Dee Discusses: House of Cards 3×03

Posted: February 28, 2015 by Dee in Dee, General Media, House of cards, Recaps, Television
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There are spoilers in this review. Duh.

I was joking on Twitter that I’ve hit the House of Cards immersion when I start over-pronouncing H’s like Francis does. Meaning everything is going completely as it should be. Frank’s desperation to make his presidency stand out continues in this episode when he meets the Russian President Petrov, who is very clearly supposed to be Putin. I don’t even think they’re trying to pretend he’s inspired by anyone other than Putin. He is aggressive, smug, power-hungry, and not a friend to the United States, although he came when invited. Possibly because he was curious to see what Frank had under his sleeve, or if he could manage to get anything out of this lame duck President, from his perspective. Frank said he isn’t running last episode, but Petrov isn’t fooled, and neither are the rest of us. He wants to push for peace, because being the President who made peace with Russia would be quite the spectacle. Instead he got humiliation and awkwardness, so things are not looking up for the Underwoods just yet, but they are no strangers to adversity. They’ll only get more vicious when their backs are to the wall.

So Petrov comes to the country and he speaks very directly with Frank. He’s arrogant and a complete dictator in his own realm, but he’s also charming in his own way too. He’s smart and well spoken, but Claire reminds Frank that he’s also “a thug.” Frank and Claire put on an elegant party, and Frank invites the members of a Russian band, but they immediately turn on the President. They’re against some of his human rights violations and storm out, leading to a protest outside of the house. Petrov basically shrugs to that, gets everyone drunk, makes out with Claire, and disrespects Frank and the USA at every turn. He even stubs out his cigar on the wall of the house. Yikes. While Frank does seem to be scrambling for approval at first, he doesn’t decide to give in to Petrov’s demands and turns it on him instead. ┬áHe supports the Russian freedom fighters on camera, and it looks like this is not the end of that storyline. We will probably be seeing Petrov again. The show needs a villain for the season, outside of the Underwoods who are basically villains in their own right.

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Meanwhile Claire is having some trouble in her new position as a UN Ambassador. At first no one will address her as an ambassador and only asks her about her husband, and she also feels in an awkward position with Cathy who is the Secretary of State. She wants to make nice with Cathy so she can have a more peaceful transition to her new job, but she feels like the other woman doesn’t like her much. Probably because you weren’t approved and got your hubby to push it through, Claire. At the same time, Cathy seems like someone who would appreciate other strong women in the political landscape. Claire lets her hair down, so to speak, and they play beer pong after everyone’s gone. It does seem to make her connect with Cathy, and she even gives Claire good advice on how to deal with the Russians. I like that Claire fought for her job, but it isn’t easy for her, and it doesn’t take away the reality that she was underhanded getting it. She is a fierce competitor and it will be great to see how she blossoms in her position here, or how it may or may not turn into a bad thing for her and Frank.

One last side story is that Doug is still looking for Rachel. He’s hired Gavin, the hacker from last season, to find her. Poor Rachel, she better be smart enough to stay hidden, because they are coming for her. She seemed very good at surviving, but we’ll probably see her again later this season. I’m glad we got only a few scenes with Doug, since I’m not ultimately very certain how important/interesting he is to the greater story. We have so much of him in these episodes so far, and I say “eh” to that. The Underwoods are having trouble defending their territory, but they are far from down for the count. In past seasons they’ve gone through bad times in order to get to better ones, so I wonder if they are intentionally starting them out at a low point so we see them fight tooth and nail to get back up. Where this is going, who knows, but what a ride it is so far! Petrov is both sleazy and intriguing; he’s formidable and seems to see Frank for exactly who he is. Sociopaths recognize other sociopaths, maybe? Frank always manages to win at the end, but who knows, maybe this season is one time he won’t.

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