A Look at House of Lies- Season 5, Episode 7: “One-Eighty”

If there’s a life-lesson to take from this experienced episode, it’s that marijuana has more than just medicinal benefits.  It can turn you into a better, more confident speaker and negotiator, more so when it’s crunch time.  But enough of my talk.  Let’s get right to the weed.

One-Eighty- Talking about Ganja Wal Mart

The episode begins with the pod on the road as Marty asks the team about guys who sold them weed in college.  Surprisingly, they all have examples of dealers.  The pod will be dealing with some Washington state weed slingers that are like Ganja Wal-Mart.  Wall Street is taking notice of this growing market that grossed $3 billion in revenue last year.  I instantly approve of the pod taking this approach.

One-Eighty- Arriving at Kush Vista

When the pod arrives at their destination, Kush Vista, they’re stopped by guards and asked to show identification by guards with weapons.  Doug won’t be partaking of this green, and when no one asks why, he simply tells them: he’s keeping his temple pristine for his TED Talk in two days.  He even marked it in everyone’s calendars.  Marty uses this to as an opportunity to remind Jeannie to keep her mind temple pristine.

Jeannie says that she’s fine when high, if not chatty, but the pod disagrees.  Hell, Doug would rather get high with Anne Hathaway.  Is that all?  Soon, Marty is asked to step out of the vehicle, but it’s just to sign some paperwork.

One-Eighty- Kush clients Max, played by Zachary Knighton, and Joy, played by Riki Lindhome

The pod soon meets their clients: Max, played by Zachary Knighton, and Joy, played by Riki Lindhome, and they’re not fans of the system.  Amen to that.  See, based on federal law, this pot reserve is criminal.  People want salvation, but the law can’t catch up.  Max and Joy don’t even take cards or checks- all payment is through cash.  Unlike the situation in Ohio, these two have the power of the plant on their side.

Last year, they sold crops and edibles by the ton.  Humanity is changing, but it takes time to change hearts and minds.  Clyde directs Marty’s attention to some bags of money.

One-Eighty- Taking in a whiff of weed

Inside, the pod gets a whiff of pot that smells more like civil rights than money.  It represents those who died in the War on Drugs, but it has almost made millions for Max and Joy.  Capitalism leads to drugs.  Also, nothing is more beautiful than a kite in the sky.  Max gets a bit weepy eyed at this.  Okay.

One-Eighty- Max and Joy show the pod some edibles

Joy and Max then show the pod some of their products that they supply to vendors around the state and, hopefully, around the country.  This includes gourmet edibles.  Jeannie picks up one of the Mindbomb Truffles, which are the most potent of the products.  Clyde snatches it from Jeannie and dangles it in front of Doug, who recoils.

See, Doug has one shot with this TED Talk.  If he nails this TED Talk, it will be downloaded and shared on Facebook.  He could become legendary.  If Clyde wants to dangle a Mindbomb Truffle in front of someone, he could just give it to me.

One-Eighty- Max explains that he and Joy are changing the world

Max explains to Marty that, in the beginning, he and Joy were just trying to help cancer patients or people suffering from epilepsy, but now, they’re changing the world.  Time to talk business, though.  The pod will look tighten up the valuations and modeling, but will then return to present their findings.

One-Eighty- Marty's plan is to persuade Joy to accept big tobacco

Of course, in this instance, tightening up the valuations means trying all the marijuana they want.  Buzzkill Doug worries that if they partake of the Mary Jane samples, they could be delayed for days and Doug could miss his TED Talk.  True, but they can’t take it on the plane and it would be wasteful to not try this special goodness now.

They noticed that Joy in particular wants to make money.  Ron Zobel has been working himself to get into the pockets of tobacco giant MRJ.  They’ve been looking for a big player.  Marty tells Clyde to call Zobel and tell him that they’ll land MRJ and land Kush at the same time.  Sounds nuts, given the clash between weed and big tobacco.

Plus, Kush seems very committed.  Yes, but remember that in any partnership, one partner is more swayed by greed than the other.  Marty’s strategy is, with the right argument, to get Joy to come off of her husband’s pot altar and support the biggest play possible: big tobacco.  It’s time to go in for the touchdown.

