Thursday, March 17, 2016

What I’m Watching: House of Cards (Season Premiere)

House of Cards: Season 4, Episode 1 “Chapter 40” (B+)

It’s interesting to see this show premiere right in the middle of a very volatile and unpredictable election season. Somehow, Frank Underwood doesn’t seem anywhere near as outrageous as Donald Trump, and he’s far more evilly omnipotent while maintaining a muted public persona. This show has an unmatched quiet darkness to it, and starting the episode out with Lucas in prison reading an erotic story to his cellmate definitely set that tone for this episode and the season to come. Lucas getting out is an unexpected development since I figured that he was destined to rot in obscurity in prison. I can’t imagine he’ll be smart enough to stay away from the president and his corrupt conspirators, but at least he’s not on their radar at the moment. Frank did manage to seem all-knowing when he sent Doug down to Texas to squash Claire’s governmental aspirations, though he relinquished all power very quickly when he got her to agree to stand by him during the State of the Union. This episode had two legendary actresses in emphatic roles, Cicely Tyson as the retiring politician whose seat Claire is eager to take and Ellen Burstyn as Claire’s mother, whose illness is just the latest domino knocked over in the eternal struggle for control over all by the Underwoods. I can’t imagine Frank is going to let Claire roam free especially if she threatens to undermine his campaign, and knowing him he’s going to twist it to his advantage and make it seem like he’s even stronger as a husband because his wife is acting on her political ambitions.

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