Despite the title of this week's House of Lies episode "Microphallus," the latest installment definitely did not come up short.
In the first two episodes, the cases to which Marty and his team were assigned were little more than a staging ground for Marty's dalliances and a bevy of bantering between him and his team. This week, however, the unit's trip to Indiana provided some insight as to what might be the driving force behind Marty Kaan's brand of boardroom bravado.
As the episode began, Marty awoke from a disturbing dream that featured what appeared to be his dead mother. His ensuing argument with his father, Jeremiah, made it apparent that Marty does not like discussing his other parent, let alone being reminded of her suicide.
Later on, Spaulding Winter, the subject of Marty's failed shake down attempt, made the comment that people in positions of power are most always compensating for something. Spaulding then ventured to bet that in Marty's case, his thirst for power was actually compensation for some deep primordial wound that haunts him. The subsequent look on Marty's face - matched with his stunned silence - were sure signs that Spaulding had indeed tickled the conscience of the normally unscrupulous management consultant.
The soul assassins weren't through with Marty just yet, though, as a house call to the Kaan home paid by Skip Galweather left his top producer struggling to produce a smile. Skip's use of the bee metaphor to describe his commentary on the interpersonal relationships of their business showed us that while Marty's tactics are lucrative, the bridges he burns on his way to the bank may end up costing him his job.
While he was able to stave off evaluation from his former-therapist father, he had but no choice to listen to what his boss had to say. But he was not too eagerly picking up what Skip was putting down, as indicated by his almost manic behavior at the car valet and the resulting high speed escape. Judging by the look in his eye at the end of the half hour, it seemed that when it comes to conflict resolution Marty may have been telling himself "Mom knows best."
While we will have to wait until next episode to see what if there is any fallout from Marty's actions, I saw enough this week to say I very much enjoyed the additional substance to the show's storyline and how it offered up other avenues of potential character conflict to go along with Roscoe's sexual identity thread. Particularly because it did not come at the expense of the other strengths of the series, such as the character chemistry between Marty and his team or the instances where Marty makes like Ferris Bueller or Zack Morris and breaks the fourth wall to give us a play-by-play of certain scenarios.
If House of Lies can continue to pollinate the heavier subject matter without having Marty completely sheath his stinger, I think we are in for a very entertaining series.
I gave the episode five stars on potential more so than mere content this week. I thought it did well to show the potential for layers in the story and its characters. If Marty continues to shag a woman each episode, though, I will quickly lose faith in the show's depth. That said, rather than continue to weigh down the mood, check out my favorite quotes from the episode to get an idea of what I felt were some its lighter and more hilarious moments.