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'House of Lies' fan recap: Finally, a jump shot at the buzzer

Season 4 | Episode 4 | “We Can Always Just Overwhelm the Vagus Nerve With Another Sensation” | Aired Feb 1, 2015

The first three episodes of this season of House of Lies have laid the foundation for the rest of the season: Marty’s release from prison has played out to some degree both at home and with regard to the business. He’s pals with a mogul! He ran a long con! As a con!

Jeannie and Marty’s drama has been fleshed out, too. You know, the whole “I love you/I love you, too/It’s not your baby/I lied, it is your baby/I can’t believe you don’t care that I’m pregnant with your child/I’m secretly terrified and I’m doing my best to ignore you and your pregnancy but when I’m home I choose to lean on my father’s shoulder and stare into the distance with a look of marked ennui” thing.

Doug has lost everything after absinthe-texting Sarah (please come back, Sarah!), and some work falls in Clyde’s lap when an employee of the app startup K&A is sharing space with asks him to help her with a business plan. And so we arrive at episode four, where the business of actual business is the center of the action.

It’s Kaan & Associates’ big day—Gage Motors is set to hold a town hall meeting that is shrouded in secrecy (rumor has it they’ll be unveiling a prototype) where they are set to … unveil a prototype! (Tech rumors are usually pretty on point.) Before the Pod leaves the office for the event, Jeannie lets Doug know that she won’t be at the event until it actually begins, and then she pees her pants. “Thanks, pregnancy!” she says, as Doug is creepily fixated on the panties she’s hastily removed and stuffed into her bag.

Doug: You’re a freak, dude.
Sarah: Please come back.

PLEASE! Doug needs you! We need you.

Jeannie kicks Doug out of her office after he freaks out about her lack of involvement in ensuring things go smoothly at the Gage presentation. Meanwhile, we learn that the members of the Pod have agreed to deferred salaries. Which makes sense, but … oh.

Things are worse than we knew, really. Doug’s just been wiped out by Sarah (she even sold his bird?), so he’s the only one for whom a deferred salary is a nightmare. But Kaan & Associates is running on fumes. Cue the all-too-perfect scenario wherein the company’s entire future depends on a car. A car company, to be more exact, with an emotional five-year-old at the wheel. Wheeee!

Cut to Ellis, the emotional toddler himself, giving a speech to rally his staff at Gage. Sidenote: For the second time this season, Doug favorably references Hitler. For his “compelling presence.” (Dude, ease up on the respect for Hitler. No amount of oratory prowess will ever make referencing Hitler okay. Just. Stop.) Marty, Clyde, and Doug are there to make sure all things are on track at the town hall, when Marty gets a text from Monica. She likes his tie! Also, she’s there representing Dante Valerio. And Satan. She represents the devil himself everywhere she goes.

To the devil’s delight, when Ellis brings her along with the three Pod members for a preview of the car, the Hitler-esque toddler-genius pisses all over his prototype. Literally. That’s right! Baby’s cranky. And he’s not even the first person to inappropriately soil something this episode, so it’s even sadder. Oh, he also finds an ax (probably there in case of a fire?) and destroys the window and hood. (We find out later that his rage is due to “the moldings on the gear-shift panel [not being] rounded enough.” Makes sense.)

And … House of Lies is back! It’s a crisis, Marty desperately needs Jeannie, and putting all the pieces together and salvaging this thing in time to save face will take a miracle. Season four has been saturated with the flaws of the Pod, and while it was absolutely necessary to elevate the characters to actual personhood in order to sustain the show, we’ve been longing for the pure glee of the Pod in all its terrible, wonderful glory.

Back at the office, Jeannie is meeting with an executive recruiter. She offered to cancel the meet before they left, but Marty made it clear that she wasn’t needed—and implicitly confirmed that his feelings haven’t changed about her leaving the company. The headhunter, who has known Jeannie for years, is baffled by her choice to job search while she’s so very pregnant, and tells her she needs to wait to look for work.

She also calls Jeannie out for choosing to have a baby now. In fact, she says, “If abortion clinics were Subway, [Jeannie] would’ve earned a free sandwich years ago.” Jeannie says she’s never had an abortion, and her denial seems … really believable.

The recruiter is asking “why now” and pointing out how meticulously Jeannie’s always planned her career, and it does beg the question: Why now? It stands to reason that because Jeannie is so shrewd and meticulous, she may have been very careful not to get pregnant in the past. She may have … planned this pregnancy?! To be continued.

Back at Gage, Marty is in full-on panic mode, calling Jeannie and putting back into motion a plan they’d squashed early on. Jeannie “hightail[s] her ass to Berkeley” to sweet-talk a former Gage engineer (Alicia Witt as Maya Lindholm) into partnering with Ellis. Jeannie tells her a lot of lies, while Marty does the same to convince Ellis that partnering with Maya is now his only option.

It works—Jeannie and Marty, with the jump shot at the buzzer! Maya and Ellis hate each other, and both think they’ll have operational control when they partner. But who cares! After Ellis has a complete breakdown, crying about his father (who has been dead for nearly a decade) and rambling in a stairwell, Jeannie finally shows up and literally smacks some sense into him.

The town hall meeting is delayed, but eventually both Maya and Ellis are onstage, awkwardly fumbling to an eventual symbolic raising of clasped hands. They’re a team—that’s going to need a lot of management consulting. A LOT. Of management consulting. Cha-ching! K&A has created an even bigger monster than they had on their hands to begin with—which seems to be what they’re in the business of doing.

House of Lies airs Sundays at 10/9C on Showtime.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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