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

 

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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

House of Cards: Chapters I & II

After numerous attempts to stop my loving mother from talking to my head off during the show I managed to get through the first two chapters. *wipes sweat* my eyes were glued and I just might have to add this show to a long list of my addictive series a few slots behind Scandal and SVU (that’s big!). House of Cards, probably short for white house of revenge and pulling cards, is a world wind of politics with a 50s-esque detective/crime movie feel to it. If only there were black and white scenes. Francis “Frank” Underwood is a congressman for over 20 years who is the almost guaranteed position of Secretary of State to only have it slipped from under his nose for unknown reasons. The opening scene is the sound of hit and run leaving a dog to whimper out of pain. Frank decides to put the poor dog out of his misery while reciting one of the greatest dramatic monologues in a series I have heard thus far.  “There are two kinds of pain the sort of pain makes you strong or useless pain, sort of pain that’s only suffering. I have no patience for useless things. Moments like this requires someone who will act, who will do the unpleasant thing, the necessary thing. There. No more pain.” *standing ovation* 

I instantly connected the dog to some sort of downfall, someone being weak or useless within this series and someone will find away to either fix or get rid of the underdog. But who is it? Later on the episode Zoe Barnes, un-lovingly called “twitter twat” by her coworker, is introduced an upcoming Journalist at The Washington Herald. She is obviously the underdog there. Her name is barely remembered and she is stuck writing about things that she could care less about and probably most people. But things change for her, rather quickly. Her and Frank become allies down the line. His information helps her to move up the food chain of Journalism and her articles help him to take down one person after the other. I was not clear if he’s a part of her plot or vice versa but it seems to be satisfying for both, so far.  Something makes me believe that Frank is looking out for Zoe because he knows she’s a lion being forced to do sheep work. He seems like the character that can fire someone up, evoke emotions, manipulate, etc.  someone without them having the slightest clue. One thing I know is he is already the lion in his field and the white house is going to be his dinner.

 Frank’s plan seems to be at top of its game. But as said in Notorious, “Once you’re at the top, the only way is down.” I don’t think he has reached the top just yet. That would be too quick. But the downfall I’m scared and anxious to see how this goes. As for his wife’s story with her charity I’m still not sure of how it plays into the story line. Were they looking for something to fill the gaps. I have no idea, hopefully future episodes will reveal it to us and it is not another part of the story line  that gets lost in the series. 

Honestly I was overwhelmed by how much happened in these two episodes, in a good way and a slight bad way. It seemed a little rushed. I thought to myself, “why is this all happening so quickly in the first chapters?” Then I thought about how Breaking Bad started out in the beginning and lead to so much more greatness.

Eleven more chapters to go and eleven more of the many moments with my mother asking me “What’s happening?, Who is that guy?, Why did he do that?”

Inside The Dilbit Disaster: “That Could Have Been Avoided”

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The Dilbit (which I eventually learned is not a place and actually is short for Diluted Bitumen) Disaster, is the journalistic story of the oil that ruined land, homes and lives. The title is really accurate because I never heard of it, and if it was not for this class and book I probably would not have. I always expect the worst with text like these news related pieces tend to either bore me or annoy with bias opinions. But I was intrigued more so angered.

6B is the pipeline that Enbridge Energy Partners operated. They are the largest transporter in Canada. Being that they are the largest I was expecting them to be reliable in this disaster. Boy was I wrong! This pipeline had experienced previous problems (about three or four) with rusting because of the acid from the millions of gallons that passed through it every day. After the first time why didn’t they fix it? Why weren’t they forced to fix it? Not only did the company ignore the signs of a possible disaster, in the media it didn’t receive attention because of another oil spill in the Mexico.

If it was up to me the entire Enbridge Energy Partners staff would be fired, paying a fine could never be enough. Six alarms went off and they thought it was just a bubble. But even if it was just a bubble for a pipeline that has previous issues, why not check it to be on the safe side?

