House of Cards Season 3: Reality Index


I just finished binge watching the 3rd season of House of Cards or as I like to refer to this season: How Stamper Got His Groove Back. This was a pretty Doug heavy season -which produced mixed results. Frank’s the president and Claire’s the first lady struggling to make America and the rest of the world bend to their wills. Another thing that was meant to bend this season:reality.

Again, I’m going to borrow steal the brilliant recap format from the high watermark of all TV recaps: Vulture’s Gossip Girl coverage. (They made watching a bad show fun.) This is how it works: points are awarded when events seem believable and deducted when the events are a little too implausible. At the end, we’ll tally the score and see if our tale of the Underwoods veers into the realms of the unreal, and yes I do know this is a TV show but even TV has its limits. Warning Spoilers

house-of-cards-s03-18.w529.h352As P.M. Dawn so eloquently put it, “reality used to be a friend of mine.” The writers this season played hard and fast with the idea of plausibility, but if you bought into the first two seasons then you knew where you stood. Heavy is the head that wears the crown and this season did a good job of showing the strain and hardships that come with the job.

Secret stash of smokes making their way from bowl on bookshelf to easily accessible top desk drawer. I’ll take presidents who smoke for +10

Frank’s hair turning white quicker than Claire’s going from blonde to brown, back to blonde again +10

The light-headed and the sleep-deprived tend to over-share +10

The reemergence of the eighties’ stereotypical Russian villain +20  WOLVERINES!?!!

….. and speaking of reemergences – Cashew steals the show +50

A cool 100 on the believability scale.


On the side of the over the top happenings of season 3, I would like to start off with this season’s use of bodily fluids as power-play maneuver. Frank doesn’t miss an opportunity to relieve himself (in multiple ways) causing all manner of desecration. While his actions come off as blatant and cartoonish, it is Claire who really steals the cup. In what I can only call ‘the bathroom summit’ Claire Underwood negotiates American foreign policy while sitting on her throne. -20

Claire’s Russian prison scarf fiasco -20

If you’ve lied, cheated and murdered your way to the top; perhaps its not the best idea to hire an ex-junkie street hustler to write the story of your life. I predict this (hopefully in season 4) will not end well for anyone involved, especially the writer. -10

Doug Stamper has still got it with the ladies. Is it that they can’t help but be drawn to his gift for gab, habit of always being on his phone in their presence or those sexy hours he spends watching c-span that drives the ladies wild? -20

Being the chief of staff to the president must offer a few perks that other jobs can’t afford. I guess you can hop on  a plane whenever you like to fly half way around the world to beat a man with your cane to find out where your ex-prostitute girlfriend lives so you can later track her down and kill her and then bury her body in the desert all the while an election campaign is going on. -50

Shovel-check, bleach-check, rope-check, beat-up suspicious van-check “So what brings you to our little town, sight-seeing?” -20


“Reality used to be a friend of mine,
‘Cause complete control, I don’t take too kind.”

Could happen 100  Wait What!??? -140

Another season veers off the rails- “That’s the way it goes, I guess.”

Season 2