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House of Cards: Chapter Sixteen

“Tusk is blocking my way. Goodwin at my heels. There can be no false steps now. The higher up the mountain, the more treacherous the path.”

I really enjoy this show, but I think I’m going to enjoy it much more moving forward. This was the episode in which House of Cards made it clear that it is not a serious political drama.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our government worked the same way this one does? To avoid a government shutdown, Frank bullies both parties to raise the retirement age to 68, gets it passed through the Senate, and does it all in two days — just in time for the State of the Union. Not only is this story so absurd as to be laughable, the writers blew their timeline. Lucas tells us that the date is February 13. The State of the Union is nearly always held in January.

And, seriously. Senior senators literally carried into the chamber in handcuffs? I laughed out loud.

Meanwhile, Lucas is meeting with some freaky guy who has a pet guinea pig (metaphor?) and it is clear that Doug is on to him. The scene between Lucas and Janine was the best in this episode. Janine has given up, teaching hung over English majors instead of chasing down the big stories. I liked the way she spoke to Lucas. It isn’t often we see that level of compassion from her.

It’s difficult, however, to get past how stupid Lucas is being. Giving his fingerprints to some anonymous source and allowing said source access to the Herald is going to come back on him.

This wasn’t a great episode. Watching the political machinations was dull and so unreal as to be cringe worthy. Let’s move on. One out four weird poppy tattoos.

Trump Cards:

— Last Friday’s edition of The Writers’ Room featured House of Cards. Unlike the vast majority of shows that are represented, House of Cards failed to send anyone of true significance. Those who were there were obviously under strict instructions to only speak about the show in broad strokes. Hugely disappointing in light of how incredible The Writers’ Room usually is.

— Rachel’s new friend from the church is a worry. Doug may be paranoid, but he’s usually right.

— I’m not sure what the scene with Jackie and her tattoo was meant to show us. And, why is she sneaking around in a hoodie?

— After what happened with Peter, would Christina really be silly enough to jump into bed with another one of her bosses? I hope not.

Speaking Frankly:

Frank: “The cult of Tusk. Membership, one. But, that one disciple just so happens to be the most powerful man in the free world. For now.”

Frank: “I’m juggling the President, the Republicans, Tusk. I can’t…”
Doug: “And, you should stay focused on that. Goodwin’s on my plate, not yours.”

Frank: “The tea party is a strong voice and you’re its bullhorn. Show your people that voice can translate into law, and not just add to the noise.”

President Walker: “You see, I wanted a Vice President who can manage Congress, not one who bites off more than he can chew.”
Frank: “Then, have faith you made the right choice, sir.”
President Walker: “Don’t humiliate the administration, Frank. You’re part of it now.”

Frank: “Did you? I don’t blame you for being two-faced, Raymond. It’s good politics. As long as you don’t get caught at it.”

Frank: “I used to be on the edge of the frame. Now, I’m only three feet away.”

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. Cashew (the guinea pig) is definitely my favorite new House of Cards character.

    Caught the date thing. That was just inexcusable. They really push the limits on what is possible politically, but they're usually right about the hard facts. Guys, c'mon. I expect this from Scandal, not you.

    I really like how the show this season is using semi recent political events. It saves them explaining time. One party denying the other a quorum and then fleeing the capital only to have warrants sworn out against them was what happened in Wisconsin three years ago during the fight to save collective bargaining. As far as I know, no one was dramatically carried back to the chamber in chains, but, you know, dramatic license.

  2. Actually the dragging senators was based on a real incident: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/02/13/explaining-frank-underwoods-bonkers-house-of-cards-senate-maneuver

    What I find interesting is so far Frank's accomplishments have been things I would think of as Republican goals (raising retirement age, eliminating collective bargaining for teachers). Is it possible Frank is so evil that he is actually a Republican tricking Democrats into achieving Republican goals? I may have become paranoid from my deep hatred of Fox News. =)


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