House of Cards season two: Netflix plays another hand

Caroline Fogarty

Some embarked on Valentine’s Day candle-lit dates with their significant other while others wallowed in the loneliness of being single on Feb. 14.  Contrastly, the day marked a much different occasion for House of Cards’ fan-following.
After nearly a year of anticipation, season two of the political drama House of Cards was released in its entirety, exclusively on Netflix.
The show is based around two power hungry individuals — Francis “Frank” (Kevin Spacey) and Claire Underwood (Robin Wright), who have no morals when it comes to politics. The second season introduces the couple’s next attempts in their quest for power.
Frank Underwood greets the viewer at the end of the first episode. “For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there can be no mercy.There is but one rule: hunt or be hunted. Welcome back,” he says to the camera.

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It’s good to hear Underwood’s salutation: like season one, season two contains the same intimacy between the viewer and the antihero.
The Washington superpower often turns away from the scene and informs the viewer of his next move to climb up the political ladder.  Both Frank and Claire Underwood continue with their ruthless disregard for all others but themselves.
However, this season makes the Underwoods seem more human.  Unlike in season one where they trample everyone and everything in their paths, the Underwoods have the tables turned on them in multiple episodes.
In the first season, Frank and Claire seemed invincible, however muckrakers, high stakes gambles, and scandal show that even the Underwoods are not infallible. In fact, they are the very opposite and are sitting on a precarious bed of lies and unreturned favors.
Many compelling subplots from season one are glossed over or simply forgotten. Claire’s nonprofit organization is sloppily handed over to Gillian Cole (Sandrine Holt) and Christina Gallagher (Kristen Connolly), a prominent supporting character in the first season and perhaps the only uncorrupt person on the show, is dormant in season two.
However, for every subplot lost, there are new storylines introduced.
Raymond Tusk (Gerald McRaney), the president’s long time confidant and advisor, shows a side of himself that the president had certainly never seen and Claire takes on a new political agenda of her own. Freddy Hayes (Reg E. Cathey), the owner of Frank’s favorite barbecue restaurant in D.C. and Adam Galloway (Ben Daniels), a longtime photographer friend of Claire’s, both suffer collateral damage due to the Underwoods. Even though both have minimal ties to the Capitol, everything the Underwoods touch is toxic.
The Underwoods are in a league of their own. Everyone around them is simply a political pawn, as the power duo always gets what they want. They are untouchable and the viewer is rooting for them.
House of Cards is addicting. Its Washington fantasy sucks the audience in and instead of making them cynical of real life politics, the show causes the viewer to lose their morals and inhibitions and cheer for the bad guys.
Every actor suits every character perfectly, and the political thriller offers endless plot twists that make watching the entire season in a few days impossible to resist.
All shows from the Emmy-winning series are available only on Netflix. Each episode is about 45 to 55 minutes, and there are 13 episodes in the second season.