House of Cards S02E03: This Is Not a Frankocracy, It’s a Franktatorship!

Hello, friends! Here we are again. Another Tuesday, another House of Cards recap. Can you believe we are on Episode 3 already? Holy balls and ovaries, you guys. Episode 3! I can’t believe I am still writing about episodes I watched on HOC opening weekend 2014. IS IT EVEN STILL 2014 ANYMORE? I can’t even.

Sorry, sorry. As my binding contract with my heroine (myself in ten years, McConaughey Oscars reference!) clearly states, I must keep climbing, doggedly and without complaint, the ladder to greatness until the ladder itself becomes the goal to be pursued or that which gives life its meaning or something like that. I regret not choosing to do Walking Dead recaps instead, is what I’m saying. But no matter. We’re here now. Let’s enjoy it!

We open on Garrett (given name basis because come on) practicing his State of the Union address with his cronies. He is being all Grrr! about it. Very intimidating but also not TOO intimidating? It’s such a tough balance to strike, you know? Prez Probz™.  Christina gives him an ice age metaphor that he reaaaaaally connects with. Aha! What do we have here? A Lewinsky situation in the works, perhaps? Does Frank see an opportunity? He must because he is doodling a bull with a very large, er… horn IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

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Guys, I wish I could tell you that this was the last of the penis imagery in this episode.

Frank then says that there are two types of vice presidents: a doormat and a matador, you know ‘cause of the bull and everything, and guess which one he’s going to be. Oooh, I got this one! I’m guessing you’ll be a matador vice president, Frank, and also a vice president who is passionate about near-anagrams? Hey, it’s cool, I appreciate a little wordplay whimsy from my Serious Television Characters; it reminds me of every hackneyed inspirational teaching poster in every classroom I’ve ever been in.

Genius is 1 percent inspiration

Preach!

Anyway, Frank pulls Raymond aside to chat. Raymond is worried because the Republicans are demanding increased retirement age and the government is on the verge of a shutdown and no one is tending to Raymond’s needs, which is to mend things with China, so he can get back to his co-venture there. Frank says he can convince Garrett to give the Republicans what they want and get back to addressing Raymond’s REAL problems in no time. Raymond is all like, “No, no, I’ll talk to him; this should come from a friend.” You better stop, drop and roll, Frank, ’cause you just got burned!

But Frank is nonplussed and vows to destroy Tusk’s influence over Garrett, “the most powerful man in the free world for now.” You guys, he said “FOR NOW” and then snapped into a baby carrot! What could it meannnn?

[***WARNING*** Very graphic image to follow. View at your own risk. ***WARNING***]

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(I am so sorry.)

Next, Frank visits Hector Mendoza, the Senate majority leader, who is a Latino Republican (OK!), to negotiate bipartisanship on the entitlement issue: raising retirement age and avoiding a shutdown. Everybody wins. But a Tea Party-er named Curtis Haas will for sure have a problem with it because he “wants to see the Democrats suffer.” Haha, wow. Take it easy, Curtis. You haven’t even been on screen yet, and you’re already making a terrible impression. Just… OK?

Meanwhile, Christina gets accosted by Lucas, who is still trying to find an ally in his whole “exposing the Vice President for the multiple murderer he is” endeavor. She is like, “No, thanks,” and threatens to sic the police and the Secret Service on him. She says that she’s worked hard to put Peter behind her, and I have to agree. She’s worked VERY hard.

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Later, Linda holds a routine security meeting with representatives from each faction of Executive Branch Protection, I guess is who those white dudes are. The Secret Service guy is like, “Just the usual number of death threats; we are passing them on to our friends at the FBI.” And then everyone laughs like that was the most hilarious thing ever!

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Whaaaat? Guys, I don’t know, take a night off? Maybe go see an improv show. Let your child tell you a knock-knock joke. Wear a funny wig, at the very least.

But the meeting is important because even though nothing is technically out of the ordinary, Special Agent Green, FBI (right behind Agent Funnypants there) did alert Doug about Lucas’s still-secret foray into the Internet Dark Arts from last episode. They have another very intense walk-and-talk about it after the meeting, and Doug asks Green to find out who sent the e-mail. Green says that they would first need a direct threat to life, blah blah blah, what have you done for me lately, yada yada yada, but eventually agrees to design an “operation” around it in exchange for… a promotion. I have to say that I am getting pretty bored with characters getting stuff done on this show by promising promotions to random minions.

