House of Cards: Chapter 29
March 2, 2015 12:27 PM - Season 3, Episode 3 - Subscribe

The Russian president's state visit becomes a cold war of wills, and some punks heat it up.

President of the Russian Federation Viktor Petrov arrives in DC, supposedly to discuss bringing peacekeeping troops to the Jordan Valley but really to insult Frank at every opportunity. Examples include: mentioning how his Presidency will outlast Frank's, bringing up Claire's affair with the season 1 artist, and insulting Frank's masculinity while buddying up with Mendoza at the state dinner receiving line. Not to mention his outlandish gifts of $750,000 solid gold bottled vodka.

During the state dinner, Petrov tells Claire that she is useful only as a pretty First Lady. While she gets in a jab about Petrov's "little pickle" during the toasts, he ultimately upstages Frank with a song that leads to dancing with Claire and kissing her.

While smoking Cuban cigars alone with Frank, Petrov finally reveals that he wants Europe's missile defense shield gone in exchange for the troops and snuffs out his cigar on the wall.

Meanwhile, Claire and Secretary of State Cathy Durant play some beer pong after the state dinner to smooth out their working issues and to figure out a backup plan - using UN troops via a General Assembly override vote.

The morning after, Frank is still willing to compromise but Petrov isn't. After learning the difference between a Lexus and a Lada, Frank decides the visit is over. The episode ends with Frank denouncing Russia and lauding the members of Pussy Riot at a press conference.

Doug gets a lucrative job offer from the junior Congressman of Hawaii and thinks it's a pity offer from Frank, despite Seth's denials. (It was genuine.)

Gavin, the hacker from season two who unwillingly works for the FBI, makes a deal with Doug - Rachel's address for his passport lock to be lifted.
posted by zix (21 comments total)
I was really tempted to add 'dick war dick war INTERNATIONAL DICK WAR' in the tags but this isn't tumblr.

It's almost hilarious to see Frank being so earnest and sincere about securing peace in the Middle East while Petrov isn't having any of it. They're basically two sides of the same coin and when Frank stops acting all friendly and gets back to his old self, Petrov almost respects it?

I remember being surprised how there was no mention whatsoever about the Ukraine. I'm also not sure how to feel about Pussy Riot in the episode. Plot pawns with a new single playing during the credits? It's like weird co-opt inception?
posted by zix at 12:57 PM on March 2, 2015

This one also involved some nonsense behavior - why on earth did Petrov want protestors at the dinner? Was he going to try to hit on them and then got too distracted by Claire? (Who was an utterly stone-cold fox in that dress, by the by. Whoever in wardrobe picked that out for her deserves a raise.)

Does Stamper only care that much about finding Rachel because he thinks it's the only way back into Frank's good graces? I know he had that creeper obsession with her last season, but she doesn't seem like much of a threat if she's buried so far down a rabbithole the FBI can't find her. The whole Gavin/Stamper/Rachel plot thread generally icks me out, though, and I keep wishing it would go away.
posted by tautological at 1:05 PM on March 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

There is no way in fuck the white house is going to invite Pussy Riot to a state dinner while Putin Petrov is there. Also, just about everything else with that dinner, the vodka, song and kiss. And then the whole removal of the missile shield? Frank and this show were so much smarter in the previous seasons. It's getting hard to enjoy the performances when my SO is next to me constantly yelling "COME. ON." along with me.
posted by Catblack at 3:54 PM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Costume designer is Kemal Harris.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:32 PM on March 2, 2015

Also, I think this episode officially counts as the musical episode.
posted by Catblack at 4:39 PM on March 2, 2015 [4 favorites]

Yeah, I am just not vibing this season. They both seem out of character, in particular, Claire. But then again, I thought Lady MacBeth was an inconsistent character.
posted by jadepearl at 6:27 PM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Claire's dress!

I thought it was a nice touch when they had Frank and Petrov next to those stairs. I actually shouted at the TV: Push Petrov down the stairs! And then there's a beat, and Spacey turns and assures us he'd like to. Ha, right? It's beginning to feel like one of those old-timey melodramas where you boo at the villain tying the lady to the rails and cheer at the hero dashing in (although in this case the hero is particularly subjective).

