Friday, February 27, 2015

HOUSE OF CARDS - Season Three - Chapter Thirty

COMMENTS:  Does Elizabeth Dunbar really have the charisma to be the antagonist to Francis Underwood?  She doesn't seem to carry the weight, unless I'm missing something to come in later episodes?  Ironic though. The British series was marked by the delicious straight-to-camera moments of clarity from Frances Urquhart.  In this remake we have had very few of them, but one of the most powerful is that which we get in this episode, when he refuses to destroy Justice Jacobs.  How ironic then, that for FU, no good deed goes unpunished. It will be interesting to see if he's the one who leaks the news of the Alzheimers.  What should we make of the final scene too?  I rather liked FU pissing on the grave of his father, but spitting on a Crucifix?  Is that needlessly provocative or genius TV?  The final line, "Well, I've got God's ear now!" is marvellous, vintage Underwood.  I nearly wrote Urquhart then, which shows just how much more spiky and dark FU is in this season, and how much closer to his truly evil British precursor.

Other than that, as usual, a handsomely made programme, but Robin Wright's atrocious French accent definitely took me out of the programme.

PLOT SUMMARY:  Francis learns that Special Prosecutor Heather Dunbar (Elizabeth Marvel) is one of his rivals for the Presidency and that she is independently wealthy. He manipulates her by telling her that Supreme Court Justice Jacobs has Alzheimers, and suggesting he will nominate her in his stead.  The problem is that Jacobs doesn't want to retire.  FU speaks to camera and says he won't destroy this man but then does seem to pressure him.  The other problem is that Heather Dunbar has declared herself a candidate for the Presidency, having known about Jacobs all along.  He blames his unusual sympathy for Jacobs on his earlier meeting with Mahmoud, the citizen whose legs were shot off in the drone strike, and whose phantom pains & intelligence affected Francis deeply.  Later in a Church, Francis debates whether murder can be justified.  He understands the Old Testament god - why didn't Jesus fight back? Standing right underneath a cross, FU stares up at Jesus and spits in his face. He tries to wipe off the spittle but the crucifix falls. 

Claire Underwood argues in the United Nations for the multi-lateral peace-keeping force in the Middle East. Russia vetoes it.  A prominent American gay rights activist in arrested in Russia.  Claire persuades Francis not to back down and get Corrigan out - she'll put pressure on Russia in the UN.  Meanwhile, Seth continues to stonewall the journo trying to prove there's no unity behind FU's Bill.  But when she goest too far in a press conference, he confiscates her press credentials. 

Hacktivist Gavin Orsay continues to try to find Rachel Posner by randomly sampling tapped internet traffic but comes up against restrictions.  Finally, he tracks down a friend of hers to an AA meeting and using a disguise connects with her.  

Finally, Doug Stamper calls Dunbar and offers his services.

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