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Old February 12 2013, 02:04 AM   #1
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Netflix Presents: House of Cards (US) *SPOILERS*

A nice thread companion for the House of Cards (Netflix) thread. That one is for spoiler-free discussion about the show in general, such as it's status as a Netflix produced show and speculation about it's future and the future of other Netflix produced shows. If you'd like to read that thread, it's located here:

http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=201793

This thread will be for spoilers. Who has completed the first 13 episodes? What are your thoughts? What would you like to see from future episodes? Is Frank an evil person or is he justified?
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Old February 12 2013, 02:09 AM   #2
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Re: Netflix Presents: House of Cards (US) *SPOILERS*

I finished the series on Saturday. I was initially nervous about Netflix's decision to release all 13 episodes at once, because they won't be able to build up anticipation, but I think it worked to their advantage. Everyone is talking about it, and the people that want to binge through them are able to if they want. Plus, the season ends on a cliffhanger.

I was shocked that Frank would kill Russo, but it makes sense. He killed the dog in the first episode, putting it out of it's misery. Killing Russo would be the logical next step, especially because of all the troubles Russo had caused himself. Which was another thing that surprised me: Russo was on the path to recovery, but he never really bought into it. He never spoke up at the AA meetings, so it was a matter of time before he relapsed.
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Old February 12 2013, 02:24 AM   #3
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Re: Netflix Presents: House of Cards (US) *SPOILERS*

Frank knew that Russo would not be able to follow through with his recovery, which was his plan all along. I think killing him was an ad-lib though. I think he would have preferred to have him make a graceful statement dropping out and then resign and get his life together, disappearing into obscurity.

Even though Frank covered his tracks fairly well, it could come back to bite him if he ever makes an enemy of Doug Stamper.
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Old February 12 2013, 02:48 PM   #4
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Re: Netflix Presents: House of Cards (US) *SPOILERS*

Yeah, Russo failing was the plan all along, and in fact when it looked like he was doing well Frank and Stamper helped it along. I don't think killing him was part of the plan but it suited Frank so he did it.
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Old February 16 2013, 01:10 PM   #5
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Re: Netflix Presents: House of Cards (US) *SPOILERS*

Yeah, I was surprised by Russo's death at the hands of Frank. I can see why he did it, but I'm starting to think Frank took a bigger step than he planned, and Peter's death is haunting him to some degree. Still, when Pete was sitting there being tempted, I kept hoping he wouldn't take the bait, but sure enough he did. I knew it was all downhill from there. Now I'm curious as to what Stamper is going to do to keep this all under wraps.

I'm actually interested in Claire's story, too. Her office manager has essentially extorted her to gain a platform to rail against the very people she's working for (and lying about), and I'm on Claire's side in this one, who has always struck me as someone who tries to do good, even if that means making deals with the devil. The office manager is totally out of line, and I won't lie, I want it to bite her in the ass.
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Old February 16 2013, 06:27 PM   #6
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Re: Netflix Presents: House of Cards (US) *SPOILERS*

J. Allen wrote: View Post
I'm on Claire's side in this one, who has always struck me as someone who tries to do good, even if that means making deals with the devil.
What's interesting is that technically, Frank is also trying to do good. Everything he does, he says he's doing it for "power", but his means of getting power invariably result in "good".

1) He forces Kern to remove himself from the SecState nomination because of his own comments regarding Israel. Sure, the whole thing was fabricated behind the scenes, but nobody made Kern say the things he did on live TV. Clearly, Kern would not have been a good Secretary of State. Frank then pushes his own candidate forward, Durant, who is a much better Secretary.

2) He sets up the Congressman going for Education (can't remember his name) for failure by leaking his draft. But the draft is terrible and doesn't make the right change. Then Frank drafts a super-team of interns to write a better one. Then he does whatever it takes to get it passed.

3) As mentioned previously, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. Russo imploded all on his own. Sure, Frank kills him, but Russo is the one who said yes to the booze and hooker. He would have been a terrible governor if that's all it takes. Meanwhile, the VP really wants the job back and he is probably exactly what the people would have really wanted.

