House of Cards: S2E3 “Chapter 16”

8.6 Overall Score
Story : 10/10
Acting: 8/10
Anticipation: 8/10

Managed to make Congress exciting |friend wars: Frank vs. Raymond

Weird bird message

Drama in the Congress! Who knew politics could be so juicy? And out of all things: retirement.

The third episode of the second season of “House of Cards” has President Walker promising the country a new bill (which hasn’t been passed yet) that would raise the retirement age to 68 and 64 for early retirement. This comes as a promise to end a familiar government shutdown in a sort of Kumbaya moment for Republicans and Democrats. The bill has a long way to become a law, but this gives Frank Underwood the chance to dip his feet in both the executive and legislative puddles to get exactly what he wants.

Funny thing is, at the beginning of the episode, the president practices his State of the Union address by stating the exact opposite.

“Raising the age of retirement is an unacceptable erosion of the American Dream,” he tells his team of confidants. Raymond Tusk is among the group listening to the first draft of the speech that could hurt the president if in fact the bill is still being fought over and Congress remains frozen. Tusk is skeptical, but the better word is self-interested. He doesn’t think three days is enough time to get both parties together to benefit the president’s stance. He’s also concerned that the president has been ignoring China, a venture Tusk is economically invested in.

Frank and Raymond still hate each other and it’s hilarious to see how they subtly rub it in each other’s faces their standing with the most popular girl in school. Raymond insists on breaking the news of giving Republicans what they want in raising the retirement age because “it’ll be more amenable if it comes from a friend.” But Frank is the Vice President, no? That has to count for something.

“The Cult of Tusk” as Frank calls it is blacklisted, and Frank begins playing the two against each other so he can take Raymond’s place as BFF. In my mind, it’s the equivalent of Cady Heron in “Mean Girls” feeding Regina George Kalteen bars.

But let’s get back to this retirement business. Frank is willing to give the Republicans what they want but the Tea Party gets involved and more than getting their entitlements, they just wish to make the Democrats burn from an embarrassment of a freeze.

Senate Majority Leader, Hector Mendoza, fears loosing his position next year if he doesn’t side with the Tea Party and the 15 senators its spokesperson, Curtis Haas, has under his belt.

Frank and the Democrats start making calls, plucking votes off the Republicans’ field. They get six senators to either vote for the bill or abstain from voting, meaning they have enough to challenge Republicans and remove their majority standing on voting to nix the bill.

On the day of the vote, Republicans are stalling the process, taking roll exceptionally slow. In walks Frank, as head of the Senate – a position that comes with being Vice President – and quits their lollygagging, forcing attendance to be taken quicker.

Everything moves so fast. The Democrats bring in their players plus the Republicans they stole.

“They have quorum. We don’t have the numbers,” a Republican senator tells Hector Mendoza.

“Out, let’s get all out people out,” Hector replies.

This backfires for the Republicans, having a senator on Frank’s side read a document, most likely prepared by Frank himself, instructing them on what to do in such a situation. All senators not sick or excused who purposefully missed the vote will be arrested, and it’s quite a sight to see them being carried horizontally, in handcuffs as the bill passes in the Senate and they get exactly what they wanted, just not when they wanted it.

It’s a win-win, except the grimy politics and complete two-faced nature of the Executive branch. By the end of the episode, President Walker has taken his original speech 180 degrees. “By raising the entitlement age to 68 and 64, for normal and early retirement respectively, we will ensure entitlements for generations to come,” he says. “The American people deserve no less.”

Tell me how you really feel.

  • Rachel Posner is working a mundane job at the call center. She lives in a white box and is forced to cut contact – even potential contact – with everyone. On the bus ride home, she meets a woman whom she seems to connect with until the woman hands her a brochure of a church fellowship where she works.
  • Claire’s looking for a public relations person and the guy who played Greg Harris on “Mad Men,” is just creepy enough to do it. To prove he wants the job, he flies to South Carolina to watch footage of Claire and Frank’s first interview together. Then he rubs it in Claire’s face.
  • What the hell was that creepy bird thing talking to Lucas at the diner? Couldn’t they get some generic robot? Why go through the effort to attach a cauldron-wearing falcon’s head to an alien body and fit it with a distorted voice fit for anonymous witnesses on History Channel documentaries? I don’t even think this is about Zoe anymore. Lucas just really wants that Pulitzer. Why else would he give that thing his fingerprints?




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Author: Claudia Marina View all posts by
Journalism student at the University of Florida. Sally Draper is my spirit animal. I love writing about TV and how it affects culture. Occasionally I watch bad TV, but reviews make it better.

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