House of Cards

I just finished season three of this series, and I feel it has changed a lot since its beginning. There are spoilers in this post.

The show is about power, and what people will do to obtain it, and keep it. At first, I got the impression that it was a statement about corruption in politics, how those who play dirtiest get farthest, and painted a picture of every politician who got anywhere in life being cutthroat and without morals. Some of the scenes in the most recent season had this creepy, ethereal choir music that gave the impression of some kind of angelic immortals, or something inhuman anyway, as if those who wield this kind of power, and seek it, are something else entirely than the rest of us.

But then, toward the end of this season, it seems the show has shifted into, well, a political drama. We are no longer curious about how Frank will deal with the next thing that stands in his way, because he simply crushes everything. Zoe? Dead. The guy who was in love with Zoe, and made it his mission to prove Frank killed her? Sent to prison. A new reporter is asking hard questions? That reporter loses her press pass. All at the snap of his fingers, so to speak. The show is now about solving crises in Russia and winning elections and we somehow seem to have forgotten that the President of the United States has murdered two people. Instead we’re worrying about his relationship with his wife and who slept with who.

In the final episode, Rachel–who I was convinced would be the card that brought down the so called house–is buried. Another loose end unceremoniously tied up.

Instead, with little to no explanation, Claire is leaving Frank. The whole premise of their ‘problems’ seems cheaply manufactured, and is disappointing because one of my favorite parts about them was how loyal they were to each other while they fucked over everyone else in their path.

Maybe I was expecting too much based entirely on the title of the show. I expected that Frank would claw his way to the top, the pinnacle of power, using and abusing everything and everyone in reach. Then once there, all his lies and secrets would come out, and his carefully stitched together story would come collapsing around him, like, say, a house of cards. Now, it seems there are no loose ends. Instead he will presumably be brought down by a dissatisfied Claire. It doesn’t seem to have the same poetic punch as being found out to be a murderer while sitting as a loved president.

I guess we’ll see what happens next season, but I’m losing interest.


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