Frank and Claire's "Secret Children" -- 3 min read -- analysis of the first 13 minutes of Season 5 (spoiler free)

May 31, 2017

 

 

This is the outline of what I’ll podcast in the coming days.

 

Frank and Claire are the parental figures for America: Frank is the uncaring dad, Claire is the semi-compassionate mom. As foreshadowed by the first thirteen minutes, Claire may begin shepherding/leading instead of Frank. To understand their different paths, we will look to Frank and Claire’s “secret children.”

 

To reiterate: Frank is the king, is the unloving father figure for the nation. Accordingly, his first public words in the season are “I don’t care, I don’t care” (3:30) because he is unsympathetic to the soft souls of his American children. Further evidence of Frank’s apathy can be seen in his care-free murders of his previous child figures: Zoe Barnes and Peter Russo. (Most likely, Frank has been unable to experience genuine love since college when he chose Claire over the man he “worshiped,” Tim).

 

Unfortunately, Frank is leading his people into a loveless hell. With Frank as the king, as the dominant male of the free world, American masculinity no longer asks, “what would Jesus do” but instead “what would Frank do.” This is not good! The more power Frank gains, the higher the flames rise. He subtly references this when he refers to a crowd holding a burning Frank-dummy as his “fans;" (8:14) they are figuratively fanning the flames for Frank’s hell. One of these “fans” is also Frank’s secret child: Joshua Masterson.

 

First off, Josh's surname references this: when said aloud, Masterson is almost phonetically identical to “Master’s Son” (Father Frank being the master). A son being the future of any father, Joshua Masterson represents what Frank is breeding: a country lost in tit-for-tat terrorism and tyranny. I specifically use the word “lost” for two reasons. The first is that Josh’s mother says that he “got lost somewhere along the way.” The second reason is a bit more complex but is important because it both illuminates the death of a past American masculinity and the birth of the new feminine.

 

Just as Josh was “lost somewhere along the way,” the child Melissa trails off while eulogizing her father (around 12:00). She starts by saying, “he was taking us….” but she does not finish her thought. A momentary question looms: what happened to this journey? Melissa answers: Frank “killed my father.” She then tells Frank her wish for the future, her destination: “I hope you die and she/[Claire] becomes president.” While speaking on stage, a chandelier in the shape of a giant crown is shown above Melissa’s head (@12:05), which not only references the crowns of Netflix's House of Cards current cover, but also highlights her position in the Underwood family.

 

Melissa is Claire’s “secret daughter” and in so being, represents the future of the feminine, the female reaction to Frank’s cold calculations and loveless-ness. This could be a foreshadowing to Frank’s possible demise, or simply a switch of power to Claire Underwood (not a spoiler -- I’m only on ep 3). Melissa and her mother speak at the front of a church built mostly of wood, with enormous arcs, because the feminine power may lead through the storm like Noah did through the flood. The church becomes a boat and the oft-dressed-in-white Claire, the angelic feminine, may become its captain.

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