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Marathoned Man. - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
captainsblog
captainsblog
Marathoned Man.

Thirteen episodes in eleven days. Series 2 is behind us- and the 46th President of the United States is in da House.

Is that a spoiler? Not if you followed the original BBC trilogy, or had any clear understanding of where the first Netflix series was destined to take us.  All in all, a strong beginning, a promising ending, but in between?

Remember when, and how, the Star Wars prequels jumped the tauntaun? In the first line of the first film's scroll:



Nothing short of a Jar Jar could have made that story any worse, and HOC picks up on this mistake early on, moving away from the people and into layer upon layer of diplomatic intrigue and internal committee/party machinations which nobody but Frank understands and nothing can stop Frank from using to achieve his own inevitable end.

Fortunately, there are enough surprises, and moments of tension, and new characters (and old) to love and hate as we go, but way more of it seemed too neat and disposable this time.  Freddy got his own episode, and a bit of ribby-good arc before it, but in hindsight it just seemed a cheap way to kill off the character or the plot device knowing that a POTUS would never be allowed such an indulgence.  The whole h8cker bit, which threaded all the way through and remained unresolved at the end, had the potential to be a cliffhanger but the cliff never really got to hang much, before and certainly after we learned of what would happen to Doug.  (Next time, in series 3: Francis is joined by Doug's even more dangerous brother Dinsdale.)

Some little things just bothered the shit out of me. When Francis is plotting against Walker and tells one of his minions that he can control impeachment, the minion reminds him that Frank, as former House whip, doesn't have the same influence on the Senate side. Frank replies, "But I am the President of the Senate and you saw what I did with entitlement reform there"- which he did- but which he couldn't do in a Senate impeachment trial. The Constitution (not to mention Clintonian precedent) plainly puts the Chief Justice of the United States in charge of that.  And why, when every single character is being threatened by the Underwoods in one way or another, did not a one of them think to go back to that crazy guy Lucas in federal prison to see whether his crazy-pants dirt might actually have some substance to it?

The final scenes of Chapter 26 hint at an even greater level of ruthlessness coming from 1600 in 27-39.  Will the new Boss use unprecedented power to rub out his remaining few enemies using some form of Sheriff's Secret Police? Will the still-alive and yet still-pissed women on their trails (Rachel, Megan and even Tricia) find their ways to get back at America's new First Fun Couple?  Will Raymond Tusk shave his playoff beard now that he's lost and go back to Simon and Simon?

Interestingly, they specifically declare the current fictional officeholder to be the 46th POTUS, which means they've implicitly acknowledged Obama to be the 44th (never explaining how we got from him to them).  I'm reminded that the third series of the original HOC trilogy (subtitled "The Final Cut") began, with much controversy, with the writers burying Margaret Thatcher, a good dozen years before the old bitch finally bought the farm (and promptly privatised it). I wonder if Willimon and Fincher will dare start the third series with such a shocker.  You could ask them, but I'm sure they couldn't possibly comment.

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