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Claire Underwood Went Full ‘Gone Girl’ In ‘House of Cards’ Season 5

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House of Cards

There’s a lot to be said for the journey of First Lady Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) over the course of House of Cards‘ fifth season. She forms interesting alliances, gets sworn in as acting president, and eventually, decides to take hold of the power she’s craved for so long. There is one thing Claire does this season that no one seems to be talking about enough as they should, however. Are we really going to ignore that she straight-up killed her sexy writer lover Tom Yates (Paul Sparks) mid-coitus?!

Yep, that’s right. “Chapter 64” shows us a whole new side of the First Lady/would-be President. The one person she has allowed herself to be mildly vulnerable around and fall in love with becomes a casualty of her climb to power. Claire Underwood, worried about the loose end that also happens to be one of the only men she’s ever loved, decides to eliminate the Tom problem with a little poison in his nightcap. They strip down and start going at it on the floor in front of a toasty fire at Mark Usher’s house, and in one of their most passionate encounters yet, Claire takes control and gets on top.

It’d be kind of sweet if things didn’t take the turn they do, but this is House of Cards, and nothing gold can stay. Tom tells her she’s beautiful and good. THIS POOR SCHMUCK. ALL HE EVER DID WAS LOVE LADY MACBETH. When he asks why she won’t kiss him, she just tells him that she wants to look at him. He trails off about wanting to go to Greenland one day, and then it happens. He realizes that something is terribly wrong, and starts grasping at Claire for help. It’s one of the first moments on the show that there’s true agony splashed across her face. She didn’t want it to come to this, but in her mind, she has no other choice. After he struggles, he lets out something of a death rattle, and then he’s gone. Claire ever so softly whispers “Tom” and puts a hand on his face. It’s done…. and for having a dead guy inside of her, she stays still for a pretty long time. Yikes. It’s a brutal way for Claire to commit her first murder, but an obvious warning to viewers that this is what she’s willing to do to get what she wants.

This isn’t the first time in recent memory we’ve watched a powerful blonde kill a man whilst doing the dirty. David Fincher (who also directed the first two episodes of House of Cards), put on a similar show in Gone Girl. Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike), who has purposely gone missing and framed her philandering husband Nick (Ben Affleck) in the process, has been spending her days hidden away and cared for by Desi Collings (Neil Patrick Harris), an ex-boyfriend who still harbors a deep obsession for her. Amy has tired of Desi and now wants to return home to Nick and start her life over on her terms, and Desi has now been reduced to nothing but a loose end. So what else is there to do except slash his throat in with a box cutter while he plows away at her? Apparently, nothing. Homegirl wastes no time. She cuts his throat, gets completely drenched in the red stuff, and flips him over to finish him while he gargles and chokes on his own blood. It’s gruesome stuff. When she does get off him, she briefly has a moment of distress, but all it takes is a simple hair adjustment and she’s off to the next thing on her agenda.

The acquisition of control for both Claire and Amy takes place while they’re on top of their respective partners, and their victims are both hauntingly left with their eyes wide open. Claire evidently seems to be more remorseful, as she actually harbored feelings for Tom, but Amy never saw Desi as anything but a tool in her grand plan. Both of these ruthless blondes turned sex into power and took out the men that stood in their way, and it’s a fascinating (albeit horrifying) reversal of the typical use of sex against women in television and film.

Watch out for those ambitious bobbed blondes, folks. They’ll sneak up on you.

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