So, I start House of Cards, and the episode opens with some sort of autoerotic asphyxiation threeway thing going on a Chinese businessman (well, I soon learned he was a businessman) and then a Civil War reenactment Frank is overseeing. He even gives the camera a look when some guy dies too theatrically.
Man, this show should not throw too many stones when it comes to the topic of Frank’s asides. Except, you know, Kevin Spacey is really good at them.
Anyway, Mr. Gets-Off-Through-Near-Death is Xander Feng, a Chinese businessman and partner and ally to Raymond Tusk. Frank’s big objective at this point is to force a separation between President Walker and Tusk. Feng’s been charged twice with corruption back home in China, and he’s beaten the rap both times. That’s a good thing for him, since this is China we’re talking about and that could mean the death penalty. Feng surprises Frank by requesting that the United States keep up a currency manipulation lawsuit against China, something Frank had assumed China would want dropped.
And that’s all the opening Frank needs to drive a wedge between Tusk and Walker. By continually leaking and misrepresenting Feng’s views, and showing Tusk also talking to Feng after Walker explicitly told him not to, Frank can eventually drive a wedge between Tusk and Walker. Frank will do so at his own personal expense. Walker will be upset with Frank for failing to get the negotiations done, as Walker needs the Chinese to build a bridge (what, really? OK, let’s roll with that) and Tusk just couldn’t keep his big nose out of it. And since both Tusk and Feng are primarily businessmen, Frank suspects the real reason these guys want this done is for personal profit reasons.
Frank does all this at a Civil War reenactment, something he initially shrugs off as pointless nostalgia for a Southerner like himself. Never go into a war you can’t win, and don’t do it over something stupid like slavery, that’s what he tells the home viewer. But there’s more than that. Frank learns he had an ancestor who died at that battle. This gives Frank a new interest in the Civil War, but not for the reason most people do. No, he reasons that Grant ultimately won the battle and, by extension, the war, through butchery and attrition. And that’s what he plans to do with Tusk…simply bloody him more. And he’ll do what he has to to do that.
Like, you know, fix Lucas Goodwin to be arrested for cyberterrorism. Really, does Frank have a worthy opponent?
Well, maybe the Claire storyline is going somewhere with the push for civilian oversight or something in military rape cases. That’s a real world problem, and parts of that story seem to be playing out like the show’s attempt to educate the audience on this being a real world problem. Still not sure how I feel about that. And that’s Walker’s wife? Man, she looks like the First Lady from Scandal. Claire also hired a new, sleazier press secretary. Someone sleazier than a guy who looks like Watson!
Yeah, I can’t see how that will go wrong.