a documentary.

The Hunting Ground- UVA, Rolling Stone

While the answer would be obvious, a lot of people have reasons to doubt victims.  After all, if there is no evidence outside of a story, people will be skeptical, and they’ve been fooled before.  The film does address false rape allegations and yes, they do exist, but they take up such a small percentage.  Problem with that is that even just one false allegation gives people reason to disbelieve any ‘so-called victims’ who comes forward with the truth or those who choose to believe them.  I hope I’m not the only person thinking of “Jackie” and the Rolling Stone right now.

The Hunting Ground- Crystal Magnum

Are there occasional false rape allegations?  Of course there are, if the Duke lacrosse and Wanetta Gibson cases are any indication, but because we like the slippery slope argument, one false claim obviously means that the others must be scrutinized, analyzed, and criticized.  That is literally the only logical path.  Sure, circumstances and the people involved may be different, but they are the exact same thing.  If one person lied, everyone else did.  Of course I’m not being serious here.

The Hunting Ground- False Rape Allegations

And therein lies the problem with false allegations: they discredit the people who do wish to come forward not just because of not being taken seriously, but the stigma that comes with having to relive your tale.  I must applaud the number of women who chose to step forward and share their numerous tales despite what they went through having to go through their assaults.

These aren’t women giving us crocodile tears and sobbing uncontrollably as they talk about having their maidenhood assaulted.  They’re real people who were violated and now wish to have a voice and say in an ongoing campus problem.  It’s disheartening to see how much trust was placed in these institutions, then to see no action.

The Hunting Ground- Kamilah Willingham

There’s one woman, Kamilah Willingham, for example, who attended Harvard Law School.  She and a friend went out and a guy bought them a round.  Next thing she knew, she’s on a bed and the guy is fondling her friend, who is now naked.  Strange, as she wasn’t naked before.  More than that, he says that he only put a finger in her at most.  At most.  Willingham and her mother thought that Harvard would get them justice, but nothing came of it.  I felt a bit miffed watching these stories reach dead ends with no results, if I’m honest.

But, as some often ask, what about the people who commit the crimes?  How about those whose lives may be ruined by an allegation?  Shouldn’t they have a say in this?  Isn’t their side of the story just as important?

Actually, yes, the film does address that.  This film isn’t here to take sides as much as it is to inform, but if I can applaud the film for anything, it’s for letting a perpetrator talk about what he’d done.  Granted, his face was blurred out, we never got his name, and I personally have no idea whether his voice had been altered, but the point is that he came forward to talk about what he’d done, his incarceration, and how he wants to help so no one does what he does.  It’s brief, but hey, at least one person copped to what he did.

The Hunting Ground- Male victims

In addition, the film does speak with a few male victims of rape.  Sounds like a paradox when you say it since there’s this commonly held belief that guys can’t be victims because…well, they’re guys.  They’re rough men who can fight off anything.  If they were assaulted, they either wanted it or had it coming.  I’m reminded of the Law & Order: SVU episode “Ridicule” where a similar scenario happens and the victim isn’t taken seriously because he’s a guy.  But, as the documentary shows, no, it does happen, but men are conditioned to not say anything because they’ll be seen as weak.

The same applies to women because of the ridicule they’ll go through.  Fear is a powerful weapon and it keeps people quiet.  Also, some don’t tell their parents because then they’ll have that conversation.  More than that, there are all of the issues that plague them after their assaults.  Crying, panic attacks, self-harm, suicide attempts- these are all things I’d expect from returning soldiers, but again, campus rape is not my area of expertise, so I can’t say I’m familiar with what rape victims go through.  Chalk it up to my naïveté since this isn’t something I research.  Ignorant, I know.

The Hunting Ground- Lizzy Seeberg

But some take it to the extreme because no one is willing to be there for them.  There’s one girl, Lizzy Seeberg, who attended Saint Mary’s College, for example.  She’d been assaulted by a football player.  Unlike a lot of stories, this one was mostly told from the perspective of Seeberg’s father.  Part of me wondered why Lizzy herself wasn’t telling some of this tale, given the amount of victims we’d seen do so already, only for Father Seeberg to reveal that Lizzy eventually committed suicide.

Ah…well, fuck me.

So if the system fails you and your friends fail you, what is the next viable path, then?  Some unfortunately choose Seeberg’s path because they had believed the college institutions would be there for them.  But the film shows that, often times, the treatment by peers and administrators can often be worse than the act itself.

That extends to the retaliation as well, both in-person and online.  We see victims’ rooms trashed and watch keyboard warriors make threats online.  There’s even a sequence where Pino, Clark, and another victim whose name I can’t remember read a message board.  The third victim’s name is included in a sentence written in a foreign language.  They find it odd until they translate the sentence, which means that the poster thinks that the victim should be destroyed.  Well.

The Hunting Ground- Things that cause rape

Is this the rape culture that people speak of?  Where this sort of perverse behavior is encouraged?  Or do the people committing the crimes feel they’re doing no wrong?  There’s a brief look back at 1979 where reporters talk to men talking about a list of alleged rapists’ names scrawled on a bathroom wall.  The men are aghast.  Just because a woman said no and you still have sex with her, does that make you a rapist?  The answer is obviously yes, as a young woman yelled out in the cinema, but to these guys, the answer somehow eludes them.  To them, as the adage goes, boys will be boys.  What is consent, anyway?

The Hunting Ground- UVA protest

Yeah, you’d expect this film to touch upon Greek life.  Side-note, fraternities seem to be in a lot of hot water nowadays, or maybe they always have been and, like the assaults, all problems have just been swept under the beer soaked rug.  So let’s talk about the fraternities.  Now, of course not every single Chapter of every fraternity ever has this sort of issue and one can hardly blame a few incidents at select fraternities as indicative of Greek life as a whole, but there’s a good reason to.

