A Look at House of Lies- Season 5, Episode 2: “Game Theory”

Dungeons and Dragons is the best way to form a relationship with new clients.

Game Theory- Marty and Klare post-coitus

The episode begins with Marty and Klare fucking, Klare unable to stop saying the word ‘fuck.’  Every inch of her now feels so depleted, so Marty grabs her a green drink from the kitchen.

Game Theory- Jeremiah introduces Marty to Rita, played by Wanda Sykes

Then, Wanda Sykes surprises him out of nowhere.  This is Rita, and she has been immensely satisfied by Jeremiah.

Game Theory- Klare takes a picture of herself and Marty

Marty heads back to the room and finds Klare taking pictures of herself and Marty when he heads over to her.

Game Theory- Jeannie tells Teddy to not worry

Following this, we cut to Teddy and Jeannie, who tells Teddy that another company, Novax, is about to submit a proposal to the FDA.  Jeannie isn’t worried since people trust Keltroxin and Novax’s new drug won’t change that, even if they might possibly leapfrog Davis-Dexter.  Jeannie stresses that the company will be fine if they continue to innovate, but then Teddy receives a call.

Game Theory- Pod strategizes while Jeannie gets a text from Klare

At the same time, Marty, Clyde, and Doug meet the two, only to find Teddy in a sour mood.  Marty worries that Jeannie doesn’t get how much of a chicken-shit Teddy really is, but that is why Jeannie is softening the target.  After all, Marty should consider the amount of afterwork that will land in his lap when Davis-Dexter shifts to a research-based paradigm.  But if Teddy doesn’t bite, there won’t be any afterwork.

As far as Jeannie sees it, no risk, no reward.  Then Jeannie gets an update from Klare, as Klare’s updates make her think.  Klare is like Buddha, if Buddha’s observations came with sexy observations of himself cresting Runyon Canyon in booty shorts.  Buddha dropped the ball on that.

Game Theory- Mark tells Jeannie that he reported her to Human Resources

The three leave just as Mark enters- and recoils from a kiss- to tell Jeannie that he filed a sexual harassment claim against her.  Apparently he told Human Resources that Jeannie forced him into a sexual relationship.  He’s enjoyed his time with her, but he has to think about his future.  Jeannie reminds Mark that his job is not in jeopardy as long as she’s the Chief Financial Officer, but Mark feels that feeds the corporate monolith.

He reminds Jeannie that he wanted to be a teacher.  This will give him the financial cushion to chase that dream of chasing chemistry to kids.  He’ll be paid off to keep quiet and Jeannie will just have to attend sensitivity training.  The only loser is Davis-Dexter, but they’re evil as fuck and can take the hit.  Jeannie is upset, but Mark tells her that he didn’t have to tell her this.  He didn’t want her to feel blindsided.

Jeannie appreciates how, in theory, this sounds like a good idea, but judging from her reaction, Mark should be able to see how it is far from that.  She wants him to tell HR that he made a mistake because she knows that he is a decent man who understands that this is not right.  Mark is more focused on his potential seven figure payout.  Just then, Human Resources requests Jeannie’s attention.

Game Theory- Jeannie's deposition

We then immediately cut to Jeannie giving a deposition.  She explains that the relationship was consensual, saying that Mark was into what they were doing.  Mark was her boyfriend.  And Jeannie even texted that she liked sucking his cock, hearted his cum, and apparently had Mark watch her masturbate.  Okay, to get to the point, the deposition doesn’t go well, but it’s funny as hell.

Game Theory- Doug introduces Marty and Clyde to Tess Symington, played by Brianna Baker

As the pod has lunch, a familiar face recognizes Doug.  This is Sabretha, and she is a Halfling cleric from the jungle continent of Xen’drik.  The two play in a weekly Dungeons and Dragons game together and Doug is her dungeon master.  Oh, and her real name is Tess Symington, played by Brianna Baker, and she’s new to the game.  Tess heads off as Jeannie joins the group.

While Doug thinks that Tess isn’t much of a player, Clyde looks at the bigger picture.  Green Point is a farm-to-table fast casual company that has had 18 stores in the last five years.  It’s posed for a major expansion and that happens to be Tess Symington’s company.  Doug wants to close this deal himself, but he needs Marty to give him the opportunity.  Good luck with that.  Marty will be joining the game tonight.

Jeannie learns that the pod is aware of the sexual harassment claim.  The harassed has become the harasser.  Jeannie doesn’t know what Mark is thinking.  It’s a fucked up thing, but she believes that Teddy will know it’s bullshit because it’s a giant pain in the ass.

