Season 3 of ‘House of Cards’ has dull, slow start

Arthur Aumann

It appears the façade Frank and Claire Underwood have crafted is set to crack in season three of “House of Cards” (warning: spoilers ahead).

The biggest shock of the premiere — the series was released in whole Friday on Netflix — was how little of Frank we actually got to see. It’s not to say he isn’t in the first episode because he still has a memorable opening scene. But, his screen time was split with Doug, who was believed to be killed at the end of season two.

That twist aside, it’s a surprisingly mundane premiere unlike season two’s first episode, which featured then-vice president Frank pushing reporter Zoe in front of a train.

Early episodes of season three are more strongly rooted in policy-making and governing, and especially in foreign affairs, rather than the Machiavellian chess match we’ve become accustomed to. This might be an unwelcome shift in tone for viewers who have watched the show just to see Kevin Spacey destroy people. But, it should still be interesting for the politically conscious audience.

The irony thus far is that through all his scheming, Frank has finally obtained the most powerful position in the world, yet he appears the weakest he’s ever been. This perfectly portrays the plight that hinders many politicians: Saying what you’re going to do when you’re not in power is easy, but doing what you set out to do once you’ve taken office is a tall order.

Perhaps the most telling scene in the early episodes of Frank’s newly found impotence is in one of his usual asides. He contemplates destroying a Supreme Court justice in an attempt to force him to retire, then decides against it (which comes back to haunt him). Unfortunately, the asides that made “House of Cards” such a distinguishable show have been fewer and further between this season.

Frank isn’t the only one who seems like he may be falling apart. His wife, Claire, seems less calculated and sloppier than usual. She has one especially disastrous moment when loses a United Nations ambassador nomination.

The rift between Frank and Claire has become greater as they’ve graduated to sleeping in separate rooms and have a heated exchange on their way back from Moscow that pushes them even further apart. 

While the first few episodes may be slow for some, season three of “House of Cards” doesn’t disappoint and continues to give viewers a cynical look into the seedy dealings of politicians.