Reviewed! House of Cards Season Two Speeds Up the ‘Butchery’

/ Feb 18, 2014


B+2Tension and anticipation run high as the opening scene of “House of Cards” season two unfolds in a darkened hazy park where Frank and Claire Underwood take a casual jog, business as usual, followed by a pause and panting that invariably sets the pace for the entire new season.

Having rewatched, er, re-binged season one in anticipation of this review, pace seems to be the main differentiating factor between that season and this newest run of 13 episodes. At times the viewer feels like the entire series is a long jog — a marathon, actually — jammed with non-stop chaos and hard work. Where season one presented balance, calculated tense moments, unexpected twists and binge-view-essential cliff hangers, season two keeps the viewer speeding on a winding uphill road that never seems peak or give the viewer the satisfaction of coming down from a juicy high.

hoc_ps2_014_hThe first season of “House of Cards” was quite brilliant in building plausibility around the events and evil acts that ultimately earned Frank the vice president role. And while this Master of Manipulation still moves his political pawns like a pro, the plausibility of the season two story-line is whittled away episode by episode. A person can only fail upwards so many times.

As the series progresses though, the depth of Frank and Claire Underwood’s (Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright respectively) evil nature is fully exposed as the viewer comes to realize that they are not only cut from the same ruthless cloth, but quite possibly among the greatest villains written into pop culture immortality. Afterall, “it was butchery, not strategy, that won the war,” Frank muses. Their only redeeming grace is the tenderness and compassion the Underwood’s offer one another quite frequently over the course of the season. 

And though Frank and Claire are clearly the focal points of the narrative, the supporting ensemble cast often feels neglected with sub-storylines fading into the sidelines. While new and old characters come and go, “House of Cards” writers make it quite clear that outside of the core protagonists, the narrative will remain completely un-reliant on the supporting characters — they are but a seasoning on the grand narrative. Viewers can also delight in watching Frank surgically dismantle each of the varied personalities presented throughout the season one by one as he “manage[s] to isolate the president from everyone, including [himself].” 

Season two of “House of Cards” also hits on some rather controversial and hot-button political issues. For instance, abortion, same-sex relationships, police corruption, and racial issues are staple topics intertwined into the various character storylines. At times it feels overdone but the issues injected into the episodes are well-woven into the plot line.


Despite a few editing flaws and a seemingly trimmed budget, “House of Cards” is still staggeringly well advanced beyond its other “web distribution first” counterparts. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are flawless. And it will be interesting to see how season three picks up some of the  looming threads that were left unsettled by the end of round two.

And while Frank Underwood has climbed to the top of the “House of Cards,” and Netflix has positioned itself as the Ace of Spades, Season three will need to sort out the pacing issue and temper the intensity of the constant chaos so viewers can sustain the marathon into season four.

Photo credit: Nathaniel Bell for Netflix.

Tags: , , , ,


Lesbian Vampires & Kotex: How ‘Carmilla’ Became...


MTV Labs Taps Rapper A$AP Rocky as Creative Director


FCC Cancels Vote on ‘Unlock the Box’ OTT Proposal


Collab Signs Horror Channel BlackBoxTV to Network, Partners on...

Industry Tickets Selling Fast!
Click above to lock in your registration for VidCon 2015!
PewDiePie 3-2-15

PewDiePie Expands Revelmode Gaming Slate with DoubleMoose Deal


Storyful Launches Viral Video Marketplace


Pioneering Hip Hop Exec Lyor Cohen Joins YouTube as Global Head...


Legendary Digital Reveals Alpha Subscription Service Launch...


Time Inc. Teams with Digital Comedy Producers Jash for Branded Content

Amazon Logo

Amazon Greenlights Three Comedy Pilots as Series


How the Cartoon Network Combined the Best of VOD and Linear TV...


Jukin Media Goes Viral for Brands with Ethos Division Launch

Streamy Awards

Streamy Awards Trade In VH1 for YouTube, Again


Matching Ads to Videos Not So Simple, According to Zefr’s...


Plug Pulled on Canadian SVOD Service Shomi


What’s Trending on the Twitter Sale

Machinima Logo

Machinima Teams with SiriusXM for Daily Esports Radio Show


AwesomenessTV, Vice, Complex to Power New HearstLive...


VIDEO: ‘Dirty 30’ Confessions with Stars Hart,...


Facebook Says It’s Sorry It Vastly Overestimated Video...


Pilgrim Media Group CEO Craig Piligian (‘The...


Heroes or Rats?: YouTube Unveils New Program for Creators Who...

Vessel says it's doing well in its first month

Why Verizon is Pursuing Vessel, the...


How Canvs Media is Harvesting Emotional Insights on YouTube,...


Marlon Wayans Getting ‘Naked’ for Netflix with Regina Hall


HuffPost RYOT Launching Virtual Reality Comedy Series and News...


YouTube Launches #voteIRL Campaign Targeting Digital-First Generation


How Top YouTubers (incl. Tyler Oakley & Meghan Rienks)...


Charlie Sheen to Star in Crackle Feature ‘Mad Families’


Gunpowder & Sky Buys Distributor FilmBuff As Vision for...


Toy Freaks Top Viewed YouTube Channel in August According to...


Emmy Wrap-Up 2016: Jeffrey Tambor (‘Transparent’)...


Twitter Scores 2.1 Million Viewers for Thursday Night Footall Kickoff


Vloggers Not Unique Snowflakes: 90 Million Flag YouTube Videos...

Mode Media

‘Billion Dollar Startup’ Mode Media Shuts Down


Who Is Winning The Marketing Revolution And Why?


Netflix Orders ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ Series...


What Is ‘Swedish Dicks’ and Who Is Selling It?


How GMC is Using the AOL Series ‘Seamlessly She’...


Liberty Global to Put Netflix on Set-Top Boxes in 30 Countries