Hello again! It's been a while, but after about 6 days of solid rest, I'm back. This is part 2 of my recap and review of House of Cards Season 3, the latest in an awesome Netflix Originals series. Now that it has been a solid couple of weeks since I finished the series, I can safely say I have stopped fangirling over its AWESOMENESS and now I can somewhat critically review it. Season 3 of House of Cards represents a shift in the direction of the show, and a new challenge for the series, as it begins to mature and fall in place. Where as with the last 2 seasons, we the audience saw Frank in near total control with machiavellian-esque prowess. He had it all planned out, and when he didn't, he quickly found a way to incorporate any new developments into his previous plan and just run with it. There were few times when the situation threatened to get out of his control, as with Zoe, and when they appeared to spiraling one way or another he found a way to come out on top. The show propelled him to stratospheric heights making him seem much more like a master puppeteer rather than the underdog on face value he was. That all changes this time, with the show suddenly becoming a lot more about drama than it had previously been, and also seeing Frank lose his total control for the first time, ironically at the highest point in his power. We witness Frank beaten, torn down, and caught off guard many times through the season, whether being blindsided by the Democratic Party, Heather's sudden bid for office, or even Jackie Sharp's decision to leave. We get to see a whole new side of Frank's personality, as he starts to doubt his mission for the first time, even letting a bit of morality seep through his coldness when he decides not to ruin Justice Robert Jacobs to push Heather into his seat in the Supreme Court. But while there is more depth added to Frank through the humbling of his powers Season 3 is, even though I generally enjoyed the new angle, some things didn't quite seem right to me. We had just seen Frank being built up to skyscraper proportions the last 2 seasons, always with a plan and several backup plans, but that seems to have disappeared in this latest installment.
Now, despite having a solid 18 months still in office, and the opportunity for reelection, at the beginning of the season, it looks as if Frank had no plans at all, other than just getting reelected for president. This is a tremendous departure from the previous Frank Underwood that we knew and loved (and despised at points). He is totally blindsided when he isn't given top spot for reelection, has little to no control over the Congress when previously he was heralded as the whip, and has trouble even raising funds. That's not classic Frank. There is no clear explanation for this departure in the season, and I kept waiting for one of Frank's old gotcha stunts, but it never came. Without that backup, it suddenly took away from the previous seasons and the current one for me, as it was such a break from character that it broke the magic of the old Frank and made me question the true underdog role of the new one. The next thing that got to me about this season was Claire. Claire has a dramatic change this season, as she goes through troubles on her relationship with Frank. My problem was not so much as with the story itself, which I understood and liked, but some plot decisions. Around midseason, as the differences between Frank and Claire begin to mount, their is seemingly a climax in the conflict, and an entire episode devoted mainly to how they work through the differences. It's good, well done, and I thought it nicely laid the story to rest, though there might be a few skeletons in the closet after that. But, to my shock, the plotline did NOT end, and Claire ended up leaving Frank at the end of the season! I felt as if this not only totally ruined the magic of that mid season episode for me, but it also kind of ruined the impetus for me as to why Claire had issues with Frank in the first place. Previously, I could understand the conflict between who was in power, who had the plan, and whose vision they were going to follow, but after Frank tries so hard to change all of that, spending time with her bonding, trying to restore her position and give her more power, and even shielding her from the abortion files, she comes off as whiny when she continues to have a problem with him. If they had given more of another slow build to it, or even a sudden change that would warrant such a move for Claire, I feel it would have worked better, but right now it just seems as if the ending was forced in and came out of nowhere. Frank certainly has flaws, but he loves Claire fiercely and shows that throughout the series. Having Claire leave him despite her previous willingness to put up with him, bide her time, and not risk herself, just makes her seem less genuine. Some final quips I had about it was the lack of progression in the Zoe storyline, with the murders just left there, and also Tom Yate's contribution as a whole. He may have helped move Claire's story along and helped with Frank's story too, but overall his purpose itself seemed inconclusive. The novel hyped for so long ended up sounding bad, and he was released neither taking anything away or giving anything.
So, in conclusion, while Season 3 of House of Cards was still very enjoyable and continued adding to the series, there were issues with Frank's lack of control and Claire's story line. If I had to rate it out of 100, I would rate it an 86/100.
