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Old 02-14-2014, 12:11 PM   #1
john4200
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House of Cards - Season 2 - Episodes 01 and 02

Discussion thread for season 2, episodes 01, 02.
(Chapters 14, 15)

I'll create threads for episodes 3-5 , 6-8, 9-11, and 12-13 (unless someone beats me to it), and try to include episode synopses to help those who watched all the episodes at once and do not remember what occurred in each episode.


S02E01
Frank, in his new job as the Vice-President of the United States, clears up all the connections that tie him to the death of Peter Russo, by killing Zoe by pushing her into an oncoming subway train. Doug, meanwhile, forcibly relocates Rachel. He also makes a new ally in Jacqueline "Jackie" Sharp, his choice for the House Majority Whip, being a loyal war hero. Claire deals with Gillian Cole by pulling a few strings and offering her the company. Claire consults a doctor about her wanting to get pregnant, but later decides not to do any tests.

S02E02
Amid turmoil in the home, Frank takes office while his home is expanded with all sorts of security such that he can stay there. Relations with China become entangled as Secretary of State Catherine Durant's team bungles a trade meeting more or less on purpose since she and Frank despise Raymond Tusk basically steering the president. As rivals negotiate to thwart her, Jackie maneuvers to strengthen her position for the House Majority Whip. Lucas Goodwin looks for a hacker on the deep web to hack into Frank's phone records to establish a connection between him and the deaths of Zoe Barnes and Peter Russo. He also contacts his former boss Tom who tries to convince him to stop his investigations. Frank struggles to keep his calm at a military ceremony when he hears from Claire that one of the generals raped her at Harvard.

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Old 02-14-2014, 01:52 PM   #2
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I don't think I noticed before that Frank's initials are "F. U." Did they make a point of it in the first season and I missed it or forgot? It is surreal that Frank's bodyguard gave him cufflinks with "F U".

R.I.P. Zoe Barnes

Are we supposed to believe that Frank timed that perfectly, getting Zoe to say "murder" just in time so that he could leave, she follow, and he push her in front of the train with less than a second to spare? The other alternative, that the timing was just a coincidence, is even harder to believe.

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Old 02-14-2014, 07:16 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by john4200 View Post
Discussion thread for season 2, episodes 01, 02.
(Chapters 14, 15)

I'll create threads for episodes 3-7 , 8-11, and 12-13, and try to include episode synopses to help those who watched all the episodes at once and do not remember what occurred in each episode.
That's excellent, thanks! Although you might break up into smaller chunks like this one, 2 or 3 eps. Either way I'm thrilled to not have a whole season thread.

Did not see Zoe's death coming. A minor character, sure, but I thought she was too big. I love shows where no one's safe. The timing did work out a little too perfectly, but that's television.

I feel like the FU came up once last season but I can't remember when. Might be wrong. Is this a sign that Meacham's not as solidly in his corner as Frank thinks?

Was Claire's rape accusations legit? Or is she trying to manipulate Frank against the guy for some reason? I feel like it was legit since while she is a horrible person she's not generally that manipulative but I can't decide.

What's her end game with Gillian? And why did she decide against pursuing pregnancy? The insurance bit annoyed me for being overly simplistic. It's not like you can't get care without it, it's just expensive. For some people that would be an insurmountable obstacle but I don't sense Gillian's in such tight financial straights.
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Old 02-14-2014, 08:07 PM   #4
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Was Claire's rape accusations legit? Or is she trying to manipulate Frank against the guy for some reason? I feel like it was legit since while she is a horrible person she's not generally that manipulative but I can't decide.

What's her end game with Gillian? And why did she decide against pursuing pregnancy?
I was wondering the same thing about the rape accusation. It seemed legit, except for two things. It would have made more sense for her to tell Frank beforehand (although I'm sure she can come up with an excuse for not telling, like not wanting Frank to make a scene). And the second thing that made me doubt is that the alleged rapist kissed her on the cheek. That seems entirely too brazen for someone with so much to lose if she gets provoked into speaking against him.

I did not completely follow her reason for visiting the doctor. But my impression was that she never intended to pursue the pregnancy, and was just pretending in order to get information. But it seems like she could have got information in a more private way, so maybe she was considering it?
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Old 02-15-2014, 04:53 PM   #5
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I loved the way he waited until the end of the first episode to address us directly--did you think I'd forgotten you?

I had been told that someone would die, so I knew as soon as she went into the subway that she would end up under the train. He's going to have trouble handling his problems in his usual fashion now that he has security with him 24/7.

Nice to see the woman from Deadwood--she actually looks younger to me now than she did in that.
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Old 02-15-2014, 05:16 PM   #6
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Nice to see the woman from Deadwood--she actually looks younger to me now than she did in that.
Molly Parker is in her 40's. I think she is wearing a lot more makeup in House of Cards than she did in Deadwood.
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Old 02-15-2014, 06:51 PM   #7
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What a great start. Just off to the races again.

