March 23, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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House Of Cards “Chapter Eleven”

Season One, Episode Eleven.

Well, that took a turn.

Up to this point, there hasn’t really been anything on House of Cards that the home viewer couldn’t have chalked up to one degree or another to normal, real world politics, albeit a dramatized version of such where Frank Underwood addresses the camera and lets the viewer know what he’s up to.  Sleeping with Zoe?  Hey, that sort of thing happens.  Positioning people for his own personal gain?  Not outside the realm of possibility.  Doing favors for people in expectation of getting favors back?  Yup.  Getting Peter drunk to force him out of the governor’s race?  Well, that’s a stretch, admittedly, but it fits in with his character.  He doesn’t really care about Peter or his constituents or even his party.  He cares about himself.  Claire isn’t cut far from that cloth considering she admits to loving her husband and the Adam-the-Photographer thing is just a quick fling and both of them basically know it.

So, yes, I can easily see Frank positioning a dissatisfied Vice President Matthews to run for his old job as governor of Pennsylvania, and even convincing President Walker to go along with this, playing off some half-truths and selective statements to make both men think Matthews wants and/or deserves to be out.  The viewer knows the full truth, and Chief of Staff Linda Vasquez is no dummy and point blank asks Frank if he’s trying to get Matthews out so he can have the vice presidency.  And Frank, seeing honesty as the best tactic, does not disagree with that assessment.

The only obstacle is Peter himself.  Still drunk and alienating himself from, oh, everybody, Peter’s kids won’t talk to him and he even tries to turn himself in to the police for his original arrest, but that just tips Frank off on where Peter is.

And then Frank murders Peter Russo.

Sure, it looks like a suicide, and the whole thing is done with the sort of air like Frank took an opportunity that presented itself.  Peter won’t drop out of the race, even though he can’t possibly win, so Frank will see to it Peter drops out of life.

That brings Claire home, allows Matthews to run for his old job, and sets up Frank to play grieving friend.  Only Stamper knows the truth, and Frank told him to never speak of it.

See, as much as we may want to believe much of what Frank does is normal politics, elected officials tend not to casually murder people.  The action was deliberate, and it speaks volumes.  The episode ends on a montage of people reacting to Peter’s death, ranging from shocked reporters to distraught staffer/girlfriend Christine.  Frank made orphans of Peter’s children (well, their mom is still alive, but there’s no word for missing just one parent).  And he doesn’t care.  And neither does Claire.

If these two fall when the series ends, it will be something richly deserved.

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