There’s a saying that goes something like, “If you love something let it go. If it was meant to be it will come back to you.” This que sera sentiment ripples through the second episode of the fourth season of House of Cards, but not in the flowery inspirational poster way it usually functions. In the world of HoC this saying is re-written: “If you love something, let it go for a little bit and then get it back by any means necessary.”
Keeping Up With The Jones’
Jackie’s no longer the kind who “needed a tattoo” but she still requires a shot of Remy with a side of vodka on the rocks. Before performing fellatio, Jackie asks her secret slice of manly heaven if he’ll step back into the political arena to probe Leann. Celia Jones approached Jackie promising three million bucks if she gets behind a deal that will procure a breast cancer clinic. Jackie suspects it’s Leann who’s holding the purse strings, and needs her sexy-bear to investigate.
Claire’s the one really pulling the strings, with her eyes on the prize that is the 30th seat in Texas. She’s agreed to look all pretty and wear Frank’s mother’s earrings at Frank’s speech, but little does she know that her Francis is being sneaky as fuck. He knows that Claire’s only gambling chip is the promise of said clinic to the Jones pair, if the daughter Celia just waits another five years to take the seat, making way for Claire.
Remy meets with Leann and after some innocent flirting he asks her about the money. Despite his attempts to be as cool as a cucumber, Leann lets him know that she knows he’s been hot and heavy with the Mrs. Jackie (not Danton), “Don’t poke around in my shit, I won’t poke around in yours.”
Remy decides to skip town for a bit to protect his sex-muffin. He doesn’t let Jackie know why—arguably to protect her—and gives her the cold shoulder.
The White Choice
“He doesn’t deserve to be President” – Elizabeth Hale
Elizabeth Hale is doing all she can to get her estranged daughter out of the grips of her trailer trash hubby. She tells her affluent friends to write some cheques to Dunbar—in a roundabout way of course so Frank can’t trace the money. Elizabeth gets a round of chemo while on the phone with her daughter. She lies saying that she’s treating herself to a pedicure. Even though Elizabeth chokes back her nausea, she’s still strong enough to be judgy about Claire’s sartorial choices, “Don’t wear eye-vor-ee.” Basically telling Claire it’s going to make her look fat.
Claire Underwood does not look fat. In a sea of black and grey she is a shining beacon of demure grace. She stands regally as Frank publically announces that he will be giving Doris Jones the money for her clinic and that Celia will be taking the 30th seat. Claire’s aspirations wither and die before her very eyes, but her composure doesn’t falter in the slightest.
A Bold Plan
“No fucking way.” – Leann Harvey
After the backstabbing, Frank orders the Secret Service to turn Claire’s motorcade around so they can have a face-to-face. On her way up the White House stairs, Claire meets Doris Jones who delivers just enough shade to let the First Lady know that Doris and Frank have been colluding all this time. Doris might be on the way into retirement, but she is not one to be fucked with.
Francis is frank with Claire impressing upon her the importance of looking out for “them” and not just for herself. In White House talk he calls her a selfish bitch.
Claire asks for a drink, “Here take mine” says Frank. But she’s not going to imbibe. She’s not going to take anything from him, and her lack of sipping from his cup is a micro-protest against his reasoning for her coming back to her room of sadness in the White House. “I need to think” Claire tells him before giving back the untouched brown liquor. She’s going back to Texas to lick her wounds.
In Chapter 40, we were not treated to any of Frank’s trademark asides, but boy to do we get a WHOPPER in this one as he smugly makes a PB&J sammie while delivering a parable about some kid he almost murdered by cutting down a tree. I’m not sure why presidents love cutting down trees, but Washington would be proud of this arborist aside.
Claire is his marital homing pigeon, who he will not “allow” to become dangerous, and sure he’ll let her go off on her own for a while, but he’ll be there with his axe soon enough if she refuses to return.
Home Sweet Home
Claire lights up a dart as soon as she gets to her childhood home. Elizabeth catches her; she’s up because of the chemo. Claire gets straight to business and asks her mommy for some cash. “Our money” says Claire, “MY money” retorts Elizabeth. Her mom isn’t willing to play ball, so Claire threatens to sell the house from under her so she can get the 1.5 million plus she needs for Leann to get her back in the game—this term. But these terms don’t sit well with Elizabeth and she’s livid that her daughter would betray her like this “I! AM! THE! MOTHER!” she screams her voice cracking like her bald cap on the railing. This performance reminds us all that Ellen (Out)Burstyn is queen and we should all bow down.
Claire smokes another cancer stick near the stables like when she was young and thought her beloved daddy didn’t know.
Still wearing the white dress under her coat, Claire reflects in the dark.
Outside The Oval
The Powerless People – Breast cancer is a national epidemic and as Celia Jones points out, 50% more black women are likely to die from the affliction. In Frank’s speech we hear that Doris has been lobbying for the funding for proper care, research, and screenings for women for over ten years. TEN YEARS of trying to get this essential medical care to the people of Texas, and what does it take for it to happen? An unhappy marriage. If there’s anything we can glean about politics from HoC, it’s that these cats don’t’ give a shit about the people, it’s all about the power.
Presidential Presence – Petrov is back in the mix. He’s been whacking some millionaires who dared to try to stage an uprising against him. One of the traitors got away and landed in America to seek asylum. Frank would just as well send the man back for picking a fight with a “dragon.” Petrov thinks Frank is behind these machinations (he’s not totally crazy to think Frank is trying to fuck him) and he refuses to negotiate. The Russian stays in America and his asylum is processed.
Another thought about this: how come the only president or country Frank deals with is Russia? It seems a little strange that out of all the countries in the world it’s only one world leader we get to see. I guess there’s only so much time.