'House of Cards' Season 1 episode 3: Frank and the giant peach
Where we are:
This episode sees Frank have to momentarily push pause on his grand schemes in Washington to head back to his home district in South Carolina. A teenage girl has died in a car accident -- she was texting and driving, but her text was about the giant water tower called the Peachoid, which Frank had built and has always championed to keep standing outside of his hometown.
Because we live in an age of litigation and finding someone to blame, the parents want to sue the town, instead of just lamenting that they didn't teach their daughter better driving habits -- though they are egged on by local muckety-muck Orrin Chase, who hates Frank Underwood and wants to see him brought down.
But our Frank isn't going to let some small-time man like Orrin take him out. He uses the church's pulpit and his relationship with the reverend to get in good with the girl's parents and then offers them a settlement plus a scholarship created in their daughter's name. He further puts Chase in his place by threatening to revoke an easement that allows Chase's house not to be bulldozed under the doctrine of eminent domain and says he'll help Chase get elected to Congress in the fourth district (which is not Frank's district).
This episode is the most insightful one so far regarding Underwood. It's one thing to see him so shrewd and calculating on Capitol Hill, it is quite another to watch him lie 'til he's blue in the face from a pulpit in a small-town church.
Meanwhile, Claire is going after a Stanford valedictorian named Gillian Cole. Cole started her own organization, World Water, but doesn't have nearly the financial backing that Claire does -- and our favorite Lady Macbeth wears her down until Gillian agrees to work at CWI.
And over at the Washington Herald, Zoe knowing that Catherine Durant was going to be the new secretary of state nominee has Zoe in high demand for interviews with TV news outlets, which seems a little far-fetched, but OK. However, all the attention is irritating Zoe's editor-in-chief Tom Hammerschmidt and he "grounds her," saying no TV for a month.
It's just one of Zoe's several relationships that are actually about someone being her father-figure. And speaking of Frank, their relationship takes a turn for the flirtatious when they text back and forth while he's away. It's icky but not a complete surprise.
What is an interesting juxtaposition is Frank's conversation with Claire about her planting white tulips at their house in Gaffney. There's a real affection between Frank and Claire, which is a nice touch to the relationship that, at first glance, seems solely about ambition and a mutual love of power. But it's also strange to see him expressing genuine affection for Claire one minute and writing flirty text messages to Zoe the next minute.
It would make sense of his marriage was one of convenience and helping each other climb the ranks of power because then of course he would have something on the side. But that's not all that the marriage is, so just what kind of arrangement do Frank and Claire have? Becuase Claire obviously has her own thing going on with photographer Adam Galloway. You can tell by the way she talks about him. Hmm.
Best line: "You don't want to work anywhere you're not willing to get fired from, Zoe. Treading water is the same as drowning for people like you and me." -- Frank