A Look at House of Lies- Season 4, Episode 8: “He Didn’t Mean That, Natalie Portman”

“He Didn’t Mean That, Natalie Portman” has next to nothing to do with Natalie Portman, but this was a fun episode of House of Lies.  Kaan & Associates makes its move to strike back against Gage Motors with some help from a powerful friend, Clyde bonds with his father, and Doug just makes things better for a second for the pod, but when it comes to Kelsey, things get worse as he keeps talking.  Let’s jump right in.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Time Freeze, Marty talks about Ellis while Denna smokes

The episode begins with Marty and Denna about to make sweet love.  Well, they’re trying to, but Denna’s frustrated with Marty constantly dropping a ‘motherfucker,’ and he’s already up to seven.  We get a time freeze and Marty’s count bumps up to eight, but he has good reason, as he’s still pissed over Ellis, who he calls the meanest, shark eating-est whale he’s had to deal with.  And what does Marty have to show?  A ton of debt and a metaphorically aching asshole.  It’s like escaping the Titanic, but then burning up on the life raft as it goes up in smoke.  Denna, though, still isn’t going to play Santa Claus to Kaan & Associates.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Clyde's father wants to hang out

Clyde’s dad wants to spend time with his son, even though Clyde has to go to work.  When his father asks about the last time they hung out, Clyde is quick to respond: February 1994.  Clyde wanted to see Nirvana, but his father took him to a greyhound race instead.  Father of the year, this guy.  Dad just wants a guys’ night out.  Clyde eventually agrees, but if it’s a screw-up, the cat will suffer.  Where does this week’s episode title come from?  Well, the cat’s name is Natalie Portman.  After all, its face is tiny, cute, and Jewish-looking.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Pod thinks of ways to get back at Gage Motors

At Kaan & Associates, the pod tries to find a way of gathering up $10 million before lunch.  Simple task.  Doug has an idea: the Rat Man client from before has a QVC line of organic poisons, which go well with the stay at home moms.  The pod decides that Doug watching QVC is sadder than his option, and I can’t disagree.  Even still, Doug acknowledges that Gage’s stock only went through the roof because of Kaan & Associates.

Then it hits Marty: Doug is right, the pod did send Gage Motors’ stock up, meaning they can send it right back down.  They already have a silver bullet.  Everyone gets to work, though Jeannie wants a donut.  She rips Clyde a new one for assuming that he’s going to make a comment about her weight, but turns out that he just wanted a donut, too.  Are all pregnant women this feral when it comes to food?

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Doug talks to Marty about Kelsey

Doug, for some reason, admits to Marty that he slept with Kelsey, but feels bad because Clyde has feelings for her.  The guilt is eating away at him, so Marty has a simple solution: stop fucking Kelsey.  That’s a problem for Doug because Kelsey has this finger, tongue, back-arch combination.  Yeah, Marty gives this the amount of attention it deserves before calling Denna.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Kelsey tells Clyde and Doug about her Uncle Grant and free advertising

Kelsey informs Doug and Clyde that her Uncle Grant is big into advertising over at Neon.  He’s on board to give them free press when the app launches, but Clyde calls bullshit on that, saying that Uncle Grant will want equity.  That’s true, but Grant is only doing this so Kelsey won’t out him for molesting her brothers.  Clyde calls out Kelsey’s double talk, as she’s willing to extort a pedophile, but won’t have dinner with him.  He storms off.

Of course, Kelsey was lying, and Doug was gullible enough to fall for that.  He awkwardly talks about their sexual encounter and isn’t smooth at all.  Really.  I mean, I have zero idea how to talk to women, but I doubt I’d be as bad as Doug is right here.  When Kelsey offers to hang out, Doug immediately jumps on the idea.  No subtlety, this guy.  However, Doug admits his guilt to Kelsey as well and tells her that Clyde likes her.

True as that is, Kelsey doesn’t feel obliged to accept Clyde’s penis.  Doug responds that Clyde is a douche, yes, but also his best friend.  I doubt Clyde feels the same way towards you, Doug.  Anyway, Kelsey gets it and has mad respect for a man who would give up top-shelf, genius vagina for a friendship.  This kind of man is a rarity, I’m assuming.  Kelsey agrees to chill with Doug on the sex, but good luck to him on finding another Rhodes scholar who gives rimjobs.  I assume that kind of a person is a rarity, too.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Marty tells Jeannie about the security footage of Ellis

Jeannie heads to Marty’s office and finds him smiling.  This is strange, but he has good news.  He’s been chasing Denna’s perky hedge fund for over a decade, but finally has something worth her time.  Denna is a beast, and beasts need to feed.  Big beasts have big appetites, so how do you satisfy that hunger?  Well, you get the footage of Ellis pissing all over one of the prototypes.  Some back spray may have hit an Indian engineer, too, so that’s a bonus hate crime.  Denna freebases hate.

