“You may have all the money, Raymond, but I have all the men with guns.”
In Chapter 19, unstoppable force Frank and immovable object Tusk continue punching chunks out of each other in a God-sized tug of war, using the country’s energy supply as rope. Lying to the President, we catchy a glimpse of Frank looking humiliated – an uncommon event, but an emotion that has catalysed every event in the series so far. Gerald McRaney’s Tusk proves tougher by the episode, too, and more emotive than Frank – but does that mean he’s weaker?
While the men spar, Episode 6 has an undoubtable eye – and pen – for its female characters. Claire is written, more than ever, not as an extension of Frank, but as her own half of a team. Bending the First Lady’s ear to carve some sunlight between her and her husband – a few sentences’ work for the unstoppable lead – Robin Wright continues her flawless wry smiles and faux-caring comments, creating a double-layered performance that leaves viewers unsure whether to jump into bed with her or hide underneath it.
Meanwhile, Doug’s repeated remanding of Rachel Posner is beginning to signify her importance, a subtle piece of writing balanced with Doug’s Underwood-esque resolve. Michael Kelly’s ability to convey so much with such a matter-of-fact character keeps Stamper interesting, uncertain and threatening all at once. Posner, played heartbreakingly by Rachel Brosnahan, is the only draw for the audience’s sympathy. Every move she’s forced to make is told to her through a patronising spin doctor and her constantly-winded speech suggests that her numbness is all that’s keeping her going.
House of Cards continually demonstrates the cast’s and director’s ability to keep characters intriguing as well as Beau Willimon’s ability to keep them reliable and believable. Having so many unstoppable forces meeting so many immovable objects can only mean wonderful, terrifying things going into the second half of the series.