Dee Discusses: House of Cards 1×01

Posted: December 18, 2014 by Dee in Dee, General Media, House of cards, Recaps, Television
Tags: , , , , , ,

Yes, I know I’m late. I’ve been hearing about this show for a long time, but I only got halfway through an episode when it first started, and went ‘eh.’ I decided to give it another shot after hearing over and over that it’s amazing, so here I am. I’m happy to report that this time around I genuinely got pulled in. I’m not a big fan of politics, so the only thing that’s going to keep me interested is the acting and the characters. But first, House of Cards is a Netflix show based off a UK mini-series. It’s interesting to me that they’ve been able to adapt it, since I would assume that UK ¬†politics isn’t the same as US politics. I’ll really have to see the UK version, because now I’m fascinated to know the differences. It premiered in February of 2013 and took the world by storm, getting a bunch of Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. Netflix has impressed audiences with this and Orange is the New Black; they’re on top of the world. Who knows what they’re doing next.

The rest of this season I’m just going to summarize into one instead of a recap for each ep, to make it easier.

So I’m going into this semi-blind, outside of knowing it’s a political drama and Kevin Spacey plays a politician who is basically a power-hungry sociopath. Frank Underwood is an interesting character, but I find Robin Wright as his wife Claire even more fascinating. I basically equated their characters as being Iago from Othello married to Lady MacBeth from Macbeth; they’re ruthless, brilliant, and complicated. Frank was promised the position of Secretary of State if he helped get a candidate elected, which he did, but they changed their mind, preferring to keep him in Congress as a power position. The episode starts with him mercy killing a dog who got hit by a car; that felt a little too on the nose for me. The rest of the episode at least was better, and I actually ended up liking the narration and his occasional talking to the audience. That’s very much like Iago. I’d be interested in some day seeing Claire do the same, I want to get into her head.


Anyway Frank is pissed that he got looked over, but he’s a very good politician, which means he’s going to pretend not to be pissed so he can make plans for revenge. His wife is his support system, and she encourages him to be at his most manipulative and vicious. “My husband doesn’t apologize to anyone, not even me,” she says calmly, and I’m like wow lady what is your deal. I like it though. Frank also relies on the strength of his chief of staff, Doug Stamper, and he’s as difficult to read as Claire. But loyal to a fault. Frank and Doug bail out of jail a scandalous young congressman Peter Russo, who was caught driving drunk with a prostitute. They want to buy his loyalty for the long game, something Frank excels at. Russo does drugs, and he’s attempting a relationship with his secretary, but he’s a liar. I don’t like him right off the bat, I feel like I’m supposed to feel some kind of sympathy for him, but I don’t.

The other main character is Zoe Barnes, a smart and hungry journalist who believes in the power of the internet and blogging news. I agree with her on that, and she’s frustrated by the lack of interest her superiors have in it, since they want just normal newspaper news. Zoe’s ambition leads her to offer to Frank that she secretly feed info to the media on his behalf. He gives her stories, she sways the audience a certain way. Frank orchestrates that this special education bill the President wants to push has a certain congressman drafts it. It’s too liberal for the reformation they want. Frank leaks it to Zoe, who prints it and sets everyone aflame because it’s too far left. Frank is also setting up a new Secretary of State? I guess he wants the person they were going to replace him with not to get it, out of spite. Meanwhile Claire runs this clean water non-profit and has to lay off a bunch of staff to keep them above water.

My guess is that Frank eventually wants to be President, because duh. He’s power hungry. He’ll keep fighting until he gets all the power in the world, and that still probably won’t be enough. I find it very interesting that Frank and Claire are this vicious, and yet put on such politically police and savvy faces to the world. ¬†In private they are snakes, but to the world they seem like the good guys. That’s what’s going to keep my interest, because surely sooner or later people will see their lies … right? Hmmmm.

  1. justmyinput says:

    I like this series. I think it runs pretty well, in surges of story, like every three to four episodes are like a run, in the whole season which is the whole story.

    And I liked both the first and second season.


    • Dee says:

      I’ve really enjoyed it this time around. I’ve been getting through season 1, I’m at like episode 9. I just can’t get over how fascinating that couple it. And they’re strangely really good as a couple? Like they’re genuinely in love with each other and (somewhat) supportive, it’s just such a contrast that they’re really great together and so bad in other ways.


      • justmyinput says:

        There are times when it really lagged for me, or made me blink at a choice they made, but all in all, I liked it. I felt that this is what a true flawed and evil character should be like. Someone honestly evil, but with nuance, and even good parts to him. I like how the wife fits in it, and how sometimes, despite being obviously given less time, she is the power. That is realistic to me, as being married, I know how the flow can go, and a real partnership really shows that.


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