Frank Underwood has returned, and has certainly not forgotten about you. Driving home the point that TV drama is really starting to become the medium for serious visual fiction, House of Cards brought back the strength that makes the show so exhilarating while simultaneously supplementing its power with writing as sharp as a freshly carved knife. Led with the imperial grace of Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, this season trucked with the momentum of an unstoppable locomotive. House of Cards makes Netflix a very worthy investment by itself, not to even mention the wealth of great Original Content Netflix provides as well as countless other programs.
House of Cards is an adaptation of a BBC miniseries of the same name based on a novel by Michael Dobbs. The second season picks up right where the first season left off. I’m not going to go into specifics here, but this season takes the series into very unexpected directions and adds significant character arcs not only for Frank and Claire Underwood, but also almost everyone around them. No one is in the safe zone.
One of my favorite aspects of the series is how Frank Underwood breaks the fourth wall throughout the show and speaks directly to the audience. It’s such an incredibly bold writing decision that makes an already fascinating character an unprecedented force of intrigue that you just can’t deny. I cannot get enough of it, and it’s an epic edition to a very tight show.
Speaking of which, I can write seven books (made into eight movies) about how much I admire Kevin Spacey and his performance as Frank Underwood. Spacey is one the finest actors in the market today, and the fact that he’s taking a step away from film to fulfill the series is beautiful. But Kevin Spacey is not without equals in House of Cards. Robin Wright, who portrays his wife Claire Underwood, brings a tremendous acting ability to the table, which allowed her character to go through versatile paths throughout the season. Kate Mara, Michael Kelly, Gerald McRaney, and Rachel Brosnahan also flourish and effortlessly stand out in supporting roles in season two. Newcomer to the show Molly Parker, who plays Underwood’s successor as the new House Majority Whip, holds her own as well.
Showrunner Beau Willimon and his team of talented writers are to thank for such tremendous writing throughout the season. The characters are written with deep range that secures almost constant excitement. I don’t have really much to complain about here, with the exception of a small minority of underwritten characters and the usual mid-season slug that affects most TV programs. Returning directors like James Foley and Carl Franklin seamlessly contribute excellence to their episodes, while newcomers to the show’s director’s chair including John Cole, Jodie Foster, and star of the show Robin Wright offer their unique stamp to the show.
There is certainly more than enough to chew here with this season. With the new lovely trend of binge watching, you can immerse yourself in the world of House of Cards without having to stress about waiting a week to see the next episode (that is until you reach the end of the season then you’re out of luck until the show comes back. Welcome to the club). House of Cards is certainly a series you don’t want to overlook, and any audience who enjoys well developed drama and suspense will be satisfied with the second season.
Montclair State | New Jersey