TV Review: House Of Cards Season 2

TV Review: House Of Cards Season 2
I've seen some crit­i­cism online that  this season of House of Cards was in some way more predictable than the previous one and that Frank Under­wood lacked someone to match up to him.

For me, I think that misses the real point of the entire show. I knew where the season was going to end up, just like I knew roughly where season 1 was going to end up. The fasci­na­tion of this show is how the Under­woods (and they are more clearly a team than ever in season 2) get there.

Frank Under­wood is machi­avel­lian to the extreme and while it's clear he had to impro­vise from time to time looking back you can see that every­thing largely followed the trajec­tory he planned from the begin­ning.  There's an elemental inevitability to his progression.

And along the way of course, everyone suffers. Inno­cent (though there are very very few of those in the show) or guilty alike are thrown onto the tracks if it serves the goal.

The depth of the supporting char­ac­ters in the show is quite impres­sive, but it can be rather distracting. As some of the char­ac­ters disap­pear from the show you are left with the nagging feeling of unre­solved story­lines. In some ways though, that merely mirrors real life.

But in the end it's all about the Under­woods and the stellar perfor­mances from Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are what really sell it. Spacey's Under­wood is somehow simul­ta­ne­ously charis­matic and friendly while stone cold prag­matic. You shouldn't like him. You know you shouldn't like him. And yet you do.

Mean­while Claire Under­wood almost always comes off as cold and almost robotic. Even her rela­tion­ship with her husband seems at first glance to be calcu­lated conve­nience. And yet she is the one who is finally pushed to break down in tears and what she has to do.

And the rela­tion­ship between the two of them has a depth of commit­ment that's hard to even fathom. Mostly passion­less on the surface, from time to time the emotions bubble to the surface and in the end you're left with the feeling that these two are committed to each other and no one else.

I'm curious where they'll go with Season 3. I know how the story needs to end and I'm fairly sure they'll go for it. But the ques­tion is whether they think they can get away with an inter­me­diate story.


5 / 5 stars     

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