House of Cards: Chapters 7&8

Finally! Frank Underwood gets the recognition he has so desperately been seeking. Is this card game over? As humans we all like to be recognized for our hard work. But with rising power, someone is losing power. There is an underdog for every alpha dog. These chapters are filled with secrets revealed, reunions and even more revelations. But I know it’s the least of the secrets yet to come.

Last blog I was trying to figure out the symbolism of the origami birds. Claire is shown streaming a tutorial from her IPod on how to create the origami birds. Later in the chapter Frank asks her if it’s a new hobby but she calls it an interest. She has a new interest in this origami swans. But why is it that interesting?

Douglas Stamper, Frank’s right hand, joins Rachel at a diner. Rachel was the young lady who Peter was arrested with for the DUI. She had plans of outing Peter and possibly jeopardizing his future campaign. But all she wants is help so Stamper reluctantly will help her. For some reason maybe he feels some kind of connection to her. Maybe it’s an awkward daughter/father complex.

Meanwhile Peter undergoes numerous drills about his past. Quite obviously he is not ready to face them and as a defense mechanism lashes out. But he has to get it right because the press will not go easy on him. Everyone can tell he lacks the motivation he needs, since at that point everyone who was once with him seems against him. Frank convinces Peter’s ex-girlfriend, Christina, to reconcile with Peter. Yes! Is it weird to have a bit of hope and sympathy for the adulterous, alcoholic and drug abuser? I guess when I put it that way. Christina encourages him to face his past.

Another love story almost sparked up between Zoe and her ex co-worker Lucas. But Zoe declines despite the passionate kiss they shared, by saying she isn’t in the “right place”. From his car, Frank watches, with an unreadable facial expression. I was not sure if it was jealousy on his face or a smirk of satisfaction. When will Zoe be in the right place? We probably won’t know because according to Frank, they’re all trapped by their secrets.

When Christina encourages Peter to face his past, he takes her advice and goes back to his home town. That reveals a lot about who he is, well was, and why he is who he is now. Frank goes back to his college, The Sentinel, a military based college. With a couple of strings pulled and big investments, a library is built and named in his Frank Underwood’s honor.

“How quickly poor grades are forgotten, in the shadow of power and wealth.”

On his campus Frank and his old quartet members break in to the old school library like they used too, very drunk of course. In a conversation with one of his guy friends, it is revealed they were close friends, brothers, possible ex-lovers?!?! I had to pick my jaw up when the friend said they fooled around a couple times.

Amongst the minor secrets revealed about him included Frank was in a quartet, Remy was his press secretary at one point and he wasn’t necessarily the honor student turned congressman.

            Peter’s visit home is opened with him visiting his mother, who has brain cancer. Her attitude towards him is cold and distant yet he still tries pleasing her in every little way. Could that negligence be what turned him to drugs and alcohol? He feels defeated but is there on a mission, and that’s to get things right before his campaign begins. But he needed his people’s support. Angry town’s people yelled and argued about him not standing up for them, and losing their jobs have affected their family. They walk out, without remorse.

            But with the help of his old friend Paul, after their scuffle, he gets the people of the factory to come down to the bar and hear him out one more time. After a few, hesitantly, they decided to comply and give him a chance. Things were falling into place for Peter or Frank, who ever shall benefit more.

            The greatest part of Episode 8 is the conversation between Peter and his mother. For the first time she showed some kind of emotion. At first a concerned mother, then spins it around to humor.

What happened to your hand?

I got into a fight?

Did you win?

Yeah, I guess I did.

That’s my Peter!

 

When he says fight, he more than likely is referring to the multiple fights he was facing. His mother only acknowledges her son the winner, not the son who keeps himself down and self-loathes.

I’ve noticed over the past few episodes how lighting can make a difference in what you are viewing. When Claire and Frank are in a scene together, especially in their house, the air seems really intense; the lighting seems dark and gray. But when they get around their others, Zoe and Adam, the lighting seems brighter and their personalities are so much livelier. Some times I think think they’re are more business partners than life/love partners.

House of Cards Chapters 5&6

Zoe

Last episode I was left with the biggest shocker of the season. Zoe Barnes becomes Frank Underwood’s mistress!! No way! What an unlikely couple or whatever we can consider it. I expected them to be more like father and daughter, but they are more like the Lion and the Sheep. On the contrary, Zoe’s confidence is becoming more powerful. She has this new found fire burning insider her, that seems to come out 100% with the help of her lion, Frank. Zoe is now a “powerful sheep” and I can wait to see how this affair plays out, whether it is good or bad.

