9   +   10   =  

house-of-cards-season-2-episode-6“Let the butchery begin”; with Frank and Raymond now at odds over negotiations with China, the gloves are well and truly off as they battle it out to win back the President’s favour. And with Claire getting in on the action as well, though in her own way, the Underwoods are showing just how capable they are of launching a formidable attack.

It’s summertime in the city and the nation is gripped in a heatwave, but with energy prices rising fast, the President could soon have a crisis on his hands. This is what happens when the Vice President and a billionaire duke it out – the whole country becomes their battleground. Mercifully, Frank’s attempts to bring Raymond into line were easier to follow than last week’s web of lawsuits and bridges, but it’s still hard to see Raymond as a real player. Sure we’ve seen time and time again how powerful and rich he is, and though he may well be able to outmanoeuvre Frank, we’ve yet to really see it happen. At the moment he’s more of an obstacle than an out and out threat, so it’s hard to really feel the tension. If we’re to believe that Frank’s got one hell of a fight ahead of him, then we need to be convinced of his opponent’s capabilities.

Though the focus of the episode was on Frank and Raymond’s back and forth, it was Rachel Posner, the prostitute who’d helped bring about Russo’s downfall last season, who really stole the show. The fact that she’s still in the show hints that she has a bigger part to play in all this and her speech to Doug about the biblical Rachel (who bore a king) suggested that there’s still some fight in her yet. Doug may have her holed up somewhere out of the way, but Rachel still has power over him. It would be great to see a character who has been so written off play a key role in bringing about Frank’s doom too.

Also working away quietly on the sidelines, was Claire, proving that there is more than one way to skin a cat when it comes to manipulating others. Her gentle reminders that Christina, Russo’s old assistant, had no qualms about sleeping with her boss, were all she needed to sow discontent with the First Lady. Though Frank may be living blow to blow in his fight against Raymond, it’s clear that Claire is playing the long game here.

And, barely halfway through the season, it really is going to be the long game, but with Frank now openly playing the President and Raymond off against each other, surely it’s only a matter of time until someone notices and calls him out? If this is going to be an even fight, then Raymond is really going to have to up his game because right now, Frank is running rings around him.

★★★★

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