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A vote for Underwood- House of Cards Review

House of Cards main character, Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey).

House of Cards main character, Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey).

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(Warning! This article contains spoilers from seasons 1 – 4 of House of Cards!)

House of Cards has always been more fictional than reality, but with the current political primaries right now, House of Cards seems so much more viable in actuality and even more optimistic than does the future of our country (scary). With season 4 of the emmy-award winning show coming out last Friday (March 4th), HoC comes back much stronger than it’s so-so season 3. Not that there was anything wrong with season 3, honestly it was much better than most shows on TV, but it couldn’t live up to the quality of the first two seasons. However, Season 4 was able to live up to this quality in more ways than one; with a spectacular narrative and some refreshingly new faces with powerful performances. Yet, even with all the new faces, Season 4 brought back many, if not all, characters into the fray, and at times for nostalgic appeal, these characters were often used to progress the main story-line of the fractured relationship between Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) and Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey).

  For those that know nothing of the show, which is unfortunately most, I’ll try to sum up the first three seasons of the show which will do no justice to how many back stabbings, casualties, and epic monologues could do. But basically, the first season, Frank feels cheated for not getting the coveted Secretary of State position, even when he was promised it. Most of this season follows his political vendetta to manipulate his way to the top by using and disposing those in his way at will. By the second season, Frank has already scammed (and murdered) his way to Vice President and plans on stealing the presidency. Which he eventually does do in one of the most brilliant acts of deception ever. After he becomes president, there is a 6 month jump between season 2 and 3, and Frank is struggling as President with no major legislation getting passed by either the House or Senate, and the looming election just a year away. This season primarily focuses on how far Frank would go to secure his presidency, even firing his own wife as a U.S. Ambassador just for leverage. This of course foreshadows the marital problems the power couple will face, but never fully address, towards the end of Season 3, which ended with Claire walking out on Frank in the middle of Primary season.

  Now for some analysis; Robin Wright’s character, Claire, is absolutely brilliant as she finally becomes a formidable opponent towards Frank than any other character before. Frank, having a tradition of disposing of his political enemies with ease, faces a challenge he never knew he would: his wife. As most viewers already know, Claire could just be as cruel as Frank and even more so in some cases, but the media in HoC sees her as just the plain-spoken, fashionable First Lady. This soon changes, as Claire aspires to new political heights after a couple certain tragedies happen (no spoilers here), which gave he to the opportunity to truly shine, including her ending an oil crisis, the indirect maintaining of a country, and brokering peace–for a short time– in a Middle East country.  Throughout this, we get to see some real development of Claire’s character from one that tries to hide behind a facade overshadowed by Frank’s own ambitions to one that truly expresses her own inner motives and goals without Frank. Although their marriage problems, arguably, become resolved before the midpoint of the season; Claire comes from the ordeal stronger and more well-respected to both her peers and the people. Also, a certain understanding of their marriage comes about, that their marriage isn’t for love– that love died long ago– but without each other, they wouldn’t be anything. Separate, they’re deadly. Together, they’re unstoppable.

  Another part I loved about the series is that they didn’t try to rush. The past two seasons have literally taken part in the past 2 to 3 months. Some people say that the slowdown is really making the show go downhill fast, but I see it as an opportunity to fully examine how elections really work, as most Americans don’t know much about politics. Plus, with the current election cycle, it’s interesting to draw parallels between the fictional candidates and the real-life candidates. For example, Frank Underwood has drawn comparisons to Republican front-runner, Donald Trump, for both their nihilistic views of the world, their rhetoric, and lack of sympathy for weakness or powerlessness. Most of this is pretty surprising, considering that Frank is a Democrat, and most of his monologues contradict just about all beliefs a Democrat would have. However, it adds a layer to Frank’s complexities for his search of power because it seems that he’s afraid of leaving an empty legacy. Stating over and over, that he will not become a “lame duck” or “sit-in” president. After watching this season, it’ll be interesting to see where the next season will go and if all of our unanswered questions will be answered. And to also see if Frank Underwood wins the presidency again because a vote for Frank Underwood is a vote for America!

 

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A vote for Underwood- House of Cards Review