William: There’s a distinct possibility that when I’m on my deathbed and my loved ones are gathered around for my last breath, I’m gonna look back to my 30s and say, gotdamn, I wish I had those 13 hours back that I committed to House Of Cards season 4.
OK, wait, let me back up. It’s been almost two weeks since the newest season of House of Cards dropped where we waited with baited breath for the continuation of Underwood vs Underwood at the highest political level… how did that work out for you?
Jordan: How’d it work out for me? You know how when someone wrongs you, you might promise to never forget? And you pine and stew in your anger and disappointment, but then eventually you start to forget what exactly it was you were angry about? You hold onto the feeling, but the details get cloudier and cloudier until you start to slip? That’s what House of Cards is to me. In our heart we knew this season was suspect. We knew — no matter how much we buried it — we knew after the the lackluster third season that we would be done wrong. But we forgot just how bad it was, and just how much worse it’s likely to get… and we slipped. And now we find ourselves here, 4 seasons and 52 episodes deep, drinking our morning coffee in the White House with our new-normal love triangle and asking ourselves how the hell we got here. How did we get here, Will? William, I need to understand, how did we get here?
William: We got here cuz Netflix is about that money, that pyramid mummy money. House of Cards should have been 3 seasons, 4 at most. The rise, the prize, the turmoil, the fall. Done. But when we dedicating full episodes to Doug Stamper’s rehab or Lucas learning the “Deep Net,” I knew that they were gonna drag this shit out more than a Naruto battle. This shit is the anti-Breaking Bad, where efficiency is an afterthought… similar to any semblance of realism.
Of all the things I found most disappointing was the abandonment of the Frank versus Claire. That shit was the whole angle they pushed for this season, and what, it was done by episode 4?
Jordan: That. Was. A. Con. And like any good con, I’m less mad at them for doing it than I am at myself for falling for it. Claire versus Frank was the redeeming value of the third season — the one thing that made you think “well it wasn’t that good, but oh man, it’ll be worth it for this.” And what was it? A pump fake. A handjob. A trap to stretch a show on life support, a show that Netflix would be best to let go. It’s the anti-Breaking Bad, for sure — not fast enough to be riveting and not thoughtful enough to be worth the haul — but you know what show it reminds me of more? House of Cards is the bastardization of FX’s The Shield. That was the whole premise, right? “The rise, the prize, the turmoil, and the fall,” The Shield is the blueprint for what House of Cards was meant to be, only the political equivalent rather than cop drama.
[quote_right]And now we find ourselves here, 4 seasons and 52 episodes deep, drinking our morning coffee in the White House with our new-normal love triangle and asking ourselves how the hell we got here[/quote_right]But where The Shield paced nearly flawlessly between the original bad deeds and the need to escape them, House of Cards went off the rails. Frank Underwood got cute. Washington, DC went beyond asking the suspension of disbelief it required in the first season, to blatantly telling audiences “this’ll work, because Frank and Claire had a conversation, and they said it’ll work.” Can you even count the scenarios that made you roll your eyes? The times they acknowledged something as ridiculous, but by acknowledging it they thought it was made okay?
William: Bruh. I rolled my eyes so much during this season I gotta undergo a concussion syndrome test every time I boot up Netflix now. Number one with a bullet gotta be Claire when she told Frank she wanted to be Vice President. Fam, my wife is a director at her non-profit job. If I said, yo, you should make me assistant director because we make a good team, she would look me dead in the eye and say, “William, I want you out of the house by Friday. Your daughter will be told you died when your train derailed on its way to Narnia.” Fuck outta here man. I predicted this shit would become Scandal two seasons ago, but I still wasn’t ready man. I just wasn’t ready.
Jordan: Were you ready for 3 episodes of drug-induced Underwood nightmares? Meechum’s hand being drawn on the White House wall? Claire’s mother being — well naw, I can’t hate on that, Claire’s mom was pretty awesome. Senior citizen women were thriving this season, man. Fam called the president “trailer trash” and said “I hope you die.” And she meant that shit. Frank pissed on a grave last season but if Elizabeth Hale were able, I’m fairly sure she’d cock over and straight shit on Frank in a hospital bed. She wanted to beat cancer just to dance on this dude’s grave and would’ve died happily not 5 minutes later. Senior citizens were eating, man. You see the Black congresswomen’s face when Claire wanted to run in her district?