Claire: The reporter?
Frank: Yes
C: Just this once
F: I’m not sure
C: What does she offer us?
F: A mouthpiece when we need one.
C: What does she want?
F: Access. A seat at the table.
C: Sound’s like she’s getting the better end of the bargain.
F: She can be controlled
C: Are you sure.
F: She can. I promise you.
C: Okay. If you say so.
F: The moment you want me to end it –
C: I know Francis.
*smirks at each other*
C: I should get ready for work

For Claire to seemingly be “okay” with Frank’s new adulterous adventure makes me wonder, “what are these two REALLY up too?!” Once I watched it again, and wrote it out. I started to dissect the lines for better understanding. It reveals so much with so little said. Claire asking what does she have to offer to “US”. Us as in their plan of rising to the top, or US can even represent U.S. (United States) and Zoe’s contribution to knocking down the house. Frank also says Zoe can be controlled, confirming my whole idea that Zoe is his sheep, his puppet.

Sometimes Frank comes off as an enabler for the underdogs. He wants them to be successful, at the top of the food chain. Then again, there is only one person who should really gain from this and that is him. One of many examples is Peter. He is the congressman whose career was on the line for his DUI arrest. Frank saved him from becoming the News’ latest scandal. Now Peter is Frank’s new protégé. He is lead to believe, by Frank of course, he is in the runs to become governor as long as he gets himself clean. Estimating a month passes when Chapter 6 comes around, Peter is now clean and more than determined to be governor. “Will he wither or will he thrive?”

For some reason, as I was writing I thought about Frank saying “Friends make the worse enemies” and I thought of his mistress. Although she appears weak at times because I’m a viewer, I still won’t under estimate her. She knows so much! Will this come to her eventual downfall or rise. Will she wither or will she thrive? Will she become so vicious that not even Frank Underwood can control her? That’s probably what happened with the old protégé, who wants to help Claire’s charity, but Frank can’t even trust him enough to allow this to happen.

During these two episodes Frank and Marty, education lobbyist, are really going head to head. During their news debate, Frank messes up during his spiel on an apology he refuses to give. His mishap turns into an auto-tuned internet sensation, like most news reports (hence Antoine Dobson’s Hide Yo Kids, Hide Yo Wives and Sweet Brown’s Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That).

When this show takes turns and twist, they are sharp. Not one thing can top the punch Marty gives to the oh-so conniving Frank. He had said before he knew how to push Marty’s buttons and he sure did push it! With that punch, came victory.

One thing I still could not figure out was the symbolism behind the $20 bill Claire gave the man who appears homeless. During their second encounter, the man flicks a $20 bill folded into a small bird. I guess I’ll just have to find out next chapter.

(Side note: Is this show sponsored by Apple?)

Gattaca

 

Image

When I heard the name for some reason I thought we were going to watch the movie Gothika, starring Halle Berry. Literally I had my whole blog in my head to find out it was not Gothika but Gattaca. This well put together cast included Ethan Hawke, Jude Law and Uma Thurman. I can’t recall watching this movie outside of that class. Well, I was only four when this movie was released, so what do I really remember watching, if it wasn’t blurs of color called cartoons.

But this movie wasn’t a blur of colors but a grey slate. What some would consider a utopia, is really a dystopia. Genetically modified births to create “the perfect” child and a perfect child gets the best jobs, best life. Any child born “the naturally” are guaranteed to have a health deficiency and a short life.

This movie was made in 1997, and around 2002 news reported that science were successfully developing artificial embryos to help with develop babies for the childless. But because of vertical integration in the  in-vitro fertilization. Interesting how movies seem to predict a lot.

When the Vincent’s parents found out his fate. They enabled him which is mostly not recommended for an ill child. The smallest falls, cuts, etc they rushed him to the hospital. Reminds me a lot of my mother when she found out i was asthmatic. Every little cough or wheeze was a trip to the emergency room.

Vincent’s story is typical & comparable to the ugly duckling becoming the swan. “He faces genetic discrimination and rejudice”** & upon leaving his home, he takes on a new life. His new “black market purchased” life is as Jerome Eugene Morrow (Jude Law’s hilarious character). Jerome was paralyzed from the waist down. But his genetic make up is perfect. With Jerome’s urine, blood, hair, and any other source of DNA he is able to impersonate him and progress to following his dreams.

