SPOILERS, SO IF YOU AREN’T CAUGHT UP, STOP READING.
It’s also long, so sorry if that bothers you.
House of Cards being released tomorrow has to be one of the most highly anticipated days in Upper-Middle Class White People History. This is the white equivalent to new Jordan’s releases.
In my opinion, House of Cards is one of the best shows out there right now. When I rank television shows, I always think of them terms of tiers. The first tier shows are ones that are legitimate cultural monuments and artistic accomplishments, which can’t really be compared to the rest of television (The Wire, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, ect.). The second tier is made of just really great, well-made, entertaining shows (like Lost, Homeland, Dexter). To me, House of Cards is at the top of that second tier. It’s smart, entertaining, well-shot, and not afraid to take risks. I won’t be able to sleep tonight like a kid on Christmas, waiting to binge and be done with it by Sunday. So here’s a little preview for it in bullet-note format to get your HOC juices flowing, with some thoughts, fun facts, and predictions about the new season:
Smitty wrote this earlier, but I agree with him and it bears repeating: I think this will be the last season of House of Cards. So far, the big motif of the show has been “the Climb”; Frank Underwood’s relentless pursuit of power and rise to the top. Now that Frank is in the West Wing, with all of his enemies seemingly vanquished or converted to his side, and his revenge fully dealt, I don’t see this ending any other way than a Shakespearean third-act downfall.
Fun Fact: House of Cards has been released in China, and is one of the few TV Series/Movies that has not been edited a single frame by their government. Makes sense given that it doesn’t paint the rosiest picture of democracy.
The best character in the show and the one I’m most fascinated by this season isn’t Frank Underwood: It’s Claire. She is every bit as ruthless and Machiavellian as Frank, but for the first time, we see her doubt her own motives and question what all her and Frank have built has been for. Will her self-doubt continue to grow this season? How will that affect Frank, and their goals for absolute power? The endgame for the Underwood’s has always been simple. It’s been more. Just simply the idea of having “more”. But with Claire showing the first sign of self-doubt we’ve seen from Washington’s most ruthless couple, maybe we’ll see the first of weakness from them as well?
Fun Fact: The show was developed by Netflix when it’s consumer data showed that people who loved the original BBC Series, House of Cards, also loved movies directed by David Fincher and movies starring Kevin Spacey. So they rebooted the show with Kevin Spacey as Frank and David Fincher directing several episodes. Hollywood is often stupid, but sometimes, it’s smart.
Obviously the huge Chekov’s gun in the show is Rachel Posner, the call girl who left Doug Stamper lying motionless in a forest. The last loose end that posed that much of a threat to the Underwood Empire was Zoe Barnes, and we all know what happened to her. I doubt the writers will deal with another antagonist that quickly, so I think it’s safe to say that she will be one of the main conflicts this season. Which is perfect. Frank has spent the entirety of the show so far battling titans on his quest for power. For his downfall to be one of his pawns rising up against him, a proverbial David to his Goliath, would be perfect.
Is it fucked-up that I root for Frank? I feel like you can tell a lot about someone by if they root for Frank or not. I feel like the viewer is a lot like the other characters in the show; you know he’s toxic, you know he’s corrupt, you know he is willing to do absolutely whatever it takes and is not someone you should cooperate with under any circumstances…..But then he turns to you and talks with his thick Southern charm and promises to offer you so much, and you can’t help but fall for it. He is Tywin Lannister, Tommy Shelby, and Heisenberg all rolled into one. And I love it.
Fun Fact: While many think that the Underwood’s are based on Bill and Hilary Clinton (Democrat power-couple who want to win at all costs and one may or may not be a beard), Kevin Spacey says he more bases his performance on Lyndon B. Johnson.
My only complaint with House of Cards is that there isn’t more of it. I realize that the show had to move at a fast pace given the fact it was an experimental structure, so you had to keep people interested. But tell me you wouldn’t have loved to have seen two seasons of Frank as the House Majority Whip, two seasons of him as the Vice President, and maybe a season of him in political exile before staging his triumphant return to the Capital? Everything feels so rushed in House of Cards, which I guess it the point, but I would have loved more of Kevin Spacey staring at the camera and giving me some drawn-out metaphor about power that makes him sound like a twisted Confucius. I’m praying that this isn’t House of Cards’ final act, but I guess we have to wait until tomorrow to see. In the words of Bart Scott…
Follow me on twitter @CharlieWisco and give me your thoughts on what you’ll see in the show, and I’ll try to include your tweets in the recap, whenever that will be.
Update: So as @princeEdward1 pointed out on twitter, there are 13 episodes in each season, so there will most likely be 4 seasons a la 52 cards in a House of Cards. Clever. Never thought of that. I guess if that is true, then this season would be Frank’s downfall and then Season 4 would be his rise back to power? I’m still sticking with my original prediction but both make a lot of sense to me.