I love me some political corruption. “House of Cards” is the only current show that seems to deliver week after week exactly what I want and expect. To see the awful lengths these politicians will go to further their own agendas in search of their twisted version of “the greater good”. With Season 2 now available to stream on Netflix, it took me about a week to get through this daring political thriller, and it’s a hell of a ride. Or rather, a hell of a climb to the top of the ladder.
Season 2 picks up where “House of Cards” left off last year. Frank Underwood has been tapped for Vice President, and is scrambling to sever all ties that connect him with Peter Russo’s suspicious death. The season kicks off with another shocking murder in the premiere, Meanwhile, after a painfully personal revelation on national TV, Claire throws all her focus on passing a military sexual assault bill. Things get even more dangerous when a foreign interest starts putting pressure on the White House, and Frank is forced to dig deep into his old bag of tricks to combat the new threat to his rise to power. Everyone gets pulled into the whirlwind of intrigue; friends, lovers, staff, all the way to the President himself.
“Did you think I’d forgotten you? Perhaps you hoped I had.”
Netflix has really upped its game this year. After a first season that had such great performances and just so-so writing, “House of Cards” has reached new heights. Everything is just better. Spacey is obviously the star, and he can really do no wrong. Frank Underwood is one of the most vile, despicable creations in the history of political fiction. And I want to be him so bad! He just oozes corruption and vitriol with every word he speaks, and calculated action he takes. He’s JFK and Tricky Dick. Karl Rove and Bill Clinton. He’s doing horrible things for the sake of us all. Robin Wright steals every scene she is in though, even with Spacey. She’s guaranteed more accolades this season, and they’ll be well-deserved. The rest of the cast is always solid, and I’d say the show actually improves with the exit of Kate Mara, as she was never quite on par with the stars she was sharing the screen with.
The writing has tightened up extremely. Every scene is tense and entertaining, without all the fluff of last season. The show bumbles around a bit in the first couple episodes, but soon finds great focus and brings together a great plot. Claire’s assault story is hard-hitting, and even more so when it becomes another political tool. The only subplot that could use a bit more exploration is the cyber-terror story. It is the catalyst for a number of events, but is never fully realized.
“There is but one rule: hunt or be hunted.”
I’m a man who fast forwards through opening titles if I can, but I don’t with “House of Cards”. The simplicity of the Washington DC landscape is nothing special, but Jeff Beal’s score just amazes me. The composer, also known for his work on HBO’s “Carnivale”, works magic with his music. The faint horns, and steady drums give it a military feel, like traversing a political battlefield, and it fits the show’s bloody atmosphere perfectly.
Overall, everything about the show has improved, and it’s worth a binge-watch whenever you Netflix customers can find the time. Political intrigue is alive and well, and “House of Cards” is delivering in spades.