I’m not one to cry or tear up during movies but the ending did make my eyes a little moist. From finding out the officer/detective was his brother to finding out the lab technician was his father (every time they’d meet, for a routine drug test, his father would say “Did i ever tell you about my son?”).

The most tear jerking part was Jerome’s sacrificing himself. He gave Vincent his life 100% especially since there was no record of him being injured in the first place.

As i was writing this blog i kept thinking to myself this movie reminds me so much of a book I read for my high school’s A.P. English class. But the name wouldn’t come to me. I opened up my storage of books and there it was!! Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (that was a great read!) was also a story about a dystopian society.

Great movie nonetheless.

*http://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/feb/10/medicalscience.research

**http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gattaca

“Keep Your Cards Close … I Like That”

 

 

OMG where do I start?!

If I was allowed to curse my reaction would be summed up in two short words, repeated about five times. At this point I wish I was one of the binge watchers because I’m so anxious to see what happens next. Frank Underwood, since Chapter One, has been that guilty pleasure character for me. Like that slice of cake, I can’t help but want more of while on this diet. He is cut throat & I love it. Everyone is a piece in his game. Some would say the puppet master is the White House but so far Frank Underwood is the top puppet master to me.

Chapter 3 gave me a dosage of reality. After the death of a 17 year old girl, who was driving and texting.  Frank had to go out to his home town to face scrutiny and safe face. His whole approach was typical of a politician. It’s safe their face first then worry about the people involved after. As Frank shouted out orders of what should be done, like putting up two billboards that say drive safely, start a scholarship in her name, etc., it was all so familiar. I have seen it in the news numerous times. He went to the church service in the child’s honor despite the parents, well more the father, of the child not wanting his condolences. He delivered this intense motivating speech. He even spoke of his father and his death. Only to reveal in his monologue, his father was a blank slate and probably needed to die early. Cold blooded man! Yet I still love this character. He is the epitome of a congress man.

Claire Underwood’s story is a mystery, still. Her husband’s story line seems to jump right out and hers is creeping in slowly, extremely slow. It stood out to me when she ran past the cemetery and an elderly lady yells at her telling her it wasn’t safe for her to run there. But at the end as she walks by that same cemetery and smiles as she observes a couple inside kissing. I wasn’t sure if they were ghost or real people. Maybe it is foreshadowing a death. But of what or whom? (You’ll never know with these shows)

In the middle of transitioning from Chapter 3 to Chapter 4, I took a little break and decided to research who play’s Claire. To my surprise, it is Jenny from Forest Gump*. I did not even recognize her. How exciting is it to see the transition, because that was definitely that last movie I saw her in. She has matured, a lot. Being that I have self-diagnosed A.D.D. I’m sure the entire time I’d hear Forest saying “Why don’t you love me, Jenny?” (& I did)

            Moving on, Chapter 3 did not prepare me for the big bang of Chapter 4. Characters who I could not understand what their purpose was, started to come to a little light. For example, Remy from San Corp, Frank’s ex protégé. He offers to donate 1.5 million to Claire’s business. That explains why she fired half her staff (because she was short on money) But, Frank does not want her to accept the investment. Why doesn’t Frank trust him? Especially since he says over and over “I created him”. Does that mean he does not trust himself?

Frank’s new protégé, Zoe, is in the journalism throne. But she seems like the number one puppet for Frank and Margaret, the Washington Herald’s owner. Things just kept escalating, every scene my eyes widened with excitement.

Claire’s ex affair with a photographer is eventually revealed and boy can you feel the sexual tension through the screen. I was like “OMG Scandal!” Is this where Frank gets double crossed but apparently Frank knows of it.

            Claire: “Adam’s staying at the Mandarin.”

            Frank: “And you?”

            Claire: “Here”

*gasp*

But it does not stop there! Zoe quits her job. She comes off the throne. And in typical American fashion goes and have a drink to celebrate … or maybe not. A tipsy Zoe calls Frank and seductively, they converse. Their conversation is filled with a series of lustful questions with deeper meaning and ended with an invitation. House of Cards is really turning up the heat. I’m sure this is not the end of the big bang. Frank tells her to take of her heels and drops his briefcase. Will they end up in an affair, in a Scandal inspired way? Will the headlines soon read Congressman and ex-Journalist mistress heat up Washington?  Will I stop comparing this show to Scandal? *haha*

 

 

 

 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Wright