House of Cards series review

The “House of Cards” series was a great series, with many twists and turns that leave the viewers wondering “what comes next?”. When I had watched the first episode, I did not particularly like the show at all. I had dreaded the thought of having to watch two episodes once a week and to write a review about it. I had originally thought the series was going to focus on politics and how they work and be more on the “educational” side. I had started to become interested in the show after episodes three and four in particular, once I had started to see Frank’s ruthlessness. Additionally, Frank “partnering” up with Barnes and seeing how their relationship worked, definitely won me over and the show had my full attention. The only thing that I find to be the problem with the series, is that there isn’t something that “connects” to the younger audience, that may never have watched a show about politics in the first place (ex: me).

The most interesting part of this whole first season was Peter Russo’s “suicide”. Peter Russo’s rampant drug use and erratic behaviors throughout the series made the show much more entertaining, in my opinion. Once Peter Russo was murdered by Frank, I was kind of disappointed in a way because I had felt there were many directions his character could have went or taken. Peter Russo getting murdered by Frank had definitely shocked me to say the least, because up until that point I did not think of Frank Underwood as a vicious “murderer”. I had thought Frank Underwood was deceitful, manipulative, ruthless, a prick, etc, but I definitely did not see Frank murdering Russo at all. Frank had wanted to keep things “quiet” from Peter Russo after causing him to relapse and bomb an on-air interview. It never once occurred to me that Russo going to the police station to attempt to get himself arrested would lead to him getting driven home by Frank and ultimately killed by him. Frank Underwood is the main character and I want nothing more than for him to fail, but since he is the main character and a “nominee for vice president”, he will most likely not “fail” enough to my liking in the next season.

Zoe Barnes is an interesting character in this show and her character (along with all the others) probably only shows half of what actually goes on in the real world of politics. I find her to be extremely pretty and I definitely had enjoyed the scenes where she was half nude; I feel if the series had nudity it might be more appealing to the younger audience. She starts off trading information with Frank for sex to realize she didn’t want it anymore and wanted a non-sexual but professional relationship. By the end of this series Frank agrees to a “professional relationship” with her. At the same time his partner Doug finds out that Barnes is harassing Russo’s ex-girlfriend, along with the prostitute who seduced Russo the night he relapsed. I feel that some thing(s) may go wrong for her in the future episodes. Barnes now forming a “team” going after Frank is going to make the series a bit more interesting. It is now dangerous for Barnes since she is digging for information into the “suicide” of Peter Russo and since Frank is involved with Russo’s death, I’m sure in season two it will get even uglier.

Claire Underwood’s character is well played and she definitely knows her “role” as Frank Underwood’s wife throughout the series. She explained to Adam that she needed someone she could love for more than a week. I found this statement interesting since the viewers never witness Frank having sex with Claire, or even giving her a kiss. I don’t see Claire’s relationship with Frank as “love” because it seems more like they are together just to help each other and benefit from one another. It’s almost like they have a set arrangement, though it seems as if Claire is becoming “tired” of it seeing how she is looking into if she could still conceive a baby. I can’t picture a character like Frank becoming a family man all of a sudden, though it would be quite interesting to see where it would lead.

Frank Underwood is now in a position to be nominated for vice president. I am eager to see what he will do if he becomes vice president. I am also curious as to whether his ruthlessness will decline or continue even more if he takes the vice president position. He always seems to have everything planned out and worked out, but when he was offered the position to become vice president, he didn’t seem like it was a part of his “plan”. Frank originally went to convince Tusk to take the position, even though he had wanted someone else, and instead the President and Tusk offer it to him. In my opinion it seemed like Frank was flustered at first, and I feel that he doesn’t want the position. It will be fun to see where this all leads to.

I am happy that I didn’t get assigned to “binge-watch” House of Cards. In my opinion this show is best watched two episodes per week as I was assigned. I am going to watch it regularly instead of “binge-watching” when the next season comes out. I am definitely no stranger to “binge-watching” or to what Aaron said in his article. I have binge-watched shows like “The Wire”, “Breaking Bad”, “Boardwalk Empire, “Dexter”, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, “Workaholics” and the list could go on and on. However, I don’t feel that “binge-watching” is the best way to watch a show in all cases. Certain series have shows that flow very well into one another but contain a lot of events that the viewers have to take in all at once. Aaron is definitely correct about one thing; I barely ever turn on my T.V. anymore and it sits here collecting dust. When I want to watch an episode of a show or even a new episode I go to my designated “t.v./movie” web-site and click away and view what I want, when I want. In my opinion it is a lot more convenient to “binge-watch” on Netflix, if you have a lot of free/spare time.

