A Look at House of Lies- Season 5 Premiere: “Creative Destruction Phenomenon”

Yeah, Jeannie got the job.  So one member of our favorite pod of management consultants is gone on her own, but luckily, not too far.  Let’s catch up with the pod in the season premiere, “Creative Destruction Phenomenon.”

Creative Destruction Phenomenon- Marty talks about what is me

The season begins at House Kaan, with Marty emphasizing the word ‘Mine’ as he goes everything he owns, as any humble person would.  He heads up to a busy Kaan and Associates, where Doug and Clyde argue over who gets Jeannie’s office.  In their words, ‘It’s mine!’  So we get a time freeze.  Marty explains that, for better or worse, all this shit is his.

Marty then asks how he defines himself: what is me versus what is mine?  Is it defined by how he feels?  His actions?  The number of people who hate him?  Maybe not, but maybe it’s by what he has.  If you haven’t noticed, he’s got a fuck-ton of shit.  As Marty pushes Doug forward, the time freeze ends as Doug and Clyde follow Marty.

Creative Destruction Phenomenon- JR, played by Maestro Harrell, gives a presentation on Davis-Dexter

In the conference room, we meet a new character- J.R., played by Maestro Harrell, who Marty assigned.  Doug offers his mentorship.  Marty eventually tells Doug and Clyde to share Jeannie’s office, while J.R. gets their old office to himself.  After being asked about Davis Dexter, J.R. explains that Jeannie hasn’t given them an agenda, so it’s possible she’s fishing for them to provide a point of view that she hasn’t conceived yet.

So what are assumptions about Davis-Dexter?  It’s possible that the CEO isn’t looking to change.  And Davis-Dexter is in good financial shape and a solid reputation.  But what does corporate Jeannie want?  She knows the pod’s tricks, so there’s no way to get the drop on her.  While Doug and Clyde race for their  office, Marty asks J.R. to drop a beat.  But it ends up just being black bait.  Don’t ever take the black bait.  I will remember that.

Creative Destruction Phenomenon- Marty, Doug, and Clyde meet with Jeannie

Marty, Doug, and Clyde then meet with Jeannie, who is in the middle of getting her makeup done for a presentation she’s giving to 500 pharmaceutical reps.  Marty asks about Jeannie’s apparently new boyfriend, Mark, who works in the other complex in Research and Development.  Jeannie asks Marty to give it to her straight about their financials: Grammatico will want to stay the course scenario.

Jeannie, though, wants to go balls deep in R&D, but Teddy doesn’t know that.  So why not say that first and leave the pod to rubber stamp the agenda?  Because Jeannie can.  She ran a spreadsheet on the patents running out over the next five years and the profit loss continuum is fucked.  If Grammatico counts on its greatest hits, the company will drive off a cliff.  Jeannie and Teddy see differently, mostly because Teddy is afraid of the board.

Creative Destruction Phenomenon- Jeannie almost feeds the wrong baby

Jeannie then leads the group to the nursery, where she almost breast feeds a child that is not hers.  Turns out that Jeannie left her at home with the nanny.  So Jeannie goes off to pump.  Doug almost makes a pretty sexist comment about this being why they can’t be president.

Creative Destruction Phenomenon- Company presentation

Then we get a snazzy Davis-Dexter presentation that feels more like a business rap concert about erectile dysfunction pills and Climaxicor.  Tell me, are there businesses that actually do this?  I’m quite curious.  Either way, Marty has seen the soul of White people and feels they should put it back.

Creative Destruction Phenomenon- Pod meets Jeannie's boyfriend, Mark Fielder, played by Ken Marino

Following this act, Jeannie tells the pod that their resources go into repackaging patents they already have to squeeze a few more bucks of them.  Doug wants a sample.  We’re then introduced to Mr. Mark Fielder, played by Ken Marino, who is Jeannie’s new squeeze. Clyde tries to pay a compliment that goes nowhere when he brings up the fact that Jeannie and Marty made a Black baby.

Creative Destruction Phenomenon- Jeannie drops by Marty's to drop off her baby

At home, Roscoe’s selfie instantly gets 207 likes, while Marty’s gal pal, Klare, played by Nicky Whelan, cooks a Vegan meal.  Roscoe argues that you can’t live a healthy Vegan lifestyle if you drink.  You see, he subscribes to the Straight Edge philosophy.  Jeannie pops by with the baby and takes a few questions from Klare.  She’s just being friendly.  After all, female friendship is the new Black.  What?  Anyway, Jeannie has plans.

Creative Destruction Phenomenon- Jeannie can't tell if Klare gives good head to Marty

Marty speaks to Jeannie in private, asking her not to treat Klare like an asshole.  Klare, as we learn, is an Instagram lifestyle personality.  With that in mind, she’d better give good head.  To that, Marty does not give a straight answer.

Creative Destruction Phenomenon- Jeannie and Mark finish a session

We stay with Jeannie as she finishes eating, while Mark finishes doing things to her that she’d only read about before.  He feels the same way about whatever their relationship is, but there’s a hint of uncertainty in Jeannie’s response.  She then makes the mistake of calling out another lover’s name when she calls out Marty, bringing the lovemaking to a screeching halt.

Mark is fine with this, though.  People do weird shit that is hard to explain.  And for people who don’t understand, it could be unforgivable.  Super weird, but it’s also a turn-on for Mark.  That by itself is weird.  Jeannie admits that she just likes his voice.  Mark goes on about how he called his third grade teacher ‘Mom’ once.  It’s such a riveting tale that Jeannie falls asleep.