With this kind of ammunition, she’ll meringue all over Ellis’ grave.  Guys, please stop talking about food.  You’re making me hungry.  Anyway, the best part is that there’s no traceable link to Kaan & Associates.  Maybe prison does make smarter criminals.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Marty and Jeannie meet Clyde's father

The two head out and meet Clyde’s father, who stopped by the office to see his son at work.  Dad warns Marty and Jeannie to not let Clyde slip through their fingers.  Against Clyde’s wishes, Marty and Jeannie join Dad in the elevator.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Marty and Jeannie make their case to Denna

Later that evening, Marty and Jeannie meet Denna at the Biltmore Hotel.  The two rail on Ellis.  He’s an abscess.  They have a way to make his stocks fall, but it requires someone with the chesticles to tell the truth to the world.  Short his stock, bet against Gage Motors, and rattle shareholder confidence until the stock tanks.  Denna is intrigued.  Hell, up until this point, she’d never considered a threesome.

There’s one caveat.  Marty figures that a $22 million cash infusion into Kaan & Associates’ coffers would be reasonable.  Denna agrees to consider it.  After all, she’s had ‘fuck you’ money since the 90s.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Harvey hits on two women while Clyde watches

Clyde and Harvey finally get to spend some time together.  Well, sort of, as Harvey talks to some women and uses his cancer as a way to badmouth Clyde.  Just as Clyde goes to leave, Harvey tells him that these kinds of women are just dim-witted and tight-assed.  He’s got them hooked, the sort of thing he figures Clyde would be into.  True as that is, the difference is that Clyde is 32.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Clyde talks to Kelsey about his father

Kelsey is still hard at work.  Clyde shows up and asks if euthanasia requires a patient’s consent or if he can just go for it.  Yeah, his night has been less than pleasant, but it’s because he feels his father won’t change.  Clyde has 50 percent of his DNA, but 80 percent of his problems.  Harvey makes people believe that he cares, but then drops the hammer.  He bailed on Clyde and his mother, but didn’t just make a clean break.

He waited until the two had forgotten and moved on to make a decent living for themselves again, and that’s when he would come in.  At the very least, Clyde knows how this will end for him.  Kelsey, though, tells Clyde that he isn’t his father because he’s giving Harvey chances to not be a shitbag.  Clyde does, indeed, have a heart buried underneath all that bravado.  The two have their fun right there on one of the office sofas.  Whose sofa is it?  Well, keep reading.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Pod watches Denna take down Ellis and Gage Motors

Next day, the pod looks at the footage and Denna railing against Gage Motors on the news.  She calls out Ellis Hightower for betraying trust and gambling with consumers’ lives.  Ellis Hightower, she says, is a predator.  The evidence her team received has been turned over to the SEC and FTC.

Marty takes a call from Denna while Clyde dishes on the details of his hot session with Kelsey last night on Marty’s couch.  He feels confident that Kelsey could be the one since she feels so real to him.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Marty learns that Clyde had sex on his sofa

When Marty’s call is done, he’s pleased to announce that Gage’s stock is in freefall and $22 million is being sent over from Global.  However, that’s not the only thing worth celebrating, as Jeannie congratulates Clyde on making sweet love on Marty’s couch.  Marty, naturally, isn’t pleased to hear this at all and wants the damn couch cleaned.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Doug asks Kelsey if she really had sex with Clyde

Doug goes to Kelsey and asks if she really did have sex with Clyde.  She doesn’t deny it, but Doug wishes that she came to him first.  Why?  No seriously, why?  No, never mind.  I’ll get into that later.  Doug says that Clyde isn’t the kind of guy Kelsey should be with, despite the fact that it was Doug who talked up Clyde so much to Kelsey in the first place.  Kelsey would have been fine with Doug, but he got weird.  Very true.  Kelsey is open to fucking again, but she won’t stop fucking Clyde, either.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Ellis comes to fuck shit up

Oh, Ellis has arrived to fuck shit up.  The pod, surprisingly, just walks out and thinks nothing of it.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Denna and Marty make love

That night, Denna and Marty celebrate.  For an unrelentingly self-involved bastard, Marty is notably generous in the cunnilingus department.  That’s what we call a thank you.  It’s a brand new day for Marty and Denna.  He always wanted her to own him, and now she does.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Whoops


“He Didn’t Mean That, Natalie Portman” was a fast episode, but it had plenty of good to it.  It’s interesting how much of this episode benefits from a good amount of buildup and payoff from previous episodes.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Denna gets high

