House of Cards: Chapter 50
April 1, 2016 10:57 AM - Season 4, Episode 11 - Subscribe

The Underwood-Underwood ticket is secure, but they're trailing Conway-Brockhart by double digits, and Frank can't travel too much or his new liver will give out. He turns his attention to ICO, and Conway doesn't want his issue yanked out from under him.

In the meantime, Freddy leaves the White House, and Frank burns the last remnant of that bridge, but it's not enough for Freddy to turn on him when Hammerschmidt comes calling. Remy, however, will spill the beans. And Yates wants to leave before things get weird, but it's too late for that.
posted by Etrigan (14 comments total)
 
I think this show has done one daring thing, and slid it right under the radar: Frank's bisexuality, and now Frank and Claire's explicit polyamory, presented as things that can just work for the people involved. (Their polyamory was implicit before--Frank and Zoe, Claire and photographer dude).
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:55 PM on April 1, 2016


. (Their polyamory was implicit before--Frank and Zoe, Claire and photographer dude).

I haven't rewatched the first season since it came out, but wasn't there a scene where they made their deal explicit? Not using the term "polyamory," but I thought there was a scene where they talked about it pretty openly.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:21 PM on April 1, 2016


Yeah they kinda did. I guess what I'm getting at is that they always had F+C and occasional sideways dalliances. Yates is... different.

That said, I think that at the same time as showing Frank's bisexuality, there's a strong undercurrent of showing male-male attraction in the show as a signifier for weakness, a/o creating a target to be exploited. F&C with Meechum (he's the only safe one, and there's a distinct subtext that it could be terrible for Frank if it ever comes out), Frank's decimation of that union lobbyist dude, Goodwin's cellmate and his sexual assault, even the intimations of Yates coming on to Frank in S3. It's a bit disturbing. And female queer sexuality seems nonexistent in the show, unless I'm entirely mistaken.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:32 PM on April 1, 2016


I'm thinking of Claire's "Not like last time?" thing about Frank's first liaison with Zoe. Back then they seemed to have an agreement about sexual (in)fidelity; an 'arrangement' of the classic sort. Now they've radically expanded that definition. I wonder if in S5 Frank will gain a secondary relationship of his own.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:37 PM on April 1, 2016


Yay, the episode with the two things I hated most!

1) Laura Moretti's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad voicemail of perfect Doug Stamper bait. Doug, you are the grossest. I am sorry, Laura! You should never be free for coffee! Go live in Antarctica - you might be safe there!

2) Freddy beating the shit out of Tom Hammerschmidt. (I loved the whole conversation between Freddy and Frank, and that is all the show needed to close the door on that character. Leave good enough alone, you dumb show: You a motherfucker, Mr. President. should've been it.)
posted by minsies at 7:21 AM on April 2, 2016


My concern with the polyamory being presented as something that just works is that it is for characters who are pretty explicitly evil and capable of justifying any behavior that has utilitarian benefit for them. It's not that progressive when it's normalized for villains.

I liked Freddy's beat-down of the reporter. He was asserting his complete independence from everyone and not just Frank. The man adheres to his code.

I have a problem with ICO where every time they say it I hear 'this song' in my head.
posted by srboisvert at 7:52 AM on April 2, 2016


Yeah the last thing they need to do is set up another season-long Doug-obsession.

Unless this one finds out about his string pulling and puts the biggest cap in his ass.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:28 AM on April 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Totally in agreement, feckless and minsies. Doug is a yucky person. I imagine the WH staff as telling each other, "Don't ever make eye contact with Stamper. He's unhinged."
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:01 PM on April 2, 2016


1) Laura Moretti's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad voicemail of perfect Doug Stamper bait. Doug, you are the grossest. I am sorry, Laura! You should never be free for coffee! Go live in Antarctica - you might be safe there!

Yeah, I don't get it! I mean, I get the personal phone call of thanks, but I don't get why she wants to go to coffee and act all datey. It doesn't seem like it's really been long enough for her to want to start dating again. And they keep making a big deal of showing her wedding ring still being on. Ughhhh.
posted by aka burlap at 7:46 PM on April 2, 2016


I watched in the hope that Laura Moretti was somehow tipped off about Doug moving the president up the list and this is a long set-up for her getting her revenge on him. More likely it is a set-up by the writers that later on down the track she finds out (maybe it comes out in the press, obviously it is not the president's fault because he was in a coma at the time, comes out it was Doug's fault); is shattered and tells Doug what a horrible human being he is and then either Doug breaks down completely or does that Doug never cracks just walks away like a non-human being thing.
posted by Megami at 9:58 PM on April 4, 2016


I have to disagree about the depiction of polyamory ... I think it works BECAUSE it's Frank and Claire. The polyamory is presented in a matter-of-fact way, so it serves to humanize them, reminding us that they are people with needs, not just towering destructo-bots. Sure, they're evil and self-centered, but they're also incredibly well-developed characters who are charming, intelligent, and compelling. When was the last time you saw a main character who was poly, bisexual, or otherwise non-heteronormative who wields institutional power and isn't one-dimensional, tragic, and/or dead?

The point is, we're all problematic in varying contexts, to varying degrees. Expecting perfection from queer(ish) characters feeds right back into expecting perfection from real queer(ish) people, which doesn't actually help anybody.
posted by zebra at 9:05 AM on April 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


wasn't there a scene where they made their deal explicit? Not using the term "polyamory," but I thought there was a scene where they talked about it pretty openly.

Polyamory and open marriages are different things. They overlap some, but I'd suspect there are a lot more politicans with DADT deals with their spouses than ones who have a regular third.
posted by Etrigan at 9:17 AM on April 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who read the Moretti thing as foreshadowing Doug going all "I'm your new dad" to assuage his guilt? There's something in this arc of his that seems outside the classic hairshirt Doug and more desperate and unmoored.

All in all this episode really set the series apart from Sorkin realism into the world of fantastic (as in fantasy) possibilities. It seems some/all of you are well tuned to batshit aspects of the series, but I think I just chalked it up to artistic license until now.
posted by rhizome at 10:47 AM on August 5, 2016


OK, apparently I fell asleep the last 10 minutes, so maybe forget about my "new dad" theory.
posted by rhizome at 1:02 AM on August 8, 2016


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