Friday, April 3, 2015
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Now that the obligatory warning is out of the way, I'll do a quick (read: very long) recap of what has happened in this season in terms of plot. The first episode, Chapter 27, begins with a character that many, myself included, thought was out of the game permanently : DOUG! Yep, Doug returns from his grave in the woods this season, and there is quite a long arc about his return to Frank's side. Doug's encounter with Rachel in the woods at the end of Season 2 left him with serious brain injury that hobbles his movement and his political involvement for several months. After coming out of the hospital, Doug quickly finds that life is going to be difficult for a while, and still has moments of intense pain. He tries to go back to working for Frank, but Frank tells him to rest up, and that he will only be allowed back when he has fully healed. Doug continues to try and get involved again with Frank again, but he continues to be pushed off, and feels increasingly isolated. This leads to him losing his sobriety, and even to working for Frank's political enemy, Heather Dunbar, who is running against Frank for the Democratic nomination for 2016. By the end of the season however, he is accepted back into Frank's inner circles as Chief of Staff, and has finally killed Rachel.
Before Doug was accepted back into that position, Remy Danton served that role. He also experienced an interesting story arc, along with Jackie Sharp. Frank, who is running for election in 2016, had Jackie run to further split the vote in his favor. He would have her attack relentlessly, and then later quit the race for Democratic nomination, in return for being on the ticket with Frank for the actual election. However, after being pressured by Frank to
argue about private school and public education during an Iowa Caucus debate and then being burned by Frank who brings her family into the debate, she decides to leave the race and vocally raises her support for Dunbar. Remy, who still has feelings for Jackie, and has advocated for her to Frank as well as for better treatment of staff in general, approves of this move and decides to quit working for Frank as well. Remy decides after his long history in politics and from indignity suffered from Frank to quit politics, and move on with his life. Though he still has feelings for Sharp, they both are committed and cannot continue correspondence, and their relationship ends in passion, though with hints that it's their final meeting.
Gavin has somewhat an interesting story, which is intertwined with Doug. Doug enlists him to help find Rachel, and to end her for once and for all. Gavin agrees, on the condition that he is allowed to leave the U.S. and all his charges are dropped. After several months of snooping, he tells Doug that Rachel died, after which he leaves the country. Later however, it turns out that he lied, and is using the information to get his other friends out of jail. Doug hunts him down and gets the real information out of him, beating him until he confesses.
There are a couple major new (ish) characters this season of House of Cards; among them are Heather Dunbar, Kate Baldwin, and Tom Yates.
Heather Dunbar isn't exactly new per se, as she appeared in Season 2 as a lead investigator against the previous President. However, her role in this season is definitely new. She starts out working with Frank on a military case where drone strikes resulted in civilian death and injury, and defends the actions. As it is revealed that a seat in the Supreme Court is about to open, and that the Democratic leadership in congress does not want Frank to run, but instead is considering Dunbar, Frank tries to get her to agree to the position. She seems to go along, until she suddenly announces her will to run for president,
Kate Baldwin is a journalist from the Telegraph who becomes the White House Correspondent, after the previous correspondent is thrown out by Frank and his team for comments she made. Kate throughout the season tries to get something on Frank, and repeatedly warns the world about him, though in the end she manages to accomplish little. She is in a relationship with Tom Yates, the last major new character. He is an author hired by Frank
Speaking of Claire, let's talk about her story line. She begins the season wanting to become the U.N. Ambassador from the U.S. Frank nominates her, and she goes about securing her passage into the role. However, after an accidental slip of the tongue where she calls the military irrelevant, she does not get the nomination. She ends up asking Frank to hold another separate session, at which she gets nominated. However, she has mixed feelings about having to ask Frank to do that for her. At the U.N., she faces a crisis in the Jordan Valley, where Russia is blocking U.S. troop deployment. They end up being unable to reach an immediate agreement, and publicly support a group that is protesting the Russian
Ah, who's next? That's right, FRANK! Okay, maybe Viktor Petrov should also go here, but I feel I described his story well enough when talking about Claire. Frank begins the season a few months
WOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAH. That took a while. I'm sure I missed a couple plot points, and that certain things I've written are incorrect, but that, fellow Netflix binge-watchers, is the entirety of Season 3 of House of Card's plot (at least as I remember it 72 hours after finishing the series). If I've made a mistake, or there is something you recommend I add, please, say so in the comments below. Oh, and remember to subscribe, bookmark, add me, whatever, and read my actual House of Cards analysis!
