25. Russo's Murder
Show: House of Cards (Netlifx)
With Netlix's entrance into the original narrative programming game, we've been forced to reconsider our idea of how television works. If we're going to reconsider our ideas about TV, then we must also rethink our ideas about spoilers. When pouring over Twitter reactions to big TV moments, you usually see a flurry of activity the night of the original airing that slows into silence and dead hashtags. Unlike Arrested Development which was largely marathoned by its dedicated fan base, people seemed to take their time with House of Cards, digesting it at different paces over several months following the show's release. As a result, some observations tweeted out online a month after the series debuted were shouted down as spoilers.
The big twist at the end of the season involves local-boy-makes-good-makes-bad-tries-to-make-good-again politician Peter Russo (Corey Stoll) getting got. Stoll did a stellar job of elevating the skeleton-closeted politician stereotype into a full, well-crafted characterization. It's tough watching a man who was in way over his head finally drown in the raging waters of the political game.
On a public scale, the impact wasn't as large as your standard HBO second to last episode death because there was no commonality in the viewing experience, no communal reaction. It will be interesting to see what affect, if any, the lack of communal discourse has on House of Cards's legacy. We likely have more lessons to learn about television from Netflix and House of Cards, but one thing we've already learned is that there are few moments in modern life more lonely than experiencing a climactic television moment and having no one to tweet about it with.