House of Lies Season 2 Review “Til Death Do Us Part”

On the season finale of “House of Lies,” the show went out on its own terms with “Til Death Do Us Part,” an episode so strong it almost single-handedly made up for all the dubious missteps of its sophomore slump. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the second season had its moments, but there was a lot of disjointedness throughout the season that had me wondering if the show had forgotten what worked so well in its first season, or simply lost its footing along the way somewhere.

Not so with this finale, which was everything one could want from the show all around. Yes, “House of Lies” was firing on all cylinders seemingly all at once, in no small part thanks to that deftly-assembled script that flittered back and forth through time as we got a jumble of puzzle pieces that gradually assembled themselves into a brilliantly-conceived whole by the show’s end. Finally, almost all of the plotlines dovetailed together in a way that was wholly satisfying, with no part of the animal wasted.

I think part of the biggest problem I had was this season’s tendency to start things it never finished, but that was not the case here. This was one tightly wrapped package, with one nifty pay-off that wasn’t necessarily what one might have expected going in, but in the best way possible, if a bit on the melancholy side. As in, yes, Marty finally got what he wanted- his own business, where he was beholden to no one- but at what cost? Alas, it would appear our beloved pod is no more, but that may not necessarily be a bad thing.

After all, Marty trained these three well. Why shouldn’t Clyde do his own thing? Or Jeannie take the reins of her own pod? And if the newly-married Doug wants to play it safe, why not? Granted, it was sad to realize that when Marty broke the news that Kaan and Associates was a go to his dad and son, that there technically was no associates to speak of, but you reap what you sow, and this ending rings true to me, sad though it may be.

Also, it perfectly sets up the third season to shake things up in a good way. One of the main problems with this season was that it was already verging on a bit tired, and that’s a big issue for a show this early in its run. What felt so fresh and energetic the first season felt a bit secondhand this time around, Matt Damon-assists notwithstanding, which was the show’s finest hour by far before this finale.

Now, with the entire set-up flipped around, it opens the doors to a whole new approach in the next season, with each member of the pod and Marty feeling their way through the business on their own. I like the sound of that, and I think it bodes well for the show’s future. I suspect the third time will be the charm for “House of Lies” and that’s a good thing.

For now, though, let’s celebrate some of the choice moments in the finale, like Clyde’s surprisingly touching wedding toast to Doug; Sarah’s set-up of her own proposal and her subsequent announcement of victory: “With this ring, I marry this smoking hot motherfu**er”; the Harvard cake and its ultimate demise; Jeannie’s declaration of love and Marty’s fear of reciprocation; Clyde’s betrayal and the big fight between him, Marty and Carlson; and Jeannie’s gift-wrapped closing salvo on Carlson’s mad-dog ass. Good stuff all, and a hell of way to go out.

This was some brilliantly-assembled stuff, and I just loved the way it was all put together, with the Tarantino-esque back-and-forth timelines for each of the main cast, and the way it slowly revealed what everyone was up to and how things went so horribly awry for our favorite pod. This may have been a maddeningly all-over-the-place season, but in the end, it all came together nicely, and I suspect that the season as a whole will play better as a sort of mini-series than it did on a weekly basis. They may have gotten off the beaten path from time to time, but they found their way back home again ultimately, and that’s a good thing as well.

So, what did you think of the finale of “House of Lies”? Did it renew your faith in the show, or did you like it just fine all along? Did you like the way things turned out for the gang, or were you sad to see everyone go their separate ways? What do you think the new season will be like? Are you looking forward to it, or was the finale a little too little a little too late? Let me know what you think in the comments!