A Look at House of Lies- Season 5, Episode 5: “Above Board Metrics”

Anyone remember “I’m on a Boat” by Lonely Island?  Given the setting of this episode and that we get a few party sequences, I couldn’t help but think of that throughout most of “Above Board Metrics.”  I wager that I might be alone on that.

Above Board Metrics- Group on escalator as Jeannie spots the twins

The episode begins with the pod arriving at a cruise ship in time for some big game fishing.  Last year, Palace Cruises did just over $4.6 billion in revenue.  And billion dollar clients translates to a huge check that Skip will cut to acquire K&A, so long as Monica doesn’t win first.  This is why Marty wants to accomplish this as fast as possible.

Doug is happy to be sitting at the captain’s table because the captain is Megan Dunleavy: one of the few female captains in the cruise line industry.  Doug apparently has a fantasy of sleeping with the ship captain, but he’s still got Tess, even though they never agreed on exclusivity.

Above Board Metrics- Return of the Dushkin twins

And then they appear: Alex and Kyle Dushkin are running a club night for Palace Cruises.

Above Board Metrics- Captain Megan Dunleavy, played by Jolie Jenkins, dines with the team

That evening, the pod dines with Captain Megan Dunleavy, played by Jolie Jenkins, and Doug is just enamored with her.  He wants to use her story in his TED Talk about overcoming adversity and he figures that the captain’s story would be an inspiration.

Above Board Metrics- Marty and Jeannie with CEO Patrick, played by Johnny Sneed

The talk soon turns to business, though the crew wants the pod to understand how much fun they have.  Marty rattles off some jargon to the CEO, Patrick, played by Johnny Sneed, explain how the company can become more profitable.  Answers will come tomorrow morning, so Marty asks Clyde to fast track a deck with good solutions.  But then, Clyde spends a bit more time talking it up with Captain Dunleavy.

Above Board Metrics- Dushkin twins encourage Clyde to fuck the captain

Later, the pod parties with the Dushkin twins, who encourage Clyde to fuck the captain.  Doug thinks the captain was just being nice to Clyde, but according to the twins, the engine room is off limits to passengers.  Marty and Jeannie crash the scene and demand to know why Doug and Clyde aren’t working.  Simply put, there is a party going on right now.  And none of this is covered in the all-inclusive package.

But people are willing to pay because it’s alcohol and vacation and fuck it.  Clyde ran the numbers: the play to secure optimal profits for Palace Cruises and a ton of after-work for K&A involves the Dushkin twins.

Above Board Metrics- Presentation to Patrick

We then cut to the pod presenting to Patrick: the ship should be run by the Dushkin twins.  After all, the twins have made a lot of money in a short amount of time.  Implement some expansion and they’ll make more.  Though the twins are assholes, they know how to monetize space and advertise a party.  However, the twins won’t sign a contract until the demands in their rider are met.

Marty assures Patrick that his team knows how to talk to assholes and can get the Dushkin twins down to reasonable demands.  If the team gets the demands down to a page, then they’ve got a deal.

Above Board Metrics- Marty and Doug talk about not being made partners at K&A

Doug asks Clyde to stand down and stop hitting on the captain.  But Clyde tells Doug that he won’t have to put up with him much longer.  If this sale with Skip goes through, they’re all fucked.  Even in a best case scenario, Clyde doesn’t think that Skip will let someone from K&A rise up the ranks.  Worst part is that Marty never offered to make Clyde or Doug a partner.  That would have been nice, and Doug can at least agree with that.

Above Board Metrics- Doug and Clyde give the Dushkin twins an update on the numbers

Jeannie and Marty tell the twins that they found the club depressing.  But one old man got the first handjob he’s had in years.  That’s gotta count for something.  The depressing part is squandered opportunity and wasted talent.  What if the twins owned their own ship?  Dushkin Party Cruise Line.  The twins love the idea, but want to get rid of the family-friendly bullshit.

Before the two can make this happen, Doug and Clyde arrive with a numbers’ problem: start-up numbers are higher than they originally thought, as in this would cost them $200 million.  The twins are concerned, as they doubled down on their cologne.  The twins go off to think about this.  So now the pod waits.

Above Board Metrics- Clyde vents to Marty about not being a partner

On the basketball court, Clyde wants to talk with Marty about his exit strategy, as he has no incentive to stay at L&A if Skip takes over.  Clyde tells Marty that his problem is that he made up his mind about him a long time ago.  But Clyde whining doesn’t show Marty that he’s maturing.  When the two return to the office, Clyde wants to talk severance package.

Above Board Metrics- Pod and Dushkin twins come to an agreement

That evening, at another party, Clyde has soot on himself.  Doug thinks that Clyde might not have fucked the captain.  Clyde just fucks with Doug.  Across the floor, the pod spots the twins coming to an arrangement.  They share their idea with the pod: instead of them putting up the money for a ship, Palace Cruises gives them one to run.

