Saturday, February 02, 2013

HOUSE OF CARDS - Chapter Three

Plot summary: Democratic Chief Whip Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) simultaneously tries to negotiate with Teachers' Unions on the education bill while travelling to his home state of South Carolina to contain the Peachoid crisis: a teenager died in a car crash while texting about it, and now her parents are threatening to sue. Frank manipulates the deeply religious mourning parents into "letting me help you", neatly sidestepping the machinations of his fourth district opponent.  "I've been elected in this district eleven times, did you think that was all luck and a handshake?"  Meanwhile, Frank's wife Claire (Robin Wright) manipulates a Bleeding Heart into joining her charity, and rising star  journalist Zoe (Kate Mara) meets the owner of the Herald who, friends with Durant, puts Zoe's piece on the front page.

Comments:  For me, this episode severely lost pace and interest when it left Washington for South Carolina.  Still, as Armando Iannucci shows so well in The Thick Of It and IN THE LOOP, part of the   weirdness of high political power is that one still has to contend with petty constituency business. I'm also sure I wasn't the only one who googled The Peachoid to see if it really existed, and was delighted to see that it did.  A better hook upon which to hang a political satire was never invented. Other than that, it was nice to see some nods to the current debate over Charter Schools, but I missed the "real" politics. Meanwhile, I still don't see where the Claire story is going, and that's irksome, and the attempt to see her spooked on her run through the graveyard was just odd rather than effective. The other thing that irks me is how blatantly thinly veiled the references to the Washington Post are, complete with a Kitty Graham-like female proprietor. I was almost expecting to hear a comment to "titties caught in the ringer".  No matter how good a TV series shapes up to be, there's something rather arrogant and question-begging about referencing the icons of the genre. 

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