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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.