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Elsewhere, Claire is interviewing people to round out her staff, and the frontrunner for press liaison or whatever he’s called, basically Shauna from Entourage, is Connor, a real smarmy-looking go-getter type played by Joan Harris’s (neè Holloway) ex-husband and rapist, so we know he will definitely be someone to root for on a show that sorely needs such characters. Oh, wait, no. The opposite of that.

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That evening, Frank and Claire are wining and dining some Important Democrats to try to sell them on the upcoming bipartisan entitlement bill. They aren’t the easiest sell, but they, too, eventually come aboard the SS Underwood, big surprise. The next morning, it’s the Republicans’ turn, and Curtis Haas — the infamous Curtis Haas — is just not having it. Frank ultimately offers him a new retirement age of 68/64 in five years, and Haas is like, “No, right now,” but agrees to sleep on it for the moment. Frank, however, decides to err on the side of caution by colluding with Mendoza to block Haas from ever being able to filibuster in the future. Done and done. “Muchas gracias,” says Frank, LITERALLY, and America ROFLs for the first time ever in the history of watching this show.

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Racial and party divides are no more between these two!

Later, the newly minted amigos Frank and Hector (first name basis on account of friendship!) offer Haas a bunch more stuff, and Haas finally agrees to support the bill but then changes his mind and throws everybody for a loop! Now Garrett is really mad because it’s almost time for the State of the Union and they keep having to change the speech! He chastises Frank like a disappointed father and blames him for coming up with this harebrained idea in the first place. God, Garrett! You are the president of the GD country! You didn’t have to let Raymond talk you into this in the first place! Especially not from vis-à-vis the goddamn Gateway Arch!

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Please, like Missouri even has skyscrapers! (I don’t know!)

Are we all at least on the same page that Garrett is the worst? Seriously, how much longer until this rotten pistachio of a president gets the boot? YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.

Meanwhile, Jackie Sharp gets a punishment tattoo for what she did to Ted’s secret family, whose identity has of course become public now:

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We can only assume that each poppy stands for a previously betrayed or killed entity. Busy girl, our Jackie.

Also, Rachel’s life is awful, but she makes a friend on the bus:

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The next morning, Frank wakes up bright and early to confer with his new pal Hector, only now he, too, abandons the rapidly sinking Underwood ship, because Haas just won’t budge and he controls too many Republicans, so Hector is “picking his battles,” leaving Frank to scramble for Republican votes at the last minute. ¡Ay, caramba!

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Frank and his team work tirelessly to scrounge up the votes, bending some rules here, offering some donations there, then eventually it all comes down to the vote. Haas and Mendoza (first name basis revoked on account of betrayal!) learn they might not have a majority anymore, so now THEY’RE scrambling to buy some time. They decide to call a quorum at the rate of one name per hour, only Frank shows up and is like, “You’re in my seat, bitch!” to the guy in his seat and makes everybody speed back up again! So now the Republicans definitely don’t have the numbers, so they start leaving the room to deny Frank his quorum, prompting the Dems to invoke some weird rule whereby any senators who aren’t sick or dead, basically, can be “compelled” to attend the vote. I don’t understand half of it, but it is EXCITING? Oh, my heavens, it is as exciting as any of this boring government stuff can be! Anyway, long story short, Frank gets his quorum.

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You don’t see THAT on C-SPAN!

Haas is all like, “I’ll filibuster, I will!” And Frank is like, “As much as I’d like to see you hold your piss for two days, we already made a deal with Hector,” #vatos4life! Again, with the jokes! Good one, Frank! Check and mate! The bill passes in the Senate.

Meanwhile, Lucas receives some very terrifying messages via electronic devices:

 photo Screenshot67-1.pngJesus Christ, are you kidding me? I am now afraid of birds! And now some shadowy figure calling himself Heronymous Bot is asking you to give him access to the Herald servers? No! Just say no, Lucas! Just walk away! Definitely do not James Bond your way deeper into this very ill-advised mission, and certainly do not go so far as to meet the owner of the mystery voice behind the Nightmare Bird of a Thousand Horrors, and FOR SURE DO NOT be impressed by the fact that he looks like a young blond Christian Slater and has a pet guinea pig named Cashew!…

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…And that this is his Underground Lair:

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I mean, OK, I can understand why Lucas wants so badly to believe that Gavin (spoiler alert) is for real and can help him, but he should have known as soon as he stepped into this fucking guy’s TOTALLY DECKED OUT PENTHOUSE that something was up. Or, I don’t know, is it me? Am I just naive to think that someone couldn’t possibly be as off the grid as he claims and break the law on the regular and still live in a style befitting a hotshot investment banker? Anyway, the point is that no, I’m not, and now Doug and Frank know that Lucas knows (but can’t prove) what Zoe knew. Sigh.

