I just finished the fifth episode of the Netflix series House of Cards. I am prepared to vote them in for a second term already. Quality, story, acting, directing, plot, convention and innovation are all there in the first five episodes. I have so much to compliment that I do not know where to start. Not since Downton Abbey have felt this way about a show. The best episode so far was the third episode about the Peachoid.
The reason I single out this story is because it is a great example of what is wrong with our political system and more honestly its electorate. There is no doubt that Congressman Underwood (Kevin Spacey) is a dishonest man. He bends and breaks every rule implied and unimplied in our Constitution. How would a man like this be taken down? By the law? Never. He writes them. By a fellow Congressmen? Never. He owns them. By the press? Never. He screws them. But he could be taken down if a girl thought a Peachoid looked like a Vagina and died while texting about it. Because in this country right now, if the story can be a punchline on a The Daily Show, it will ruin you. If it’s a complex crime like banking, oil or war….eh, we are less interested. This young girl’s death was at her own hands and the one crime that Underwood had nothing to do with. But if our inept press suckles up to the teat of a story like this one, no man in politics is safe. Don’t believe me? Remember it wasn’t Romney’s ideas that lost him the election, it was that a minimum wage worker filmed him telling those ideas and put them on You Tube.
The second thing to point out is the relationship between Clarie (the absolutely beautiful Robin Wright) and Francis. I said in my review of the pilot that I was happy that they were in love. I applauded the writers for finally having a couple that didn’t cheat on each other. Good thing they didn’t give me what I asked for. Their idea was so much better than mine. This is already one of the most complex relationships ever placed on any series. This is a couple that loves each other AND has affairs. It appears (remember this is written at the 5th episode so you who are ahead keep your knowledge to yourself) that these two have a bargain that affairs are only for moving the family forward. If they are a reporter or photographer that will further feed their power, then an occasional sex act is permitted. The nice thing is we can see how it hurts each of them to share their loved one. It is even better that both of them are doing this. It was always hard to respect Carmella Soprano as Tony treated her like dirt. For once it is mutual, it is open and it is like nothing I have seen before. Therefore I Iove it. And major kudos for letting it unfold over multiple episodes. This may not be on TV but it using the advantages of television which is take your time, you have all you need.
The last point I will discuss for now is the talking to the camera. I think it works perfectly. The reason it does work is that what he tells us isn’t clueing us into his thoughts. He doesn’t say how he truly feels about his wife or Zoe. He holds secrets from the viewer. He gives us just enough background to keep us up with him without sharing his inner personal thoughts. If he told us his true feeling it would ruin our image of him and spoil the fun of wondering how he truly feels. Anyone who hates this technique but accepts when characters do voice over a la Carrie Bradshaw, is being hypocritical. And while we are talking about Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara who has unseated Allison Brie as my new TV sweet baby) I find this character to fit in perfectly with our times. She has no respect for real journalism, has talent but no interest in working to have those talents blossom and grow. She wants the spoils of victory now, with no battle. I will enjoy seeing her rise and fall. And if the writers want to treat me, they will post those pictures that Underwood took ASAP. I will be back with a season wrap up and then we will post a podcast on the entire season 1. Netflix you certainly earned my $7.99.
To read my review of the Pilot only read here.
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