William: Which brings up another big issue with this season, who the hell was handling the character management on this show? These muthafuckas gave you mini arcs of every decent character and extended arcs to every annoying muthafucka we thanked Bast the Panther God for leaving behind. How much money did Netflix give Kate Mara to slip into a white dress, straddle gut shot Frank and blow smoke in his face?
Jordan: You mean that wasn’t an essential plot element to advance the story as we knew it? But Meechum died, Will. Meechum!
William: Meechum had to die, man. If your hand get traced on a White House wall where a painting that featured a confederate flag once hung, then you have to die. Those are the rules, man. Call it the curse of General Lee.
Jordan: Doug Stamper gotta die, right? Not only does Doug Stamper gotta die but dude needs the fate Joffry Boratheon deserved. Doug tracked a woman to the desert and buried her body, fam. Doug had a sex worker put Jack Daniels in a syringe and squirt it in his mouth. Doug had a family man die from liver failure, only to pay off his widow in bubblegum with hard dick still forthcoming.
Doug gotta be the biggest piece of shit on TV, primarily because — and this is the kicker — he’s shitty for no clear reason. Does he want power, does he want money? Nah, he just wants Frank’s approval with Labrador-like loyalty with an explanation that’s hardly ever given. What the fuck are you doing, Doug? Why the fuck are you doing it? The writers do their best to humanize him once or twice a season, bringing in his family or his alcoholism, yet I’m still at a loss for why, even 4 seasons later. For the writer’s room, Doug’s purpose is to have no purpose except to serve Frank. He’s Goon #2 on the boss battle of Streets of Rage. Can we talk more about Goon #1 though, the former love of my life? The boss ice queen herself?
William: Ain’t nothing wrong with Claire that a COMPLETE REWRITE OF HER CHARACTER FOR THE LAST SEASON CAN’T FIX. How did we get here, man? Claire Underwood was once one of the best characters on TV. Now she out here latching on to Frank’s power like a tick. Give me some nuance back with Claire. What happened to her actually doing something, like running a company or occupying an actual job? Hell, what happened to her fucking jogging around the capital? I thought the idea of her running for an office herself was brilliant, especially if it put her at odds with Frank. Now, she is literally failing her way up the ladder to be within one failed liver of the presidency.
Jordan: Netflix is waiting for the Frank Ocean album to drop before they even consider wrapping this up, fam. What other adventures can they stretch before it all falls down? The reporter gets Claire pregnant? News of Frank’s corruption breaks just after he wins the election, and the Underwoods fight impeachment? Claire frees the slaves and cages her dragons in Meereen? I wish I could say I’m done, man. I really wish I could. We’ve all invested too much time though, so we’re all going to see where it goes whether we like it or not. And with so much time between seasons we’ll likely forget what we’re saying right now, the details’ll get foggy, and then that Season 5 trailer will drop and we’ll get caught slippin’. The question is, is there anything that could save what this series has become?
[quote_left]if this were the Claire from season 2 with Claire from season 4 disdain for Frank, she would’ve found another Secret Service agent to manipulate with one order: Make sure he [Frank] doesn’t wake up.[/quote_left]William: Cuz you know the season 5 trailer gonna be flames, man. Netflix knows what the hell they’re doing. Netfix is the auntie that spends an hour and $30 on wrapping paper just just so you can unwrap a gotdamn keychain they got from some vendor while they vacationed in Florida. We didn’t even get to the fact that we went 13 episodes and didn’t even finish the fucking election! Maybe this is the curse of Joel Kinnaman (who plays Will Conway) because his breakout show, The Killing, became notorious when it didn’t wrap up the central mystery in the first season. Maybe his agent that good (“Naw fam, my dude needs at least another 8 episodes to wrap up what should’ve happened in the previous 6”). But you right, my completionist nature will make me peak in and see what new helicopter exploding in an open field storytelling is coming next season. But I ain’t binging that shit again, man. My weekends deserve better. Any quick predictions for the first episode of season 5? Time jump? Claire miscarriage? Meechum becomes the first zombie as he stumbles up to the front gates of the White House? I think it’s all on the table at this point.
Jordan: This is Kevin Garnett in 2008, fam. Anything is possible. I expect 2 more isolated plots before the actual fallout, which goes through at least 1 more reporter before finally seeing daylight. War distraction, election distraction, unforeseen distraction, and then Hammerschmidt passes the torch to Pulitzer-prize winning Kate Baldwin who finally leaks the story and it all begins crashing down. “Begins” being the operative word here. Still 4 more seasons till 2022.