The alarms went off like another 6-12 times and they decide to label it a false alarm. The shift workers seemed more concerned with going home than resolving this issue. But fixing a crack is easier than picking up shattered pieces.

            If it was water it would not have been the best situation but it would have been way better than releasing harmful chemicals into the air. People had to relocate out of their homes because of the overbearing smell and possible long term health issues they’d have to deal with. Like seriously? All of that could have been avoided. On Enbridge’s part this was pure laziness. One home owner lost his childhood home that he was raising his family in, the American dream shattered. Even the land and sea creatures received just as much torture as did the people. “Nearly 98 percent of the 3,651 reptiles collected and cleaned were released to non-oiled sections of the river. The rate for birds was close to 75 percent, with 144 of 196 surviving. Mammals did not fare as well. Only 23 of the 63 collected – or 36.5 percent pulled through. The dead included muskrats, raccoons, voles, skunks and at least one mink and one mole.” (McGowan Kindle Edition, Epilogue Loc. 801 of 1829)

            I have grown to become more and more disgusted with this situation as I continued reading. Enbridge’s attitude towards this situation could be compared to that of a pimp and his worker. His worker could have the flu but would not care still go make his money. Enbridge wanted to continue to release gallons of oil even though repairs and clean up was not complete. They even tried to trick citizens into signing over their medical records that way if they tried to sue for compensation they could blame it on previous ailments in the person’s record. How sneaky and cliché of a large company.

            This story deserves more spot light. The Carter’s baby Blue gets years of press and this is rarely heard of. Enbridge must have a really good Public Relations team to still be up and running. Business is business but they should have had some concern for the safety of others and themselves. Once chemicals evaporate into the air there it’s hard to control that. I’m all for shutting the pipe line down, either building a new one completely or finding an alternative way to get oil from Canada.

            To the authors of The Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You’ve Never Heard Of, thank you for exposing this story!

Mr. White, You Have Cancer…… “I’m Alive”

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Breaking Bad greeted viewers with still air and beautiful scenery. Preparation for the disarray approaching? I think so. The deserts calmness included a pair of random slow falling khakis met with a wildly driven RV and inside a naked man, well kind of, if you consider his underwear and the gas mask along with three other men seemingly unconscious.

This man comes to be known as Walter White, a chemistry teacher whose life was fairly similar to an ideal American. The three week ago flashback took viewers on a trip. I originally thought the main character went mad, murdered everybody with chemicals and tried to hide in the desert. A little dramatic for the first episode, huh? Not really. Instead we were introduced to Walter White’s “normal” life. His wife, feisty loveable son who just so happens to be disabled, local hero police officer brother in law and more.

Dramatic turns wasted no time to appear though. White was diagnosed with inoperable cancer and given a short time to live and his noted OCD for noticing the smallest drop of mustard on the doctor’s white lab coat. Money problems were revealed. Walter White’s anger issues surfaced as well, each time he seemed a little angrier. I couldn’t help but think if he was angry at his untimely fate, that he had not lived the way he wanted too, or that he could possibly leave his family behind with unmanageable debt. No one knows what goes through Walter White’s head all we see is action and in this case it works for this brilliant show. It left room for us to think – what will be his next move? – is he going to kill somebody? – is his health making him mentally unstable?

I call this episode the union of Pinky and the Brain because of a local drug dealer and former student, Jesse and Walter White coming to become partners. Walter gave Jesse an ultimatum; either he gets turned in to the police, post a drug bust on his previous partner, or join him on his quest to becoming a crystal meth dealer. What? Walter White? Who would have thought the reserved chemistry teacher would want to become a drug dealer.

“Some straight like you, giant stick up his a**, all a sudden at age, what? 60! Suddenly gonna break bad?” says Jesse.

            ….”I’m alive” replied Walter.

Motivation can come from the strangest places and situations.

 

P.S. Vince Gilligan is genius for this series! (haha)