Monday, February 16, 2015
It's time. Time for another meme binge that is! It's actually been quite a while since I did one of these posts, but I've been checking the stats tab on blogger, and it looks like these posts are actually pretty popular, probably due to image aggregations by Google Image Search or Bing Image Search (*shudders*), possibly even Yahoo. Does Yahoo even have an image search function? Probably does, but I'm too lazy to go look into it myself. Hmm, maybe I'll Google it. Whatever the case, without further ado, here are the top memes on the internet (or at least the ones I could find in ~5 minutes of Google searches. Yep, I'm really letting my lazy show.)
With Valentine's Day just behind us, I thought I'd throw in a couple of these memes for those of us who are single out there.
For those of us who got a bit of N(itrogen) and O(xygen) style rejection on that fateful day, here's Sheldon's take on the matter.
Ah, the Office. Nothing but a good bit of snark to put off that meh from one of the more over hyped 'holidays' of the year. On a side note, Valentine's Day, or at least the associated Christian saint's celebration part, is also celebrated on June 6 and June 30th, and on June 12 in Brazil.
Not much to say about this meme, for me at least, except that I too had a recent reunion with an older console: my Wii. It actually wasn't that bad of an experience, since I was playing Wii Sports Resort, but I could certainly do with less pointing driven menu action, which was waaay too much work with the fidgety sensor bar.
Ah, the old Beyonce classic. Once a relevant and bold billboard top, now delegated into occasional meme references and the rare walk down YouTube playlist memory lane. With the internet becoming seemingly faster paced every year, I wonder how long it will last.
GRUMPY CAT! Nough said.
Now that's much better than that Han Yolo meme, right? Also, apparently there are rumors that Hans will get his own movie, after the new Star Wars movie. YAY!
If money can't buy love, then why buy flowers, a card, or chocolates?
After this Valentine's Day, I bet a lot of people will be asking for some quotes on this single business.
Meming about Spongebob, anyone seen the latest SpongeBob movie?
And now one that ISN'T Valentine's Day related, ARROW! I LOVE this T.V. show, and highly recommend you check it out, if you haven't already. It's one of my must watch series's, including Gotham, The Flash, The Big Bang Theory, and Supernatural.
I know what I'm dressing up for Halloween as; Left Shark FTW!
See, here's the problem with this meme: real alien spaceship computer hackers run LINUX.
And now with Live Kernel Patching coming up by default, we may one day will NEVER REBOOT. YAY!
And now, finally to end off today's Meme Binge with a bit of originality instead of blatant copying of images, here is the home grown, one and only KAWAI-ALE. Guess which celebrity I Gimped onto the whale in the comments below, and see you next time!
Friday, January 30, 2015
Well, it's that time again, specifically the time after that time that you tried to make a set of resolutions for yourself, and have since failed. According to statistics from 2014, by now, almost a month into the New Year, almost 26% of you had failed your resolution this month last year. Barring some spontaneous increase in the American will power, I'd say that we're at that same threshold now. So, happy failure people! I, for one, am proud of myself. I promised a post a week a couple weeks ago, and stuck to it for about 2-3 weeks, already an improvement from last year, when I didn't even make resolutions. This year however, there's another major New Year failure in town: the Republican Party. A few months ago, they won quite the majority here in the U.S. in both the House and Senate. Campaigning on a platform of economic ideas and generally being silent about their positions on social issues, they managed to pull of a significant victory. Republican social positions, thankfully, have generally been on the decline in the U.S. and the GOP recognized that if they were going to pull off a big win in this day and age, they would have shuffle around some of their less popular agenda. Republicans left 2014 off with optimism, and when they weren't gloating in general, they were usually advocating the major economic reforms that they were going to bring to the table come 2015. Well, guess what time it is? 2015! And have we gotten this Republican reform? NO! Instead, we've gotten an abortion bill, a bill to fund Homeland Security but also to revoke all the immigration reforms President Obama has made, and a border security build. What does that have to do with the economy? Priorities people, and the Republicans are sure setting them straight. The sad part is even the Republican House has so far been UNABLE pass their abortion bill despite domination, the Homeland Security bill will in no way pass the Senate or a veto by the president, and a border bill in shambles. Honestly, what is it about Republicans that inevitably attracts them to social issues whenever they have power? Haven't they learned by now that their ideas aren't supported, and don't make sense for the U.S. to pass? What is it with them and female body parts? Republicans have been campaigning to the masses declaring they will bring a smaller federal government to the table, yet here they are trying to legislate broad federal decree for something totally unnecessary! "Hey, let's reduce government! But first, make sure we just fund huge border operations and large federal decrees!" Republicans have a serious issue on their hands, and they need to fix it fast.