Game Theory- Clyde reports his findings on Davis-Dexter's budget allocations

Over at Kaan & Associates, Doug attempts to walk Marty through filling out a character sheet, but Marty wants to just get to the details.  Doug asks who Marty is, and he is a warlock named Gadric Kedirith.  Doug gets quickly irritated and rips up the profile, then asking Marty not what he is, but who he is.  The best D&D characters, Doug says, are personal extensions of who we are.  He asks Marty to dig deep.

So Marty is dreaming of being the guy who is punching Doug right in the face.  That’s a good place to start, a combative nature.  Just as Marty tells Doug to dial it back a thousand, Clyde joins in with his character: a sneezing dwarf who whistles while he works.  Doug takes offense to this, saying that dwarves are strong fighters and adept at deflecting magic, not like those shitheads that hang out with Snow White.  Okay, then.

Okay, there is a reason Clyde is here.  He dug into Davis-Dexter’s budget allocations.  Their so-called defendable ratio of R&D marketing is not so defendable.  Every department has their hands in R&D’s pockets.  I.T. built a server farm and marketing helped itself to some television spots.  There was also a Hawaiian boondoggle for the sales team and some very ethical doctors.

Davis-Dexter would take a serious public relations hit if this became public knowledge, but, as citizens, the pod has a duty to protect the civic interest.  The pod has found the final piece that makes them undeniable.  Clyde plans to call his friend at the Journal.  He wants Doug to work on a rough deck, as he and Kelsey have tickets to see Tale Impala.  Well, that’s not gonna happen.  Tick-tock, Clyde.

Game Theory- Teddy prepares to give Jeannie her letter of resignation

The next day, Teddy goes to Jeannie about the Journal article.  Jeannie sees this as a great thing because the abuse predates him.  He, therefore, can play the white knight and let the company focus on defeating Novax.  In light of the article, though, Teddy believes that the board will show the wisdom of reallocating its resources.

Just as Jeannie plans to make sure Marty and the pod are on the same page, Teddy hands Jeannie her letter of resignation to ensure an orderly transition.  Even if what Mark said is false, Teddy notes that there’s always a swirl of drama around Jeannie.  She might not have created it, but she opened the door to it.  What’s more, Teddy spoke to Whip Huxton and knows about Jeannie’s end run to the board.  Her fingerprints are all over this leak.

Teddy is no idiot, but Jeannie disagrees with that.  She’s worked her ass off to ensure the company’s financial health and Teddy’s future at the company- neither of which would have happened if she had happened for the Cowardly Lion to mosey down the Yellow Brick Road.  Jeannie needs to pick better metaphors.

She continues, saying that she set Teddy up for success.  He will be lauded as the bold visionary who returned Davis-Dexter to its roots.  Well, now it looks like Teddy won’t have to share the credit.  And he won’t.

Game Theory- Dungeons and Dragons game

Following this, we cut to a D&D game, where Dungeon Master leads the team in a quest to save the princess.  Among the members of the game is Nathaniel, played by Allan McLeod from You’re the Worst.  I love this guy.  The game continues well into the evening until the group finds themselves in an under-furnished home that’s still suffering the ravages perpetrated by the wicked she-bitch, Sarah.

Translation, time for a bathroom break.  Marty makes small talk with Tess and we learn that she wasn’t into D&D as a kid.  Same for Marty, who claims that Doug told him to just check it out for himself.  Tess isn’t falling for the bullshit, though, and asks whether Marty wants to get into her pants or win her business.

Yeah, Marty drops the act.  He’s impressed by what she could pull off at Green Point.  Oddly enough, Tess’ friends have urged her to bring on a big brain consultant.  She doesn’t get that vibe from Marty since he jumped into a river with a full suit of armor on and drowned.  Doug jumps in and piles on Marty, but he turns his attention to Tess.  She’s not 30, yet she owns a company that’s brought in over $100 million in revenue.

Even if Tess sucks at the game, she can kill at business, and Doug knows that.  He tells Tess that there are many good consultants out there, but Marty is a mad genius.  With Marty’s guidance, Tess could end up a billionaire.

Game Theory- Roscoe talks about being a vegetarian

We return to House Kaan.  Jeremiah and Rita are headed to Angeles Crest Highway to watch the meteor shower.  At 11:45 pm.  Roscoe, meanwhile, tells Jeannie that being a vegetarian isn’t enough, given how animals are exploited when their eggs and milk are stolen.  But then, baby Phoebe is still nursing.  Plus, Roscoe would want to consider getting rid of his lipsticks and Vuitton satchel.

Game Theory- Marty comforts Jeannie

At least Marty is in a good mood now that he’s reeled in the client and saved the widow princess.  When Roscoe leaves, Marty tells Jeannie that he might be taking a break from Klare.  Jeannie informs Marty that she’s been fired due to her creating drama.  However, Teddy is still on board with the strategy, so Jeannie doesn’t want Marty to blow the consult because of her.

