Our coverage of House Of Cards‘ second season continues with episode six. In this episode: the war between Francis (Kevin Spacey) and Tusk (Gerald McRaney) heats up – literally and figuratively.
Let’s bitch it out…Ah yes, nothing brings tensions to a boil quite like a heat wave. After the disastrous Summit meeting with the Chinese, Francis and Tusk escalate their attacks on one another as the poor citizens of the US suffer through exorbitant power bills and extreme heat. The battle between these two is starting to get a little predictable at this point, though from where I’m standing I’m ready to give Francis the win since he more consistently manipulates the President (Michael Gill). The details of the energy subsidies deal are basically just jargon – one thing that House Of Cards excels at is wrapping its conflict in $20 words and policy-speak that audiences may or may not understand – but that’s not important. As long as the details of who is winning at any given time is clear, we’re pretty much in the clear.
Meanwhile the heat is promoting some reckless behaviour in other characters as well. Remy (Mahershala Ali) and Jackie (Molly Parker) get close in their capacity as messengers between Francis and Tusk and succumb to the heat with a tussle in the sheets. It’s just as Freddy (Reg E. Cathey) explains: “when you get hot and sweaty, it’ll make you ripe and ready” (and we know that what Freddy says, happens). The hook-up between Remy and Jackie isn’t surprising; the two have had a combative / flirtatious relationship during nearly all of their previous interactions. Throw in copious amounts of alcohol and extreme heat and you’re just asking for trouble. What’s promising is that Jackie smiles at the memory of their time together when she’s alone in her car, so there may be something more here than a one night stand (despite both of their protests about the fleeting nature of their liaison).
Less hot and sticky are Stamper (Michael Kelly) and Rachel (Rachel Brosnahan), who continue to dance around their (semi mutual?) attraction. Yes, I know that Rachel prefers girls – hence the awkward moment when she bails on dinner with Lisa (Kate Lyn Sheil) – but there’s obviously something about Stamper. It may not be a physical attraction on her side (it clearly is on his), but these two are undoubtedly connected by the necessity of keeping her hidden. Now that stupid Lucas (Sebastian Arcelus) appears to be completely out of the picture, perhaps something more will develop between Stamper and Rachel. Or she’ll try to escape with Lisa and it will all end terribly.
- Claire (Robin Wright) is mostly relegated to the B-plot, but her actions promise plenty of drama later. While her husband is poisoning the President against his trusted adviser, Claire is poisoning the First Lady against Christina (Kristen Connolly). She makes it look so easy doesn’t she? Just a few seemingly casual comments to each woman and now she just has to wait for things to come to a boil. Poor Christina won’t even know what hit her.
- I think we’re meant to feel bad for Lucas when Janine (Constance Zimmer) and Tom (Boris McGiver) more or less hang him out to dry. I, however, feel nothing. As Janine point blank tells him, he did commit a crime. Send him to prison and throw away the key already! And maybe spit some more blood on his face because that was gross and he deserves it for being a bore.
- Love the moment that Tusk initiates a blackout just as Francis is about to throw the pitch at the Orioles game. Both men are nothing if not showmen in their petty one up-manship game.
- Frank (when Remy indicates Tusk isn’t a man who likes conflict): “And neither am I.”
- Remy (after Jackie asks if he’d like an ear in the White House): “I would but lately all I have is a mouth.” Francis does like to talk, but this sounds like something significantly dirtier. Are we sure Remy didn’t plan to seduce Jackie?
- Lucas (to Janine, about Francis): “He’s going to get away with it, isn’t he?” Janine: “Yes, he is.”
We’re now at the mid-way point of the season, so how are you feeling about S2 thus far? Are you hoping that the conflict between Francis and Tusk comes to a head soon? Do you feel bad for Lucas? Will Rachel and Stamper hook up? Is Jackie making a mistake getting involved with Remy? Sound off below. Please remember that this is a spoiler free zone, so refrain from posting comments about future developments.
House Of Cards is available in its entirety on Netflix. Come back tomorrow for a review of episodes seven and eight, ‘Chapter 20 & 21’.