House of Cards

On Friday night, when many of the people I knew were celebrating Valentine’s Day with dinner at a favorite restaurant or some other kind of night on the town, My Darling B and I had pizza delivered and wolfed the whole thing down while we watched House Of Cards, because nothing says romance like a drama whose central character is a monomaniacal politician bent on destroying the lives of pretty much everyone in Washington because he wasn’t selected to become the attorney general by the milquetoast president he helped get elected.

I was yawning even as I wrote that sentence, but it’s a really, really gripping story, as good any of the political intrigues Shakespeare came up with. I can’t believe I just said that, either. But just when I think the plot can’t get any more convoluted or evil, Frank Underwood, the central character, finds out he has to screw over several more people who stand in his way to total political dominance, then he comes up with a new and completely unexpected way to screw them.

And in the crossover episodes from the end of the first season and the start of the second, Underwood crossed the line from being scheming, malicious, self-centered and amoral to being nothing less than a truly evil monster, which is too bad as far as the series is concerned because it means that, like Walter White, Underwood will have to get caught in his own tangled web eventually. He’s clever, but people in the show are starting to wake up to the fact that he doesn’t want his share of the power, he wants it all, and the number of people who have seen what he’ll do to get it is growing. Underwood and his minion, Stamper (no, really), were able to keep the witnesses quiet when there were just a few, but their numbers are becoming unmanageable.

Underwood will be unhorsed eventually, maybe this season, maybe the next. We viewers have even been treated to a foreshadowing of his fall already, but until his enemy hits him in the back of his head with a rock, the second season promises to be a pretty wild ride.

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