Should have just become a community college teacher like Janine, Lucas. Sure, Janine has a shitty life now (because TV teachers ALWAYS do), but maybe in a few years she can open up a yarn store, and later, after she’s pushed all long-term romantic prospects away because she’s Seen Too Damn Much, she can get a bird for company, because SHE has not developed a bird phobia on account of falling into FBI traps! Not an exciting life, to be sure, but a pleasant, quiet life she will grow to appreciate more and more every year she isn’t mysteriously killed in an accident, you know? It was nice knowing you, Lucas, is what I’m saying. You were very handsome. You are almost in heaven with Zoe now.

Lastly, everyone watches Garrett giving the SOTU address from their own little corner of the universe, by which I mean the US of A! #starsandstripes

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Then he gets a bunch of standing ovations. Walker, out! *drops the mike*

The episode ends with Frank calling Raymond out on his facetiousness and boy, but it is nice to see that rich jerk tongue-tied for once.

And that’s about it. What did you guys think? I give this episode an A Excellent!

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About Commentatrix

First-wave millennial.
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11 Responses to House of Cards S02E03: This Is Not a Frankocracy, It’s a Franktatorship!

  1. Commentatrix says:

    Can you guys tell that this was an attempt to significantly cut the word count on these things?

    • flanny says:

      I couldn’t tell but I get you. At the end of my BSC recaps I’m always like, UGGG ANOTHER SCENE?!?!?!? And they’re only 20 minutes long! I commend you and enjoy what you end up with.

  2. I’m digging the recaps and even watching one episode a week so I don’t get ahead.

    That means that I have no idea what I’m talking about, but Rachel seems nice. Like one of the only characters you can root for. Which means she’s doomed, right? That’s how this works? She’s making new friends, and Stamper decides she’s a liability?

    Also, regarding Gavin, I don’t know what Lucas is thinking; you can’t trust a McPoyle!

    • Commentatrix says:

      McPoyle, LOL! Also, I am so impressed by your self-control!

      I do worry for Rachel all the damn time. At this point, *I* don’t even know if I trust the Jesus peddler! I feel like Stamper has a thing for her and is trying to keep her alive IN SPITE of Frank’s wishes.

      Lastly, I would like to rectify a huge oversight in this recap, which was the failure to include Frank’s parting shot to Raymond: “It’s OK, Raymond. Jesus forgives you.” Emphasis on Jesus! Ya burnt!

  3. taoreader says:

    I’m shocked Rachel would trust any strangers, especially one that approaches her on a public bus, and *especially* one who hands out religious tracts. Yikes! Cult alert!

  4. taoreader says:

    “Rotten pistachio of a president” — brilliant! The guy can’t take responsibility for making a decision about anything, then he blames everyone else if their advice doesn’t work. Such a bland, uncharismatic, squeeby, limp excuse for a president.

    • Commentatrix says:

      Which fictional president is worse? Garrett Walker or Fitzgerald Grant? TOUGH CALL THEY ARE SO UNIQUELY UNDERWHELMING!

      • taoreader says:

        OMG which is the biggest loser. “You are the weakest link–both of you!!!” Tough call indeed. I’d have to say the loser Grant at least attempts to make some (usually horrible) decisions and has a little charisma. Jerky, assholey charisma. But still. Whereas loser Walker has absolutely no charisma and can’t make a damn decision to save his damn life and is a bland as a rice cake. I don’t know. My head hurts from all the incompetency.

  5. Liz says:

    I’m afraid I have to strongly disagree. Fake President Fitzgerald is THE WORST. His only attempts at leading are talking in a loud voice the rest of the time he’s mooning over Olivia Pope while looking sadly out a window. GET A GRIP, BRO. I strongly believe Melly would make a much better president. I’d also like to see a show-down between Melly and Claire. Can anybody say cross-over fan fiction?

  6. Liz says:

    But back to the more real fictional world of House of Cards. So many fake people I’m worried about. Lucas! Rachel! Come on buddies! Use your heads! And is it me or does Lucas seem like one of the worst investigative journalists ever. Be cool, bro. This is supposed to be your JOB.

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