The Hunting Ground- Thank you for your daughters

Are some of these fraternity members just naïve or stupid?  Remember the whole “No Means Yes, Yes Means Anal” nonsense that fraternities such as Phi Delta Theta had to deal with?  Is this meant to be funny?  It isn’t.  Some just take pride in being predators, I suppose.  It’d be easy to blame the national organizations, but responsibility starts with the individual.  So when fraternities put up signs thanking parents for their daughters, when females are let into frat parties en masse without having to pay covers, and when they’re encouraged to drink themselves stupid, who can be blamed but the organizers themselves, especially when they use alcohol as a weapon before using their cocks as weapons?

The Hunting Ground- Random party

Frat parties can often be traps.  Blame goes on the institutions for not keeping an eye on this, sure, but the individual members also deserve some level of blame.  At the very least, people are at least smart about where to go and what to avoid.  Sigma Alpha Epsilon, for example, apparently has another unofficial name: “Sexual Assault Expected.”  Plus, keep an eye out for rape dungeons.  Well, I’ll give people this, at least they’re to the point.

Sex is a game to many.  I mean, it shouldn’t be, by any means, unless you’re playing something like Leisure Suit Larry.  My point is some members of some fraternities have effectively turned sexual experiences into stories of conquests, like a game of cat and mouse.  We see that some members swap tales of their experiences.  Apparently you get bonus points if you put it in her butt.  What is this fascination with surprise butt sex?

But, again, if colleges warned students that rapes take place at certain frat houses, only the universities stand to lose: admission rates could drop, interested people would be less likely to pledge, and alumni would be less likely to donate.  See, all a business decision.  Fraternities are about more than guys and gals walking around in Greek letters.  It’s a lifelong commitment that you pledge yourself to, but it obviously doesn’t give you a license to assault.  You can’t just think that a girl is going to throw herself or fall into your hands and won’t say no because of the implication.

So then why don’t the institutions just distance themselves from the fraternities?  Because, again, there’s money to lose and colleges already appear to be aware of these incidents, but for the sake of keeping up appearances, they just leave the matter alone.  It’s a battle going up against the Greek system.

The Hunting Ground-  Don McPherson discusses Jameis Winston and athlete worship

But you know what?  It’s an even bigger hurdle going up against college athletes.  As the film mentions, the world of college athletes can be a toxic environment where the athletes themselves are treated like celebrities.  Authority figures are told to not proceed with allegations and if punishment is doled out, it would happen after a giant game.

The Hunting Ground- Erica Kinsman

Hell, the documentary surprised me when we got a montage of college football fans blaming one Erica Kinsman, saying she was jealous of the treatment her alleged abuser gave her.  Kinsman gave a very candid description of what she endured at the hands of a Florida State University football player.  The guy even gave her a ride back on his scooter. Kinsman later was then able to identify the individual since she took a class with him.

The Hunting Ground- Jameis Winston

Yeah, you all know who I’m talking about.  I’d heard Jameis Winston’s name pop up a lot in 2014 not in relation to this matter, but his football prowess.  As far as I know, he’s slated to be selected for the 2015 NFL draft.  I don’t follow football either, but I do remember that much.  Winston is a very public and well-known figure because of both the allegation and his football career.  As such, the public will be divided, even though being a quarterback doesn’t and shouldn’t mean you receive special treatment.

Some will take Kinsman’s side, but others will say that Winston is an up-and-coming star.  He has a bright future.  Why would Kinsman pick this moment to come forward?  Surely she should have said something earlier, like back when it happened!  That’s why we have campus officials and university police to handle these matters.  She’s just jealous, she wants his money, we need to remember that Winston’s life could be ruined by this…and the list goes on.  Athletes matter too much to colleges and must be treated as treasures.

The Hunting Ground- Willie Meggs on Jameis Winston

Again, though, where does responsibility lay?  Florida State University?  The football’s head coach?  Winston for not asking for consent first?  Kinsman for going with a guy she didn’t know?  Or should bartenders be held liable for not making sure all of their patrons are kept safe, even though that would be impossible?  What option is there when few will take your side and your voice can’t be heard?

The Hunting Ground- Andrea Pino and Annie Clark

This is why I like how Pino and Clark’s ongoing activism is played against the statistics and stories that we hear from victims.  While we learn about this growing trend, we see these two victims, nay, survivors, researching Title IX, listening to other stories from men and women reliving their trauma, and connecting the dots in what they see as a nationwide epidemic.

It brings the documentary full circle by ending on a somewhat optimistic note with universities being investigated for sexual assaults.  I’m for and against this conclusion, though.  The film has spent the entire time telling me this.  By the time you reach the end, you get the point that you should give a listening ear to potential victims and speak out about this.  Having an advisory notice on that at the end feels redundant when, I think, the audience can figure that out for themselves.  That’s the sort of thing you save for a PSA which, to be fair, this documentary is.

The Hunting Ground- Protesters

Campus rape is still a big issue.  What should be straightforward solutions to tackling this growing problem on college campuses are made challenging through victim-blaming, shaming, going through hoops and hurdles to protect the accused and the institution, victims themselves not coming forward due to fear of reprisal or ridicule from all angles.  However, all you need is a voice to get the conversation started.

We as people are naturally skeptical of something that sounds outrageous or fantastic.  Does that mean it might not be true?  Possibly, but I doubt that means we need to turn a blind eye all the time.  Again, campus rape and sexual assault in general is not my area of expertise.  Chances are most of what I’ve blurted out is stuff that you may know in better worded detail.  I still contend that accountability must be held on the individual, as in the one who committed the act.

We raise people to superstar status because of their seemingly incredible gifts and talents, but they’re humans that can come crashing down to Earth at any time.  They don’t deserve special treatment.  We are not gods, but men…and women.  If women like Pino and Clark can have their stories told, so can others.  Sometimes you need to dramatic examples to shake up the establishment and get people out of apathy.  Worked for Bruce Wayne, it can work for anyone.

