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Who's The Main Man In 'Chapter 60' Of House Of Cards?
A weekend celebrating the XY-chromosomed leads us to ask which man in the show's universe is the manliest man who ever manned.
As her time as acting POTUS winds down, Claire Underwood is proving she knows what she is doing. Despite an unusually uncomfortable and combative chief of staff and a Russian President acting like his typical stubborn smug self, Claire has negotiated a three-way trade resulting in an extra percent of tariff money for America; credit to the Chinese for the rescue of a Russian vessel; and for the Russians, the preservation of a person or persons, to be named later, to spill U.S. secrets.
Nobody cares, though. "Chapter 60" is all about boys being dudes, and about men being men (attempting to craft the definition of what it is to be a man in a scary world that has the fucking nerve to keep changing). Men who want to preserve their past power either by proclaiming that they take the present by the balls to other powerful men, or by relying on the future to preserve their body and brain for eternity. Am I right or amirite, artifact rejected by Ben Linus as "too weird"?
Let's rank the men featured in "Chapter 60" by how manly they were, in D.C. and at what Frank described -- unfortunately not in a Stefon voice -- as one of the country's most exclusive clubs.
- Thad Peterson
He dead. That alone is perfectly fine; John Wayne died once, too. Thad, on the other hand, was not officially on the Russian ship to begin with. Plus, his name is Thad.
- Xu Jiabao
The Chinese representative has probably never even heard of the Elysian Fields gathering. He also declines to come right out and tell Claire that the tariff and ship negotiations are a package deal, relying instead on Jane Davis to deliver the message. When he negotiates with Claire later -- over the phone -- he pawns off the final decision to his boss.
- Doug Stamper
Doug is a tremendous mess this episode. He isn't a man. He isn't even a human being. He's a human-shaped pile of flop sweat. How did he possibly last an entire season without Frank around to ruin his life?
- Crow T. Elysium
Okay, I don't know if the crow at Elysian Fields actually has a name. Or its gender, for that matter. I know he's referred to as the "Crow of Elysium," and Elysium is a heaven-like afterlife according to the ancient Greeks, and the crow can talk, and crows represent death, but when C.T. Elysium speaks, none of the hooded men seems to be particularly frightened or in awe.
- General Ted Brockhart
The Vice Presidential candidate must have been awfully confident going into the weekend. He had Raymond Tusk's support, and Tusk was the one who called for the gathering in the first place. But Brockhart doesn't seem to be aware that Frank is in possession of the recording that makes him sound like a "traitor." He also sets Frank up with a fastball right down the middle when he admits to Tusk that he forgot to pack a fresh pair of socks. "I'm sure someone around here can find you a pair," the former POTUS snipes back, and then enjoys the moment.
- Tom Yates
The author explains that the woman Claire's spy saw him with in New York was his teacher. In what exactly? "Theology. Among other things." Okay, Tom, we get it. How insecure do you have to be to imply to your current girlfriend that you had sex with your ex-wife? Tom Yates insecure is the right answer. Tom also admits he suffered from a deep depression, and confesses his love for Claire. That's less manly and more really sweet. Unfortunately, this is House Of Cards, so I assume some of what he said is a damn lie. His sweet talk, in particular, lately makes his reveals even more dubious.
- Benjamin Grant
Perhaps in Ben's afterlife, he will learn to swing an election more smoothly. Grant drunkenly hands Frank the presidency with the audio file of his best buddy Will freaking out on the pilots a few episodes ago. A real man would hand Frank a manila envelope in a dim parking lot. If it's all a setup orchestrated by Usher, and agreed upon by Grant because they both know Will wouldn't make a good POTUS, Grant should have gotten a job working for Aidan's business. Aidan technically did a better job fixing the election up to that point than Pollyhop, after all. There is also zero chance Will doesn't find out Grant was involved in leaking the recording to Frank.
- Viktor Petrov
Here's an alpha move for you.
Guy grew a beard just to help scare Claire, revealing he knows about Aidan's If They Mated technology.
- Raymond Tusk
Tusk appears to be in command. He calls the meeting, makes those bee analogies, etc. etc. Makes Frank feel small for a millisecond when he reminds him, in that unmistakable Gerald McRaney timbre, of Brockhart's popularity at the circle jerk. Of course, Frank gets the better of him by the end. At least Tusk can outlive Frank inside a phone and battle Ted Williams in a home run derby sometime in the 23rd century.
(To be honest, I always respected Tusk for never using the Fleetwood Mac song "Tusk" as his ringtone. Respected and hated, I mean.)
Frank is not the man.
- Mark Usher
Does Mark break the cardinal rule of talking to another man while urinating? Yes. But Usher also brilliantly keeps his cool and rewards Frank for doing the same by handing him the election, knowing he'll later be able to parlay it into a position in the White House. Besides, Manhattan Project anecdotes sometimes can't wait.