Man, this episode opens with President Walker telling Frank how he, Walker, has finally figured out how Frank has been manipulating him all along.
Took him long enough.
There’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense here. We see Claire make an agreement with Jackie to pull back the military-rape bill, which I am pretty sure is not a power the Second Lady actually has, but the whole thing seems to work out to make Claire and Jackie better allies and give Claire an opening through a chance encounter with the First Lady to learn a bit more about the Walkers. Now, Claire is just as ruthless as Frank with the occasional flash of conscience, but doesn’t all this require Jackie’s general opposition to the rape bill to be something Frank and/or Claire had planned out? Is this whole thing being improvised? Sure looks like it. I mean, if Claire was raped, then shouldn’t she be, I dunno, more adamant about this whole thing?
See, this is why I didn’t want to see this used in House of Cards. Even if that young rape victim is there to show how horrible this whole thing is to real rape survivors, she’s such a minor character that it doesn’t even matter. You know, just like whatever that hacker dude is up to.
Speaking of…how are we supposed to feel about Doug Stamper? Stamper is just a rotten control freak who will do anything his boss wants except on the whole Rachel thing. See, we can maybe root on for Frank due to his anti-hero status, and Claire is close behind, but Stamper’s just a useful tool at best.
But we have an endgame for the season coming. Frank is being more up-front about his ambitions, selling the Secretary of State on his ambitions and bringing her into the fold by trying to get Xander Feng over to the U.S. to testify against the Tusk. Sleazy Seth meanwhile breaks up the whole Tusk/Remy alliance, and Remy may be one of the few people on this show smart enough to recognize manipulation when he sees it. Tusk does, too, but he still falls for it. He’s just a controlling old billionaire at this point.
I suspect taking the fifth when Feng has given up the whole money-laundering scheme won’t save him.
Likewise, convincing Jackie to go along with Republican impeachment efforts of Walker to keep the Democrats in control of Congress seems like a big jump considering so far all we know is Walker came out to admit to marital counseling when the Special Prosecutor got suspicious about whether or not the counselor prescribed the president any drugs (he didn’t, but the First Lady shared ’em).
Frank quoted Shakespeare directly this episode, but I suspect I will have more to say about the Bard of Avon when I hit the season finale next week.