THE HUNTING GROUND

I’ll be honest, The Hunting Ground left me feeling hollow when it ended.  That’s not say it’s bad.  Not by any means, but it made me question the institutions we attend for years at a time and whether our priorities line up with theirs.  In the case of rape victims, that’s not always the case.  I’m not trying to convince you all of anything.  I’m merely giving my opinion on the documentary and what little opinion I have on the subject matter.

I can say that this film is going to be uncomfortable for some to watch.  Hell, when watching this in the cinema, there was a young, college-aged woman who kept crying from after the halfway point to near the end.  Without doing any research on my own, I doubt you can get that kind of reaction from just any documentary, but it’s going to touch people in a certain way.  Phrasing.

That said, I very much recommend The Hunting Ground.

 

A Look at The Walking Dead- Season 5, Episode 15: “Try”

Well, we didn’t get fireworks, but something close to it as the residents of Alexandria deal with the losses of Aiden and Noah this week, Rick confronts Pete and Jessie, Daryl and Aaron are still on the hunt, Carl pursues Enid because he has nothing else to do, and Michonne and Rosita find out if Sasha needs help with her target practice.  That and possibly saving her soul.  This is “Try.”

Try- Deanna, Reg, and Spencer listen to Nine Inch Nails' 'Somewhat Damaged' on a RunMix CD

The episode begins with a small montage: Deanna, Reg, and Spencer listening to Nine Inch Nails’ “Somewhat Damaged” on a RunMix CD.  Alexandria has CD players, apparently.

Try- Carol whips up a casserole

Carol cooks up a casserole and leaves a condolences note for Deanna.

Try- Sasha takes aim

Sasha channels Andrea’s marksmanship and takes out walkers with skill.

Try- Daryl and Aaron spot a light in the distance

And Daryl and Aaron spot a light in the distance.

Try- Nicholas tells his side of what happened to Aiden and Noah

We then see Nicholas and Glenn interviewed separately concerning the events of the previous episode.  Nicholas, the asshole that he is, claims that he tried to stay and help Aiden while the others wanted to leave.  He blames the others for this, yet Deanna points out that they all still returned together.

Nicholas’ interview appears to be the only one of the two that is recorded.  Deanna forbids the two from holding firearms or going outside until she can further review this matter.  Why no one bothers to get Eugene’s input on the situation, I don’t know.  Anyway, Deanna still sees great potential in them, even if Nicholas wants them gone.

Try- Glenn tells Rick what happened to Noah and Aiden

Glenn, however, relays his story to Rick- how he saw the grenades on the walker that Aiden shot, how he watched Noah die before his eyes, how he tried to save him, how much Noah believed in Alexandria, it tears him apart.

Rick is ready to take action.  After all, the people of Alexandria are still too relaxed in his eyes.  They haven’t caught up with the rest of society because they’ve been too complacent.  Glenn, however, believes that the people can be shown a better way, but not by force.

Try- Carol and Rick watch Jessie from afar

Sometime later, Carol catches up with Rick and the two watch Jessie and her kids on their porch.  Carol talked some more with Sam and learned that Jessie placed a bolt inside his door.  At times, she’ll tell him to lock himself inside.  He would hear the sounds of Pete yelling and once walked out to find his mother unconscious while his father just sat on the porch.

Rick asks why Carol even cares about this, but she responds that he already knows.  Though that’s not really an answer, she then turns it on Rick and asks why he cares, but she can figure that out.  After all, she’s seen the way that Rick talks to her.  If the walkers didn’t come in, Carol says, she wouldn’t be there right now.  Rick disagrees.

Try- Rick advises Pete to keep walking

Then Rick heads to the water, gun in hand.  His trigger finger is itchy and when Pete comes by, Rick warns him to keep walking.

Try- Rosita fills Michonne in on Tara's condition

The next day, Michonne prepares to get ready for the day when Rosita enters and informs her that Tara’s condition is stable.  Rosita is worried about Sasha, though, as she spent the night in the tower.  Rosita just saw her go out one day.

Try- Rosita and Michonne on their guard

So Rosita and Michonne take their first time outside of the Alexandria gates since they arrived and it already feels different, though the two are still on their guard.  Rosita thinks that’s a good thing.  After Eugene’s life, she’s felt screwed up since she lost something, but for Michonne, it’s because she found something.  Noah’s still dead, though, and it’d be simple to forget, but the two don’t plan on that.

Try- Rick visits Deanna to talk about Pete and Jessie

Deanna visits the graves when she receives a visit from Rick, who first apologizes, but also addresses the problem with Pete.  Deanna had hoped it would get better, indicating that she knew about the abuse all along.  Rick tells her that this situation won’t get any better and action must be taken, but Deanna needs Pete’s skills as a surgeon.  He has saved lives, after all.  True, but he’s still beating his wife.

While Deanna suggests separating the two, Rick is wary that Pete just won’t comply with that when he doesn’t have to.  So then why not just kill him, Rick then suggests.  Deanna shoots that down without a thought.  This is a civilization.  Even still, Rick says, you either stop this kind of stuff or someone dies.  If Pete was exiled, Deanna would make the community vulnerable since he could return.

Tired of this, Deanna puts her foot down- Rick will not execute Pete.  Grimes is visibly angry with this decision.  People are dying. These are times when you can decide when or life can decide for her.  Deanna already has, though, since she wouldn’t kill Rick.  Again, foot down- no execution.

Try- Michonne and Rosita find a walker executed by Sasha

Michonne and Rosita find numerous walkers that have been shot in the back of the head- she’s hunting the roamers.

Try- Enid knows Carl is following her

Because Carl needs something to do, he follows Enid some more.  Well, he’s not good at being stealthy because she can hear his every move.  People always die, she says, so why go back to Alexandria?  When Carl asks what she’s doing out there, she responds that it’s for the same reason as him.  With that, she breaks into a run.  But not just any run.  This run is in slow motion.

