TV Review: House of Cards - Season 3 Episode 2 "Chapter 28"

This recap/review of HOUSE OF CARDS is written with the expectation that everyone who reads this and comments below will have seen the episode already. Thus, if you've yet to see the episode in question, DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER.

EPISODE: Season 3, Episode 2: "Chapter 28"

PLOT: Claire's U.N. bid runs into trouble. Frank fights off mutiny with a bold address to the country.

REVIEW: After spending the season premiere focused on Doug Stamper's recovery from his near death experience, episode two shifts back to Frank and Claire Underwood.  At the end of the prior episode, Frank gave his blessing for Claire as a nominee for United States ambassador to the United Nations. Frank and Claire realize they are being pushed out and we all know that means they will once again need to bare their teeth.

Aside from some blatant Windows Phone and Apple Computer plugs, HOUSE OF CARDS is back in full swing after the previous episode's focus.  Kevin Spacey chews the scenery and breaks the fourth wall as we have come to love and Robin Wright is great as a more emotionally nuanced Claire this year.  The pair share a well shot sequence that finds them frantically calling political allies to try and keep their futures afloat.  Only on HOUSE OF CARDS can fundraising make for thrilling television.  We also see a moment where Frank reaches the most vulnerable point we have ever seen him in as he reaches the brink of collapse.  This results in what can only be described as the coldest sex scene in history.  The Underwoods are not just a couple but rather a symbiotic being driven by success and blood.

With Claire and Frank hitting low points in this episode, their carnal moment reinvigorates them and they fight back.  While Clair loses her nomination, Frank pursues a new plan that will change the game.  He presents it to the Democratic Leadership and then delivers a stirring speech unlike anything we will ever hear from a real President.  Frank announces he will not seek the nomination in 2016 and will govern using his America Works program.  The mere idea of Frank Underwood using truth and transparency is in itself laughable, but without knowing exactly what the plan is here, we are left to wonder if he has turned over a new leaf or if he has another card up his sleeve.

Claire doesn't plan to let go and asks her husband to give her a recess nomination, outside of the Senate and he agrees.  Claire herself even seems shocked and vomits at his answer.  Every time I think I know what to make of this show, it throws a character curve that I didn't anticipate.  Is Claire ready to step into the same ring as her husband or does she have a decent bone in her body?  Is Frank going to somehow change America with less than two years in his tenure as the Commander in Chief?

Chapter 28 crackles with intensity and takes us to the brink of collapse before refreshing the entire nature of the series.  This feels more like a season premiere than the first episode did and that is owed to the machinations we have come to know and love being taken apart like a gun before getting reassembled, loaded, and made ready to fire.  Molly Parker as Jackie Sharp is solid in her return here, showing us that she may be as duplicitous as The Underwoods.  Doug Stamper is given a backseat but a supposed slight by the President seems like it may send him further into an addictive spiral.  When all is said and done, we can now absolutely say that the third season has begun.

UNDERWOODISM OF THE WEEK: "I can't fault you for being short-sighted and I hope you won't fault me for having a long memory."


NEXT TIME ON HOUSE OF CARDS: "Chapter 29" - The Russian president's state visit becomes a cold war of wills, and some punks heat things up."

Source: JoBlo.com



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