House of Lies Season 2 Review “Sincerity is an Easy Disguise in this Business”

In the latest episode of “House of Lies,” aptly-titled “Sincerity is an Easy Disguise in this Business,” we were introduced to Marty’s brother Malcolm (Larenz Tate, of the underrated “Dead Presidents”). As benefits a person of his namesake, he was a social activist for the disenfranchised, aka his “tweeple,” so-called because of his mass of followers on Twitter, which according to him, include Cornel West. His opening video was a hoot: “1% took my pants, yo!” Malcolm’s arrival seems dubious to Marty, who suspects he’s after something, likely money.

Marty’s got too much on his plate to worry about such things for the time being: two accounts hang in the balance. The first, which he assigns Doug and Jeannie (much to her chagrin), is a San Diego-based dating website called Cupid Chemistry that wants a make-over. To get into the swing of things, the two put up websites, which Doug encourages Jeannie to take advantage of, talking her into going on a date with “Kung Fu” Cameron, which she does not have high hopes for. (Check out Doug’s sweet profile pic abvove.)

Astonishingly enough, the guy turns out to be one of the good ones, a sweet-natured teacher, who likes what he sees…at first. Impressed with his game, she wonders aloud what’s wrong with him, as in her view, there must be something. But like the saying goes, if you look around the room and can’t figure out who the a-hole is, oftentimes, it’s you.

When Jeannie way over shares about her situation, even going so far as to talk about her cheating on her fiancée with her boss to get ahead, he bails. I love Kristen Bell as much as the next guy with a lick of sense, but it’s understandable on his end, as this isn’t Bell we’re talking about but Jeannie, who is not in a good place as of late. I mean, he could have at least hit that, as Matt Damon hilariously put it last week– after all, she was there for only the night and seemed interested until he took off, but I get it. She’s a bit of a hot mess right now, and he seemed like a good guy.

Jeannie wasn’t much happier to find that Doug’s own blind date- literally, as she didn’t post a picture on her profile- had gone into overtime (Jeannie: “My match sucked balls.”/ Doug: “Oh yeah? So did mine.”), and from the looks of next week’s preview, she sticks around to boot. Even better, she’s played by the gone-too-soon “SNL”-vet Jenny Slate, she of the adorable “Marcel the Shell” videos. That sounds about right for Doug, and I mean that in the best way. Even with limited airtime thus far, that feels right to me. Hope she sticks around here longer than she did at “SNL”– tough economy and all, and a girl’s gotta eat.

For account No. 2, Marty and Clyde were on the case, this one a US National bank, which boss lady Julianne wants to replace Galweather’s lost Metro Capital account with. Marty asks her to play it straight with him, recognizing the account for what it is.

Marty: “You can talk to me like a professional, Julianne. You don’t have to tickle the balls.”
Julianne: “Go to Chicago, bat your eyes, French kiss some ass if that’s what it takes to bring this home to Galweather. Hope that didn’t tickle.”

I kind of like Julianne, even if she seems a little wacked, though it turns out she might have a hidden agenda against Marty. Whatever the case, it’s off to Chicago for the boys, though Clyde lends a sympathetic-if-lascivious tongue to Marty’s woes.

Clyde: “Vaginas are the new dicks for Galweather.”

His behavior does not improve when they meet Brynn, the political consultant for their main client, Mr. Criswell (Michael McDonald), a doofus with a fixation on PX90 and way-too-short shorts on. I hope that was a prosthetic! Eew!

Brynn- or as Clyde dubs her, “a sexy Geppetto in Manolos,” which seems about right- is played by “House”-vet Lisa Edelstein, the stand-out in this episode, despite McDonald’s cringe-inducing antics. As she was on “House,” she’s sexy and authoritative, and clearly has an eye on Marty. However, he isn’t thrilled when she informs him that Julianne actually tried to talk her out of working with Marty, intentionally trying to undermine him. That was somewhat unexpected, though Clyde certainly called it: the ladies are taking over at Galweather, and I think she may not be as big of a Marty fan as she’s implied thus far, if her actions here are any indication.

As Brynn points out, though, “It’s dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid.” Marty isn’t stupid- he takes up Brynn on her offer for sexual favors, but he doesn’t take it lying down, either, opting for a more take-charge approach- not that she seems to mind. Time will tell how this relationship fares, but Marty does seem to be attracted to take-charge sorts of women, at least until they backfire on him, a la his ex-wife.

When he returns, Malcolm has all-but moved in, which Marty isn’t thrilled about. He asks him why he’s here and Malcolm finally confesses that it was their father that brought him here. It seems he was in a car accident a few weeks back- one that he didn’t tell Marty about. Though Marty does know about the Parkinson’s onset and that his dad has likely been abusing meds, this particular information comes as a shock. Especially when Malcolm informs him life-threatening surgery will be necessary.

A solid if unspectacular episode, with some good dramatic work from Kristen Bell and Don Cheadle. It can’t help but pale in comparison with last week’s episode, but come on, Matt Damon’s bit would be a tough act for anyone to follow. Overall, it was a decent effort, and it was nice to see Edelstein again, and McDonald’s press conference was especially a hoot. Marty’s definitely gonna have his hands full with that one- or both of them, for that matter.

What did you think of “House of Lies” this week? Did it have the right stuff, or was it more of a transitional episode? Did you like seeing Jeannie taken down a peg? How about Marty, with the unexpected revelation about Julianne? Are you looking forward to seeing Doug in love? What did you think of Malcolm? Let me know in the comments!