Try- Enid and Carl find a walker

The two happen upon a walker, but keep their distance.  Enid readies a timer and throws it to distract the walker.

Try- Glenn confronts Nicholas over what happened to Noah and Aiden

Glenn confronts Nicholas to tell him that not only are the four previous scouting members’ deaths on him, now he has to carry the burden of letting Noah die.  People like Nicholas are supposed to die, but he got in before the walls went up.  He now survives by not going outside.  Nicholas doesn’t take this sitting down, saying that he’s protected people for a long time, while Glenn and his group just got there.  He takes Glenn’s words as a threat, but they’re not.  Glenn says that he’s saving Nicholas’ life.

Try- Enid and Carl talk about their pasts

Carl and Enid rest on a log.  She likes being out and running because, in her mind, people are supposed to feel like this.  She doesn’t want to forget and running makes her feel better.  While Enid uses her mother’s knife to carve into a log, Carl asks what happened to her before she arrived in Alexandria.  Enid doesn’t think that matters, but Carl still wants to know since bad things have happened to him, too.

Try- Enid and Carl, standing in a tree, w-a-t-c-h-i-n-g walkers go by

At the sound of walkers, the two hide in a tree.  This could only be more cliché of the two started kissing.  They don’t, however, though Carl does brush Enid’s hand as the walkers pass them by.  Oh, and more walkers with W’s on their foreheads.

Try- Rosita, Sasha, and Michonne take out walkers

While Nicholas digs up a gun, Sasha continues to pick off walkers.  She’s soon joined by Michonne and Rosita, but Sasha rejects their help.  She’s tired of playing defense and continues taking out walker after walker.  As Michonne sees flashes of her former, loner self in Sasha, she continues helping.  In a bit of realism, though, Sasha actually runs out of ammunition.  She’s still got a knife, but a walker downs her and almost bites her before she’s saved.

When it’s all said and done, though, Sasha still claims she didn’t need help.  They can’t do anything for her.  Things worked out for Michonne, but no one can help Sasha.  After all, she told Noah that he wouldn’t make it.  That’s true, Sasha, you did do that.

Try- Aaron and Daryl find a woman tied to a tree

Daryl and Aaron find more limbs and decapitated bodies.  As the two continue along, they find a woman tied to a tree and a W carved on her forehead.  She’s eliminated for good just as she begins to reanimate.

Try- Rick talks to Jessie about Pete

Rick visits Jessie, who offers her condolences about Noah.  And Tara, but her fate is up in the air.  Anyway, Rick confronts Jessie about Pete abusing her.  It has to stop, he says.  She says that it will, since it already has before.  She got Pete help.  Rick argues that he can fix this problem a lot better than her.  If things get worse, then Pete has already killed Jessie.  Rick won’t let that happen.  Despite Rick’s good intentions, Jessie rejects his help.  As a married woman, she can take care of this herself.

Try- Rick pleads Jessie to let him help her

After stepping outside for a bit, Rick returns and tells Jessie about Sam asking for a gun.  The life inside these walls is the same outside.  You don’t get to just live.  You can’t put off or wish away the inevitable.  You have to fight.  And if you don’t, you die.  Rick doesn’t want Jessie to die.  Just say yes and all will be well.  When Jessie asks if Rick would do this for someone else, he says no.  So Jessie’s answer is yes.

Try- Pete finds Rick talking with Jessie

But there’s Pete, who wants Rick out.  The brewing confrontation explodes as the words between Rick and Pete turn physical.

Try- Exterior shot before

Oh, we get a brief shot outside as we hear the fight take place in the house.  Why?

Try- Exterior shot after, the fight

That’s why.

Try- Pete versus Rick

So yeah, while Sasha picks off more walkers outside the walls, Rick and Pete’s fight spills into the street and attracts a crowd.  Jessie and Carl are knocked off when trying to break up the brawl.  Even Deanna is unable to calm the two men.

Try- Rick points his gun at Deanna and folks

Rick eventually draws his gun and waves it around.  The people of Alexandria just don’t get it.  They just sit around, hesitate, and pretend to know how to live.  Rick and company, though?  They know what needs to be done.  They’ve lived.  The way of life for the people of Alexandria is done.  It’s time to understand that they live in the real world.  That’s all very clear to Deanna right now.

But Rick’s not done.  He believes that Deanna’s way gets people killed.  Rick won’t let that happen.

Try- Michonne knocks out Rick

Okay, Michonne’s had enough.  Good night, Rick.

So we’re one episode away from the season finale and “Try” had a lot of setup.  For the longest time, the residents of the Alexandria Safe Zone have lived in relative peace.  Not total peace, but it’s more than what Rick and company have had.

Try- And then Rick pulled out his gun

The problem, as Rick and others have pointed out, is that they’ve become too comfortable.  The newcomers feel that Alexandria’s residents hesitate and are cowards.  They just live as opposed to fighting for their lives.  That doesn’t apply to all of them, to be sure, but from what we’ve seen, it applies to a good number of them.  Life isn’t the way it was before the world went to hell, yes, but they act as if things are close to normal.  Beyond those walls, though, they aren’t.

Since the arrival of Rick and pals, we’ve seen them question the foundation of the society that Alexandria is trying to build.  We had Sasha’s outburst during the dinner party, Carl’s concern that the group will grow weak, and Rick flat out waving a gun around and calling out the ridiculousness of Deanna’s rules.  All he needed to do was call himself the law, but I’m guessing Michonne sensed that was coming next.

Try- Deanna listens to Rick rant

Because of Rick’s outburst, the folks of Alexandria now know what the newcomers think of them.  It remains to be seen whether there’s complete distrust or whether they now just question Rick’s motives since he is de-facto leader of the group.  With Gabriel’s admission to Deanna as well, the lines between Rick’s group and the Alexandria residents are deepening.  And, as expected, not everyone in Rick’s group shares the same frame of mind as Rick.