For example, we weren’t told everything there was to know about Denna when we first met her.  Hell, we weren’t even given her name, but given her conversation with Marty, we could assume that she was a powerful ally to have in Marty’s corner.  As the season progressed, we’ve seen the amount of influence she has and how her voice was necessary and carried enough to bring down the hammer on Gage Motors.  At first, she just seemed like another woman Marty slept with, but the woman wields a lot of power.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Marty has the smoking gun

Also, Ellis pissing on one of the prototypes could have just been him acting out in rage against his employees.  I didn’t see the scene as a throwaway, but thought it just fell in line with his character.  I never expected it to come back on, especially since the pod hadn’t been concerned with security footage.  That begs the question of how Marty came across the footage and what made him even consider looking for it.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Clyde and Harvey talk at the club

Unlike the previous episodes, Doug and Clyde got a good amount of stuff to do, which built upon the two of them trying to figure out who they are and how they feel others view them.  Clyde, for example, knows that he can be a downright asshole, but he doesn’t want to be the kind of man that his father is.  It is a bit strange, given that Harvey’s behavior is similar to how we’ve seen Clyde act before, but the difference is that Clyde had hoped things would be different between the two of them.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Kelsey cheers up Clyde

But, as Kelsey pointed out, Clyde has been willing to give his father many chances to atone for his past behavior.  Even if Clyde is an outright douchebag and all-around jerk, he does still have a heart and doesn’t want to see himself in his father.  He wants his father to act his age.  If he wanted to pal around with other guys and hit on women, he could go with Marty or Doug, assuming they would go with him.  But bonding with his father has just reminded Clyde why the two haven’t been together for so long.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Clyde and Kelsey have fun on Marty's couch

At least he got to score some bonus points with Kelsey, but all that joy goes away when Jeannie reveals that Clyde had sex on Marty’s couch.  Clyde gets a little bit of happiness and it’s snatched away because he couldn’t be bothered to take the sex to his own office.  Tragic.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Doug makes things awkward between him and Kelsey

Hey, at least Clyde had a good day.  Doug just put his foot in his mouth over and over again.  Say what you will about Clyde being an asshole, but at least he’s up front about that.  Doug, however, is not resolute when it comes to a lot of women, whether Caitlin last season or Kelsey this season.  He wants to have his cake and eat it too.  He thinks that Kelsey should give Clyde a shot, which she did, but he also doesn’t want her to stop having sex with him.  And for a moment, she did just that because Doug kept pushing up Clyde.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Kelsey suggests a threesome

Doug doesn’t owe Clyde anything, though, and he has no reason to feel guilty.  He says that Clyde is his best friend, but I doubt Clyde feels the same way.  Doug shot himself in the foot with a woman who genuinely liked him for who he was.  Sure, Doug is awkward with words, but Kelsey didn’t have an issue with that initial awkwardness until Doug just made it worse.  If he’s so intent on sleeping with Kelsey, bringing Clyde into the mix complicates things because Clyde was the first to make his feelings about Kelsey known and he’s bolder when it comes to talking to women.  Doug could get further if he said less.

He Didn't Mean That, Natalie Portman- Jeannie chews out Clyde for assuming he's going to joke about her weight

This was a fun episode.  I enjoyed a lot of the little moments Marty trying to smoke some of Denna’s pot because he needed it more than her, Kelsey even suggesting a threesome between herself, Doug, and Clyde, and Jeannie completely chewing Clyde out for the wrong reason.  I honestly need to type it all out.  It made me laugh.

“I want a donut.  Yeah, a fucking donut, Clyde, okay?  And I might even eat the whole box.  And if you say one more goddamn word about my weight, I swear I will highlight, at full volume, every flaw on your under-earning body until you weep like the pussified waste of flesh that you are.”  Jeannie is a brutal woman.

So it took no time at all for Kaan & Associates to strike back at Gage Motors and it with the $22 million cash bonus, Kaan & Associates looks to be on an upswing.  However, now it remains to be seen just how Ellis will retaliate.  Also, just what did Denna mean when she told Marty that she owned him?  Marty’s out of one hole, but it looks like he’s now in someone else’s pocket.

2 thoughts on “A Look at House of Lies- Season 4, Episode 8: “He Didn’t Mean That, Natalie Portman”

  1. Season 4, episode 8:
    The writing was sub-par and the plots were uninteresting. There were simple, factual errors that took away from the show and instead illustrated the writer’s pandering to the viewer target demographics. Fact check, writers – Nirvana was not touring in the United States in February 1994. This mistaken reference between Clyde and his father illustrates the laziness of Clyde’s “father-son sub plot.” Straying from the main plot and developing a subplot with a peripheral character can be tricky given good writing. Unfortunately, House of Lies does not have this talent and it shows. This episode leaves viewers disappointed and bored.

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