House of Lies Season 2 Review “Stochasticity”

First and foremost, big congrats to “House of Lies” star Don Cheadle on his well-deserved win at the Golden Globes for his stellar work here. Cheadle really hit the ground running with his character here, Marty Kaan, and in no time established exactly who this character was and what he was about before spending the rest of the season slowly but surely peeling back the layers of BS to show who he really was. Granted, there’s still plenty of blanks to fill in, but, thankfully, we still have another season to discover exactly what that is.

With the premiere episode, the oddly-titled “Stochasticity,” there’s already a mystery to be had, as Marty and his team associate Jeannie (the always delightful Kristen Bell) shared a night of…something. I don’t know about you, but it was impossible to not flashback to Bell’s breakthrough role on “Veronica Mars” when she revealed she couldn’t remember a thing about their lost evening together. (Fans will recall that one of the driving mysteries of the entire series, which was not revealed until near the end of the show’s run, was the fact that Mars was raped by an unknown assailant the same night her best friend was murdered.)

Needless to say, that’s not the sort of thing you want rattling around in your brain on a more comedic show, but the show did its best to play Marty and Jeannie’s situation for laughs, including the implication that she might have contracted Chlamydia from Marty. (To be fair, there’s probably not that many viewers of this show that were also viewers of “Mars,” so there’s that.)

Still, blacking out is not a fun thing, and one can certainly sympathize with Jeannie, if anything, who simply can’t recall if it went down or not, thought it’s clear she wishes it hadn’t if it did. However, what she did remember was bad enough: the fact that she told Marty she loved him. Sure, it was a drunken confession and he clearly doesn’t remember it- yet- but it should be interesting to see how the plotline plays out over the course of the season.

Meanwhile, on the bright side, Jeannie gets a promotion of sorts, although even she knows that it must be their employers Galweather Stearn’s idea of an apology, or, at the very least, their way of saying: “Please don’t sue us!” after the big public revelation Jeannie made that she was sleeping with a higher-up in last year’s season finale. Until she’s told different- which may well be the case, if the preview of future episodes are any indication- she understandably believes the position to be a suck-up and not one with any real power behind it. We shall see.

Meanwhile, Marty was still dealing with the fallout of his son Roscoe (Donis Leonard Jr.) leaving home to live with his mom, Monica (sexy Dawn Olivieri), a former junkie trying to go straight. Her latest kick seems to be vegetarianism…and possibly her nutritionist/babysitter, Zanna (newcomer Eden Malyn) from the looks of things. Hmm…now that would explain some things. Still, I think it’s safe to say Monica is bisexual at best, given her soft spot for her ex in the sack.

Marty tries to win Roscoe back over with the help of a cute-as-a-button Bee Girl (Lucy Schwartz- any relation to Ben?), who serenades him with his favorite Carpenters song. Roscoe sees right through the move, as well he should being a smart kid, but he clearly appreciates the effort, so not bad thus far. Marty’s going to have to put in much more face time before Roscoe gets over anything anytime soon, I suspect. He must be mad to go and live with Monica, who’s crazy as a bedbug. Time will tell.

Back at GS headquarters, they’ve hired a new interim CEO, one Julianne Hotschragar (Bess Armstrong). It’s way too soon to get a bead on her yet, but Marty seems to think he’s got her pegged. From the look of things in the previews, she may not be so easy to pin down as he thinks. Either way, she already has the possible makings of a memorable character, with the former mom of Angela Chase all but disappearing into the character’s shoes, coming off like a cross between Jane Fonda on “The Newsroom” and maybe Jane Lynch at her jokiest and least intimidating. We’ll see, though. I suspect there may be more to her than I suspect.

Aside from Doug’s (Josh Lawson) brainy use of the episode’s title- it refers to the likelihood of random behavior to be predictable in its randomness, which does not impress their potential new client to the point that he tells him to not speak anymore; and the revelation that Clyde (Ben Schwartz) is in a three way “relationship” with two moderately attractive women that Marty takes a pass on (Clyde: “Haven’t said no yet…”/Marty: “Oh! No yet.” LOL.), there was not much on the other guys in the “Pod” this episode around. I suspect the latter will be played for more laughs for at least a few more episodes, given Clyde’s overall cluelessness.

All in all, a decent offering. It lacked the wow factor of the initial premiere, but it didn’t need to be that flashy, as we already have a pretty decent handle on these characters already for the most part, save a few new faces. Maybe the whole “blackout” plotline was a bit dubious, I suppose, but that just be because of the reasons I mentioned. We’ll see how it pans out and judge it on its own merits then.

What did you think? Did you like the premiere? Are you glad to have the show back? Did you like the new cast members? Do you believe Monica is seriously reformed, and if so, do you think it will last? Do you think Jeannie and Marty slept together? Do you think she really loves him? Let me know in the comments!

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