Try- Deanna with Rick at the graves

Deanna is very similar to Dawn: she knows that horrible things happen under her watch, but she allows certain people to stay because she values their skills and abilities.  Pete may hit his wife, but he’s also a surgeon that’s responsible for saving people’s lives, including working on Tara right now.  Deanna is focusing more on the future of the community.  If she allows Rick to execute Pete, it sets a bad precedent and shows that there is no law.

Try- Deanna watches Nicholas' confession

I do think Deanna has the best of intentions as the leader and we’ve yet to see everything that she’s capable of, but she’s in a difficult position.  She knows that actions should be taken against perpetrators and that the people of Alexandria are too relaxed, but she’s focusing on growing the community.  She lacks the real world experience that the others have been through, so she doesn’t see a need for the excessive violence that Rick advocates.

To her, there’s a better way.  Even if that means letting someone like Pete stay or exiling him when he could return and endanger the safe zone, Deanna won’t allow herself to cross a certain line, or she’d just become a part of the problem.  And yet, she told us that she sent others out before, so we know she has the potential to get rid of issues in the community.

Try- Deanna burns the sympathy note

For my money, I still think we have a lot to see from Deanna’s character.  We get to see her grieve Aiden’s loss, but we also know that she’s taken Gabriel’s words to heart when she burns Carol’s sympathy note.  Deanna isn’t looking for apologizes; she wants the truth.  Given her ability to read people, I have to wonder if she’s a few steps ahead of the others.  She knew that Pete was hitting Jessie and she thanked Glenn for knocking Aiden on his ass, so I’m curious whether she believes Nicholas’ version of the story or if she knows that he’s full of shit.

Try- Glenn isn't threatening Nicholas

Speaking of Nicholas and Glenn, I appreciate that the events of the previous episode weren’t just glossed over.  It’s clear that the deaths of Aiden and Noah have touched the community, but they hit Glenn hard because he had to watch Noah be killed, but could do nothing to help.  Glenn also had a real point.  Even if Nicholas was telling the truth about being a vital part of the community before, he and Aiden still abandoned other members to die and did the exact same thing that led to Noah’s death.

Try- Nicholas feels threatened by Glenn

For us, people like Nicholas would be expected to die because of his cowardice, but fate and Alexandria’s walls have spared him for the time being.  It doesn’t matter how much Nicholas has helped out because he now has five deaths on his hands.  That’s something he’ll never forget.

Try- Enid uses her mother's knife to carve into a log

In fact, this episode dealt a lot with characters struggling to either forget about the past or holding onto it.  The outbreak has claimed and changed many people’s lives.  As Jessie once told Rick, everyone has suffered the pain of loss, but that’s what also brought them together.  Enid and Carl, for example, don’t want to forget.  They can’t and, hell, probably never will forget.  I like the idea of Enid running outside just so she can feel something, but my hope is that she’s more cautious when fooling with walkers and throwing timers at them.  I’d expect that from Lizzie, but hopefully Enid is smarter than that.  However, she’s smart enough to know that it’s better to feel something than just be complacent and feel little.

Try- Carl and Enid on a log

We still don’t know much about Enid’s past before the outbreak, and I’m fine with that for now because it leaves her background shrouded in mystery.  It gives Carl a challenge as he tries to get someone else to open up, but at the same time, the two can relate to one another because, unlike some of the other kids, they don’t want to forget what it’s like to feel.

Try- Sasha doesn't want Michonne or Rosita's help

Same goes with Sasha, who is using walkers as target practice for some catharsis.  It’d be different if she just shot a bunch of walkers, but she’s both targeting and executing them like she’s on a mission.  She’s lost Bob, Tyreese, and now Noah after bluntly telling him that he wouldn’t make it in this world.  Sasha is in a dark place right now and is constantly on edge, which would explain why she holed herself in the tower.  Chances are she’d hurt someone if they attempted to get close, as she almost did when she almost struck Abraham and Michonne during “Them.”  Right now, she just needs to be by herself.

Try- Michonne sees shades of her former self in Sasha

The problem is she’s going down the same dark path that Michonne was just on and I liked the use of quick cuts to show the emptiness Michonne felt when she was on her own and just cut down walkers to survive.  Because of her being with the group, Michonne has regained her humanity and isn’t so distant.  Michonne doesn’t want the same darkness and solitude that defined her for so long to suddenly inhabit Sasha, and that could very well happen if Sasha doesn’t let people in.

Try- Rosita

I like the parallels between the two and this probably would have been a lot stronger if it had just been two of them so they could talk more, but I guess the show has to give Rosita something else to do.

Try- Daryl and Aaron find a woman

Let’s talk briefly about Aaron and Daryl, though.  It’s nice to see the two working together as a team and this puts Daryl back in his element.  He’s more suited to this than being in Alexandria.  The scenes are brief enough that we get the gist of what they’re doing, but we’re still left up in the air about the walkers with the Ws carved into their heads, not to mention the limbs.

Try- Rick tells Jessie that Sam wanted a gun

Meanwhile, Rick gets to play Judge, Jury, and Executioner.  It’s interesting that Deanna put him in this position, yet she now has issues with his rule.  I mean, she made him an officer again, so let him exercise some discipline, especially to shake these people out of apathy.  Rick has the best of intentions, even if one of those reasons is his feelings for Jessie.  That said, he did show genuine concern for her when he told her that Sam wanted a gun.  Maybe Carol should have just handled this since she knows what it’s like to be a battered housewife.