“House of Cards” overall was a great series, and I am extremely grateful that I was introduced to it. There were certain episodes that I felt could have been better, though I look forward to viewing season two. Since it’s picked up so many viewers, I am curious to see what direction the series will take. I am happy that a show I first viewed as boring and confusing, I now find entertaining and fun to watch. This series proved that you have to give shows a chance before giving them the “thumbs down” rating. After viewing this series fully I definitely give it a big “thumbs up” and I will definitely be more open minded to any other Netflix series in the future.


Blackfish review

This documentary was extremely informative, yet extremely saddening to watch. I found some parts of it to be difficult to watch, and some parts of it had me shaking my head. Before watching this documentary I had never pictured aquariums or places like “Sea World” to be “barbaric”. Now that I have seen what these killer whales have to go through before putting on these performances, I no longer would have any interest in going to an aquarium or a place like “Sea World”. Many people will view this documentary and feel that these are just sporadic cases of aggressive whales. Meanwhile it is aggressive humans that are causing the whales to become almost like caged animals.

There were many killer whale trainers who had spoke throughout the documentary, and it is clear that they all were deeply affected by these occurrences. I fear for other future trainers, because of these “occurrences”. These events were not accidents or caused by the trainers, in my opinion. I feel these events are caused by separating these emotional and intelligent creatures from their families. It also does not help to keep these animals cooped up in a small swimming pool-like “cage”, as these are animals of the wild and deserve to be able to swim freely.

I feel that killer whales should not be looked at as “dangerous” because of this documentary, but rather they should be studied more. Many of the earlier “incidents” were kept a secret and this only prevented further future “accidents” or “incidents” from not happening. I cannot take an organization like “Sea World” serious anymore after viewing this documentary. It was interesting to learn that now Sea World has made it so trainers are forced to be behind barriers separated from the killer whales. In my opinion the connection and bond that these trainers have with these creatures won’t be as strong from now on, and the shows won’t be as fun to watch. Overall I don’t see myself going to an aquarium or a “Sea World” anytime soon or, ever. I found this documentary to be extremely good and well put together, I rate it a 4/5.

House of Cards Episode 13 review

In this final episode of this first season, Ms. Barnes and Ms. Skorsky keep on digging into Russo’s past, focusing on his relationship with a prostitute named Rachel. During Barnes’ and Ms. Skorsky’s “investigation” into Russo, Barnes’ boyfriend (who happens to be her ex-colleague) gets involved and goes to a bar. He successfully pretends to be a cop after he was able to “lure” a prostitute. He was genius by doing this, because he successfully was able to obtain the place that Rachel “the call girl” was working by threatening the prostitute. Barnes then goes to where Rachel works, and steals a sheet with Rachel’s number on it. Barnes calls Rachel, and tells her that “she knows about Russo”, and Rachel obviously is quick to hang up. A meeting is set up between Barnes and Rachel, and Barnes is unsuccessful in receiving any information out of her. I feel that Barnes is acting too impulsively and is greatly underestimating Frank Underwood. Doug (Frank’s “sidekick”) was the one who had driven Rachel to meet with Barnes, and knows that Barnes has been speaking to or “harassing” Russo’s girlfriend. I’m rooting for Barnes and Ms. Skorsky but I have a feeling that Frank is inevitably going to find out about Barnes’ “investigating” into Russo.

Frank Underwood convinces the president to invite Mr. Tusk to the White House, describing Tusk as a “hard man to read” (most likely because of his unsuccessful trip prior in St. Louis). Mr. Tusk’s trip to the White House results in Frank being offered the position for vice president. Frank accepts, and says “that it would be a great honor”, even though he didn’t seem to be genuinely thrilled about it when being told. I look forward to seeing what kind of shit he gets away with as a future vice president if elected. This episode made me question if Frank actually wants the position as vice president. Especially considering the amount that he gets away with now, he might have too much attention on him if he is elected as vice president.

Claire Underwood is facing a major lawsuit from her ex-partner from the Clear Water Initiative, who had recently quit because Claire had gone against her partner for her own benefit. Claire tries to convince her ex partner that they could work things out and tries to convince her to settle the lawsuit. Claire seems to be “shattered” when she visits the home of her ex-partner and Claire only gets told off and told to leave. I feel she and Frank deserve everything that is coming to them. The episode ends interestingly because Frank is forced to take a jog with Claire because his exercise machine had broke. I found this episode was very weak for a finale in my opinion and I give it a 2.5/5. However, I do look forward to the next season of this show and I am overall very glad I was introduced to it. It gives the viewer insight into how crooked the world of politics can be. It leaves the viewers with a vivid idea of how evil some of the politicians may or may not be today. I am eager to see what ends up happening with Frank and his new “placement”, and what it may lead to. I have a totally different idea of the show now that I’ve viewed all the episodes, and I no longer find the series to be “boring”. I hope that we speak on this series more in class.

