House Of Cards: Season 2 Is Ruthless and Wonderful
Spacey and Wright
The second season of Netflix’s tent pole series ramps up the stakes while offering the same intriguing elements which made season one such a success for the streaming content provider. Kevin Spacey continually shines in his performance as Mephistophelean congressman turned Vice President Frank Underwood. The dynamics of his relationship with wife, Claire (Robin Wright), offer some of the juiciest bits for viewers in season two as they give new meaning to the term “power couple”, clawing their way to the top of Washington’s political atmosphere.
Season two kicks off with Underwood being sworn in as Vice President. Everything seems business as usual as he bends the Washington élite to his will. He has the ear of the President, more power to wield as he sees fit, but there is an albatross around his neck in the form of reporters Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara), Lucas Goodwin (Sebastian Arcelus), and Janine Skorsky (Constance Zimmer) that could derail his plans for political dominance. While the public has moved on from the death of congressman Peter Russo, the journalists are still trying to connect the dots of Underwood’s involvement. In an effort to avoid spoilers, I will say that the true extent of Underwood’s ruthlessness comes to light early on as he vanquishes unworthy foes.
Similar to season one, Frank is a man without a decent adversary. It’s as though no one in Washington is either willing or able to match Underwood’s shrewd machinations. The veil of the well-meaning, charming southern congressman and his wife has faded as most begin recognize Frank and Claire for who they are; they’re playing chess while everyone else toils away on the checker board. Billionaire Raymond Tusk (Gerald McRaney) and newcomer Jaqueline Sharpe (Molly Parker) offer up some opposition to Frank in his efforts to cozy up to the president and even get a sexual assault bill passed for Claire. Ultimately, Frank proves a skilled counter puncher.
The storyline of Frank’s chief of staff, Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly), veers down an unlikely road as his task of keeping call girl/accomplice, Rachel Posner (Rachel Brosnahan), hidden brings out demons we never knew of. Stamper’s decline opens the doors for Underwood’s new press secretary, Seth Grayson (Derek Cecil): originally a hired gunman working for Underwood’s enemy, who realizes that the allure of power is much stronger for him than that of the dollar.
House Of Cards 2.0
Season two has distinctive elements unique to House Of Cards such as showing text messages on-screen and the breaking down of the fourth wall or spiking the lens. While some disagree with the use of these devices, they are some of my favorite techniques. Spacey does some of his best work while addressing the audience. There are no lies or facades, just unobscured views into the core of Frank Underwood, the ruthless and pragmatic puppet master who is without equal in the cynical world of House Of Cards.The Underwoods’ rise to power is a ride fans of the political drama do not want to miss. In Frank’s words, “Let the butchery begin.”