Above Board Metrics- Pod does shots

Sounds good, but Patrick hates the twins because of the rider in their contract.  Marty will agree to talk with Patrick to get him on board, but for this to work, the twins have to back on demands.  The twins don’t want to, but if that doesn’t happen, there’s no ship.  And just like that, rider demands rescinded.  Time to celebrate with shots.  A fuck-ton of shots, followed by dancing.

When the pod is reasonably inebriated, Clyde goes on again about wanting a partnership.  However, Clyde later says that he would have done the same thing if he got what Skip offered.  Jeannie goes off to the dance floor and eventually grabs the mic to tell the guys that she’s got to pump and dump.  I don’t know what that means, but Jeannie drops the mic.

Above Board Metrics- Marty makes partners out of Doug and Clyde

So the pod stumbles around the boat in search of booze, but soon Doug and Clyde find themselves drinking milk from Jeannie’s breast pumps.  And following this, Marty even makes bout Doug and Clyde partners.

Above Board Metrics- Jeannie tells Marty that they're killing it as parents

Later, Clyde heads off because he’s late.  Jeannie tells Marty that they’re very good at life.  After all, they’re about to sell their company for some fuck-you money, they have a beautiful kid, and their travel plans will change.  That builds character.  They are killing it as parents.  But then Jeannie starts getting emotional.  What if they’re not killing it?  Well, that happened.

Above Board Metrics- Jeannie and Marty drunk dial their baby

As the two retreat to their room, Jeannie uses her tablet to drunk dial the nanny so she can talk to Phoebe.  Who does this?  The two look on in awe of their children, but Jeannie is more emotional than a drunk person probably should be at this hour.

Above Board Metrics- Doug visits the captain

Because he can, a drunk Doug goes to the captain’s room.  He tells her that he leaves for Los Angeles tomorrow, but she tells him to head back because he’s being inappropriate.  She has no idea who Clyde is, by the way, or the engine room, but she is calling security.

Above Board Metrics- Jeannie and Marty hold hands the next morning

The next morning, a fully clothed Jeannie asks an equally clothed Marty if they had sex.  No.  Drunk dialed their baby?  Yes.  But even still, they’re fucking killing it.

Above Board Metrics- Jeannie asks Marty how he feels about making Clyde and Doug partners

Marty talks with Patrick about how much he loved the dessert.  As for the twins, they’ll run the boat in exchange for foregoing the rider.  Looks like the twins got themselves a boat.  Oh, where’s Doug?  Getting free from hotel room incarceration.  Jeannie asks Marty if he’s glad that he made partners of Doug and Marty.  Say what?

I hesitate to call this a bottle episode because this doesn’t look like a cheap episode and there are a ton of people involved here outside of the main cast and some guest appearances.  But the bulk of it does take place on the cruise ship and, like “Middlegame,” most of the plot occurs in this one location.

Above Board Metrics- Doug and Clyde talk about never being made partners

While there’s not a ton to say about the episode, it was damn fun from start to finish.  Character development and plot progression are fine, and we do get that, but this felt like a break from the seriousness to let the gang have some fun.  And it’s not like this is a filler episode with no connection to the ongoing storyline because Skip’s potential acquisition of K&A is still a conversation topic.

Above Board Metrics- Clyde asks Marty why he has never been made a partner

Clyde is now thinking of his exit strategy.  Sure, part of that is because Marty never made him or Doug partners, but also the prospect of working for Seth Buckley’s mayoral campaign.  He wants to prove his worth, and despite how long he’s worked with Marty, he’s not a partner.  So he has a reason to be resentful.

Above Board Metrics- Clyde screws with Doug

But it didn’t turn him into a complete sourpuss.  He still manages to screw with Doug in the race to lay the captain.  Well, Doug’s race to lay the captain, since Clyde just wanted to interfere with Doug’s fantasy of sleeping with a ship captain.  It was fun to watch him stumble and try to worm his way into the captain’s arms, yet ended up getting incarcerated.  I imagine that will be omitted from his upcoming TED Talk.

Above Board Metrics- Doug and Clyde do shots of breast milk

I’m all for the pod getting into drunken shenanigans, and this was no exception with everyone stumbling around the ship to find more alcohol and pouring out their feelings.  Jeannie in particular was more emotional than usual as she again talked of Phoebe and how she and Marty are killing it as parents.  But then that’s followed by Jeannie drunk-dialing the babysitter just so she can see her kid.

Above Board Metrics- Drunk dialing your baby

It’s a tender moment as she and Marty admire what they’ve produced, but it’s funny when you consider that they’re still calling in the middle of the night, while drunk, just to see their child.  They care for Phoebe, they just have an odd way of showing it.  Parenting, I suppose.

Above Board Metrics- Dushkins cheer on Marty

And I’m always glad to see the Dushkin twins because they inject a level of fun into House of Lies that is welcomed.  Even though we’re headed back to the office, I would like to see some follow-up and learn how their cruise ship exploits go.  But since the brothers only pop up every now and then, that could be wishful thinking on my part.

“Above Board Metrics” was a simple, fun episode that took us away from the office.  While the team was still hard at work, having to endure the Dushkin twins of all people, and dealing with some interpersonal issues, the drunken shenanigans, late night baby calls, and captain mishandlings made this an entertaining watch.

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