Try- Bloody Rick

I did enjoy Rick’s rant at the end and he has a good point.  Deanna’s methods have gotten people killed.  Granted, Rick must have short term memory loss since his route to Alexandria almost got him, Michonne, Aaron, and Glenn killed, though.  Rick has lost many people around him and had to make tough decisions as a leader.  He knows what it’s like to try and keep a group of people alive, but also how to make them stronger.  As Rick said to both Deanna and Jessie, without any sort of order or willing to kill to survive, the world within Alexandria’s walls is no different than outside.  That goes in hand with Enid’s line about this world belong to the walkers and humans just live in it.  It’s a hellish world, but you do what you must to survive.

For Alexandria, he feels that Deanna’s ways have made them weaker.  He vows not to let that happen, but he’s taking it to an extreme by waving his gun around at a bunch of people that still don’t know much about him.

Try- The Walking Dead #75, Comic book Rick rants to Douglas

Try- The Walking Dead #75, Michonne knocks down Rick

This may end up making the others in Rick’s group look bad by association, but that could be why Michonne, as she did in the comic, knocked him out, if only to show that not everyone is as rage-filled as him.  The final confrontation as a whole was a great page to screen translation of The Walking Dead #75.

Hell, Jessie getting hit during the fight I could see happening since Pete has that pattern of abuse, but for Rick to strike Carl shows he wasn’t thinking straight either.  He just wanted to hurt Pete.

Try- The Walking Dead #75, Rick goes to Pete and Jessie's place

Though, like his comic book counterpart, Rick did try to talk things out, but this was a lot more visceral, I think.

Try- Rick clashes with Deanna

Sure, Rick and his merry sidekicks may have unorthodox methods, but they’re the ones making a difference in Alexandria.  Rick takes it upon himself to stop Pete’s violent antics in a very brutal fight.  Hell, Pete may be a surgeon and an asshole, but he put up a good fight, I’ll give him that.  In the end, we didn’t even get a clear winner, so we’ll just call this one a draw.  The same applies to Rick and Deanna’s warring ideologies.  Right now, there’s no fine balance or middle ground, but because of Rick’s outburst, I wouldn’t be surprised if people sided with Deanna.

Try- Keep walking, Rick to Pete

All that said, that scene where Rick told Pete to keep walking and kept his cool while trying not to shoot him was damn effective and definitely a great moment.

“Try” was a strong episode and left enough threads up in the air as we head into the season finale.  Walkers are approaching the safe zone, but Sasha, even with her fractured, psyche, is able to pick them off for now.  Aaron and Daryl continue their search while making grim discoveries.  Rick, for all his power and respect, causes a scene and has most definitely earned some mistrust among the Alexandria community.  Plus, Nicholas did dig up a gun, so what’s that all about?  What happens from here?  We’ll find out in the season finale.

A Look at House of Lies- Season 4, Episode 10: “Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name”

Praise Money, Hallowed Be Thy Name, thy Earning Come, thy Money Done, on television, as it is in real life.  Give us this day, our weekly edition of House of Lies, and forgive us our consulting, as we forgive those who consult against us, lead us not into counterfeit handbags, but deliver us from Global, for Kaan & Associates is the kingdom.  The Marty and the Kaan, forever and ever.  Showtime.  Let’s jump into the episode.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Marty leads the audience into a much busier Kaan & Associates

The episode begins with Marty leading…well, us, into Kaan & Associates, which is now busy and bustling thanks to K&A acquiring three boutique consulting firms, and six more slated for acquisition within the fiscal quarter.  The digital market share should double within the month as well.  We are indeed going through a golden age with Kaan & Associates.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Marty fires an employee

Hell, Marty is in such a good mood that he even fires a guy not because the guy looked Marty in the eye, but because he’s habitually late, his client optics are sub-optimal, and Human Resources says that he’s somewhat of a sexual predator.  Those would be good reasons to fire someone.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- John Andrews, played by Michael Gladis lectures Roscoe

Over at school, Roscoe is still somewhat of a local celebrity due to his handbag sales, but a teacher, John Andrews, played by Michael Gladis, isn’t having the best of days because he’s just been lectured by Debbie Nichols’ mother about what effect counterfeit handbags have on the fashion industry.  Most parents just lecture about grades.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Clyde surprises Kelsey with tickets to Dirty Projectors

To celebrate Kelsey’s birthday, Clyde got her two tickets to see Dirty Projectors.  That gives him a point up over Doug.  When Marty asks both how they’re enjoying this open relationship, he gets two different answers.  Doug is glad that this commitment free sex is bringing them closer, but Clyde not only hates it, the smell of Doug’s cologne lingers at Kelsey’s place.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Clyde, Marty, and Doug at Shags Burger Shack

Anyway, Doug, Clyde, and Marty have a recon lunch at a location that could be their holy grail.  After 35 years and 150 locations that have attracted a cult following, Shags Burger Shack is finally ready for national expansion.  With the CEO and founder, Samuel Sullivan, now six feet under, the reins have fallen to his son, Luke, who is in need of a Moses.  Sounds solid so far, so what’s the issue?

Well, as Clyde points out, Luke is an outspoken, Bible thumping denier of gay rights and a woman’s right to choose.  And in California of all places, too.  But, as Marty says, money is still green.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Charles, Sterling Macer Jr, gives the pod some intel on Luke Sullivan

The three meet with Charles, played by Sterling Macer Jr., who has some inside intel for the pod.  Luke is looking to maintain the same level of product quality and customer service that Shags is known for, but franchising at his proposed national level would make that impossible.  Charles knows this, but Luke doesn’t want to be told the truth, just what he wants to hear.  Yes, the edge is to tell the client exactly what they want to hear.

Sounds disappointing, but Marty isn’t too concerned.  In fact, he’s smiling when the meeting is over.  Why?  Every consulting firm will say what pleases Luke, so Kaan & Associates will reframe the discussion by telling Luke what he doesn’t know he wants.  Doug, Clyde, and Jeannie will start drilling deep on Shags.  Where’s Marty going, though?