One-Eighty- Infused dinner

Dinner is served with infused butter, so Doug sets his plate aside.  Marty checks Jeannie to make sure she knows that edibles are more potent than the smoke.  No problem for Joy and Max, as they’ve seen every kind of high imaginable.  Hell, they embrace it and look forward to experience the pod’s bliss.

One-Eighty- Jeannie wonders what would happen if everyone blinked at the same time

Jeannie’s bliss, though, involves her becoming very talkative, but this is Level One.  Marty, meanwhile, gets real with Joy and Max, while Jeannie wonders what if everyone in the world blinked at the exact same time.  Doug, meanwhile, says what Joy and Max do is similar to the third commandment of TED Talk: thou shalt reveal thy curiosity and thy passion.  Joy just wants Doug to shut the fuck up.

One-Eighty- Marty talks business with Joy and Max

Back to Marty: the banks won’t touch Kush.  A lot of investors will back small businesses.  The important thing is that Kush’s integrity and mission remain.  Joy asks for coffee and Marty offers to help.  He brings up his real play of big tobacco.  It’s a big fucking monster with large sums of money that Joy could ever want.  As in $100 million minimum.  And Joy can be hands on with the expansion.

One-Eighty- Jeannie wants a guitar

Jeannie thinks that Doug and Clyde are the real love story.  They just want to fill the holes where love goes.  Also, Jeannie want a guitar.

One-Eighty- Joy is open to Marty's suggestion about big tobacco

Marty continues trying to prod Joy, telling her that she’ll have the biggest voice to push legislation in Congress.  Big tobacco has the infrastructure, but Kush has the street cred and culture.  They’d be the Starbucks of pot.

One-Eighty- Max and Clyde talk about desires

Max talks with Clyde about his desires.  Clyde, though, doesn’t feel that he’s happy.  He asks Max to show him the path to salvation, starting with Chapter One.  Max then tells Clyde and Doug that history’s greatest thinkers got high.  The best innovations, like hemp and Bible pages, come from pot.

Joy feels that she’s giving into everything she fought against, but Marty tells her to avoid letting her feelings dictate her decisions.  You can’t let feelings make business decisions.  It’s smart, not greed.  Max, meanwhile, spots Marty talking with Joy and figures that Doug and Clyde are distracting him.

One-Eighty- Max and Joy debate their next move

The seed has been planted, though, and Jeannie almost ate a dog because it asked her to do so.  Funny.  My food never told me to eat it.  Joy asks Max if they’re ready to lose their lives.  Mom and Pop businesses like theirs have been erased, so the two should open their minds and use the system to beat the system.

One-Eighty- Ron tells Marty that MRJ is confirmed for a meeting

Back at K&A, Doug got a few seats for the pod at his TED Talk.  That’s the good news, as apparently the crowd will be full.  Ron Zobel reports that MRJ has confirmed for tomorrow morning.  Good to know, as this will be about timing.  Marty doesn’t want to this window.  Ron assures Marty that his guys will follow his lead.

One-Eighty- Marty pops some Mindbomb Truffles

Okay, so it’s time for Doug’s TED Talk.  Marty pops some Mindbomb Truffles and prepares for the greatest TED Talk ever.

One-Eighty- Tess checks on Doug before his TED Talk

Backstage, Tess notes Doug’s nervousness and high voice, as he is a bit freaked out.  She assures him that he’ll be amazing.  After all, he’s a dungeon master and genius.  But what if he’s a misunderstood genius, like Carrot Top?

One-Eighty- Doug's TED Talk

Doug finally takes the stage and asks how many people in the audience think about orcs.  No response.  He tries again- this time with his eyes closed- and some folks do raise their hands, but that’s about it.  Today, Doug will talk about embracing your authentic self by defeating the doubt that lives inside each of us.

So Doug’s presentation is a bit all over the place.  No, that’s a lie.  It’s fucking weird and is very all over the place.  So, in closing, he leaves the audience with one thought: in the quest to find your authentic self, merge your powers with an orc instead of fighting it.  The crowd seemed to like it.  Tess is ready to head for her dinner reservation with Doug, but he wants to spend time talking to some of the crew.

