I had been fearing that the return of Frank Underwood and co. would be risky, as I wasn’t sure if they could pull off a whole new season – or two, since it has just been renewed for a third. But if there is something I needed to learn, is that House of Cards, and Frank Underwood, never cease to surprise me, or anyone, and they proved it.
The show picks up right where it left, with the Underwoods night-jogging while Doug Stamper discovered that Zoe Barnes had been doing some investigations into the death of Peter Russo, my favourite character last season.
And that is when things get mixed up. While Frank is sworn in as the new Vice President, Zoe is discovering more connections between Frank and Russo’s death, which lead to a series of encounters between them. She is willing to believe that he is innocent, she just wants to hear it from him, and that is what he does, and then…
Boom! She’s dead. As in, completely dead. Boy, I did not see that coming. In fact, as I was watching it, the first two seconds I expected it to be some kind of dream, or Frank’s imagination. There goes Zoe’s work, splattered all over the subway rails.
Is that why House of Cards was trying so hard to sell Zoe as the heroine of the show on the premiere and on last season’s finale? 20 minutes into this episode, I had written in my notes “I finally like Zoe (used to hate her)”, which should be a sign for me, because every time I like a character on a show or a movie they are brutally killed and/or injured*
I guess this means all the hard work and the death threats are now going to mourning boyfriend Lucas (spoiler: yes, they are), especially now that Janine has fled terrified. And who could blame her.
And on the political aspect of the premiere, Frank kept on being sneaky, knowing what to say in every situation with every person. It won’t be long until he controls the President completely and gets rid of Raymond Tusk, who is now his least favourite person in the world.
Only once Underwood breaks the fourth wall in this first episode, and it is perfect. “Hunt or be hunted”, he claims. Well, you just ruthlessly killed a girl on your birthday, so you follow that motto to death. And do I have the impression that Claire knew what he was going to do, and that she probably now knows what he did to Russo? Of course she does.
Which reminds me, she had some things going on during the episode, with Gillian, but she solved them in a minute. Not very exciting. Hopefully, she will get more interesting storylines, because Robin Wright is an amazing actress and when I was little I wanted to be like her in The Princess Bride, and that is a valid argument. Case closed.
On to chapter 15
And after all this stone cold drama, life goes on for the Underwoods, and I am already feeling sorry for anyone who crosses their way with Underwood’s, because they are dead, in a literal way. I am now sure he will kill everybody if that means he gets to be the President of the United States in 2020.
The episode revolves around home improvement, you could say: Frank refuses to move to a new house, so they have the new one adapted, CCTV cameras included. And I will just take this moment to say that I really like Meechum, Frank’s bodyguard, which means he is going to die. Sorry.
The main political plot this time involves Catherine, the Secretary of State, who frustrates a meeting with China, thus making Raymond Tusk angry (and Frank happy, as long as Tusk is not). Jackie Sharp, the candidate to occupy Frank’s old post as Majority Whip, plays some nasty game on her mentor, which turns out to be a despicable thing, but I am guessing that’s how politics work…
On the journalistic side of the episode, Lucas is going paranoid (even though he is right about everything) and decides to go deep to prove that Underwood killed Zoe. Bottom line, he ends up going into the deep web, a place I would never dare to go, to find a hacker who can get into Frank’s phone. At least he is doing it for a good reason, and not to find out if Sienna Miller is cheating on Jude Law or some dull story that is not interesting. And Sebastian Arcelus is doing a hell of a good job with the character.
And the Claire story of the week: we get some insight into her past, as Frank is commissioning a new general, Dalton McGinnis, who turns out to be the man who raped her in college. Claire has two fantastic scenes, one in the bathroom and one in bed, which show just how great she is at hiding her feelings behind a cold facade, all while showing she is capable of having them. More Claire and more backstory.
That’s a wrap for now. New episodes on the way soon. Will someone die? Will Lucas grow more insane? Will Frank destroy Tusk? Will we see more of Claire’s past? I am just kidding, I told you I watched five episodes: I already know the answers.
*Robb Stark, Talisa Stark, Peter Russo, The Doctor (every time), Mike Ehrmantraut, Lady Sybil, any direwolf (Grey Wind and Lady so far), Jaqen H’ghar (a Doctor type of death)…