4) When dealing with the giant peach, Frank gets them to turn off the lights and save over $50k/yr, and then takes that money and sets up a college scholarship. He also helps bring closure to the parents. Sure, it was self-serving, but no doubt he made lives better. And it sure as shit was that girl's fault for texting and driving, you can't blame an ass-peach for that.
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Old February 16 2013, 08:35 PM   #7
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Re: Netflix Presents: House of Cards (US) *SPOILERS*

tighr wrote: View Post
What's interesting is that technically, Frank is also trying to do good. Everything he does, he says he's doing it for "power", but his means of getting power invariably result in "good".
True. Frank is out for himself, but he seems to like spreading around good things for people who either interest him, or are working toward the same goals he has. It's why I like Frank, despite some of the things he's done. I also love the face to face moments we get with him, like we're getting to really see the rationale behind his decisions, which as you say, are usually very reasonable and logical points.

1) He forces Kern to remove himself from the SecState nomination because of his own comments regarding Israel. Sure, the whole thing was fabricated behind the scenes, but nobody made Kern say the things he did on live TV. Clearly, Kern would not have been a good Secretary of State. Frank then pushes his own candidate forward, Durant, who is a much better Secretary.
Agreed. Frank's play there resulted in a better person holding the office.

2) He sets up the Congressman going for Education (can't remember his name) for failure by leaking his draft. But the draft is terrible and doesn't make the right change. Then Frank drafts a super-team of interns to write a better one. Then he does whatever it takes to get it passed.[/quote]

Ye gods that whole thing with the teacher's unions made me want to pull my hair out. I mean, the infighting on every level was absurd. I'm still surprised Frank managed to hammer out something usable!

3) As mentioned previously, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. Russo imploded all on his own. Sure, Frank kills him, but Russo is the one who said yes to the booze and hooker. He would have been a terrible governor if that's all it takes. Meanwhile, the VP really wants the job back and he is probably exactly what the people would have really wanted.
I think Russo was going to commit suicide. He had tried before, and I think he decided, toward the end, to just drink himself to death.

4) When dealing with the giant peach, Frank gets them to turn off the lights and save over $50k/yr, and then takes that money and sets up a college scholarship. He also helps bring closure to the parents. Sure, it was self-serving, but no doubt he made lives better. And it sure as shit was that girl's fault for texting and driving, you can't blame an ass-peach for that.[/QUOTE]

"Ass-peach".

That reminds me of the whole scene describing the peach's actual resemblance.

One of the reasons I like Frank is that he's morally ambiguous. You don't know when he's going to move in your favor or against you, though he will likely have a very rational reason for taking either course of action.

His character is just very nicely complex. He loves his wife, he cares deeply for his friends, and if you're loyal to him, he is loyal to you. At the same time, if you present yourself as a problem, he will brush you aside like a man swatting a persistently irritating fly.

He's used to getting what he wants, and he wants power more than anything, but instead of just serving himself, it seems he wants to do good things with that power. He wants to shape the nation in his vision.
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Old February 17 2013, 03:32 PM   #8
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Re: Netflix Presents: House of Cards (US) *SPOILERS*

This show is so dark. I don't know if I'll watch S2. Though it was certainly well-engineered through Netflix's data mining to keep me watching this "season."

Thoughts:

Frank killed a man. That's a quantum leap beyond lying and manipulating. Whether Russo would have killed himself, most people relapse. Many recover. Russo might have. He had his girlfriend who had not given up on him. I really want to see Frank's downfall. I was disappointed in the series, when Russo relapsed. I thought it was going to give me something positive. Zoe's change is, somewhat, I guess.

2. I got the feeling plan A was to have Russo succeed and it was only when he rebelled against Frank they tempted him with Rachael. Frank tells us into the camera what he's thinking, and I don't recall him discussing Russo as a set up originally.

3. Frank's chief of staff seems like he might have a soul. I think he's going to be troubled by the murder.
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Old February 17 2013, 04:14 PM   #9
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Re: Netflix Presents: House of Cards (US) *SPOILERS*

The writer of the book the original was based on says that when the original went aired he got a phone call from his Grandma and all she said "You let the bastard get away with it!" then didn't speak to him for a long time after.
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Old February 17 2013, 05:25 PM   #10
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Re: Netflix Presents: House of Cards (US) *SPOILERS*

Probably a good thing people haven't seen the original version otherwise some of Frank's actions wouldn't come as a surprise.
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Old February 17 2013, 07:40 PM   #11
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Re: Netflix Presents: House of Cards (US) *SPOILERS*

If his actions end in some good, that seems purely accidental to me. The original SecState might have been fine; the current one might be bad. We don't know. And a federal education law really making a difference? Debatable.

Frank reminds me of the inquisitor in 1984 who tells Winston it is all about power and that's the be-all and end-all. To what end? He's not real pleased with getting a library named after himself. Clare is right - exercise of power for its own sake, and then you die.... It isn't like he's exercising power for some greater cause(s) he believes in.

