Carrying on from the events of season one, the second season of House of Cards kicks off with Frank Underwood’s appointment as the Vice President of the United States, set in the same form as season one, season two consists of 13 chapters, all lasting about 45-50 minutes, it takes about 13 and a half hours to binge watch the series, but all of which time is completely worth it.
“There are two types of vice presidents, doormats and matadors. Which do you think I intend to be?”
Probably one of the most exciting episodes within the entire second series is the third episode, which captures President Garrett Walker practicing for a State of the Union speech, and is when Frank makes one of the best quotes within the season whilst sketching out a well-endowed bull, he says that “There are two types of vice presidents,” in one his first monologue’s within the season, “doormats and matadors. Which do you think I intend to be?” The reason I think this is one of the best quotes, is because it explains the show in its entirety, showing that Frank is not one to back down, and will only ever be someone who not only strides for success, but pushes for it.
That’s only one of the many monologue’s within the first and second season, House of Cards loves to break the fourth wall and it does it well, allowing it to become one of the biggest shows to air last year, winning three Emmys and a Golden Globe for the first season, something which I am sure it will continue to add too.
I have already watched season two once in one full sitting and then for a second time in parts to gain more information on some of the stories elements I may have forgotten, which is something you should not do for yourself, make sure to take breaks whilst watching, and don’t feel the need to binge too much, despite House of Card’s greatness.
SPOILER ALERT: I will try not to ruin House of Cards Season Two in the process of this review, but I cannot guarantee that the contents of this review will not spoil the events within the season, so I would suggest that you watch both Season one and Season two of House of Cards before you read anymore of this review.
There’s a few new characters in the new series, however a lot of the characters still make appearances, particularly the journalists from The Washington Herald and Slugline as well as the owner of Frank’s favourite rib point – Freddy, all of whom have been granted longer screen time in the second season, building upon their stories and creating characters with more depth and excitement.
Over anything, House of Cards is a story about the Underwoods, detailing their successes, weaknesses and ultimately their journey to power, a journey which starts straight from where season one ended, Frank and Clare are out on their late-night jog, as Frank’s Chief of Staff Doug Stamper finds some new information in his operation to cover up Peter Russo’s murder, the story shifts from the Congress to the White House, covering Frank’s succession as well as the introduction of some new characters to cover up those that have previously left.
Within that list of new characters we see the introduction of the new house majority whip Jackie Sharp (Molly Parker), who could quite easily get her own role in the show, and I often thought might become the second character to break the fourth wall, Jackie is a great addition to take over Frank’s previous role, during which time she has to overcome various obstacles and even the fail of her romance with Remy (Frank’s previous PR assistant).
And she wasn’t the only character to get a new romance during the season, joining Rachel Posner, the former prostitute who found romance whilst under protection from revealing Peter Russo’s murder, granting some extra screen time for Rachel and a few other characters, including Freddy who gains the majority of an entire episode within the season.
However there is also a few major characters who get put to one side in the story, either through Frank’s manipulation or from a cause of his other actions, leading some pretty interesting scenes throughout the season, however by its third episode season two does tend to drag a little, and it almost seems as if the writer’s have been forced to add some extra scenes into the story.
Episodes like the Civil War reenactment seem a little out-of-place, and throughout the middle section of the season I couldn’t help but feel less excited by the storyline, or even excited to carry on with the rest of my binge, and maybe leave it for another day.
Despite that I still chugged along (literally, I went through a selection of energy drinks throughout the course of the season), and I am glad that I did as towards the finale of the season I noticed that some of these episodes that I felt might have been less-needed started to fall into place, beginning to draw a larger narrative and building upon the ideas I had about Frank as a person, ultimately ending with a conclusion that I was satisfied with.
“I used to be on the edge of the frame, now I’m only three feet away.”
All in all House of Cards Season Two is a great continuation of the first season within the story, and even from its UK counterpart.
The season builds upon the characters we got to know back in season one, as well as the story that has been created for Frank Underwood, leading to his ultimate succession and following his journey that often leads to other people’s demise.
Right from the start of the season Frank tells us to either “hunt or be hunted,” and he means it with even political manoeuvre, set of dialogue and in every storyline.
If you haven’t yet watched season one or season two of House of Cards, you should definitely grab a Netflix subscription and get watching the seasons right away.