Monday, March 30, 2015

What I’m Watching: House of Cards

House of Cards: Season 3, Episode 5 “Chapter 31” (B+)

Frank can certainly be described as a bully, but now he’s transforming from subtle power player to full-on force determined not to let anyone stand in his way. Forcing America Works through the system by taking control of FEMA to fund it is a bold and aggressive move, and though he has the support of the D.C. mayor, he’s going to encounter a lot of opposition. Positioning Jackie to start a fake presidential campaign in which she criticizes him and America Works before eventually conceding to being his vice president is truly playing the long game, and I feel like there’s way too much that will happen before we get there for it to go flawlessly. Dunbar is arming herself for a vicious campaign, and I like how she analyzed that Doug wasn’t a mole because he negotiated his salary rather than taking the first offer. He’s a true asset, but his steely demeanor still makes his true motivations unclear. Kim Dickens’ journalist is going to be trouble for Frank and more crucially for Seth, and it’s fortunate that she’s too high-profile for Frank to merely quash with a wave of his hand. I like that Frank went from playing a game on his iPad to bringing in a famed novelist because of his video game reviews to write the perfect biography of him to sell to the American people. It took me almost that whole scene to realize that the actor playing him was Paul Sparks, best known as the oily, high-pitched Mickey Doyle on “Boardwalk Empire.” Claire has learned from her husband how best to exercise her authority, meeting with the Russian ambassador while doing her makeup in the bathroom. Her conversation with Frank about sleeping in the same bed felt awfully professional, but it’s still so interesting to see the two of them actually act like humans. Seeing Freddy watching the fireworks was haunting, and it suggests that the little people Frank is ready to hurt along the way may not all go so quietly.

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