“Politics is not just theatre; it’s Showbiz.” — Frank Underwood
The intermission in Frank and Claire’s marriage has come to a close. It’s undeniable their marital partnership is solely for the purposes of ruling the free world, and yet, there’s a real sense that something — or perhaps someone — is missing in their marriage.
For a long time, it was Edward Meechum who served as the couple’s third. The holy trinity of their bond created a triangular balance of power, desire, and trust. Claire and Frank don’t know how to be together as a twosome — they’re unable to provide for the other all the creature comforts and intimacy they require.
Enter Tom Yates. A man who not only gained the confidences of the President, but was also able to see both Claire and Frank for who they really are. Despite the fact his book is now being published as fiction, his perceptive account of their lives positions him as a possible foe that could publish a damning portrait. But he could be a great ally, one who not only gives Claire the piece of mind that she and her husband are understood — but also a writer with the tools to help the world understand the Underwoods.
That is, if the Conways don’t get to him first.
Will and Hannah speak with sweet tongues to woo Tom into releasing his book before the next election. Hannah really does like his writing, but Will thinks the main character in the novel is a pussy. Tom’s too Zen and a little too clever to fall for their posturing, and is merely there out of curiosity. Hannah’s BFF is the editor of Vanity Fair, and they promise him a feature on the next issue.
Glamour and fame aren’t the first priorities for Yates. He’s a creature of curiosity, a writer if I ever saw one, who’s more interested in why people do what they do, than something like money.
“People want to believe it, even though it’s not true.” — Frank Underwood
He decides to go with Claire and Frank. Claire makes it clear that she won’t be giving a tell-all version of her life, but rather he’ll have to watch. She wants to be seen for who she truly is, totally understandable given that her own husband can’t stand to look at her naked body as he help her with her towel when she gets out of the bath.
The beautiful Conways have to think on their feet, and using the power of the magazine decide to have General Brockhart on the cover—oh and he’ll be running with Conway as his VP.
“THIS IS ALL LEANN’S FAULT!” says Doug who hates Leann because she’s such a stupid idiot who ruins everything. He gets his new obedient pet Seth to look into her, because she’s such a ding-dong there has to be something they can uncover about her.
Frank’s crew’s picked the Senator from Ohio, who goes by the name of Austin, to be Frank’s running mate in the next election. Frank does some middle finger math to let us know he, like, hates this guy. Most notably, because Austin’s got strong ties to the NRA and Claire’s trying to put through a Universal Background Check Bill. Not that she actually gives a fuck about the bill; it’s just a way to get Austin out of the picture.
The choreography of Austin’s unceremonious fall from grace is something for the playbooks. Claire has a meeting with super reporter Kate Dawson and makes sure to walk her by the open door of the meeting where Austin sits right by the President’s side.
Meanwhile, Leann’s working with McCowan to target every single gun owner in the US to send out a robocall about her anti-gun bill. McCowan explains that his operation, and we see Leann gets the intelligence via a coffee cup with the word SHAME written on the side.
Did McCowan get a barista to write that on the cup? Did he drink coffee out of it first? Was it like, “A Grande Caramel Macchiato for SHAME.” I don’t think we’ll ever know.
Leann’s acts like a dum-dum when all the phone numbers make their way to some tubby guy who’s like, “WHAAAAT?” when he gets the box of digits.
“Just because you’re here, doesn’t mean you’re here.” — Tom Yates
One of the most fascinating things about watching Robin Wright in the role of Claire Underwood is that she is an actor, acting like someone else, who is in turn, acting. Performances like this aren’t a cakewalk, but Claire’s taped monologue about the rage and shame she felt when her husband (who remember she hated at the time) was amazing. Her crocodile tears are expertly enacted, and deserve a standing ovation.
Pulling The Trigger
Kevin Spacey’s no slouch either. Lying through his teeth as the manipulative Frank is a great performance as well. His tone is cordial and friendly when he basically backs Austin into a corner where he has to support his wife’s bill or like, he can’t be Vice President.
Julia from the NRA is fucking pissed. The NRA’s put millions of dollars in Austin’s campaign and now that little slug is going to go against them? Julia doesn’t think so. Poor Austin’s wife is there to get the news Austin’s bid for VP is dead in the water. He never stood a chance.
Zoe Barnes and Peter Russo are dead in the ground, and after that maniac Lucas went all assassin, it looks like the story was dead too. But Hammerschmidt’s not going to let it go. Mr. Long Pants talks a mentally ill woman in Barnes’ old neighbourhood, which doesn’t really help. However, it’s when he stops for pizza in the hood and talks to the ‘za dude who’s good with faces, that he discovers Meechum was a regular at the store.
Meechum is Frank’s biggest weakness. He’s almost brought to tears when he sees that outline of Edward’s hand was painted over in the White House, and one can only imagine the kind of emotional response he’ll have after Hammerschidt unlocks the mystery by going through Meechum’s travel reports.
“The problem with common sense is that it’s just so…common.” — Frank Underwood
Austin’s out of the picture, and Frank suggests Kathryn Durant. Kathryn is actually a really great choice, but what we know is it’s just a way for Frank to get an open convention—which he says is a way to rule the news—so that they can eventually place Claire as the VP nominee.
Out of The Oval
Hack Music – If there’s anything I can glean about hackers from House of Cards it’s that they fucking love weird music. Gavin used to terrorize his guinea pig Cashew with the some kind of musical composition that consisted of banging on trashcans. However, McCowan takes the cake with his weirdo music and takes it one step further by dancing like a drunken baby with his shirt off.
The Chasm – There’s a crack in the seemingly pristine marriage of Will and Hannah. They both talk about courage and pussiness when it comes to Scorpio, and this could be a preview of a difference of opinion between the two.
How To Take A Compliment – Tom and Will both flirt with the line between confidence and cockiness. The photographer at Vanity Fair tells Will he’s super photogenic, and Claire tells Tom the writing in his excerpt it good; both men give the same cocksure answer: “I know.”