House of Cards Series 3 Review: Chapter 29

Enter the villain of the piece

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Jonathan is watching and reviewing every episode of House of Cards series three in one epic binge. Follow his progress here.

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Villains are tricky in House of Cards. Everyone in the cast is at least unpleasant, some are reprehensible, and the ‘hero’ himself is pure evil. To stand out you have to be something special.

Enter Petrov (Lars Mikkelsen), the Russian premier who is definitely, definitely not Vladimir Putin.

(Although the surfboard is a nice touch. What is it with the Underwoods and giving people gym equipment? Christmas must look like Virgin Active.)

As he swaggers around the White House jousting with Frank over a possible Middle East peace deal, Mikkelsen brings some of the unnerving qualities of Charles Augustus Magnussen in Sherlock, especially the lack of respect for personal space. You don’t kiss Claire Underwood and get away with it.

His major failing is he’s rude, or at least not polite enough to be duplicitous. To quote Claire quoting Frank quoting Pushkin: “A deception that elevates is dearer than a host of low truths.” Unlike series two, which devolved into a love triangle between flaccid rich men Raymond Tusk and President Garrett (America’s John Major), Petrov has charisma.

Disagree all you want, but you’d want to go out drinking with him, and the man sings a hell of a Tetris theme.

Over in Claire’s side of the story, she feels she’s stepping on the secretary of state’s toes in meetings, but makes friends over a long night of beer pong and swapping positions in the 14,000 chairs that clutter every room of the White House.

Well, you know what they say: keep your friends close and your enemies drunk on vodka.

Anyway, here’s Pussy Riot.

The Quotable Underwood:

“What is the face of a coward? The back of his head as he runs from the battle.”

“He’s sitting on AmWorks like his ass is afraid of the sun.”

“You can’t turn a ‘no’ to a ‘yes’ without a ‘maybe’ in between.”

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(I’m calling it: this is the next ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’)