This new trailer for political Kevin Spacey drama House of Cards initially feels like a bit of a slap in the face. It looks like Netflix is so spoiler-averse that they want everyone to catch up by watching the first of their original programming series in full, from series one to three – because the only thing this clip appears to show is President Frank Underwood’s Chief of Staff, Doug Stamper, digging a tiny bit, then some photographers snapping a load of Prez-snaps. But actually the 26-second clip is surprisingly weighty.
There’s the subtext of Doug Stamper doing Underwood’s digging for him, doing the ceremonial ground-breaking. That echoes all the dirty work he’s done for Underwood – tricking Heather Dunbar; using his own AA membership to undermine Russo’s abstinence; gagging, manipulating, then killing the only person he really cared about, Rachel Posner. Season 4 will bring more Machiavellian machinations from Stamper, but could it be Frank who ends up in his deadly sights at some point?
As well as that, if you look at the other characters in the clip, there’s Frank, who as President is now reluctant to dirty his shoes at all, even ceremonially. And then there’s the palpable absence of Claire, who left Frank at the end of Season 3. As Frank prepares for his 2016 Presidential campaign, divorce proceedings for Underwood v. Underwood could be beckoning. The series starts again on March 4 – are you ready?