One-Eighty- Clyde tells Marty that he needs to meet with MRJ tonight

Clyde gets an update from Ron: the meeting has to move up.  The MRJ executives are leaving on a Red Eye to go to Hong Kong, so this meeting has to happen now.  Otherwise, the next window is in eight months.  Marty is spaced out of his fucking mind.

One-Eighty- Marty proposes a compromise between marijuana and big tobacco

So much that he’s still spaced during the meeting with tobacco and MRJ.  The sides war with each other, but Marty calls things to attention.  He doesn’t get how both sides think they don’t need each other.  Remember Blockbuster?  They refused to adapt to the new reality.  Now, legal weed is spreading in the states and cigarettes are being banned.  Young folks are hip to the cigarette ads.

Oh, but Marty isn’t sparing the Kush folks.  Their psychedelic fantasies won’t let them survive without big tobacco.  Tobacco can give them a seat at the table with lobbyists.  If Kush wants to change the world, they need to play along.  It’s not about David versus Goliath, but David with Goliath.  And is Marty high as fuck right now?  Yes.  And is he making complete total sense right now?

One-Eighty- Marty pauses

There’s a long-ass pause before Marty eventually answers that yes, he is making sense.  At the end of the day, big tobacco and marijuana need to, as a wise man once said, merge their powers with an orc instead of fighting it.  The tobacco executives are ready to open their checkbooks and make it rain.  Doug is at least flattered.

One-Eighty- Marty did a good thing

Jeannie congratulates Marty on a job just well done, but he has no idea what the fuck just happened.  When Jeannie brings him up to speed, Marty just thinks that’s cool.  He rests his head on Jeannie’s head as the episode comes to a close.

So that’s how you negotiate: under the influence.  “One-Eighty” is a very fun episode that manages to mix both business and pleasure while still giving all of the pod something to do in the face of their holistic client.

One-Eighty- Marty and big tobacco

And there’s a bit of social commentary at play here with the battle between the marijuana industry and big tobacco.  As more people and countries grow more open and accepting of the ganja, medicinal or otherwise, the marijuana crowd is growing more vocal and demanding.

One-Eighty- Marty tells Joy that she isn't being greedy

But, as Marty points out, there’s still plenty of folks in the Old Guard that believe in Reefer Madness and don’t want children’s minds poisoned by weed.  Whatever.  Outdated as that notion is now, big tobacco is still a money maker and has a seat at the big kids table that marijuana needs and, in my mind, deserves.

One-Eighty- Smelling some weed

I’m getting very close to veering off topic, so let’s get back to the episode.  It’s always fun to see the pod goof around.  Between “Above Board Metrics” and “Holocracy,” we’ve watched them enter the spirit realm with ayahuasca and have drunken misadventures on a cruise ship.  And yet, they still got shit done because they’re good consultants.

One-Eighty- Jeannie thinks that Doug and Clyde should fill each other's holes

So it was a treat to watch them experienced on the finest marijuana.  I was jealous, I’ll admit.  Seeing Jeannie reach various levels of high to the point that she wanted a guitar, thought of everyone blinking at the same time, and almost ate a dog showed, in my mind, how good Kristen Bell is at comedic material.  She always has been in regards to this show, but this was one of her funnier performances.

One-Eighty- Doug cries during his TED Talk

At the same time, Doug finally delivered his TED Talk.  Whether he was just very passionate about the topic or got a bit of ganja in his system, I don’t know, but damn it if he didn’t manage to dazzle the crowd and make an impact on Marty to the point that it helped his presentation.  And he had a point.  Rather than draw out an endless battle, compromise by merging your powers with an orc.

One-Eighty- Marty adapts Doug's words to close a deal between marijuana and tobacco

From an outsider perspective, it doesn’t make much sense, but this philosophy served as the linchpin to consolidate marijuana and big tobacco to ensure a major payoff.  And Marty is a smart enough strategist and talker, high or otherwise, to dictate this to the two warring sides.  If marijuana helped seal this kind of deal, imagine what the pod could get done if they got high all the time?

Plus, on top of that, in very short notice, Marty convinced both tobacco and marijuana representatives to do a one-eighty on their way of thinking to find common ground.  That’s hard to do when there’s so much animosity between the two sides.  Despite the opposition and possible handicap through weed, K&A made a deal.  So right now, they’re looking good.

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