Jonathan is watching and reviewing every episode of House of Cards series three in one epic binge. Follow his progress here.
Will Frank Underwood find religion? Spoiler warning: don’t be stupid.
The idea of Frank wrestling with his conscience is certainly novel, but hardly gripping. The chance of a repentant Frank learning the error of his ways is minimal.
While the rest of us might feel guilty when we don’t give money to a homeless person or fail to hold the door or use a plastic carrier bag, it takes a lot to get Frank’s moral compass spinning. Like, being confronted by a man who lost his leg in an attack he authorized, or screwing over someone with Alzheimers, or strolling around the tombstones of Arlington. This is a man who pisses on graves. This is a man who would squash Jiminy Cricket like, well, a bug.
Nevertheless, some soul searching leads him to ask Bishop William Rawls for advice. “Love God, and love each other.”
Nah, screw that.
Underwood isn’t like the Romans. He knows exactly that he’s doing when he spits in Christ’s face. (The man marks sacred icons like a dog marks its territory.) The entire episode plays like a twisted version of the West Wing’s Two Cathedrals episode, except instead of President Bartlet interrogating God in Latin, you have President Underwood and his bodily fluids.
Doug Stamper has been stuck watching events on television (late-stage-Toby-Ziegler-in-exile-mode) but decides to get back in the game by joining Dunbar’s team. Has he really betrayed Frank? That’s hard to believe. He looks on Frank like a father, and House of Cards uses Isaac and Abraham as a parenting manual.
Doug has also restarted the whole superhacker/fugitive Rachel storyline which just…sigh.
Claire does more ringing round the houses, this time in French. Fun fact: the scenes set in the UN weren’t actually filmed there, after Russian vetoed the request. Maybe they saw the scripts.
Best moment of the episode?
Frank [to camera]: “Must I destroy this man? No, I won’t.”
Supreme Court Judge: “Excuse me?”
Frank: “I won’t let you ruin your life…”
Have the other characters heard Frank’s soliloquys this whole time? That’s a bit awkward.
The Quotable Underwood:
“I understand the Old Testament God, who ruled through fear.”
“Love? Is that what you’re selling? I’m not buying.”