As in previous years, I’m binge-reviewing the latest season of Netflix’s House of Cards, the TV show that helped popularize the idea of “binge watching” when it premiered in 2013. Don’t read farther than you’ve watched.
Episode 6 (Chapter 45)
Frank lives, and his ammonia visions have shown him the way and the light of Claire. When he says he needs her more than she needs him, he’s acknowledging an imbalance that’s long been hinted at but never articulated. He’s admitting to the reason Claire’s mother hates Frank, and the reason Frank’s floundered whenever Claire has wandered from his side in past seasons. He’s also probably relaying what Zoe Barnes and Peter Russo told him in their painful-looking dreamworld ménage à trois. As a viewer, it’s nice that the Underwoods have reconciled, of course. Somehow, the show made you feel for Claire even as it very clearly demonstrated that she was taking advantage of her husband’s near-death experience and that she might even have wanted him to die. When she curled up at the foot of her bed before greeting Frank, it was a rare moment of wariness and visible nerves from her. It’s a visceral relief for her and for us when it turns out that he’s not mad.
But can I admit to a smidge of trepidation? This season is the most fascinating Cards has been in a long time, and that fact stems from the dynamic created by Claire vs. Frank. When it’s them against the world, we come to realize the world is mostly a jumble of proper nouns—congress members, foreign leaders, brunette journalists—all trying to bring down the un-bring-downable couple.