House of Cards Season 2 Review
It gets shaky at the top …
Love was in the air this past Friday for most couples. As for the single people, such as myself, we had the next best thing…Kevin Spacey as Vice-president of the free world. I only recently watched House of Card’s first season due to all the publicity and hype that was generating around the premiere of the second season. I immediately fell in love with the show. Something about political thrillers gets me hooked every time. The betrayals, power plays, the passive aggressive gestures between everyone in any sort of political power just get me invested. While House of Cards was still enjoyable to watch, it stands to prove bigger is not always better.
One of the largest pushing points of Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) was his drive to do anything to get revenge for not being given what he was promised. Also, to do what he does best, manipulate people into submission until he gets what he wants.
This time around we see Frank going against someone who knows how to play the game just as well as he does. Raymond Tusk, performed by Gerald McRaney, is the other side of the coin to Underwood. Where Underwood believes that power is absolute to control everything, Tusk believes that money is the absolute power to achieve anything.
While there are moments that I enjoyed watching the two try to attain their goals by their own personal means, more often than anything I was bored with the sibling rivalry that these two portrayed on the screen with constant repeats of “he said, she said”.
In season one Frank Underwood told us America loves an underdog story, and he was right. Frank Underwood, in some ways, is portrayed as an underdog. I saw no viable way for a congressman to go from his current position all the way to Vice President. That kind of mentality, to see if he would get caught in his lies, to see if he would really be able to make it against all odds, was a major driving force for me to watch the show. Like most great things, it is not about when you get there but the journey it took for you to make it.
The crowning jewel of the show, once again, is Kevin Spacey’s performance. Everything about Frank Underwood seems real. The way he moves around and commands respect is nothing short of watching an artist creating a masterpiece. The monologues that let us into Frank’s inner thoughts return as well, once again making us aware of his agenda and captivating the viewer not only with his voice but eyes commanding the viewers to bend, to believe that Frank Underwood will not stop until he makes it to the very top.
Robin Wright returns as Claire Underwood showing what the true definition of a power couple is. Wright does a phenomenal job as portraying a strong woman who may be married to one of the strongest men in the free world, but by no means needs him to achieve whatever she wants and can handle any problem without running to her husband.
Aside from that, House of Cards suffers a loss to some of the best characters that I have ever watched interact with each other. To refrain from spoilers I will stay quiet, but with the lack of these performances the show as a whole takes a serious hit in quality and excitement.
House of Cards no longer fooled around with domestic topics such as governor elections and health bills. With Frank’s new status within the White House, the writers of the show decided to make the problems grander as well, international disputes with China and cyber terrorism. These issues to me were a lot less captivated and made it significantly harder to see Frank do what he does best, lie, steal, and cheat.
I felt a constant sense of anxiety while watching season one of House of Cards knowing that there were so many ways to see Frank Underwood’s plans crumble. This time around I did not have that same feeling. I just went through the motions, episode by episode, which disappointed me. On top of that, many of the issues or problems that occurred got cleaned up almost too neatly. It did not create any real sense of fallout between the characters, or anything for that matter.
The first season of House of Cards set a strong foundation to this Netflix series original. This time around House of Cards still is able to entertain the audience to a certain degree, but by no means as much as season one was able to. Kevin Spacey is a powerhouse actor that commands my respect, not only as an actor, but also as Francis Underwood. While it may be the case that having my respect might constitute my attention, if season three does not find a way to excite me like the first then this House of Cards might crumble before it makes it to its peak.