The following screed contains spoilers for the second season of House of Cards. Reader discretion is advised.
Frank In All Directions
by DICK CHENEY
We admit with all sincerity that our first duty is within our own household.
- Teddy Roosevelt
Robin Wright's face is entirely composed throughout the second season of House of Cards except in two instances: the first is during a hard cry she has at betraying the trust of brunette friend; the second occurs before a climatic ménage à trois. The first is understandable, the second is a bit of an odd smile.
Is it cool to throw your main secret service agent a hot bang for his considerable loyalty? Agent Edward Meachem was in on the plot from the beginning, firing a "stray" bullet at Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) early on in the series. His skeptical yet turgid handsomeness is familial in nature. Wright's Claire Underwood decides against children; they are entirely too much of a temptation. She was chosen for something different.
Many have lost their lives in the Underwoods' King's Quest, but no murdah was felt as deeply as that of the precious Zoe. Sure, her apartment was a bit shit at times, and the erotic portraits Frank took of the Zoester as insurance only get me excited when my face is in a plastic bag, but she was a fantastic cub reporter.
On occasion it even felt like Frank had penetrated an actual bear cub, for the Slugline reporter developed claws. Her texting was subpar at best, however. The only emoji she knew how to use was the yellow face of a very scared man displaying his teeth.
The hammy and unexpected nature of her death astonished my wife Lynne, who loudly exclaimed, "The bear cub is down! DOWN!!!" I rushed in the room wearing only my Valar Morghulis tee-shirt and a cock ring. I had a similar reaction to Rachel's brave murder of Douglas Stamper in the deep woods, except I was substantially more judgmental of everyone involved. You let a prost overpower you with a pebble just because her voice sounded like Heaven?
The somewhat grating Stamper probably met his end in the Virginia countryside, although there have been internet rumors that he will turn out to have an identical twin who is able to consume a glass of scotch without falling apart. Stamper's bizarre enjoyment of Charles Dickens and Jewish women reading the New Testament is completely understandable. What he did that I could absolutely never forgive is contradict a man with hair.
It is hard to know exactly how sers to take House of Cards, since the actual easiest route to The White House is just to become the sitting vice president/puppetmaster of a guy who doesn't give two fucks. House of Cards oscillates from comedy to drama at a consistently rapid pace, but what is more difficult to discern is where the satire diverges from reality. Frank's hamfisted commentary through the fourth wall got old right after he sold out his only African-American friend, and it got downright tedious when he started giving as many looks in that direction as Adam Scott does on Parks & Recreation. To get away with that, you need a shirt like this.
Sometimes the show touched a really emotional nerve. You don't even know how many times I tried to get Lynne to say she had been r'ed on national television. I even wrote her a poem about how it was the key to all our hopes and dreams. That moment, and others, allows us to sympathize with the Underwoods even when we logically know it's absurd. By the end of the second season I had enough of Garrett Walker (Michel Gill) and his wife Patricia (Dani Englander): they reminded me of Home Improvement, which was terrible.
My most hated character in the Cardsverse was former Washington Herald reporter Lucas Goodwin (Sebastian Arcelus). The way Lucas melted before Zoe seriously charred my ballsack, and his treasonous acts merited a long stay in federal prison. In addition, I did not care for his hair.
Let's face it: Zoe probably deserved a far worse fate than she received — in a more just America, she would have been abandoned to a hopeless existence like that of an anchor at CNN.
Frank's final manipulation of the president was his most farfetched. His wife encouraged him to cut his own heart out in order to get Garrett to resign, and the weepy letter that followed was not Frank's finest work. In the end all it accomplished was getting the president to rescind Tusk's pardon — but a Democratic president backed by China would never last anyway, and Frank shouldn't have gotten by on luck alone, even after he raps his ring on the table for it.
Now that President Underwood has taken his oath, given his wife and Ed Meachem soft kisses on the mouth in front of everyone, redonned that ring from his entirely homosexual ways at The Sentinel, and hit his desk with the ring, the show would ostensibly seem to be over. Or is it meow? Frank's new adversary is likely to be a Putin-esque figure portrayed by the brothel owner from Deadwood, since House of Cards seems so keen to cast the denizens of the Old West in fractured roles in the New One.
Then again, more House of Cards could offer a bevy of unexpected surprises that were impossible when the Underwoods are so singularly goal-oriented in their plan to become the leader of the free world. Other than much-needed sexual assault reform in the military, it is unclear what actual policies the Underwoods plan to pursue. Perhaps it is best, Beau Willimon seems to believe, when politics is an incestuous but self contained orgasm directed or controlled by outside forces which ultimately know better. I for one welcome our new overlords.
It was never really explained to my satisfaction why Frank had to leave Peter Russo alone in that carbon-monoxide filled car. Possibly his attraction to the man got a bit out of control? Christina too turned out to be nothing more than a red herring, although her return in Season Three as Jackie Sharp's lesbian fling is much anticipated. The two can stroke each other's tattoos and continue to dye their hair opposite colors. Grow up everyone.
Washington used to be full of adults. Bob Woodward's book Obama's Wars describes the president-elect pulling up for a meeting with the top brass in the C.I.A., where he was set to learn all the gory details of the agency's torture methods. When Obama approaches the two men, the first thing the president says is, "They just arrested Governor Blagojevich for trying to sell my seat!!!" like a thirteen year old girl describing the decor at the Kimye wedding. I'm not entirely sure that Frank and Barack Obama are not saints compared to Lyndon Johnson.
Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here. He returns next week when Game of Thrones does.
"Heartbeat" - Alan Brando (mp3)
"Heartbeat (instrumental version)" - Alan Brando (mp3)