Kevin Spacey continues to play his cards right in House of Cards


Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) swears into office as the new vice president of United States in “Chapter 14.” House of Cards has recently been renewed for its third season, which fans hope to see in 2015.

Rami Chaudhry, Staff Writer

“Let’s start this new chapter with a clean slate…”  Despite the sentiment from Netflix drama House of Cards protagonist Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey), he begins the second season right where he left off.

Underwood has played his hand correctly in the game of manipulation and, in doing so, has claimed the role of Vice President of the United States without a single vote being casted in his name.

“Democracy is so overrated” says Underwood during his inauguration.  He does so as he looks head on at the camera, addressing the viewer.  Moments like these break the wall between the character and the audience, making the show engrossing and insightful, while stamping the popular series with its own trademark.

Continuing the story of season one, Frank and his wife Claire (Robin Wright) assume the roles of Mr. and Mrs. Vice President while Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly), Frank’s chief of staff, makes every effort to tie up any loose ends regarding the death of Congressman Peter Russo.  A believed suicide which was in fact a murder by Frank’s own hand.

The show promptly shifts gears to events happening in the White House, as the President struggles to control his administration.  Frank immediately begins a plan to undermine the President.Frank attempts to sever relationships old and new in the White House, much to the displeasure of one of the President’s main advisors and powerful confidantes, Raymond Tusk (Gerald McRaney).  This results in a blemished reputation of the President and a ruthless political war between Frank and Tusk.  While Frank plays his hand in the climb to power in Washington, events set forth long ago still loom in the background, and could determine Frank and Claire’s future.

Although House of Cards has legitimized Netflix as a medium for original programming and has earned a Golden Globe and three Emmys, the stylistic drama is not without its flaws.  The new set of 13 chapters set aside a good amount of characters that became series favorites last season.  Recklessly replacing old, beloved faces with new ones, some characters were sent off with care while others were forcibly pushed aside.  The show also felt notably stretched out halfway through the season, almost as if the writers struggled to write all the intended 13 episodes.  However, these flaws seem to be but minor distractions in the long run, since the entire story arc proved to bring back the same qualities of darkness, intelligence, and manipulation that allowed people to fall in love with the show.

House of Cards, similar to other serialized dramas like Game of Thrones, maintains a large ensemble cast.  However, where Game of Thrones focuses on each individual character equally, House of Cards’ narrative ultimately revolves around Frank and Claire and no one else, following the role of a traditional television show.  The other characters are there, and some play pivotal roles, but none as compelling as Frank and Claire’s dynamic characters.  If anything, this trait of the show enhances the story, considering the performances of Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are both fantastic and fun to watch.  When such performances are combined with stunning cinematography and flawless direction, House of Cards is a complete package.

This season of House of Cards will certainly grab you in its strong, powerful hands, just as the first season did with millions of Netflix subscribers.

“Did you think that I’d forgotten you?” Frank tells the audience, “Perhaps you hoped I had… Welcome back.”