Thursday, 28 February 2013
House of Cards
House of Cards is a political drama starring Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood, the shrewd party whip for the Democrats. He played an instrumental role in the last election, and now expects certain promises to be fulfilled. Alas, pacts are broken and instead of being appointed to secretary of state Francis Underwood is banished to the fringes of politics. Time to play the longer game.
We are never told what the plan is, only that there is indeed a plan, which I thought added a touch of intrigue and mystery. Without giving too much away of the plot it's safe to say House of Cards is similar to other political dramas, there is a lot of wheeling and dealing, and when it looks the worst Frank Underwood plays his hidden card to save the day. It's fun to watch him obliterate those who goes up against him, although it makes me wonder why anyone would, how can they have missed him being so ruthless and efficient?
Frank Underwood's relationship, or should we call it a pact, with his wife makes me want to compare House of Cards with another popular political drama, Boss. Two shows about two powerful men married to two beautiful women who are at least as crafty as their men, and also have their own agendas. When their wills align both couples are formidable, but when they don't things get really interesting. It's a constant battle between their lust for power and their low for each other. The fact Francis Underwood actually loves his wife is the biggest difference between House of Cards and Boss, it is also not quite as brutal as Boss. Francis Underwood might have a hand soaked in blood, but in comparison Tom Kane would be sitting in a tub of it.
It's strangely satisfying watching a political drama. I'm just a sucker for the moment when the protagonist reveal their great plan, the one which no one thought was possible, leaving their opponent dumbstruck and often reduced to a quivering fool. No one does this better than Kevin Spacey.
The first couple of episodes gently eases us in to the political life in Washington as it introduces each major player in the show. Francis Underwood is not troubled by those opposing him, and they are swiftly disposed off, but the threat against him increases as the show goes on, and the plot turns more and more intricate.
A weekend of binging has left me with a taste for more.