REVIEW: House of Cards — Episodes 10 & 11

So in these episodes we finally find out what Frank’s long game is, and it feels little . . . haphazard? Like the writers weren’t quite sure what they were doing and then decided, I’ve got it!

I just mean, it seems overly convoluted if you buy that this was Frank’s plan all along. I mean, if he was just setting Peter Russo up for a fall, why did he work so hard to get that bill passed and then get so ticked off when it didn’t? I get that he needed to get the timing right and keep Russo in the race long enough so that it would be too close to the election for anyone other than the Vice President to run instead (and then Frank could take the Vice Presidency and later run for president himself), but really? Did they have to put all that genuine effort into a campaign they were just going to torpedo anyway? And was Claire aware of it, how all her work on the campaign was just going to be trashed?

And what exactly was Frank planning to do about Russo to tie up the loose ends? Was he always planning to kill him? That didn’t seem like Plan A. But then what was Plan A? The whole scheme is very intricate and it works in hindsight, but I find it hard to believe Frank planned it the way the show seems to say he did. And did Claire know about Frank murdering Russo? The text Frank sent her was phrased to sound like Russo just turned up dead, not that Frank killed him. Does Claire know Frank well enough to have guessed the truth? Does it matter to her? Is this a time bomb that may go off in a future episode, or is it just another way that Claire and Frank are perfect for each other?

I wouldn’t go so far as to call this end of Russo’s storyline “terrible,” as Ryan McGee the AV Club reviewer does, but I certainly agree with him that “Frank’s master plan, as stated tonight, simply doesn’t line up with the season arc.”

McGee also complains that the structure of the show does not allow characters room to exist outside of Frank’s schemes. I can’t say I entirely disagree, but this doesn’t bother me the way it seems to bother him. Claire and her lover, Adam, have a tryst in this episode, and of course it’s temporary because Claire and Frank are simply too drawn to each other and too tightly bonded by their ultra-ambitious worldviews. I don’t mind that Claire’s decisions are ultimately tied to Frank, and that because Adam has no relevance to Frank he will never be shown having his own independent storyline. I couldn’t care less about that; I’d rather watch Claire and Frank try to take over the world than watch Adam gallivant around being a free spirit or whatever he is. He’s a nice foil to Frank, and it’s gratifying to see Claire’s more spontaneous and emotional side, but overall Frank is a much better fit for her, and she knows it.

Also, it must be said, THE PRESIDENT IN THIS SHOW IS A PATSY. Seriously. He does nothing. Linda should be president. LINDA FOR PRESIDENT IN 2016!!

 

Rating: 3.5/5 for stretching the boundaries of logic a little too far

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