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Marty has lunch with Denna

Off to have a fancy lunch with Denna, who learns that K&A pitches their case to Luke Sullivan tomorrow.  If they do well and land this, it would garner media attention.  And that is exactly why Denna doesn’t want Marty to pursue this.  See, Denna has a multibillion dollar deal brewing with a fast-food competitor.  She can’t say the name of the company, but their arches are golden.  I’m loving it.

If this mystery competitor read about Shags’ expansion being spearheaded by a company under the Global umbrella…well, it wouldn’t be pleasant.  She can’t afford Marty consulting for Shags to end up as something newsworthy.  However, she says that Marty can push forward the idea that the time is not yet right for Shags to expand nationally.  Instead, they should stay the course and shore up the Southern California market.  Hell, Denna could even take credit for using backroom influence to suppress expansion.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Jeannie likes Doug's idea of getting Kelsey a sexy teddy bear

Doug, meanwhile, is thinking of gifts to get for Kelsey.  Flowers won’t do since she’s apparently allergic, so he decides on a sexy teddy bear.  Jeannie even likes the suggestion, much to Clyde’s annoyance.  Marty returns and informs the pod to build decks to support the staying the course strategy, but doesn’t offer an explanation.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Jeannie tells Marty that she's sorry

So Jeannie follows and learns that Marty has no choice with this play.  She’s sorry, but why?  Well, she knows that the pod now answers to someone else and taking a dive would make Marty miserable.  That’s why she’s sorry.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Marty hears that the network passed on Malcolm's pilot

And Marty isn’t the only Kaan man having troubles, as Malcolm’s pilot was passed over by the network.  He’s also been dumped.  Roscoe also fesses up to his handbag business.  A couple of months ago, he sold a handbag to Deep Throat Debbie.  No, really, that’s what the folks at school call her.  Kids, these days, I tell you what.  Anyway, Deep Throat Debbie gave it to her mother, who happens to be a fashion designer.

Marty tells Roscoe that he’ll apologize to the girl, return her money, and hope that the school doesn’t suspend him.  Jeremiah agrees with this course, but Malcolm thinks Roscoe should fight it.  Either way, Roscoe got caught and now must pay the price.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Clyde doesn't want to share Kelsey with Doug

We finally see Kelsey’s place as she and Clyde have some alone time, but the smell of Doug’s cologne still lingers.  The sexy teddy bear isn’t helping, either.  Clyde spills that he isn’t happy about this arrangement.  He’s been in open relationships before, but never with Doug.  He doesn’t want to share her with anyone.  After a brief moment where Clyde looks genuinely upset, Kelsey says that she won’t fuck Doug or anybody else anymore.  I’m sure that’ll work out.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Malcolm tells Chantelle that Alfonso Ribiero got a show over him

Back at House Kaan, Malcolm continues sharing his woes with Chantelle.  We also learn what pundit got a show instead of Malcolm: Alfonso Ribiero.  Now that is a show I would watch.  In the midst of his drunken ramblings, Malcolm kisses Chantelle, who reminds him that she’s sleeping with his father.  She’ll try to forget that this happened.  So should Malcolm, if I’m honest.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Roscoe apologizes and pays back Deep Throat Debbie, Mackenzie Wareing

Next day, Roscoe apologizes to Deep Throat Debbie, played by Mackenzie Wareing, and Deep Throat Debbie’s mother, Kathy, played by Heather Mazur, who thinks that $100 is low for an original Valentino.  No problem, Roscoe says, as he and Deep Throat Debbie had an arrangement.  When the kids leave, Kathy wants an explanation.  Marty’s answer: kids do stupid shit.  Back in Kathy’s day, though, it was something like stealing a six pack or weed, not bags or illegal drug.  That’s news to Marty, who hadn’t heard about these rumors of the well funded parties.

When Kathy leaves, Mr. Andrews informs Marty that she has a lot of influence in the school and wants Roscoe expelled.  In kinder words, maybe Roscoe should finish his education elsewhere, but Roscoe wants to be there.  Marty suggests that he’ll fight this, maybe even tell their side of the story to the diversity committee.  Don’t even get Marty started on the ‘persecution of the gender fluid tee’ part.  John isn’t fazed.  Marty can turn this into a circus and make Roscoe’s humiliation public, or the boy can have a fresh start.  One way or another, he’s gone.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Luke Sullivan during the presentation

After Doug learns through Clyde about Kelsey ending things with him, it’s time to make the case to Shag.  At first, the presentation is very by the numbers and the pod goes with the status quo idea, but Luke Sullivan, played by Chris McGarry, is disappointed, as he expected more from the great Marty Kaan.  Tired of this game, Marty has Clyde pull up the median real estate price differentials for red states versus blue states.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Marty changes course on the presentation

Marty admits that the pod hasn’t been as honest as it should have been.  However, they like to be thorough and show all options.  Yes, they’d been wasting time, but they truly believe that Shags Burger Shack is ready to compete nationally.  Scrutiny will come with expansion, which means more people to answer to who will tell him to keep his controversial mouth shut, which Luke doesn’t want.

But there’s a way to be who he is without sacrificing the bottom line.  For example, when Jeannie has midnight cravings, she sends her husband to Shags for quality food.  Marty’s father, Pastor Jeremiah Kaan, likes Luke’s values.  Focus on building out where the population shares his views to offset diminished earnings from blue markets.  If he keeps talking, people with similar values will flock to him.  As a bonus, real estate in such areas would be lower by 8.7 percent.  Once he’s large enough, he should walk into the liberal markets like a conquering hero.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Marty receives a phone call and bad news

When the presentation is over, Marty isn’t worried on the fallout until he receives a phone call from Luke.  It’s not good.  He’s had a change of heart and chosen to go with a company that truly shares his core values.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Marty confronts Denna

So Marty meets with Denna, who he believes killed the deal.  I mean, not like she’s some omnipotent deity who can eviscerate major deals when they happen.  Luke was just shocked to learn that Marty would have a child out of wedlock and his gender bending son.  Marty doesn’t take kindly to Denna involving his son in this, though she’s not concerned.