For my viewing amusement, I'm really OK with that.
posted by mochapickle at 7:54 PM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh hey, it's Lars! mads Mikkelsen's brother as Not!Putin
posted by The Whelk at 9:30 PM on March 2, 2015 [5 favorites]

Not thrilled with how pulpy this season is becoming. It was always over the top but it's verging into soap at this point. The characters are servicing the plot, not the other way around.
posted by spaltavian at 6:53 AM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I haven't seen the original BBC series but I gather it ended pretty much like last season of the US one did -- with the main character taking the big job. Seemed like a good end point, frankly.

So I gather this season they have no framework to follow and are going it alone on the writing. I agree with peoples' general WTFs at what happened at this dinner, it was probably the least believable thing that has happened so far and sort of takes you out of their world a bit. I have some familial connections to people involved in politics and I used to really like this show because the characters and what they got up to were surprisingly believable (though somewhat exaggerated for entertainment's sake). This episode? It sorta went off the rails.

Though it was a pretty fun lampooning of Putin. I just hope the rest of the season is a little more subtle.
posted by Hoopo at 11:35 AM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I believe later BBC seasons/series covered Urquhart as Prime Minister. From the synopsis I've read, they didn't sound too great, either.
posted by spaltavian at 11:57 AM on March 3, 2015

Yeah, not to spoiler the BBC version, but the last two seasons involve Urquhart as PM. I was expecting this season to end more or less the way the third season of that ended, but they don't seem to be aiming in that direction.
posted by tautological at 12:31 PM on March 3, 2015

I liked Claire telling Frank he was crooked. His immediate reaction was excellent.

Otherwise, meh. I had been yelling oh come on at the screen during seasons 1 and 2, and now I don't even care enough to yell. (I'm typing this during Petrov's speech about Lada, because blah.)
posted by minsies at 12:34 PM on March 3, 2015

The most ridiculous moments in the first two seasons are Frank personally murdering people. Russo I can forgive because it was a crime of opportunity.

Zoe's murder is really just nuts and took me out of the show (the equivalent murder in the BBC version is actually easier to swallow). I can at least sort of retcon it mentally to Frank ordered her killing and the rest of the plot still works.

But the now the characters are just acting so strangely and stupidly that it's fully breaking suspension of disbelief.
posted by spaltavian at 12:45 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'm typing this during Petrov's speech about Lada, because blah

SPECIAL NOTICE: If you have an opportunity to ride in a Lada cause "why not I've never been in one!" seriously consider WHY THAT IS.
posted by The Whelk at 1:09 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

The most ridiculous moments in the first two seasons are Frank personally murdering people

Yeah that's it for me too. And especially Zoe. That was such a high-risk way to do it, I can barely believe they went with that.
posted by Hoopo at 3:55 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't even mind those, cause the show is a pulpy soap with high production values, it just can't be boring.
posted by The Whelk at 4:03 PM on March 3, 2015

I actually think inviting Pussy Riot was all part of Not!Putin's master evil plan. The whole evening was about asserting his dominance and making the Americans uncomfortable and they fit perfectly into his plan. He knew they'd mess with the Americans' well-orchestrated and carefully managed State Dinner, he knew the Americans would have to drink copious amounts of vodka out of politeness, and he knew that they were too weak to object to his equivalent of the Finnish boob grab pioneered by Dave Foley on Veep.
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:43 PM on March 4, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'm kind of wondering who Francis is going to kill this season. He's killed a person in each of the other two seasons.

Hacker Guy with the Guinea Pig: Nah. He's boring.
Stamper: Too obvious
Not!Putin: Maybe
Claire: Maybe Oo! Or maybe she gets appointed Vice President somehow and kills Francis! Fuck yeah!
That bazillionaire guy, Tusk? They could bring him back and Francis could kill him.
Former President Walker. Ooooooh.
That dude Francis and Claire had a 3-way with: Maybe...
Rachel: Way too obvious
Fred the barbecue guy: OK, but only if Francis has him cooked and serves him at a White House Dinner! Cannibal President!
Seth: Who cares?
posted by Cookiebastard at 1:21 PM on March 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

Nah, he'll kill Durant if anyone. She's starting to push back too much.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:25 PM on March 18, 2015

Claire did look stunning in that dress. I was kind of cross with Frank for not telling her how beautiful she looked, or even seeming to register it. It almost served him right that the faux Putin suckerpunched him with a few digs and by dancing with and kissing his wife. Although honestly, the more humiliation Frank and Claire suffer, the happier I am at this point.

Rachel, I hope you are well hidden.
posted by orange swan at 9:06 PM on October 30, 2016

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