Sunday, January 11, 2015
some have already begun questioning the tactics of the newspaper and the satirists. Can you really mock such a large portion of the population so profusely, and not expect to get a response? Is it fair to attack a religion with so many devout followers in such an offensive manner and mock them so thoroughly? Does mocking religion even serve a purpose? The answer is yes to all of those, or at least should be. Religion is no different from any other human institution; it is not free from scrutiny or criticism, no matter what topic at hand. No matter how holy or sacred something is, freedom of speech and secularism mean that people have the right to attack and thus ridicule it. Not only that, but when they do exercise that right, they are PROTECTED by law, and should expect no harm to come to them, whether they are majority or minority. There is no fairness to it, there is only right and justice. Imagine what a world it would be if people were restricted just because their opinion differed from someone else's? You don't have to imagine it. Go to North Korea, and see how nice it is there. As soon as we as society start to play favorites and censor when it comes to opinions, that is when we lose our democracy and transition into oligarchy. Everything has its flaws, especially religion, and feelings will not change the real pain to people caused by those flaws. Satirists don't just make things up; they take the truth and they exaggerate it, getting society to pay attention some of the many problems it has by making them appear so big until it has to notice. That's why they're so important to society; they test its foundations and identify issues with them. And that's just what the people at Charlie Hebdo were doing when they were brutally murdered by radical Islamic terrorists. Now, some are calling into question the religious motivations of the terrorists themselves, like in this article by the Telegraph. Throughout this attack, there has been a move by many to defend Muslims and stop people from generalizing them all as terrorists. While I wholeheartedly agree that you cannot generalize the actions of some terrorists to the entire 1.6 billion Muslim population, I also think its absurd to deny that these attacks weren't religiously motivated. The fact of the matter stands that not everything in the Koran and Sharia are peaceful, and that as a result, some Muslims will interpret this literally and commit horrific acts. Part of the reason that terrorists are so powerful is because they believe so profusely that they are carrying out acts of god against infidels, and are just. The terrorists in this case were shouting Allah Akbar, or god is great. These aren't just people with motivations like money or power; these are people with their eternal afterlives in front of them, and they are fully committed to their paths to it.
Saturday, January 3, 2015
|Happy New Year!|
Well, it's finally happened. 2015 is here, and luckily, it's not like it was in Back to the Future, thank goodness (no double ties!). Thanks to this blogs readers, and I personally hope that you have a fantastic New Year ahead of you, and that you somehow, against all odds, manage to complete those resolutions you've been making. Mine are firmly entrenched in 4K territory, though I suppose 1080p is passable (no, my dumb jokes will not go away). Specifically, I hope you guys finally make good on all those weight loss promises (and in no way am I saying this because I stocked up on gym stocks over Thanksgiving- full disclosure people), hopefully by visiting a franchise gym near you! Anyway, now that that stuff is out of the way, let's focus on the date at hand. No, not the day you're reading this or January 3rd, the day I posted (better late than never?), but January 1st, the start of the New Year, that is if you use the Gregorian Calendar. If you use the Julian Calendar, which Greg replaced, you celebrated your New Year a while back, 13 days ago. If you're a Roman enthusiast and use the old Roman Calendar (read: not very many people) then you still have a while to go, celebrating New Years nearer to the Kalends of Martius, or March 1st. The Chinese Calendar says February 19th, converted to Greg, and the Islamic Muharram was from October 24 to October 26 in 2014. Finally, the Hindu New Year is all over the place, depending on the region; here's a link to the list. Anyway, why, you might ask, just why did I go through all that strenuous exercise of Googling random dates and clicking through those Wikipedia links? Think of the amount of variation I just mentioned, and think of the thousands of other major calendars I could have mentioned instead. These calendars go all over the place, and this is just the start. All of these calendars were based around the lunar cycle or extensions of such mixed in with the sun; we haven't even gotten into the galactic calendar which is in year 61 BB. Think of all the fun we could have with that! The point I'm trying to make is don't let this day rule your New Year. Let everyday be your New Year, because even if you go heliocentric, each moment the Earth reaches another spot unoccupied for 365.25 Earth days. And that is worth celebrating. Once again, have a fantastic remainder of the weekend as you struggle to get back to work (and the gym- most franchises are having sales up to 50% membership!) and may you not fail totally at everything you seek to accomplish. Cheers!