**SPOILERS AHEAD! READ ON AT YOUR OWN RISK**
During the past few weeks, I have delved into the popular Netflix show, House of Cards. I understand that I am late to the party, but I think it’s better late than never. Because of the glowing reviews, I expected a lot going into this show. This will be a review for only season 1, though I plan on releasing reviews for the next three seasons very soon. This review will be fairly different from my other reviews on this site. I’m going to break down this season with a brief summary, and then go into my overall review. As I said at the beginning of this article, I plan on giving away some major spoilers about the show. You’ve been warned…
Season 1 of House of Cards remains one of my favorites from the show. You begin to see the workings of the different branches of government. And in the first episode, or chapter 1 as the show calls it, we meet Frank Underwood. Underwood is a ruthless congressman and House Majority Whip. But after being passed over for the Secretary of State position, Underwood plans his revenge to go after the President in order to gain control for himself. Underwood begins working in cahoots with young journalist, Zoe Barnes. Barnes works for the Herald in more of a social media type asset to the paper. Their relationship, though at first professional, begins to take on a sexual type of relationship. So after Underwood enlists her to begin publishing damaging stories about other congressmen, Barnes accepts, knowing this will be her way to the top.
Among so many plots throughout season 1, one of the stories I found most appealing was that of Congressman Russo’s downward spiral. Russo, who deals with alcoholism, becomes sober in an effort to run for Governor of Pennsylvania. However, this is only part of Underwood’s plan to get higher in the food chain. Later in the season, Underwood (with his man servant Doug Stamper) ends up sending call girl, Rachel Posner, to go and seduce Russo, eventually breaking Russo’s sobriety. Russo becomes so depressed, he drops out of the race, thus falling into a drunken spiral. After a night of heavy drinking, Underwood leaves a passed out Russo in his car. Underwood parks the car in the garage, leaving Russo surrounded in a cloud of carbon dioxide. As the news of Russo’s death spreads, Underwood tells the Vice President to run for Governor of Pennsylvania. But the President has different plans, as he has in mind of a replacement for the Vice President, suggesting businessman Raymond Tusk. Towards the end of the season, Barnes turns on Underwood by scheming (with two fellow journalists) to piece together information of Underwood’s unorthodox time in the White House.
Thoughts on Season 1:
I could have gone into far more detail about the first season of House of Cards. But because the season really took off, there’s no way I could go in-depth on everything that happened. Much like every other television show, this season started fairly slow, but ended up having an exploding season finale. This season really just gave you a hint of what Underwood will do to become one of the powerful men in the world. Russo, who eventually dies at the hands of Underwood, is nothing but a pawn in Underwood’s game. Russo who started out as a legitimately honest (as honest as politician come) congressman, he ends up becoming just like the rest of those dishonest political figures. Every character in this show is in it for themselves. In one way or another. Barnes, Russo, Tusk, President Walker, and Underwood, all hope to gain information by pitting people against one another, and not stopping until they get their desired outcome. This brings me to the storyline of both Underwood and Barnes. Barnes wanted to climb the ladder of success, as Underwood wanted to get revenge on those politicians that did him wrong. So Barnes and Underwood keep using each other to get what they want. However, their relationship becomes sexual after Barnes tries to seduce Underwood. This ongoing professional and sexual relationship is interesting to watch, because, as I was watching it, I was wondering when Barnes was going to see the error of her ways, and turn on Underwood. This relationship ends up taking a turn for the worse, but I will explain that more when I discuss season 2.
In my summary, I hardly spoke about Underwood’s wife Claire. Both Frank and Claire are extremely manipulative when it comes to getting what they want. Claire is a strong woman. I’ll give her that. But I felt her storyline was nothing to be wowed over. As the show continues, you see Claire really become sinister, as she takes a place next to Frank in the political spectrum.
There are so many great supporting characters in season 1. What’s great about these characters are, because they are so mean and vindictive, I end up having such hate for these people. For one character, Doug Stamper, my hate continues to escalate for him as the show progresses.
I loved finally getting to watch House of Cards. I wish I hadn’t waited for so long, but then again, I am quite happy, because by missing so many episodes, that gave me the opportunity to binge watch. Though season 1 had a few missteps, I enjoyed watching this season. House of Cards has so much more to offer, but I will explain that in later season reviews. Stay tuned for my season 2 review of House of Cards, where I dive into my least favorite season so far.
House of Cards Season 1