House of Lies Season 3 Premiere Review “Wreckage”

The third season of House of Lies begins with this week’s “Wreckage”, in which our favorite former Galweather Stearn management consulting pod find themselves navigating through what remains after their team’s break up in season two’s explosive finale.

In the time since, Marty has successfully launched his own consulting firm, Kaan and Associates. Jeannie has remained at Galweather Stearn as head of her own pod, which includes Doug. Meanwhile, Clyde has moved to Kinsley-Johnson to work for Monica. All of them are moving forward with their lives, and all of them are miserable doing so.

Marty sums it up perfectly while he brings us all up to speed during his time out while in China to gain the business of an organic foods CEO (Daniel Stern) who looks suspiciously like Tom Baker from an old Doctor Who episode. “Now is the winter of our discontent…” he says, quoting Shakespeare. For Marty that discontent is symbolized in the dream that opens the episode in which he has everything he wants: Jeannie’s devotion and admiration (I don’t believe he truly loves her) as well as the support of his most trusted colleagues.
When that world crumbles around him he knows it’s his fault, and it’s eating him up. Giving Jeannie a ride to the charity event at the end of the episode was as close as he’s come to apologizing for his actions last season, but that gesture’s not enough. I wonder how far he’s willing to go to put things right with the old team… or even if he can.

They certainly seem just as discontent without Marty. Jeannie seemed positively miserable at Galweather babysitting a less talented pod with Doug, whose hostility towards his new pod mates made me laugh. Like an only child having to welcome new siblings into the world, he didn’t want things to change. It was an interesting development for the usually polite at his own expense Doug, and Josh Lawson played it hilariously.

Discontent seems too mild a description for Clyde’s state of being, as his situation was much more severe than anyone else’s. Working for Monica is an absolute nightmare of abuse, and somewhere underneath all that Clyde bravado has got to be a part of him that feels this is penance for his betrayal of Marty last season. He did it because he felt used and neglected, jumping ship for a place he thought he’d be valued and praised. Boy, did he ever get that one wrong. I gotta say, it’s the first time I’ve ever felt sorry for Clyde, and it’s due to an impressive performance by Ben Schwartz.

Just as impressive is the dynamic cinematography of this show, which consistently captures the energy of these characters’ lifestyles and heightens it to enhance the story’s presentation. This episode’s imaginary basketball game between Marty, Roscoe, and Jeremiah in the apartment was edited brilliantly and further enhanced by the addition of basketball sound effects so casually dropped in you almost think it’s your imagination. From this to Marty’s time outs, it’s all flawlessly integrated and easily dismissed by your conscious self as you unconsciously get more out of the show because of the visual and auditory stimuli of the experience. I love it.

Between this and the succession on great character moments, “Wreckage” perfectly sets the stage for what looks to be a great season of the scheming and dysfunction fans have come to expect from House of Lies. Marty and Jeannie are moving figuratively and literally towards days of hope (whatever that is), but judging by the promo for next week’s episode I get the feeling that’s not going to last for long.

See you then!

House of Lies Quote of the Week: “You know I’m anti-Hitler!” –Benita Spire

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