House of Cards series 3 episode 1 spoiler free preview: “The West Wing for cynics”

Top tip: rewatch the second series if you want to remember the various whips, senators and staff. There are no attempts to bring you up to speed...

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Short of running for Pope, there’s not much higher Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) can climb. His scheming in the last two seasons has already made him President, but winning the White House is one thing. Keeping it is another.

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It’s a low-key start to the series, laying out the pieces for the coming mayhem. Top tip: rewatch the second series if you want to remember the various whips, senators and staff. There are no attempts to bring you up to speed. This is the big leagues son. Keep up.

With Frank installed in the Oval Office, House of Cards has become the West Wing for cynics. Instead of Martin Sheen’s cuddly intellectual speaking in Latin you have… well, Satan, carving up the American dream. It’s not a great advert for the Democratic party.

The chosen theme for the opener: fathers and their sins. As always Frank and Claire (Robin Wright) do their impression of Lord and Lady Macbeth, not the most paternal mom and pop for America. There’s also something reminiscent of the original Francis Urquhart and his Daddy complex…

Thankfully, that’s about the only link to the original BBC series. By this point, Prime Minister Urquhart was tangling with a Prince Charles lookalike who had ascended to the throne. Obviously this wouldn’t translate that well across the pond, and the remake is free to strike out in its own direction. No-one knows what will happen now.

Most dangerously there are hints of division in the Underwood marriage, as Claire starts planning for her own political power, Hilary style. She’s not going to stand in Frank’s shadow anymore.

Screw your courage to the sticking place. I hate it when mommy and daddy fight.

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House of Cards Series 3 is released on Netflix UK on Friday 27th November