House of Cards Episode 12 review

Christina, Russo’s girlfriend, wants Mr. Capra to take Peter Russo’s seat in the campaign for governor, which I found to be a bit confusing. Frank Underwood continues on with his life as normal and assists the President in trying to find a replacement vice president. Underwood convinces the President that he should go to St. Louis and meet with Mr. Tusk, to convince him to accept nomination for vice presidency. Frank was obviously against the idea of Mr. Tusk being the replacement but tells the president that he thinks its a “bold idea”.

Throughout the episode Ms. Skorsky and Barnes work together in this episode after Ms. Skorsky has a conversation with Mr. Capra. From her conversation from Mr. Capra she was convinced that Peter Russo’s decision to close down the shipyard was forced and that Russo was “strong-armed” into making his decision. Underwood meets with Barnes before going to St. Louis and assures her that the shipyard closing was “business as usual”. I feel Ms. Skorsky and Barnes working together secretly against Underwood, and prying for information could get dangerous for them in the future. Doug had been keeping “watch” on Ms. Skorsky after finding out that she had spoke to Russo’s girlfriend about Mr. Capra. If Barnes gets caught by Underwood, trying to find out information, and get’s too close to “the truth”, it could get ugly.

Frank’s meeting in St. Louis was unsuccessful. Frank in a way was “caught” trying to be manipulative, in trying to convince Mr. Tusk to take the vice president nomination. Frank had basically wasted his time in trying to convince him to take the position, because Tusk, a multimillionaire, asks Frank if he would take the position. Frank often tries to have a serious conversation about it with Tusk, during most of which Tusk seems uninterested and gives half-answer replies. After this unsuccessful trip Frank plans to threaten Tusk’s assets in order to convince him to reconsider. I feel Frank might be underestimating Mr. Tusk and that though he is acting ruthless, it may come back to “bite him in the ass”. I found this episode entertaining and I’m eager to watch the next show, I give this episode a 3.5/5.

House of Cards Episode 11 review

Watching this show makes me upset more and more each time I watch it. I have to see this scumbag Frank Underwood get away with all the things that he gets away with. Frank really wanted Governor Russo to fail from the beginning and seen Russo’s failure as an opportunity of his own. Underwood suggests that the Vice President run for governor in replacement of Russo and successfully convinces him. This would put Underwood in position to become vice president, if the vice president wins the election for governor of Pennsylvania. Underwood also decides to maintain a “professional relationship” with Barnes which I felt was interesting, almost as if she was “used up”.

Russo had gone completely back to alcohol to my disappointment, and tries to have himself arrested by showing up to the police station drunk. Frank and his colleagues trying to locate Russo for days, find him after he leaves the police station. Frank wanted Russo to officially withdraw and to “go away quietly”. In what would be his last call to his daughter, Russo gets told that his son doesn’t want to speak to him and that there had been new’s cameras at their school. Russo’s conversation with his daughter was especially heartbreaking, realizing that he is intoxicated and telling him that she doesn’t like his voice “that way”.

Frank Underwood reached a new height of evil after murdering Russo. Frank had driven Russo home in Russo’s car and had shared a bottle of liquor found in the car, only causing Russo to become more inebriated. Russo eventually passes out, seemingly to the plans of Underwood, and that’s when Frank’s “opportunity” arises. Underwood turns on the ignition in the car, wipes all of his prints off of the car, and shuts the garage door closed. In Frank’s murdering of Russo, it doesn’t seem to be the first time he has done something of that kind. Russo’s death gets ruled as a suicide, because of his past and current issues with drugs and alcohol, along with Frank’s cautiousness.

I didn’t want to see the episode end well for Frank but after Russo’s “suicide”, he won’t have to officially resign from the campaign, and the vice president could take Russo’s place in the campaign. This leaves the Vice President position open to Frank if the vice president wins the election for governor. I am hoping that Frank eventually gets whats coming to him and that karma finally hits him. Frank got away with murder and the next day his wife Claire is home in time to “join him” in speaking to the press awaiting them outside their front door. This episode was probably the best one yet I rate it a 5/5; this episode made me a lot more interested in this series.

House of Cards Episodes 9 and 10 review

                  In this episode, Peter Russo’s campaign for governor is in full swing with him and the vice president on a campaign tour. Peter Russo first meets with the vice president, who barely acknowledges him after showing up to one of the campaign stops. He didn’t look him in the eye or shake his hand, showing complete lack of respect. When being interviewed the vice president cuts off Peter Russo and and doesn’t give him the opportunity to speak for himself. This in my opinion showed the lack of confidence the vice president had in Peter Russo.

                 The vice president is confronted by Peter Russo, during which the vice president tells him that he can’t win and shows concerns of his past. Peter Russo explains that he feels that all the vice president is doing is “sabotaging” his campaign efforts. In my opinion it was smart of Peter Russo to come to the vice president for “support” and “influence” because, he now has the support of a major figure. After the “talk” the vice president is “won over” by Peter Russo and speaks in support of him on the campaign tour.

