For two different mini-series of the three that make up the whole of the British House of Cards trilogy, Francis Urquhart’s wife Elizabeth has been a fairly minor figure who mostly just stands behind her husband and occasionally pushes a young woman his way. Compared to Claire Underwood, she doesn’t have nearly as much to do.
As such, it’s nice seeing her shine in this final four episodes.
But what jumps out the most to me right now is simply this: Francis is screwing up a bit.
Sure, we see Francis and Elizabeth looking scornfully at the future site of a Margaret Thatcher memorial. We see Francis save a subordinate from a major scandal, mostly because Francis believes he alone decides when someone leaves his cabinet. And we see Elizabeth ply her social wiles to help ensure the fiscal windfall promised to the Urquharts.
But then Francis does some foolish things.
First, he hires as his new secretary Foreign Secretary Tom Makepeace’s mistress. Oh, he is fully aware of the affair. He is asking her for information on Makepeace, and Makepeace is asking her for dirt on Francis. The two have been clashing over the fact Makepeace does all the work and Francis takes all the credit. Francis is convinced that Makepeace wants Francis’ job. Girlfriend Claire tells Francis that is true. It isn’t. Tom Makepeace is perfectly content being Foreign Secretary and would only act if Francis removed him from that position.
So, misinformed by Claire for whatever reason, Francis pushes Tom out, and Tom goes public about the two clashing. Heck, Tom even quotes Francis’ catchphrase, “You might very well think that; I couldn’t possibly comment.”
Francis knows he screwed up.
What he doesn’t know is that charming young Greek woman looking for information about something that happened in Cyprus. Why might this be a problem? Her father says Francis killed his two brothers decades earlier when Francis was a young military officer. Plus, Francis himself is haunted by those memories.
So, really, Francis is probably going down soon. It’s only a question of who does it.