The critics have been lying to you. If you paid attention to the chatter surround Netflix’s House of Cards season three, you’d be under the impression that it is entirely a underwhelming affair.
Instead what you get is, once again, high quality television. Television which makes the case that cinema has lost it’s crown.
Anyway I assessed the third season of House of Cards I came up with the same answer – this series is brilliant. We can quibble over whether it is as good as the two seasons which came before it, but to my mind, it is still brilliant.
The reason I loved this season really boils down to three things: Doug, Lars Mikkleson’s Putin (aka Petrov) and … AmWorks.
Let me start with Doug. Frank’s consigliere is broken and watching the character struggle to build himself up again to make himself useful was fascinating. And to watch the ‘will he, won’t he’ turn on Frank arch of this season complicated the character even more. Michael Kelly was fantastic this season and damn near out-acted Wright and Spacey.That is no mean feat.
No, I lie. Mikkleson out acted everyone in the series. This man out Franked Frank and stole the damn show in every scene he was in. I know it sounds OTT but his appearance is like Heath Ledger’s Joker. It is impossible to take your eyes off of him. He brings tension, a level of mischief to the scene and almost always leaves a level of destruction in his wake. The only down side is that Petrov doesn’t appear in many episodes – but always want them wanting more and all that.
And finally Amworks – by that I mean, I loved the fact that the show writers were not scared to delve deep into policy. One of my friends who really didn’t care for this season was dismayed by the fact that there was no sly plotting and back stabbing from Frank and there was too much politics. I imagine that many felt the same. Yes, this meant that many of the episodes felt like they could have been part of The West Wing – but what’s wrong with that.
Overall this season delivered on the promise of showing me what a Frank Underwood presidency would look like – and the answer was chaotic. The question is where do they go from here?
The only negative I have to say about the show is that the relationship breakdown of Frank and Claire felt … off. The couple have been so pragmatic and so ruthless – to watch it go downhill so quickly didn’t feel right. It will be interesting to see what the show does to resolve this problem in season four – and they have to resolve it. Either Frank and Claire are back together very early in season four or Frank loses the presidency. Any other scenarios feel very much like jumping a whale.
Also, next season has to be the final season. Let it be about Frank trying to secure his legacy and how far he’d go to be remembered as a great president. Don’t try and flog this horse until it dies – end it on a high.