With all the back-room manoeuvring and the occasional murder to cover up, it’s sometimes easy to forget that the characters in House Of Cards do actually have a country to run. So it made a nice change for Episode 3 of Netflix’s hit drama to finally get down to some nitty-gritty politics, with Frank trying to get a bi-partisan bill through the house. But with the Republicans and Democrats so fundamentally at odds with one another other, it was going to take some Underwood magic to pull it off. But Frank sure delivered.
The aim of the game was to get a bill passed in time for the President’s key State of the Union address; the bill in question containing a raise of the retirement age and an entitlement bill, which, if passed, would be a win/win for the Republicans and the Democrats, but a bigger win for Frank. This gave the show a chance to do one of the things it surely does best – making high drama out of the political machine. Now, extensive viewing of American television has taught me many things about their system, most notably that the Vice President is always evil, but it seems I’ve a long way to go before grasping the finer points of US politics. So when Frank’s scheming eventually culminated in several members of the Republican party being handcuffed and literally carried into the house chamber, I was more than a tad confused. But I knew it was genius. Somehow.
But, for a show about so many smart people, you’d think one or two of them would have a little more common sense. Lukas Goodwin in particular now seems certain for a sticky end after accepting help from an anonymous hacker whose preferred method of communication is some kind of chicken headed, CGI monstrosity. There can be no way this is going to end well. It’s also hard to see why Lukas cares so much about proving Zoe’s murder – sure he had feelings for her, but that doesn’t seem enough to constitute this level of stupidity.
Lukas is not the only one acting more than a little questionably however, as Frank’s go to man, Doug Stamper, is also at the top of a very slippery slope and his continued harassment of former prostitute, Rachel Posner, is also sure to end badly. It’s one thing to move her away and give her a new identity to stop the press ever finding her, it’s another to then insist she speak to no one and barely leave her house. Doug’s cautiousness seems to be giving way to obsession, though you’d hope that a man who makes a living from being able to manage situations would be able to spot a bad one brewing. Perhaps this will be his undoing?
The patchiest episode so far of the new season, but more than redeemed by its cracking political plotline which allowed Frank to continue wringing the system for all its worth. It also ended with a nice call back to the pilot episode where Frank had been on the edge of frame for the President’s swearing in. Now, at the State of the Union, Frank cheerily pointed out to us that he was just three feet away, and edging closer by the day.