Jeannie feels like a shit magnet, as if karma is coming back to bite her in the ass.  But Marty says that karma is bullshit.  Hashtag fuck karma and it’s not her fault.  Marty assures Jeannie that everything will be okay.  Touching as this moment is, Jeannie tells Marty that his penis won’t solve this situation, even if it is a vegan cock now.

Game Theory- Pod presentation

The next day, the pod gives their presentation, saying that Davis-Dexter’s patent extension strategy is played out and there aren’t enough drugs in the pipeline to keep re-patenting.  And with the R&D improprieties, the PR backlash makes putting a new line of drugs into the pipeline even more crucial to the company’s long term security.

Kaan & Associates has identified several prospects in development that could be groundbreaking advances in the huge market of food allergy drugs.  By fast tracking these projects, Davis-Dexter’s future growth is all but assured unless someone beats them to the market.

Game Theory- Pod presentation to Novax

It should be noted that we don’t see who is observing this presentation, and that pays off when we see that Marty, Doug, and Clyde are presenting to Novax.  It’s the start of a beautiful friendship.

Game Theory- Marty has good news for Jeannie

Marty later joins Jeannie, who asks for a thank you because he’s a fucking mad warlock genius.  Jeannie heard the pitch to Teddy went well, and it did, but not as well as the pitch did to Novax, who expressed their gratitude with a big check.  Marty tells Jeannie that it’s time to get the fuck out.  The two link arms and leave.

If there’s one thing to say about the pod, it’s that they do indeed know how to create drama.  They’re damn good management consultants, mind you, but there’s no doubt that a storm cloud of potential controversy and spectacle follow their every move.  They’ve all experienced it in one way or another.

Game Theory- Teddy stands up to Jeannie

And right now, Jeannie is in a bit of damage control.  She took the job at Davis-Dexter, but went Teddy and fooled around with a coworker.  Neither of which she thought were vindictive moves, but could be interpreted as power-plays.

Game Theory- Jeannie is frustrated by Mark

Well, less so in her relationship with Mark.  He’s just trying to cash a huge check.  It’s the reverse of what we’re used to when you expect a female coworker to sue or speak out against her male abuser.  In fact, like Marty and Clyde indicated, it’s exactly the reverse of when Jeannie and other women at Galweather took down the Rainmaker.

Game Theory- Jeannie tells Mark that his job isn't in jeopardy as long as she's the CFO

But here, as far as I can tell, Jeannie wasn’t promising Mark a promotion.  The one thing I got from this was she promised Mark that he wouldn’t lose his job as long as she was the CFO.  But that’s her assuming things would go according to plan.

Game Theory- Teddy gives Jeannie her letter of resignation

The same applies to Teddy handing her the letter of resignation.  Jeannie is focused on securing her position, but also fluffing Teddy’s ego.  But going around him undermines that and makes it seem, as Marty said last time, that she’s gunning for Teddy’s job.  But because Jeannie brings drama wherever she goes, Teddy is cutting his losses now.  Plus, she did go around him, so he has motive.

Game Theory- Jeannie thinks that she is a shit magnet

Jeannie sees this as karma for the bad things that she’s done, but she also overestimated how Teddy would react to learning about her power play.  Rather than fold over and let her keep her job, Teddy shows some brass for the good of the company.  And because, again, she was making a move for his job.

Game Theory- Jeannie testifies

And though Jeannie’s cracking right now, her deposition scene was an absolute highlight of the episode, probably of the season.  But while the pod can have a bit of fun at Jeannie’s expense, they still pull through for her by giving Davis-Dexter’s information to their competition.

Game Theory- Pod at Novax

On the other side of things, with Tess as a new client, I like how we got to see more of Doug’s home life in a post-Sarah environment, though he’s clearly still burned by what she did.  We’ve known that Doug is a nerd and there’s no way to better illustrate someone’s nerd credit than Dungeons & Dragons, but it becomes pivotal when we see him and Marty woo over Tess.

Game Theory- Doug and Tess

And while Marty’s approach managed to get Tess talking, it was Doug who pointed out how far Tess had come at such a young age.

Game Theory- Doug persuades Tess to trust Marty

He might not have the consulting as down as Marty, but he knows a smart client and how to appeal to them on his territory through games.  He’s comic relief, but knows his shit.  His approach isn’t as suave, but it’s persuasive enough to land Tess with Kaan & Associates.

So now, with a well-known and wealthy client, here’s hoping for great things going forward with Kaan & Associates.  And if we can ever get more Kristen Bell depositions, I would not object to that.

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