Spoilers ahead: Stop reading if you're still making your way through season two of House of Cards or haven't started the season yet.
Binge watchers may proceed.
Many great series require suspension of disbelief at times. Even though we as fans accept that, it's still fun to break down loose ends that don't get tied up and story arcs that don't add up. And House of Cards is no different.
In that spirit, USA TODAY Network looks at five unrealistic developments from season two.
1. So long, Zoe Barnes
We already knew Frank Underwood was capable of murder. He proved that in season one when he took out poor Peter Russo, his one-time protégé.
So it'd only make sense that the next person in his crosshairs would be Barnes, the reporter whom he'd fed stories, had an affair with and who now had turned her sights on exposing his misdeeds.
Naturally, then, when you're the president's nominee to be vice president, the most logical way to silence an enemy is to don a disguise, head to a Metro stop without any security detail, shove your nemesis in front of an oncoming train after initially attempting to start anew (all while expertly staying out of camera view, of course), then walk away while hoping no one recognizes you.
Oh, and after doing all that, what's the last piece of the puzzle? Hope that the D.C. police would take the security camera video they see where Underwood isn't visible at face value and close the case.
2. Entitlement reform, Underwood style
Washington has seen its share of machinations to pass, or stymie, major legislation. Filibusters? Sure. All-night sessions? Absolutely.
Ordering the Senate sergeant-at-arms to arrest intransigent lawmakers and return them to the Senate chamber, so that Democrats can then pass landmark legislation to overhaul Social Security? Well, not recently or very likely.
UPDATE: A reader notes that in 1988 a similar incident did occur after Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd of West Virginia ordered the Senate sergeant-at-arms to bring GOP lawmakers back to the chamber during a filibuster over campaign financing. Sen. Robert Packwood of Oregon was actually carried into the chamber, the Chicago Tribune reported, and later joked to reporters that he "enjoyed it."
3. Garrett Walker: The most hated man in American history
In the depths of Watergate, days before he resigned in August 1974, Richard Nixon's approval rating, according to Gallup, was 24%.
Garrett Walker would kill for those numbers (figuratively, of course, lest we give Underwood any ideas). Amid a growing campaign finance scandal that would engulf Walker's administration and ultimately lead to his resignation, the president would lament that his approval ratings had dipped to 8%.
So in other words, he was significantly less popular than Nixon at his nadir. And why, you might ask? Well, it had something to do with a money laundering operation by a Chinese businessman that ran through a casino run by a Native American tribe in Missouri that also involved a close confidant of the president, billionaire Raymond Tusk, that benefited a super PAC that helped Democrats.
And maybe Walker knew about it all. Or something.
Netflix premiered the 'House of Cards' Season Two trailer showing clips of Kevin Spacey navigating the contentious political scene in Washington D.C. VPC
It also came to light that Walker and the first lady sought marital counseling from a pastor (arranged by Underwood's wife, Claire) and would take medication as a result. Their tensions didn't stem from a sordid affair by the president or anything that would raise eyebrows, but by most indications just from the stresses of their roles. And the White House counsel apparently talked to the pastor before he was deposed by the independent counsel, creating the perception of witness tampering.
Apparently, in the America of House of Cards, all these claims put together are not just shocking but impeachable offenses, far more appalling than the relatively tame Watergate scandal. Given the atrocities perpetrated by Walker, it's a good thing their new president is a man of such integrity.
4. That magic typewriter
Underwood was in need of a miracle as season two neared its end. He'd been cut off from the White House as President Walker realized, wisely, that Underwood's single-minded focus, despite his gestures of support for the administration, was on attaining power for himself, no matter the costs.
What elaborate plan would Frank concoct this time to avert political disaster? Well, he'd pull out an old family typewriter and write a heartfelt (at least that was the desired effect) letter to the president, offering to fall on the sword to save his president.
To his credit, Walker expressed some measure of cynicism after first reading it. But that all changed, and amazingly Walker was soon welcoming Underwood back to his inner circle not long after he told his former chief of staff that "we need to destroy Frank."
Soon after, Walker would greet Underwood at Camp David where he would resign the presidency and hand over the reins of power to Underwood. And Walker seemed fairly calm knowing Underwood was about to become the commander in chief. What a typewriter. What a letter.
5. Freddy's checkered past
For all his shortcomings, Underwood actually seemed genuine during his frequent visits to Freddy's barbecue joint in Washington where he delighted in the best ribs in town and chats with the owner. He'd gone there for years, and after ascending to the vice presidency, Freddy suddenly became an object of public interest.
A newspaper reporter wrote a long feature on Freddy, which led to an offer for Freddy to expand his joint into a chain. Heck, Freddy was even invited by Underwood to cook for not only his wife and him, but the president and first lady.
Despite being thrust into the public eye and receiving an invitation to cook for the president in a private setting, Freddy's past armed robbery somehow never came up before. It was never mentioned in season one or the beginning of season two.
One would assume it would be protocol for someone preparing food for the president of the United States to receive a Secret Service background check.
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