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I loved the way he waited until the end of the first episode to address us directly--did you think I'd forgotten you?
I have to say in episode 1, I was getting concerned that the fourth wall was perhaps rebuilt, but then in the last minute FU let us know that the wall was still missing.

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Nice to see the woman from Deadwood--she actually looks younger to me now than she did in that.
I remember her from Swingtown. Glad to see her back on "TV." Her character seems to be shaping up to be as ruthless as FU.
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Old 02-15-2014, 07:22 PM   #8
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Haven't watched yet but when I do it's extremely unlikely I'm going to be able to remember which episode was which
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Old 02-15-2014, 10:16 PM   #9
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Solid first episodes. Frank is as evil as they come -- now a serial killer. It is going to be fun to watch him brought down.
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:35 AM   #10
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I don't think I noticed before that Frank's initials are "F. U." Did they make a point of it in the first season and I missed it or forgot? It is surreal that Frank's bodyguard gave him cufflinks with "F U".

R.I.P. Zoe Barnes

Are we supposed to believe that Frank timed that perfectly, getting Zoe to say "murder" just in time so that he could leave, she follow, and he push her in front of the train with less than a second to spare? The other alternative, that the timing was just a coincidence, is even harder to believe.
In the original British version the lead was named Francis Urquhart. FU. Also, for those who have seen the Brit version it was just a matter of how and when FU took out Zoe.

Speaking of the original, this one is great but the original remains better. If you haven't seen it, check it out. It's also on Netflix. If you think Frank is manipulative and evil you should see Francis!

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertain...iginal/283795/

"It's different in the UK version. Richardson's Francis Urquhart reminds us that his is the nation whose imagination produced Iago, and Uriah Heep, and Kingsley Amis's "Lucky Jim" Dixon. This comedy here is truly cruel -- and, one layer down, even bleaker and more squalid than it seems at first. It's like the contrast between Ricky Gervais in the original UK version of The Office and Steve Carell in the knock-off role. Steve Carell is ultimately lovable; Gervais, not. Michael Dobbs, whose novel was the inspiration for both the U.K. and the U.S. House of Cards series, has told the BBC that the U.S. version was "much darker" than the British original. He is wrong -- or cynically sarcastic, like Urquhart himself."
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:47 AM   #11
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Are we supposed to believe that Frank timed that perfectly, getting Zoe to say "murder" just in time so that he could leave, she follow, and he push her in front of the train with less than a second to spare? The other alternative, that the timing was just a coincidence, is even harder to believe.
How about he didn't plan it at all and it just happened because he lost control and heard the train coming so he made a split second decision and seized the opportunity to eliminate Zoe, the woman that doesn't know when to quit.
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Old 02-16-2014, 11:34 AM   #12
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How about he didn't plan it at all and it just happened because he lost control and heard the train coming so he made a split second decision and seized the opportunity to eliminate Zoe, the woman that doesn't know when to quit.

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Old 02-16-2014, 12:16 PM   #13
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Isn't that a common trait in journalists? "when the going gets tough, just give up."
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Old 02-16-2014, 01:33 PM   #14
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Shocked to see Zoe go so soon...really freaked out the other journalists she's working with (obviously).

Frank seemed fascinated by the BBQ guy telling him where the new ribs were coming from. I see a scene or two coming from the slaughterhouse...

Frank has really manipulated the new WHIP candidate...she totally threw her friend under the bus (or train).
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Old 02-16-2014, 01:57 PM   #15
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Frank has really manipulated the new WHIP candidate...she totally threw her friend under the bus (or train).
The philanderer who never goes to visit his daughter? He deserved it.
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Old 02-16-2014, 02:03 PM   #16
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He deserved it, but the daughter and her mother didn't. I think the daughter is sufficiently disabled as to not be affected but it was a truly cruel thing to do to the mother.

It's nice to see someone tormented by doing terrible things, unlike Frank who sleeps just fine at night.
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Old 02-16-2014, 02:35 PM   #17
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It's a helluva lot more plausible than the scenario you dreamed up.
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Old 02-16-2014, 03:17 PM   #18
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It's a helluva lot more plausible than the scenario you dreamed up.
No, it is not plausible, and no, I did not "dream up" a scenario.

You need to look again at the location he chose for the meeting, paying particular attention to available surveillance camera angles.
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Old 02-16-2014, 03:18 PM   #19
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He deserved it, but the daughter and her mother didn't. I think the daughter is sufficiently disabled as to not be affected but it was a truly cruel thing to do to the mother.
The philanderer is the one who was "truly cruel" to his wife. Jacqueline only exposed his cruelty.

Although I suppose you could argue that a kind Jacqueline would have told his wife the truth, and not leaked it to the media.

