House of Cards season 2 was released by Netflix on Friday. In true binge-watching fashion, I have burned through all 13 episodes of season 2 over the weekend because when it comes to House of Cards, it’s nearly impossible to just watch 1 episode.
If you haven’t watched any of season 2 yet, don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil anything for you. I think what happens in this season has got to be experienced by the fans to truly get the impact. Reading about it here would not do it justice. I won’t give any spoilers here so if you haven’t watched yet, you are safe to continue reading.
House of Cards season 2 follows a classic three-act structure. The first four episodes of the season are part of Act I. They are setting us up for the action that is to come in the later episodes. While I was watching the first four episodes, I couldn’t help but find myself to be a bit bored. Yes, I know there was a shocking moment at the end of episode 1, but other than that, not much was happening. I was starting to think that maybe we had been expecting too much from the 2nd season and that we were due to have the inevitable Arrested Development let down from our high expectations.
The action in Act I moves along very slowly and along all the same story lines as season 1. We aren’t being given anything new at this point and there was a danger of House of Cards becoming boring and unoriginal. I was thinking that until I got in to Act II. Then it all changed.
Act II presents us with a major issue for Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) to deal with. Having risen to the office of Vice President of the United States, the new dilemma facing the VP could take him down or it could be a god send for him. We have seen this type of drama from House of Cards already so fans of the show will be familiar with the tight rope that Frank is constantly walking. So far in Frank’s career, things have always gone right for him. He couldn’t have risen to the position he finds himself in without things going well for him. Now there are forces at play that are equally as skilled, equally (if not more so) as powerful, and equally as ruthless as Frank. We are not at all certain as to how the drama will play out. The writers did an excellent job creating tension for the viewers as nothing is certain for the future.
Act III brings us to the resolution phase of season 2. The resolution is drawn out as slowly and as painfully as possible. We do not know what is going to happen until nearly the end of the final episode of the season. The beauty of the subject matter of this show is that even though we know there is going to be a season 3 of this show, it doesn’t mean that people have to be protected. There can be another season no matter how the drama of this season played out. I will not ruin the ending of the season for anyone who hasn’t yet watched but if you have, tell me, how much did the final shot of the season hit you? Just brilliant.
I have to give major kudos to both Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. The two of them are making this show an absolute pleasure to watch. Robin Wright won a Golden Globe award for her portrayal of Claire Underwood, a powerful D.C. wife who is a force to be reckoned with in her own right. The Underwood’s together are a very powerful and ruthless couple who will stop at nothing to get what they both want, more power. While Claire has hitched her wagon to her husband Frank, she also wields a tremendous amount of influence in D.C. from her own business pursuits. In season 2, her influence expands even further and we see Claire deal with the repercussions of her actions. Robin Wright is a lock for another Golden Globe and Emmy nomination and at this point, I’d say she is the front runner. Without her, Kevin Spacey’s performance would be too over the top. Her strong performance gives Spacey the perfect counterpart to work with and together, they are showing us what two skilled actors can do with good scripts.
If I have one complaint, it would be about the reporter story lines. I don’t think the decision that was made at the end of the first episode was necessary for anything other than shock value. Nothing changed from what happened there and in fact, things pretty much are continuing on as they were in the first season. I don’t think that what they did was necessary and when you continue watching the rest of the season, it makes even less sense. That is a minor complaint though in the overall scheme of things because really, the season on the whole was excellent.
If you have not yet watched House of Cards season 2, get on it. Judging from the viewership that Netflix is reporting, you are going to find it more and more difficult to not hear spoilers. If you have not yet watched any of House of Cards, do yourself a favor and watch it. Netflix allows new members a free month to try out their service so really you have no excuse. For all of you though, please make sure you have nothing to do the day after you start watching because once you start, it’s going to be hard to stop. It’s that good. Here is the House of Cards Season 2 trailer for those who haven’t seen it.