TV Review: House of Cards – Season 2, Episode 3 – “Chapter 16″

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“There are two types of vice presidents. Door mats and matadors. Which one do you think I intend to be?”

Chapter 16

Episode 3 of the second season of House of Cards really amped up the pressure in the special, somewhat slow way the series has been embracing since it’s inception.

Season_2_Chapter_16That’s not a criticism, mind you. I love it. One of the most fascinating things about House of Cards is the constant reminder that Francis Underwood has power. It can and should unnerve the audience to see that Frank’s manipulation and tactics have gotten him in a place of true authority, while the people against him get silenced.

That doesn’t bode well for Lucas, unfortunately. It’s funny how I comprehend certain scenes and certain interactions. The scene where Lucas approaches Christina made me think the man was desperate. And he is desperate. But then a thought popped into my head. He isn’t only desperate; he’s vocal. He’s putting himself into the cross hairs of one of the most powerful and morally reprehensible men in the country.

I think we as an audience are supposed to feel that way. It’s quality television and it’s also a means for us to reflect on what may actually be going on in our capital city. But that’s neither here nor there. This is a review of the show, not of the country. So how was the episode?

franktuskChapter 16 is a linking episode. Its purpose is to serve the greater piece as a whole and provide support the overall story being told. As such, there’s not much to say about it. Episode director James Foley (Glengarry Glen Ross, Fear) did a fantastic job in this episode. The framing of the more dialogue-intense scenes involving more than 2 people was very noticeable. It’s refreshing when a series has the vision of a director who knows how to fill space and use it to his advantage.

Frank spent the episode negotiating with Republicans while still working to undermine Tusk’s relationship with the President. By episode’s end, it should be clear to Tusk that Frank is gunning for him. Their scenes together last season were really compelling and I’m really looking forward to seeing how Tusk reacts when he’s being pushed out.

It was interesting to see Jackie having a conscience over what she did in the last episode. In Chapter 15’s review, I posited that maybe Jackie could one day become a threat to Frank. Now I’m questioning whether she has what it takes to survive this world even on a participation level. And I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing.

The scenes leading up to Lucas meeting the hacker had me on edge. Early in the episode we see that Lucas is clearly in Doug’s sights. As such, when Lucas was going through the hoops necessary to meet with the hacker, I was convinced he was heading into an elaborate trap.

When Lucas met the hacker, my fears were at ease. But how much longer does Lucas really have? Going after Christina was a desperate gambit that didn’t pay off. And considering the circumstantial evidence that she has a personal relationship with the President, I don’t think she’d be much help anyway.

But the nature of the series makes it clear that Lucas is going to fail and in spectacular fashion. I’m rooting for him, for the sole reason that he is on pursuit of justice while our protagonist prospers in spite of his crimes. If it wasn’t for that, I’d want him to fail on the basis that his username is DATACrusader. Really, Lucas?

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All in all, this was a solid connecting episode that, honestly, makes me question why I’m reviewing these one at a time and not binge-watching the entire season.

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What did you think of Chapter 16? Let me know in the comments and make sure you check out all my other House of Cards related posts. Also, follow me around the internet with the links below.

CHECK OUT MY EPISODE REVIEWS OF BATES MOTEL AND UNDER THE DOME.

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One response to “TV Review: House of Cards – Season 2, Episode 3 – “Chapter 16″

  1. Pingback: TV Review: House of Cards – Season 2, Episode 6 – “Chapter 19″ | The Obsessive Viewer

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