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'House of Lies' fan recap: Fortuna

Season 4 | Episode 6 | “Trust Me, I’m Getting Plenty of Erections” | Aired Feb 15, 2015

Oh, this old house. This old house of lies. This episode is seemingly so straightforward: The “main” thread is that Gage Motors’ stock price has to hit $200/share before K&A is paid in order for a $9.2 million bonus clause to kick in. K&A’s present-day volatility would be over (very over), and the company would be sitting pretty, poised to move forward with the business on their own terms. The Pod engages in some good old Pod “antics”: manipulating perceptions and blackmailing a blogger to inflate the perceived value of Gage’s stock.

While the payday is critical for the company and the trajectory of the season, the episode is bookended by two scenes that have a very different focus from the almighty dollar.

The first scene is a flashback to Marty’s ride to prison seven months prior. Jeremiah is driving and Roscoe is in the backseat. It’s not as though seeing three generations of Kaan men together is at all unusual, but there is certainly something strikingly tidy about the visual—Jeremiah, with his japa mala (prayer/meditative bead necklace) and casual linen clothing, Marty in a (surely very expensive) suit (really, Marty?), and Roscoe in an asymmetrical, wide-neck mohair sweater, super-bold statement necklace and ear cuff, and patterned pants. Mind, money, aesthetics. But the Kaan men (OMG, Roscoe is all grown up! Holding back tears!) are not diametrically opposed. There are problems, to be sure, but there is honest-to-goodness love in that car. There always has been, and despite the series’ recurring theme of what a “good” father is, these three hold each other together.

So it is that these three men, so visually different, so … flat-out different from one another, start the episode with an unhappy moment in their lives, but one in which Roscoe (who’s been somewhat combative and evasive during the car ride) eventually says, “Dad, I just wish you didn’t have to go.” And Marty says, “You know you’re all that matters to me.” And they mean it. Say what you will about Marty’s presence in his son’s life (I’m talking to you, Malcom Kaan), but he loves his son, his son loves him, and they both know it. This is a rarer thing in the world than one might think, and it’s not to be undervalued.

When the scene freezes midway through the show and Marty speaks directly to us, it’s to explain the circumstances under which K&A will receive their all-important bonus. Here’s what he has to say about “fortune”:

The word “fortune” comes from the Latin word “Fortuna,” goddess of chance. … real fortune has nothing to do with chance. Or luck. Fortuna is bullshit. Real fortune is calculated. It’s relentless; fucking criminal, even. You have to make fortune happen.

This is where the critical element that is twisting the internal logic of House of Lies this season comes in. Marty is talking about making a “fortune,” and he’s also referring to it not being about luck. He’s referencing both meanings of the word, but he’s saying that he doesn’t believe in chance. Fortunes are made, not happened upon. Which, okay, fair enough, but saying that you consider luck to be irrelevant to business is one thing; Marty has a major problem if he says he truly doesn’t believe in the larger, more abstract meaning of the word. Because Marty knows (and we know he knows!) that his fortune lies in his family—specifically in his son. He “needs” the money to keep his business and his bank account afloat—but he needs his father and his son. It’s been a slow and subtle creep, but we’ve been given that information.

Thank God that although Marty can look us in the eye and talk to us, we can’t return the favor. Because he does NOT want to give that side of himself over to Jeannie again, not even for the briefest moment. Not for a second, not for ANYTHING.

He even goes so far as to push the fourth wall away from himself in the ep’s last shot, as he drives away from the building that Jeannie is having her sonogram in. He has tears in his eyes, which obviously do not match his expensive suit or the call he gets as he sits in his car confirming that Gage’s stock price has, in fact, hit $200/share. This should be the moment in this episode—hell, in this season—but it’s not. Jeannie learns the news simultaneously as she watches her phone while getting her sonogram, and while it was exactly the moment she was waiting for, her gaze immediately shifts to the image of the baby she’s carrying. You can actually watch the realization wash over her (Kristen Bell’s a boss!) that she’s actually having a baby. It’s just incredibly difficult to tell how she feels about it. Just as they secure the fortune they’ve been chasing all season, both Marty and Jeannie immediately plateau. It’s simply not the most important fortune that they’re both facing.

Roscoe managed to make sure that the baby was what was on Marty’s mind, and Jeannie is finally focused on it in what must be the final weeks of her pregnancy. These two are cold; they’re relentless; but they’re not monsters. At least, not yet! If Marty can’t figure out a way to put his anger aside, Jeannie will undoubtedly go to war with him. Maya’s prediction about motherhood’s inability to change Jeannie has yet to be borne out, but that part of Jeannie won’t change, at least not right away. Marty can’t force her to “go gentle into that good night.” No one is dying, but the parallel is there—Jeannie will fight for what she wants until the bitter end. Unless she decides Marty isn’t what she wants. (Doubtful.)

As much as this episode was not about money, it also kind of really was. K&A is in business. As Marty says in his “Fortuna” aside, “We are about to hit the fortune motherfuckload.” Which they do.

That was a nice look at the “deep” things that House of Lies has going on right now. As far as the rest of the show goes? Kelsey’s app? K&A’s newfound bank account? Roscoe’s on-point dismissal of a girl who wants a Kate Spade bag (bitch, please—Roscoe bootlegs Chloé and Chanel)? This episode may have given the soft-rock elements some play, but there’s so much rock-and-roll potential for this season. And we can all only hope and pray that we’ll be #blessed with some more krumping. (Please, Roscoe—we’re begging you.)

There are just so many terrible, amazing things that could happen now that the big money squeeze is off. Game on, bitches!

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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