Sunday, February 03, 2013

HOUSE OF CARDS - chapter five

Kate Mara as ambitious journalist Zoe Barnes.
Plot summary: While Frank (Kevin Spacey) appeases one of the teachers' unions, the other exacts revenge by picketing Claire's charity ball. The protesters are made to look callow in accepting food, but this may result in a nationwide strike.  Frank decides he will get the Philandering Philly elected as Governor.  Peter, abandoned by Christina, guiltridden over the shipyard job losses, gets wasted, leaving Frank to practice extreme tough love to get his head back in the game. Meanwhile, Claire (Robin Wright), frustrated at the loss of the Sancorp donation, booty calls Adam Galloway (Ben Daniels) to no effect. Zoe(Kate Mara) joins internet news portal Slugline, and goads Frank into taking blackmail photos of her as proof of trust. The Herald's editor, a stalwart defender of quality old media, is forced to resign by the proprietor. 

Comments:  I felt this episode was uneven and unfocussed, perhaps reflecting that the spotlight wasn't so much on Frank as on the two people feeling the consequences of the last episode's scheming: Claire and Congressman Russo.  I am full of admiration and wonder at Claire and Frank's marriage: open, honest and apparently anything goes so long as the other approves and can see the benefit to "us".  Imagine my relief when Frank dunks Zoe's iphone into a glass of water to erase the evidence of their meeting, and then my contempt for writer Beau Willamon when I realise all the evidence of their meetings is still hanging in the iCloud somewhere. Will this come back to haunt Frank at some point? 

As for Congressman Russo, I like Corey Stoll's depiction of his fragility, and wonder if maybe this is an Emmy-winning Supporting Actor role in the making.  This also raises the question of whether a series that airs on Netflix is even eligible. (The risible Lillyhammer meant we have yet to see a test case.)  Was Frank's tough love at the end of the episode plausible? I could see the sharks circling. I'm not quite sure the provision of the razor was impactful enough.  Overall, perhaps the weakest episode since the Peachoid.  Are we seeing the weaker quality of Joel Schumacher's direction? 

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