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Old 02-16-2014, 03:45 PM   #20
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How about he didn't plan it at all and it just happened because he lost control and heard the train coming so he made a split second decision and seized the opportunity to eliminate Zoe, the woman that doesn't know when to quit.


There's a reason why he met her where he did. Out of the video cameras and wearing a hat to try to conceal his identity. That and the deletion of FU's contact info and the past iMessages. One less problem to worry about.
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:36 PM   #21
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Speaking of the original, this one is great but the original remains better. If you haven't seen it, check it out. It's also on Netflix. If you think Frank is manipulative and evil you should see Francis!
After the first season of the US series aired, I checked out the British version. I thought the first season was great, but I felt the other two weren't quite on the same level. Maybe the second season was just too "British" (revolving around FU vs the monarchy) for me to find much interest in its primary storyline.

The third series was FU dealing with his own mistakes... It seemed like the character suddenly became very weak and I found that hard to swallow, amongst other weird things going on. "Let's put lots of sex in it and maybe people won't notice how absurd this is."
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:43 PM   #22
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One thing I'm not sure about without a re-watch: did Frank go in to their meeting certain he was going to kill her or was he keeping his options open until he decided for certain?
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:57 PM   #23
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One thing I'm not sure about without a re-watch: did Frank go in to their meeting certain he was going to kill her or was he keeping his options open until he decided for certain?
I think it was the latter. But he probably strongly suspected he was going to have to do it, since he knew she would be a pit bull with that story.
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Old 02-16-2014, 05:16 PM   #24
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I think it was the latter. But he probably strongly suspected he was going to have to do it, since he knew she would be a pit bull with that story.
Yes, from the way the conversation went, it seemed like Frank was doing more than just killing (ahem) time before the train came. I think he was trying to find out if she could possibly be expected to back off. But, as a surprise to no one, she would not back off, so he went ahead with his plan. The only problem I have with it is the timing. It would have made more sense if he managed to get her to come back there a few seconds earlier, so that he could get her into position to launch when the train came.
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Old 02-17-2014, 01:34 AM   #25
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And the second thing that made me doubt is that the alleged rapist kissed her on the cheek. That seems entirely too brazen for someone with so much to lose if she gets provoked into speaking against him.
Or the General simply doesn't consider what he did to Claire wrong. Or at least he doesn't think he'll get called out on it.
I suspect that we haven't seen the last of that storyline.

Count me as surprised that Zoe got offed just like that.
Then with Janine leaving, you've got the two women reporters gone just like that.
(Although I grant that she could return later.)

I don't think that Underwood would be content with just the Vice Presidency.
I'm sure he's got more schemes to pull.
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Old 02-17-2014, 09:36 AM   #26
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I expected Zoe to be killed at some point. It just came sooner than I expected. I also think he planned the possibility, but really just wanted to see how bulldogish she would be. As far as camera angles, I'm sure that would have been thought of no matter what. He didn't want to be seen.

One funny thing that happened while watching the first episode, is while he was putting on the cuff links at the end. I turned to my wife and side. "Where are my asides. I really miss the asides." and it was at that exact second he turned to look at the camera and said. "Did you think I'd forgotten about you."
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Old 02-17-2014, 10:00 AM   #27
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I knew Zoe was going to die on those tracks before she walked over to talk to him. I said in my best Whoopi/Ghost imitation voice, "Zoe, you're in danger, girl".
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Old 02-17-2014, 10:41 AM   #28
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I was wondering the same thing about the rape accusation. It seemed legit, except for two things. It would have made more sense for her to tell Frank beforehand (although I'm sure she can come up with an excuse for not telling, like not wanting Frank to make a scene). And the second thing that made me doubt is that the alleged rapist kissed her on the cheek. That seems entirely too brazen for someone with so much to lose if she gets provoked into speaking against him.
on the doctor visits: remember they had an agreement that they wouldn't have kids. they discussed it last season. She however, started to get the maternal clock ticking and is just exploring her options right now. at this point, she probably doesn't know which way she's going to go.

On the rapist kissing her: while i've never known rapists, i do know rape victims, all of whom never reported the attacks. The general's action was not at all surprising, as victims have told me that their attacker acted like nothing was wrong between them when they've seen each other again. It could be either obliviousness (doubtful) or more likely, the power trip. Rape isn't about sex, it's about power and control. and walking up to your victim and acting like nothing's wrong, even kissing her on the cheek, and even bringing up their history together... he's just exhibiting his power.
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Old 02-17-2014, 02:33 PM   #29
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One thing I'm not sure about without a re-watch: did Frank go in to their meeting certain he was going to kill her or was he keeping his options open until he decided for certain?
He covered all loose ends first before deciding on killing her. Remember he stayed out of the camera's view for a reason...just in case!
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Old 02-17-2014, 02:54 PM   #30
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Of course, had Zoe backed up her iPhone to her computer, Underwood would be screwed.
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