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House Of Cards: Chapter Twelve

“I’ve worked too hard to get within arm’s reach of the prize only have my hand bitten off before I seize it.”

As the penultimate episode of this series, I expected more stories to begin to wrap up than were. Yes, some are beginning to come together, but others seem to be just kicking off.

The fallout from Peter’s death is different from what I expected, but I like where the story is headed. Yes, I expected Christina to be sad and the others to be indifferent, but the fact that both Janine and Zoe are now trying to determine what happened is interesting. The Woodward/Bernstein element works because both of these women are bringing something to the table. Janine is a real reporter; she has been around the block and she has reported on some real stories. Zoe has only reported what Frank has fed her; she has never really been out on her own. She, however, has access.

In this episode, we watch Zoe grow up. In a parallel to learning that one’s parents are not the perfect people we think they are, Zoe begins the episode by believing what Frank tells her and defending him in her own way. After her conversations with Janine, but especially her conversation with Echo, Zoe realizes just who Frank is and just how dangerous he is. The fact that she is going to take him on worries me. We know what the man is capable of and a young reporter he slept with digging into his actions is not going to be something he allows to unfold for long.

Christina straddles the two stories in this episode. Being hounded by both Janine and Zoe, she is trying to walk both sides of the line. She wants to protect Peter’s memory and she has a healthy respect for (fear of?) Stamper and Frank. On the other hand, she wants to do the right thing and tell the reporters what she knows. The look on her face at the end of the episode was telling; she is beginning to realize just how involved her lover was.

The best part of this episode, and the part that I found most compelling, was that we finally get a glimpse of why Walker and (most likely) Vasquez are in the positions they are. Having spent so many hours watching Frank manipulate these two, it was a treat to see them turn the tables on him.

The second time through the episode, the hints were there. Walker agrees too quickly to Frank’s “vetting;” Linda is clearly hiding something; Stamper suggests that something is odd, but is ignored by Frank.

So, now we know who is was who kicked off the entire scenario. Interestingly, Tusk admits that not giving Frank the Secretary of State position was a mistake and lets Frank know that both he and the President are aware of everything Frank has been doing since that then to undermine the administration. In return for his help, Frank needs to write Tusk a blank check. Yeah, right. Frank is now going after Tusk, which will be fun to watch if not the smartest thing the man has ever done.

An interesting episode this close to the end. Three out of four Walt Whitman poems.

Trump Cards:

-- A guy named Capra running for office? Just a tad on the nose, I would say.

-- A small, quiet scene was Christina finding the photo of herself in Peter’s office. While it is clear that the woman is truly grieving, this scene moved me. At least someone is mourning the man.

-- It turns out that both Janine and Lucas are pretty astute as they both realized how Zoe was getting all of her information. Lucas’ jealousy was a bit OTT, but we’ll let it slide as the scene was so good.

-- No, I can’t be bothered to include the Claire/Gillian story in the body of the review. Claire firing people goes back to the first episode. I couldn’t care less any more about Claire’s job.

Speaking Frankly:

Frank: “I agree. She could put a crack addict to sleep.”

Frank: “My father believed that success is a mixture of preparation and luck. Tapping the table kills both birds with one stone.”

Tusk: “Decisions based on emotion aren’t decisions at all. They’re instincts.”

Frank: “You have it wrong. It is God who has no faith in us.”

Frank: “I’m being played. But, why?”

Frank: “Tusk understands the difference between power and money. That’s precisely what makes him dangerous. He doesn’t measure his wealth in private jets, but purchased souls.”

ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen or with a book in her hand.


  1. The down side to binge watching (at least if your memory is crap, like mine)...I am going to have to rewatch all of S1 before S2 is available!!

  2. UPDATE: Another wonderful commentary in which the director talks about the challenges in delivering the final two episodes of the season. As this episode is full of revelations, it was particularly interesting to hear how some of the choices were made around which scenes would be where.

  3. I smiled during the scene in the woods where Frank was obviously bored and only pretending to look through the binoculars. It's a sign of thoroughness on the part of the writers in developing his character that they realized he would have no interest in nature. In the Magic Color Pie personality types Frank has a blue-black personality which is directly opposed to the green personality (the nature color). I loved the consistency.


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