Thursday, March 6, 2014

House of Cards [s2, eps 10, 11, 12]

SPOILER ALERT. The first entry reviews episodes 1 to 3. The next entry reviews 4 to 6; the next entry reviews for 7 to 9; the next covers 10 to 12. The final review is here.

You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on.
          Bush 43, 2001

Chapter 23 - 'You can't have it both ways.'

Sharpe: "I killed a lot of people." Danton's incredulous response: "what?" IMO he just realized she hasn't figured out how to process the killings she committed. It's both a world he knows not and choice he would not have made. Her inability to process the killing is in part a function of the insanity and misplacement of that war.

Danton: "I'm a bitch to a lot of top dogs. I'm fully aware and willing. But you're worse. You're Frank's bitch and refuse to believe it." In this scenario, he's right. He kept the professional side separate from the personal. Her expecting otherwise is silly.

Danton and Sharpe: how will they make their moves as the season closes? They represent the average political player. They don't kill people but hey do assassinate characters. Who will error on the side of integrity and what price will he or she pay for that choice? My guess is Danton pays a heavier price because he actually cares for her - especially as Tusk is asking him to undermine Sharpe.

Meechum had another little moment - catching Frank watching porn. Where is this heading? Later in the episode when Meechum drinks Frank's beer, he's more or less saying that I not only would die for you professionally but I worship you personally.

Chapter 24 - 'If we fail, we'll die in a cage.'

Shit just got real. Meechum, as I suspected in an earlier blog, sided with the world he protects, which obviously makes sense. But, getting to the point, he allowed himself to also get seduced by it. His professional career is now over and perhaps his physical life. You can't sleep the Vice-President and his wife and not pay a price; if he was a friend and not Special Services agent you might have a chance to walk away. The cut from the glass is prologue to his end. (And why bourbon and not whiskey? It's a southern thing: slaves, sex, and alcohol - dark shit.)

8:00. LOL. That was a l-o-n-g, embarrassing no answer shot of Frank after the investigator asks him about Doug in Kansas city.

The scene between Lanagan and Danton riding in the car talking about whether Lanagan will testify is the picture of the middle class, the underclass, and people of color in America...people speaking in honest terms about being squeezed by the powers that be.

The subject of the ring returns...why did he bury it? That is the key symbolic question of season 2.

When Danton threatens Sharp, I was left my continued feeling that Danton held up his end of the bargain - that the personal relationship was separate. But now he breaks the rule that she actually established in reaching out to Frank. When Frank asked Remy if the offer of truce has to do with Jackie, it was the first moment when Remy had no idea what to say.

The President sliding down the wall and taking the pill is his ending. For all the drinking that has gone on since episode seven, we see a revealing sub-text regarding pharmacology, booze, and the management of the professional political mind.

Chapter 25 - 'Just shy.'

02:17 is the face of ruination. The president finally woke up - we always do when it's too late. All the Floyd Mayweather references in the world can't save him. At the end of the episode, Sharpe says to Frank: "What you're asking me is just shy of treason." His response: "Just shy". At least he's not killing anyone.

The bedroom conversation between the President and his wife is awful. Watching the most powerful man in the HOC universe say that he will protect his family as he power is fading is a moving scene. Herein lies one of the greatest ideas in all of the HOC series: our leaders can no longer be human; they must be an image. In many ways, we as citizens, with our judgements and prejudices, have forced our leaders into becoming caricatures - not real men and women who face challenges. In this environment, people who can front well like Frank and Clair will wield power. It's a very old story. But maybe we are at a point in history where the individual will create his and her own confidence without the need of a great leader. And in doing so, the leaders will have the freedom to speak honestly about how they really conduct their lives.

Is this the episode where Tusk grows a beard? He needed it a while ago.

The scene with Remy, Tusk, and Seth is a fav. Once more, characters reveal themselves to each other and acknowledge the complex concentric circles that influence them. Remy makes a great point to Tusk: "You could have let him [i.e. Frank] have the upper hand. What would that have really cost you other than your pride?" In the real world, most billionaires would not have made many decisions the way he did. Remy is again right. But you could be dead right but you're still dead. In his case, it's a social death and likely only temporary. Seth is a truly empty soul.

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