Yet he's not a sociopath: he has feelings, loves his wife, loves his old friends. Interesting.

How typical of politicos do you think he is? My local reps and our old Congressman all seem like people with real concerns, not just all about power. Is West Wing more accurate, do you think, where power games play a part, but it's not all lying and plotting and using people?
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Old February 17 2013, 09:53 PM   #12
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Re: Netflix Presents: House of Cards (US) *SPOILERS*

plynch wrote: View Post
If his actions end in some good, that seems purely accidental to me. The original SecState might have been fine; the current one might be bad. We don't know. And a federal education law really making a difference? Debatable.

Frank reminds me of the inquisitor in 1984 who tells Winston it is all about power and that's the be-all and end-all. To what end? He's not real pleased with getting a library named after himself. Clare is right - exercise of power for its own sake, and then you die.... It isn't like he's exercising power for some greater cause(s) he believes in.

Yet he's not a sociopath: he has feelings, loves his wife, loves his old friends. Interesting.

How typical of politicos do you think he is? My local reps and our old Congressman all seem like people with real concerns, not just all about power. Is West Wing more accurate, do you think, where power games play a part, but it's not all lying and plotting and using people?
I think Frank is the living embodiment of the notion that any action, whether noble or evil, can be justified if it's thought over long enough. Any action can be rationalized if given enough time.
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Old February 17 2013, 10:06 PM   #13
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Re: Netflix Presents: House of Cards (US) *SPOILERS*

plynch wrote: View Post
Whether Russo would have killed himself, most people relapse. Many recover. Russo might have. He had his girlfriend who had not given up on him.
Russo's girlfriend DID give up on him. She left him and quit her job to go work for the Speaker. She wouldn't even take his phone calls. It was not until Frank stepped up and got Russo to sober up that he was able to get her to talk to him again, and even then she was cautious. Russo was on a dark path all on his own, and Frank redeemed him.

When Russo started to question Frank's motives, Frank would not give him a second chance. The setup with Rachel was entirely in Russo's hands; he could have turned her down and done the right thing and left. Instead, he gave in to his temptations and ruined his life. Russo was causing himself and others pain at this point. When Frank kills him, it is just like the dog in the pilot. He put Russo out of his misery.
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Old February 17 2013, 10:25 PM   #14
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Re: Netflix Presents: House of Cards (US) *SPOILERS*

tighr wrote: View Post
plynch wrote: View Post
Whether Russo would have killed himself, most people relapse. Many recover. Russo might have. He had his girlfriend who had not given up on him.
Russo's girlfriend DID give up on him. She left him and quit her job to go work for the Speaker. She wouldn't even take his phone calls. It was not until Frank stepped up and got Russo to sober up that he was able to get her to talk to him again, and even then she was cautious. Russo was on a dark path all on his own, and Frank redeemed him.

When Russo started to question Frank's motives, Frank would not give him a second chance. The setup with Rachel was entirely in Russo's hands; he could have turned her down and done the right thing and left. Instead, he gave in to his temptations and ruined his life. Russo was causing himself and others pain at this point. When Frank kills him, it is just like the dog in the pilot. He put Russo out of his misery.
1. I'm talking about later in the show, after his girlfriend comes back, she still cares about him when he screws up and goes missing.

2. Killing a human being who might or might not recover from alcoholism is the same as putting a mortally wounded dog out of its misery? Man, I'm staying out of your way!
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Old February 18 2013, 12:56 AM   #15
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Re: Netflix Presents: House of Cards (US) *SPOILERS*

Having watched the first two Chapters, I am torn. I realize that we need to be inside his head to see the manipulation of Underwood. But the narration really bothers me. It's not as if they could write him talking to characters doing this. That person would know everything about him and could turn on him. But it is very grating that he stops in the middle of a scene and says something to the camera.

After that, Chapter 1 dragged on. I know he's going to oust the guy as soon as he gives the draft to Zoe. Why do I need another 20 minutes of action telling me exactly what I've already figured out.

The second Chapter was much better. I think it shows him as a more powerful and manipulative character (and humbled by his wife). I still haven't figured out if he wants to ruin the President, make his life a living hell, or if he wants to pour salt on his head, so to speak. It is an intelligent series, but this is really dark. I know stuff like this goes on, but I feel like I'm watching a serial murderer in a suit with words as his daggers, slowly skinning his victims alive. It makes my skin crawl. But like a train-wreck, I think I'm hooked, and that's all that matters to Netflix. I have to see where it goes from here.
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