House of Cards Season 2 Review: Episodes 4-6

House of Cards Season 2 Review: Episodes 4-6

Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen House of Cards Season 2, Eps. 4-6.

“It was butchery, not strategy that won the war.” – Frank Underwood, “Chapter 18.”

Frank Underwood may get all the attention for his ruthless, if effective, tactics, but as the adage goes, behind every powerful man is an even stronger woman. Or something like that.

Claire has always been portrayed as almost impossibly strong, but this season we’ve seen her weaker side and it’s made her strength all the more impressive. The revelation of her college rape came as a shock because it’s difficult to imagine the woman Claire is now as a victim. Yet, during the live interview she’s forced to give alone while Frank is quarantined, she allows herself to be cornered into admitting to an abortion.  Or does she?

We’ve seen Claire handle more delicate conversations with grace, yet she walked right into the reporter’s line of questioning — and somehow still managed to come out of the interview with the perfect revenge on her attacker and legions of fans and supporters. Sounds like everything went exactly according to plan.

And now she has turned her attention to the first lady and Christina; planting seeds of worry in the first lady’s mind about her husband and his new assistant. Is there a larger end game at play or are the Underwoods simply concerned with creating havoc in the west wing in any way possible?

The Underwood marriage has always fascinated me; part business arrangement, part passionate pairing. But this season we’re getting a fuller picture of their love story and I’m officially obsessed. It’s not a relationship I’d want for myself, but it’s hard to deny there’s not a real romance there. Sure, it’s not conventional, but Frank looks at Claire in awe. It’s a rare political marriage that looks perfect on the surface, a mess if you look closer and actually perfect if you know what to look for.

Frank’s version of creating chaos involves driving a wedge between the president and Tusk. There were a lot of shenanigans involving the Chinese and energy and honestly I can’t say I understood all the details, but the general gist is that Frank and Tusk’s needs are at odds and they are officially at war. It’s hard to imagine Frank coming across an adversary that could defeat him, but if anyone could give him a run for his money, its Tusk.

But if Frank wants to stay in the ring with Tusk he has to make sure his skeletons stay buried. That means shutting down Goodwin’s investigation before it can even begin. Goodwin took the fall as expected and when it looked like he was still trying to put up a fight, the FBI threatened Janine into cooperating and leaving Lucas with no hope his story will ever be told.

The only remaining loose end is Rachel. Stamper’s relationship with Rachel is hard to define, especially for Stamper. Clearly there is an attraction and its clear he was the only thing keeping her from meeting the business end of a subway train. I’m not sure where this relationship will go, but I can guarantee that this path does not fit Frank’s definition of “handling” things.

Check out the review for episodes 1-37-910-12 and 13.

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