Jackson Ball reviews the eleventh episode of House of Cards season 2….
They’ve done it again! Those crafty House of Cards writers have blindsided us again with another unexpected plot device. Just as Episode 11 was looking to be a little on the dreary side, they pull out sharp, dialogue-free twist in its final scenes.
Spoilers Ahead – You have been warned!
Episode 11 chugs along at the usual slow pace, weighing itself down with as much political jargon as you could possibly care to want. Frank (Kevin Spacey) and Claire (Robin Wright) accumulate an abnormally low amount of screen-time between them, at least in the episode’s first ‘act’. Instead, the emphasis is once again pushed on the relationships of the supporting cast, and how they are all inevitably doomed.
First there’s the sex-for-secrets relationship between House Whip Jackie (Molly Parker) and professional scandal-starter Remy (Mahershala Ali). I don’t think anyone envisioned this one having a happy ending, and while we’ve been left questioning Remy’s motives, it seems as though their fornicating days are numbered.
Then there’s the hot/cold/ever-so-creepy relationship between Doug (Michael Kelly) and young Rachel (Rachel Brosnahan). What began as a good-intentioned attempt to keep her safe (entwined with the not so good-intentioned attempt to protect Frank) has gradually turned into something that resembles a borderline-obsession. There’s always been something a little bit askew with Doug’s feelings towards Rachel – the bedtime stories alone were genuinely disturbing – but it looks as though she has finally had enough of his bossiness. It will be interesting to see who snaps first in upcoming episodes.
As we prepared to sign off on another relatively uneventful episode, Frank and Claire burst back into the picture with one of their most memorable scenes to date. It begins at an unnerving tempo, as Claire offers off-the-clock bodyguard Meechum (Nathan Darrow) a glass of wine. Time lapses onward and the pair are clearly getting a little tipsy, setting the scene for what we assume is Claire’s latest affair. That is until Frank joins them. There’s a beat; a silence. Then Claire makes her move, taking Meechum’s hand and kissing it, followed by his lips. Meechum then turns to Frank and they too share passionate kiss before the scene fades to black.
It may not be as dramatic a shock as the first episode, but it has the same mind-boggling effect. It is undeniably out of the blue, and will no doubt lead to you exclaiming profanities of confusion at the screen, but the real joy of this twist comes when you have had time for it to sink in.
Of course they’re having a threesome with Meechum!
We know Claire has been feeling lonely of late, what with the Adam scandal and the threats on her life, and we know that the Underwoods have never been entirely straight-laced in their attitude towards sex (Open about affairs, open about porn). Once again the writers have struck us with something we never would have predicted, but something that we’ll kick ourselves for not predicting! I mean, it’s just genius isn’t it?
Jackson Ball – follow me on Twitter