                  Ms. Barnes and Underwood briefly end their sexual relationship, after Barnes opts for a “professional” relationship. This was naive of Barnes in my opinion because she received tons of information from Underwood in exchange for sex, and once you start a relationship like that it would be difficult to just call it a “professional relationship”. Barnes realized her decision wasn’t too smart after Underwood declines to give her information, showing her what a “professional relationship” is like. Barnes did not keep the relationship professional for too long, deciding to be Underwood’s “whore” for “information”. In my opinion the episode started off slow and boring, but towards the end got better, I rate it a 3/5.

                   By the time I’m done viewing this series I will wind up never being able to trust anyone ever again. Peter Russo, seeming overly confident, threatens Frank because of the Watershed Bill not being passed as promised, and this makes him look bad. He basically threatens to expose Frank, and Frank considers it “blackmail”. In response to this Frank hires a former prostitute to seduce Russo, and lead him back to her hotel room. This was extremely deviant and crafty of Frank, and I honestly never expected Russo to “take the bait”. To my disappointment Russo ends up drinking and completely bombing his on air radio interview.

                    Frank seems to think that he was only teaching Russo a lesson, though in my opinion it seemed a bit extreme to jeopardize not only the campaign, but also Russo’s health (sobriety). Peter Russo was a risky candidate for Underwood to co-sign, and now that Russo’s sobriety has ended so quickly (and easily), I don’t see Russo being able to overcome his issues that hold him back from running for governor. These problems caused by Underwood or not are going to be part of Russo’s daily life as a politician and human being, and it is evident that he can be “broken” easily.

                      Barnes’ and Claire Underwood both “flee” from Frank, as it seemed throughout the episode. Claire went to Barnes’ house to confront her and let Barnes know that she and Frank tell each other everything. Barnes had known that Claire Underwood was the reason that the Watershed Bill got turned down, and Claire must have felt threatened. Underwood’s wife leaves without telling Frank about her “visit”, and sees Adam in New York. Barnes feeling “trapped” by Claire and Frank, leaves her apartment and stays at a male ex-co worker’s house. She joined him in bed during the middle of the night, and I felt like she was only “hugging and kissing up” to him (literally) just because she had nowhere else to go. I feel like most girls she has made a poor decision and to make up for it she is making more poor decisions (unknowingly). I really enjoyed watching this episode I give it a 5/5.

House of Cards Episodes 7 and 8 review

This episode focuses on congressman Peter Russo’s decision to run for Governor. I feel that Frank is showing way too much faith in Peter Russo, vouching for him to the President and Vice President. It was good to see that Russo had been attending N.A. Meetings, though it left me unconvinced. He is only a year clean and Underwood feels that Russo’s story will be an “underdog redemption” story , that is if his campaign goes successfully.

Frank goes out of his way in this episode by getting Russo’s ex-girlfriend to get back on board with join the campaign. Russo did not seem confident in deciding whether to run for governor or not but once he had assurance from his ex-girlfriend, he seemed to be a lot more sure of his decision. I feel he is a risk to deal with, especially with all of his past issues that are bound to be brought up. I feel both Underwood and Russo’s girlfriend only know half of what they are dealing with. Frank feels that he his helping Russo “set himself free” from his past, but in my opinion he could be making Russo’s situation worse with only a year sober. I give this episode a 3/5, it dragged on a bit and I was saddened by amount of confidence that Russo is receiving from Frank.

Throughout this episode the politicians prove to party harder than myself or anyone else I know for that matter. Frank Underwood has a library opened up in his name. The night before the opening ceremony he meets with old friends who he seems to greatly enjoy his time with, getting drunk and reminiscing on old times. This whole show makes it seem like politicians party and go to “functions” more than they do actual work.

Russo goes to Philadelphia to start preparing for his campaign, while also visiting his mother. His mother seemed indifferent to him running for Governor, and did not care about much he had to say until she had seen a cut on his hand. Russo had broke into his old friend’s house in a desperate attempt to get him and the shipyard workers on his side. Russo had done this after his friend had said that Russo was only “using him” when he came to him for support, and that he is just like all other “fucking politicians”. This resulted in a fight, but his old friend, convinced by the desperateness of Russo’s actions gives him his support and vouched for him to the shipyard workers.

After this episode I have a bit of confidence in Russo, seeing the lengths that he is willing to go to make things work in his favor. His past substance abuse issues along with his girlfriend working on the campaign with him so closely, I feel could cause problems in the future. She could either get in the way or become a distraction later down the line. This episode seemed to flow smoother than most and it reminded me of my old friends; I had felt a connection to it and I give it a 3.5/5.