I couldn’t wait for Season 3 of “House of Cards” to start streaming on Netflix. Neither could my Beehive colleague Traci Arbios. We aren’t binge watchers — not enough hours in the day, and, besides, I like to deal out my “Cards” slowly so I can stretch the experience. Both of us only caught the first episode over the past weekend. (Spoiler alert: Don’t read this if you’re still catching up with the first and second seasons, or, obviously, the first episode of Season 3.)
DONALD: Any thought that the new President Underwood would turn “House of Cards” into a “West Wing”-style White House drama filled with the buoyant minutiae of daily governing went out the window with the first episode of the third season. If anything, the show turned even darker than ever. I actually shuddered a couple of times. Were you surprised, Traci, at how much time we spent in the first episode with the struggling-for-life Doug Stamper (played by the amazing Michael Kelly), who at the end of last season had his head bashed in with a brick by Rachel?
TRACI: I think it’s safe to say that not a single item on my expected list showed up in the first episode; instead, several completely unanticipated moments punched me in the face. First off, yes; I was stunned to see Stamper alive. There’s no spoiler here– Stamper appears in the opening shots. Another surprise? Actually, a twofer: 1) Stephen Colbert interviewing a clearly 2) uncomfortable Underwood. When do we ever see Underwood uncomfortable? Question for you: What do you think of Claire Underwood’s foray into politics?
DONALD: And how could Frank have wandered into that Colbert interview? Is he losing his touch? And as far as Claire goes, I actually got a little spooked at her determination to be nominated for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. (Yes, it was shudder city for me during the first episode.) It’s the first time I can really remember a significant divide between Frank and Claire. (If he nominates her, I think it will be political suicide, by the way.) Even though both characters are not very nice people, I was always strangely comforted a little by their implacable bond of evil. Now that they’ve ostensibly reached their White House goal, to see them squaring off against each other makes me squeamish. We’re seeing cracks in the Underwood facade, and I have a feeling it’s going to be a bumpy ride. So, Traci, did you binge watch this past weekend? I only watched the first episode, mostly because I think I want to dole out this season slowly and surely.
TRACI: My first question was why on Earth would a president’s communication director allow a president to appear on a faux news show — but then I remembered this. So maybe it’s not too far fetched. What is far fetched, however? Photographers with zoom lenses not hiding in trees to capture the president’s private moment with his father’s grave. That said, I absolutely agree that an Underwood nomination to the UN is political suicide, and I think Frank knows this. Having only watched the first episode, my current outlandish prediction: the loyal , desperate Mr. Stamper becomes henchman again, this time pitted by one Underwood against one of the other. Frank did make an offhand remark which might be prophetic: People cannot say no to a widower in grief. Re-elections are coming. He needs a lot of yesses. Your turn, Donald: any predictions?
DONALD: OK, Traci, you made me shudder again (plus a chill down the spine) with your prediction: Underwood vs. Underwood. That’s brilliant. If it turns out that way, I’d actually be feeling a little sorry for Claire. (Never thought I’d be saying that.) I want you on the “House of Cards” writing staff. As for my predictions: Once Rachel surfaces, all bets are off. I predict she ends up as part of a new overpass on the Capital Beltway. Now if you’d kindly use a syringe to squirt some bourbon into my mouth, I think I’ll dive into Episode 2.