Creative Destruction Phenomenon- Marty and Klare, played by Nicky Whelan, have a moment

Back at House Kaan, Klare prepares some coffee when Marty enters the kitchen, telling her that there are better ways to wake up.  He goes to remove her shirt, but she’s concerned about either Roscoe or Jeremiah walking in on them.  Well, that’s a chance they’ll have to take.

Creative Destruction Phenomenon- Pod delivers news to Jeannie and Teddy about the company

Following this, the pod delivers bad news to Jeannie: Teddy Grammatico has a history of failing upwards while passing the blame to other shareholders.  He’s a stay-the-course guy all the way.  Jeannie, though, has been talking to some of the influential board members, but the pod doesn’t want the board involved.  The perception would be that if Jeannie goes around the CEO and to the board, it will look like she wants his job.

Instead, Jeannie is trying to save Teddy from his lousy business plan.  Teddy enters and tells Marty that the pod’s outside modeling and financials needs to be dazzling, as it’s the first one the board will have seen since he took over nine months ago.  Marty then gets a phone call and heads off, leaving Doug and Clyde to make things better.

Creative Destruction Phenomenon- Marty has a surprise visit with Skip Galweather

Marty has a surprise visit with Skip Galweather, who wants to buy Kaan and Associates.  Marty doesn’t think that Skip has the money, but Skip is representing a consortium of brothers who have the money.  Marty doesn’t want to work for them.  However, Skip tells Marty that he’ll be paid to walk away and never look back.  It’s the age of consolidation.  Those brilliant stars are fading away.

This means that they have to do everything they can to get bigger.  It also helps that K&A is undervalued.  However, the group is willing to pay.  Marty tells Skip that he’s been thinking a lot about what is me and what is mine.  He defines himself by conflict, opposition, and how he grinds on his enemies until they’re dust.  That’s him.  He’ll get his company so pumped up that his valuations are jacked.

Once they’re high, Marty will be open to selling his company and walking away from everything that he’s built.  Marty leaves, but not before telling Skip to go fuck himself.  That’s how you say goodbye.

“Creative Destruction Phenomenon” is a pretty good start for the new season as we see the pod in yet another transition phase.  They aren’t splintered or fighting over betrayal.  They’re just trying to move things forward and still remain friends.

Creative Destruction Phenomenon- Clyde and Doug with Jeannie

Like last season, I’m guessing that we might get some sort of flashback that shows the group’s reaction to Jeannie leaving and what impact, if any, that has on them, similar to Clyde still being pissed about Jeannie sending Marty to jail and the fallout the pod encountered last season.

Creative Destruction Phenomenon- Jeannie does her makeup

Of course, right now, there doesn’t seem to be any resentment at all.  The four still get along as friends, but now instead of them all helping out a client, Jeannie is the client.  Luckily, she doesn’t have any air of superiority or act like the pod is beneath her because she’s in a position of authority over them.

Creative Destruction Phenomenon- Marty asks Skip about 'what is mine'

In fact, Jeannie looks like she’s in a complicated place right now.  She still has  feelings for Marty, as indicated when she calls out his name, despite being with her boyfriend.  And there’s a chance she may gun for Teddy’s job, given her silence when Marty called her out for going around Teddy.  Could Jeannie be making a power play?  It’s possible, given what she’s accomplished in the past  to whittle away at her superiors and competitors.

Creative Destruction Phenomenon- Marty tells JR to never take the black bait

But that goes along with the message Marty kept reiterating about ‘What is mine’ and ‘What is me.’  It’s all about naming and claiming it.  And right now, Marty is looking to claim and keep his company.  There’s the temptation to sell and just walk away with money, but Marty had been building to running his own consulting firm.  He’s been beaten down, jailed, and ridiculed, but still weathered the storm.

So while a nice check is alluring, Marty isn’t at the point where he’d throw away everything he’s worked towards, or else that would make his struggle pointless.  In spite of Jeannie leaving the company, his life hasn’t crumbled.  They’re still friends and business is still going well for Kaan and Associates.  He and Jeannie having significant others despite having a baby gave me pause, but nothing I found too distracting.

This is a good premiere and continuation of the storyline and I’m curious to see how the story proceeds.  The status quo has been changed with Jeannie no longer a member of the pod, but out on her own as she continues her rise in power.  Still, she’s on good terms with Marty, Clyde, and Doug, so that’s at least good that, for the most part, there’s no bad blood.  Sure, it’d be easy to long for the pod to reunite, but things do have to change.

Whether things remain that way is uncertain, but for now, very much looking forward to the season.

4 thoughts on “A Look at House of Lies- Season 5 Premiere: “Creative Destruction Phenomenon”

  1. Mr. Daniels, i must disagree with part of your conclusion about Marty and Jeannie’s relationship. It does not make sense at all. The 5th season opener is totally illogiacl and disconnected from the end of season 4. At end of season 4, Marty and Jeannnie are in love and connected. In Season 5 episode 1, they are disconnected and politely tolerant of eachother, though obviously still emotionally involved, in a strained sort of way. Plus they now share custody of a baby daughter. They are in unexplained intimate realtionships with other people, who seem more like diversions than serious romantic interests. What is happening is totally illogical. Only a major undisclosed event could account for such a drastic change in their relationship after Jennie gave birth to their daughter. I would love to learn your reaction to my observation. Thanks, ‘Clifton Maclin

      • Your work is really appreciated by me, and I am sure also the other followers House of Lies. It would be great to be a fly on the wall during the actual script writing sessions, to hear the various ideas bounced around.

  2. Thanks for responding. I realize this series is dramatic fantasy. Still, I think in terms of my experience in real life. While I know some people are so mercurial they can have radical swings in their emotions with little provcation. It is fair to say, most people do not experience the profound emotional connection of new parents, who do love eachother, then suddenly become mildly attached acquaintances without some significant intervening event to cause that lose of attachment.

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