Christian James Haight – “House of Cards” Season 3 Review
“House of Cards” has been a win for Netflix ever since it was first released, allowing viewers to binge-watch an entire season of a show, instead of the one-episode-a-week release style TV viewers have always been used to. The release style was new, but the drive for the success of the show was due to the stellar cast and the way Washington D.C. was portrayed. Giving viewers a world where politicians were all what people joke about, liars and cheaters and the best liar and cheater was Frank Underwood. Who worked his way to become the Vice President at the end of season one and the President at the end of season two, both without a democratic vote.
Netflix debuted its third season of “House of Cards” on February 27 and although it differs from the first two seasons, it still delivers to bring us 13-episodes of quality entertainment. Kevin Spacy once again brings the southern-talking politician, Frank Underwood, to life and by his side Robin Wright gives a fantastic performance as the emotional Claire Underwood. The duo give us a dramatic course of events that will remind you of an extravagant soap opera.
The third season begins six months after the events of the second season’s finale. Opening up to the small town of Gaffney, South Carolina, Frank’s hometown and where his father is buried. He visits the gravestone alone, yet again breaking the fourth wall to tell the audience that this is the sort of thing he has to do as the President of the United States. He needs to be human-like, and any fan of “House of Cards” knows that Frank is no human, but instead a murderous, backstabbing monster. Granted, we see the same Frank fans have come to love once he unzips his pants and begins to piss on his own father’s gravestone.
You suddenly think that you’re in for another delightfully dark season, as one of America’s favorite villains works his way through Washington D.C. by pissing on everything. Only Beau Willimon, the writer who reconstructed “House of Cards” after the British version of the same name, had another direction in mind. If there’s one thing to be learned from the new season, it’s that Frank is a different man when working from the Oval Office. Now that Frank has worked his way into presidency with the help of Claire, they’ve completely lost their hunger for power. Instead Frank needs to do his best to act human to insure the voters love when voting season comes around in 18 months.
For “House of Cards” fans who enjoy the show for the intense and unpredictable murders that Frank commits, this season will seem to drag on. You’ll think they’re finally getting into the murderer that Frank really is in episode four when he turns to the camera and says, “Must I destroy this man?” Only to be followed by the three words a Frank Underwood fan wouldn’t want to hear, “No I won’t.” Although where the show lacks in intense moments, it makes up for with political drama and incredible character development.
Doug Stamper, played by Michael Kelly, survived the blow to the head by Rachael in the second season’s finale. He spends months going through physical therapy and struggling to wait for his body to fully heal. Within his first few days home he falls in the shower and breaks his arm on the tub, but he’s so eager to get back to work that he creates his own home-made cast out of duct tape and a wooden kitchen spoon. Then tries to tell Frank that he’s ready to get back to work, only for Frank to tell him to wait till he’s back to his full health. Throughout the season Doug’s character development is crucial and a very strong point to the show. Watching him feel so useless that he’s driven to his former alcoholic self and begins to once again start drinking, and every time he seems to be pick himself up, something comes by and knocks him back down.
The season differs in a lot of ways from the first two, but one of the biggest differences is the challenges Frank has to deal with. Now that he’s taken down the politicians who stand in his way, he has to deal with real world issues that we hope politicians are really focusing on. He finds a confidante in Russian President Viktor Petrov who Frank works close with to try and create peace with Russia and place troops in Israel. But eventually becomes an opponent to Frank’s never ending game of politics. Frank also finds enemies within Congress as he tries to pass a law giving 10 million unemployed Americans jobs. As Frank tries to find one win in order to help kick-start his campaign to run for presidency in 2016.
Now that Claire and Frank have made it into the White House, she wants to start her political career. Frank gives her the position of Ambassador to the United States after not receiving the Senate’s vote. With talk of her lack of credentials by Washington, the jealousy she’s felt for his career begins to reveal itself and the regret she has for putting him in the Presidential position. Claire begins to pick at the little things she dislikes about Frank and becomes very emotional, making it hard for him to control her.
“House of Cards” brings political truth to television for their third season. Giving fans a look at some real political encounters from inside the White House, whether it’s through foreign policy or domestic laws. The show grasps onto those ideas and uses them as the forerun of season three. Taking the idea of what Americans look for in a president and placing them into Frank’s ideas, whether it’s taking off his suit while campaigning, or talking highly about his loving wife who is becoming distant from him. Keeping the public narrow-minded towards the good traits of why Frank makes a great President and hiding his faults.
Willimon took a risk with this season, taking the show in a different direction than the first two seasons that fans have come to love. Although there were downfalls and a lack of intensity, “House of Cards” still remains one of Netflix’s top shows and one of the best political dramas in entertainment. From the beautiful sets, amazing cast and wonderful script, the show doesn’t shy away from one you’ll want to watch again and again.