Kevin Spacey and crew return for another season of Netflix’s original series House of Cards. All 13 episodes of Season 2 were released on Valentine’s Day. It took me a little less than a week to finally get into them, and a little less than 3 days to get through them all. I’m going to do this review Spoiler Free™ to the best of my ability.
The show picks up right where it left off, with Spacey’s character, Francis Underwood, adjusting to the changes in Washington. Everyone around him goes through several ups and downs throughout the season. Some of the events seem like ridiculously unlikely solutions to very possible situations. This leads the viewer to say, “Yeah, right,” more than a few times.
Both old and new characters come and go throughout the course of the show. Just like in Season 1, these characters, the actors that portray them, and the fantastic direction are the lifeblood of House of Cards. I couldn’t care less about the crazy plot holes and the incessant product placement, because everyone is just working so hard to let this show rise above all that.
Other than Spacey, this season’s stand out performer is Robin Wright. While she earned lots of accolades for her performance last season, I honestly felt she–or maybe moreso her character–was kind of flat. This time around, both she and her character are every bit the star of the show. Which is finally fitting, since one of the show’s core themes is her relationship with Frank. This time she is every bit his equal, similar in many ways, but also different.
One of the things that I love the most is the subtlety of the acting and direction. Yes, Spacey’s monologues often tell us exactly what we’re supposed to think and feel, but they come only after softer hints, like a blink or nod here, and a hand-wringing or head drop there. Also, for a show with no action per se, the cinematography is top notch. Just like last time, each episode looks and feels like a well made mini-movie of sorts.
In other words, the stuff that made this show great in Season 1 is still going strong, and the show continues to not be bothered in the least by all the things that are wrong with it.
Bottom line, House of Cards Season 2 might have a few predictable moments, and more than a few “Yeah, that would happen” moments, but the acting and direction alone would make this series worth watching. The fact that it’s got some extra tension, intrigue, suspense and surprises is just icing on the cake.