She thought that the two had fun.  Marty got to think that he was the king of the mountain, at no cost to her, so she was happy to let him think he was.  Along the way, though, Marty convinced himself that he had actual power.  He became a problem that Denna had to solve.  With that, Denna handles more important business while Marty leaves the office.

“Praise Money!  Hallowed Be Thy Name” showed the pod, particularly Marty, at a high moment right at the start, but back in a lower than expected position by episode’s end.  The previous episode dealt with the pod reluctantly taking Denna’s consulting help, but with this episode, they’re trying to get back into the swing of things and go after clients on their terms.  Like last week, we once again begin with an averted crisis and enter into a golden age with Kaan & Associates.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Pod discusses Luke Sullivan

A lot of episodes of House of Lies often have the pod meeting the client early on or midway through the episode, but there’s a significant amount of buildup to the presentation since we don’t get the actual presentation until near the end.  As a result, we’re told a lot about the client and how Luke Sullivan thinks, but don’t see or hear from him.

Chick_fil_A_Gay_Marriage_03f84

If I could draw a real life parallel, Luke Sullivan and Shags Burger Shack remind me a lot of how the current CEO of Chick-Fil-A, Dan Cathy, said that he wasn’t a fan of gay marriage.  You remember this- sparked a whole bunch of protests from folks who didn’t like that, but also led to a massive spike in increased sales.  His comments are his own, but hey, he stood firm on them.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Luke Sullivan, played by Chris McGarry

The same is true here with Sullivan: not a fan of gay marriage or a woman’s right to choose and does well in the red state markets.  And he’s not wavering from his stance, either.  Telling him to change his stance would just embolden him to maintain his opinion, and Marty knows this, which is why he wouldn’t stay the course and just tell Luke exactly what he wanted to hear.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Marty faces off with Denna

Marty struggles this week with the danger of honesty.  He wants to land the Shags Burger Shack client through his own methods and knows that he’s capable of it, but he also has to deal with Denna standing in his way.  Marty is back on top, but that’s not good enough because his company is now in someone else’s hands.  He can’t stomach the idea of playing by someone else’s rules, which is why he had such a hard time with Ron.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Denna tells off Marty

Denna, however, has a personal connection with Marty and wields a lot more direct influence over him.  Were it not for her, Kaan & Associates would still be in the hole, but now she has Marty in the palm of her hand.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Marty willing to fight for Roscoe

The problem for Denna is that Marty isn’t one to take orders.  He’s open to suggestions, but not when it involves compromising his integrity or taking a dive when he doesn’t have to.  That’s why he was willing to fight against Deep Throat Debbie’s mother for Roscoe’s sake instead of just rolling over and accepting defeat.  He knew it would be an uphill battle, but he was willing to take a risk.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Jeannie tries to cheer up Marty

When he takes that same mentality into his own job, he faces a major setback, after feeling so confident that he’d succeeded.  It’s unfortunate because the entire pod wasn’t into the presentation at first.  Marty even asked Jeannie to say something that would make him feel good about holding back, leading to her saying that if she worked for a backwards thinking asshole like Luke Sullivan, she’d never stop bitching about it.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Clyde and Marty discuss Luke Sullivan

Everyone in the pod agrees that Luke’s views may not line up with a lot of other people’s, but to bite their tongues and lie to him about expansion isn’t how they do business.  I’m glad they all decided to go with their guts, but it’s unfortunate that it ended up biting them in the ass.  Of course, knowing these folks, they’re willing to fight this.  Hopefully they have more success doing things their way instead of trying to play both sides.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Kelsey and Doug kiss

Speaking of, I’ve never been in an open relationship, or any, really, but I imagine they can become troublesome at some point, as was the case with Doug, Clyde, and Kelsey.  We aren’t told how much time the three have spent as an open thing, but we can see how it’s just not working for Clyde.  He doesn’t want to bite his tongue and just go along because he wants Kelsey all to himself.  Fair reason, though I wonder why he’d wait until now when it seems like he’s been against the idea from the start.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Kelsey talks with Clyde

Whether Kelsey will actually stop fucking Doug is another question since she does seem to genuinely like him and has no reason to stop outside of Clyde being petty.  Having said that, it’s nice to see Doug desperately try and keep up with the more suave Clyde when it comes to satisfying Kelsey.  Also, Kelsey’s go a ton of tattoos.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Roscoe with Deep Throat Debbie and her mother

As for Roscoe, I’m glad we got a payoff to the party scenes from earlier in the season.  On their own, they felt unnecessary, but now we see they’ve been going on for quite some time and some of the parents, namely Marty, were unaware of this.  However, because of his actions, now he’s getting the cold shoulder from his friends.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Marty confronts Roscoe

He did have one good moment when he told his father that no one could accuse him of being a hypocrite when Marty said that Roscoe should face the light after being caught.  But then Malcolm went and explained it, thus ruining the moment.

Praise Money! Hallowed Be Thy Name- Malcolm does the Carlton dance

Oh, and I’m serious when I say that Alfonso Ribiero hosting a political talk show would be something I’d like to see.  I do hope that House of Lies makes that happen, no matter how short, because if not, it’s just one giant tease!  And Malcolm should know better than to try and kiss his father’s girlfriend.  Just don’t do it.

“Praise Money!  Hallowed Be Thy Name” put Kaan & Associates between Denna and a hard place.  They’ve landed on their feet and back to hitting their stride, but they aren’t looking to take orders from Denna or Global.  Obviously, though, Denna has more than enough resources and money to take care of this problem.  The question now is how Marty and the gang will fight it.  We’ll see.