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How Much Of A Jazz President Is Frank Underwood On House Of Cards?
And other musical questions from 'Chapter 64'!
Is Frank the first Jazz President?
Because it sure seems like he's improvising!
It wasn't all that long ago when Frank was playing both literal and figurative chess on the series. His rise to power was the result of meticulous planning. As much of a sociopath as he is, even his two murders seemed to be more in the service of seeing a Grand Plan come to fruition than the product of your poor, checkers-playing man's bloodlust. I would never condone was Frank doing, but I could respect it, dammit.
I took this little trip down memory lane because before the opening credits even gets going, he shoves Catherine Durant down a couple of stairs.
If Frank checks his watch he would see it's Amateur Hour. Really (with Seth and Amy)? It doesn't look like her larynx was put out of commission. A couple of practice stair shoves with punching bags Doug or Seth and Frank could have perfected the technique, but instead the Secretary of State has a lot on the POTUS now. And I doubt she'll want to work with Claire if she becomes President either, after this.
There's also Frank's diatribe to both the judicial committee and the viewers at the end of "Chapter 64" to get into. If Season 5 MVP Jane Davis didn't strongly hint at a ton of business opportunities coming Frank's way if he stepped aside for Claire moments before the hearing, would he have resigned? The powerful Jane has seemingly gotten enough senators to drink the Claire Kool-Aid and they're ready to kick Frank out of office. He's lucky to get anything (sorta) promised to him. He's also allowed Claire/Jane to become too powerful to control. I don't mind this at all. It just isn't the Frank we know and love/hate who always wins.
Which Tom should we feel sorry for?
Or "Why did this show name two characters 'Tom'?" Or "Why did this show name two characters who write for a living 'Tom'?"
Tom Hammerschmidt has spent a lot of time and energy trying to take down Frank Underwood and making up for lashing out at Zoe Barnes. What has he gotten for it? Colleagues still not believing his "conspiracy theories"? Getting led to believe Doug Stamper was behind the Zoe killing? An ungrateful assistant who doesn't like basic espionage tactics? Nobody would sign up for that. Washington Herald Tom answers Angela's question of what this job is exactly with a "not what it used to be." Moments earlier he was trying to explain that Frank Underwood has no moral "North Star." So I'm assuming Hammerschmidt sitting directly under a black star when he tells Angela that he lied to her about the job once upon a time is supposed to be symbolic.
(Cue the "Baby Blue"?)
Tom Yates might just "win" the sympathy battle on account of his literal death. Claire uses the Gelsemium Jane gave her earlier in the episode for her headache to poison Mr. Yates. It was all done to show that Claire is ready to succeed Frank, I'm sure. You could argue that Yates deserved it, getting himself in way too deep figuratively and literally with the Underwoods, cheating on Claire, low-key bragging about everything including how good of a hider he was as a kid without considering that his "friends" didn't want to find him in the first place. I'm going to miss him, though. His arrogant delivery was special, even on a show full of arrogant characters.
How bad must Claire's Airbnb rating be?
Claire uses Mark Usher's house to fuck and then kill Tom Yates. Mark Usher's utterance of "Jesus" looking at the naked deceased author when he got back leads me to think he was unaware of the second part of Claire's plan. If Mark was privy to Claire and Yates's conversations earlier, he would have at least appreciated some decent foreshadowing. Four episodes ago, Claire warned Tom about the tap water he was drinking from the kitchen sink: "The tap water is going to kill you." "There are worse ways to go," insisted Tom. True!
Is Doug "unlucky"?
It looks like Doug Stamper is going to jail for killing Zoe, or going to be killed by the Underwoods. Doug can be someone worthy of empathy, as evident by his admission of guilt for killing "Zoe" (but really Rachel Posner) to Leann. Doug still, you know, murdered Rachel, and was ready to kill again earlier this season. Would you say, as Frank and Claire did in their best Macbeth and Lady Macbeth voices, that Doug is "unlucky" to have met the Underwoods at all? Is he a man who deserved, to use the currently living Tom's term, a "North Star" to lead him instead of his drunken vices? I tend to go back and forth on how much I can tolerate and feel bad for Doug. I think I don't feel bad anymore. My first clue was when I literally laughed at this point of the world's worst dinner party.
Why isn't Leann in Greenland?
Leann says that Aidan -- her friend who was driven to kill himself, unless he was killed -- was responsible for all of the election shenanigans, yet it still doesn't seem like enough for the Underwoods and for Doug (not that that matters anymore). I personally would have booked it long before Jane says, "I have your gun, by the way."
So what's the deal with Jane and Mark?
Jane and Mark have a chat in which we learn: 1) Jane wants Claire as POTUS so she can have an expensive "presence" in the Syrian region; 2) Mark used to smoke and was more fun when he smoked; 3) Jane can't look at babies for some reason. The scene is more interesting to watch knowing that Patricia Clarkson and Campbell Scott used to date a decade and a half ago, which you probably know already because you heard Extra Hot Great last week.
Is it smart for this show to strongly hint that they know what's going on in the real universe?
Especially if they produce these episodes in order, I would have to imagine the allusions to our Earth are intentional. "It's unthinkable to assume the FBI has involved itself in an election," the FBI director who always looks like he has a pebble in his shoe says at the hearing. More blatant, yet baffling, is Frank's speech at the end. "Welcome to the death of the age of reason...there is no right or wrong, not anymore. There's only being in, and then being out." Then Frank says he's out, making it a word salad meant to provoke feelings and nothing more. Which, now that I think of it, is perfect for a post-reasoning world. But I'm still not sure if it's perfect for House Of Cards. Doesn't it remind the audience of how outdated the show has become? Will's airplane "freakout" wouldn't last very long in the news cycle (also mentioned on EHG), Hammerschmidt's co-workers at the Washington Herald wouldn't think he was a nut for saying a reporter was killed, and on and on.