A House of Cards Community
Netflix (Returning February 27, 2015)

Welcome to what I hope is the first of many posts I make under the guise of 'TV Screenshot'. As a television enthusiast often when I'm watching an episode of a series there are scenes, or more specifically, shots, that are striking beautiful or memorable in one way or another that they stick with me long after I have finished watching the episode. I usually make these shots my screensaver for a time, until I come across another that is. These posts will highlight what I think to be memorable shots in the television shows I watch, and I'll go into a little detail about why I find them so enthralling, and what they may represent in the series they're from overall. Much like tv.com's FTW vs. WTF posts, I'll be trying to post a 'TV Screenshot' each week, but really it'll depend on whether or not a shot that incites me pops up. First up is a shot from the premiere of House of Cards, I hope you enjoy, and please let me know your thoughts!

House of Cards is a series that will always be associated with revolutionary television, it being the first drama series produced by the online streaming service provider Netflix, but the brashness of its storytelling indicates its attempt to be a series known for much more than that. I don't deny there's something truly exhilarating in watching a series like House of Cards when it makes such a risky decision by killing off one of its main characters in journalist Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara), but at the same time, such a decision also comes across as a sign of desperation for any series, that these decisions are being made to generate buzz, rather than being a legitimate creative decision.

I myself hadn't planned on tuning into House of Cards' second season having come to the conclusion at the end of its first that I wasn't willing to commit any further to a series whose two lead characters were such deplorable people, and Mr. and Mrs. Underwood were in fine form throughout this episode, to say the least. But once the entire thirteen episode second season became available on January 14th, not long after came the aforementioned buzz because of the series' risky decision, and as a television lover, I couldn't not watch it. I'm obviously the bigger fool here, tuning into a series I said I no longer would because of the hype. And ironically enough, House of Cards seems to know this. At the end of the second season premiere soon-to-be Vice President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), broke the third wall to give the viewer a monologue, a distinctive trait the series used prominently in its first season, and an aspect that was noticeably missing from most of the second season premiere. His words, I think, as his monologue's in general have been, are very existential in their meaning:

'Did you think I'd forgotten you? Perhaps you hoped I had? Don't waste a breathe mourning Miss Barnes, every kitten grows up to be a cat. They seem so harmless at first, small, quiet, lapping up their saucer of milk, but once their claws get long enough, they draw blood - sometimes from the hand that feeds them. For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there can be no mercy. There is but one rule: hunt or be hunted. Welcome back.'

The camera then pans to a set of cufflinks Underwood had received from Edward, his chauffeur, for his birthday, inscribed with his initials 'F U' (which, by the way, someone obviously needs to inform Edward about proper gift-giving etiquette. It's never appropriate to give someone a gift with their name and/ or initials on it if it implies fuck you, but I digress). To me, the monologue blatantly states that the writers of House of Cards are not going to apologise for their decision to kill off Zoe Barnes, arguably the shows only moral compass. The series is out to make a name for itself, and despite my, or any other critic or viewers problems with how they go about this, the writers mean serious business, and don't care what anyone thinks. They have now officially warned us about what House of Cards is, and where it's willing to go as a series, and now it's up to us to decide whether this journey is one we are willing to follow into undoubtedly darker depths. And if we don't like it, well what they're saying is, 'F U'.
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