House of Lies Season 2 Review “The Runner Stumbles”

House of Lies Season 2 Episode 7 The Runner Stumbles (3)

It was a tumultuous series of events on “House of Lies” this week, on the aptly-titled in retrospect episode “The Runner Stumbles.” The episode was framed by two scenes, seemingly the same on the surface, but as different as- well, night and day- underneath. We opened with Marty jogging, psyching himself up for another day of working with lowlifes to further his own career and line his coffers with ill-begotten gains. But just how far was Marty willing to go?

We start out with not-so-typical office high-jinks as Jeannie comes in with a confession. It seems long ago, way back when, she shot a sex tape with an ex-boyfriend. When she shunned his “friend invite” on Facebook, he retaliates by posting said tape online on the classy website “Slutty Ex Sex” under the title of “Goth Girls Love to Swallow.”

Figuring the boys will find out about it somehow, she launches a pre-emptive strike and shows it to them herself- or to Doug and Clyde, at least; as Marty bails out on the proceedings, much to Doug’s disappointment.

Doug: “How will we know how to feel about it?”

Turns out there wasn’t much to see beyond her then-BF’s junk, as that was the focus of the festivities, as he had Jeannie do most of the filming, meaning she was an early multi-tasker. Though it was fun seeing a Goth Kristen Bell, not much skin on her end- save maybe a nice shot of her end in lingerie. As the guys lament, it was mostly dude, and a wildly-pierced up dude at that, including on his penis. Ouch!

Later on, the Pod digs for dirt on Criswell, to see what he’s up to. Marty figures it must be something big, as he has certain things online hidden behind a firewall. Clyde sweet talks Criswell’s secretary and gets a hold of the password and they find out just what the guy has to lose for themselves.

It seems that Criswell was a part of his bank’s nefarious attempt to give out loans at highly-reduced rates to potential home buyers, before, shortly thereafter, raising the interest rates sky-high on the loan-ees…but only the minority ones. The white ones get a reduced rate, while the rest get such inflated rates that they’re basically guaranteed to default on them, which means the bank will get possession of the houses and be able to sell them at a profit. Pretty nasty stuff.

Marty confronts Brynn about it and finds out she knew all along. If he hadn’t found out, she would have passed the blame onto Galweather. If he did find out, then he would know why he was really drafted: to be the black face to sell this travesty to the press. But how to do so, without it reflecting poorly on Criswell, much less himself?

Jeannie confronts Marty on the whole situation, telling him he can’t possibly be considering going along with this. She lets him know if he does, he’ll not only be betraying his own people, but selling his soul in the process.

Marty: “You can’t sell what you only rent.”

Marty comes up with a plan. It seems that there’s a catch on Criswell’s involvement: he’s listed as only being an adviser on the bank situation, and thus, can escape being liable. They also have a scapegoat at hand, the executive vice-president, Henry Hughes, who will serve as the fall guy instead of Criswell. All Marty has to do is sell it to the press, if he can.

Well, this is Marty we’re talking about, so sell it he does, giving the press a full-service “glow job”- or Marty’s version of a glowing review. In exchange to successfully doing so, Criswell will finance Marty’s own firm, Kaan & Associates, which will allow him to successfully escape Galweather, where Julianne has made it clear he is not particularly wanted.

Jeannie is worried about Marty and less than thrilled with his getting into bed (literally and figuratively) with Brynn, who she deems: “Like me, but with extra mean sauce.” She and the team look on as Marty sells all this crap to the press, worried for their futures. Marty tells the press his carefully-modulated version of events, telling how Criswell is a staunch supporter of African-Americans and will be investing in AA-owned businesses to make up for the slight.

He almost loses it, but is able to barely get through the massive amounts of horse crap he’s shoveling: but at what cost? That remains to be seen, but it clearly is weighing heavily on Marty. To blow off steam- and perhaps to intentionally get into trouble- he goes out for another jog, this time at night.

Sure enough, cops spot him and pull him over for JWBH, or “Jogging while Black in a Hoodie,” and madness ensues, as Marty antagonizes the cops and gets a beat-down for his troubles. Was it all part of his plan? Is he planning on using the ensuing bad press to help sell his situation? We shall see next week.

What did you think of this turn of events on “House of Lies”? Is Marty pushing it getting involved with Criswell, even by his dubious standards? Will Jeannie join his new firm or stay put at Galweather, where her job is more secure? What will the rest of the Pod do? How will Marty use the beat-down and arrest to his advantage? (You just know he will.) Let me know what you think in the comments!