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House of Cards Season 2 Premiere Review: Hail to the VP (Spoilers)
That was a long wait wasn’t it? Ok not as long as waiting for 3 new episodes of Sherlock, but long enough to the point where I was slowly going insane due to a lack of shows to watch. With the Winter Olympics taking place and forcing all but a couple of my shows to go on 2 or even 3 week breaks, *cough* Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. *cough*, I was starting to suffer from TV withdrawal. Thankfully Netflix timed the return of the Emmy-nominated series House of Cards to happen on a day where I had no plans and the shakes of withdrawal are now gone.
Oh and it allows for me to write another review too. *Spoilers Below*
So Much to Do, So Little Time
The last image from House of Cards season 1 was of the newly appointed Vice President of the United States, Francis (Frank) J. Underwood, and his wife, Claire, going out for a run to celebrate becoming the second-most powerful couple in the free world. Season’s 2 premiere picks up only minutes after season 1’s ending with the couple finishing up their run and returning home to start their new lives. Don’t think for a second though that with Frank taking over as VP that he’s done making shady moves to keep moving forward.
However, several lingering issues from season 1 are serving as roadblocks that could destroy the Underwoods unless they are dealt with quickly. Those issues include Rachel Posner, Gillian Cole and Zoe Barnes. The Underwoods though are experts at pushing roadblocks out of the way and all three of these woman get dealt with quickly. On top of this, a new House Majority Whip is needed to fill the void left due Frank becoming the Vice President, and Frank has the perfect person in mind, now it’s just making sure they get voted for the position. It’s all in a day’s work for the Underwoods and it’s impressive to see so many story lines seamlessly woven together and covered in under an hour of television.
Rachel Posner poses the biggest threat to Francis as she knows first hand about Frank’s involvement in Congressman Peter Russo’s death. Zoe Barnes is aware that if she can find Rachel and convince her to talk, then she’ll be able to claim, without a doubt, that Frank murdered Russo. Frank knows this as well and he tasks his chief of staff, Doug Stamper, with finding and silencing Rachel before Zoe can get in touch with her. Murder, however, isn’t on the menu this time as it was for Russo. Instead Doug forcibly relocates Rachel away from DC to Joppa, Maryland, where she can be monitored and kept under watch should anyone come looking for her, family included. One loose end tied up, two more to go.
Gillian Cole is Claire’s hangover from last season. She is in the midst of suing Claire for firing her from Claire’s Clean Water Initiative nonprofit organization, but she has skeletons of her own that Claire is quick to pounce on (pregnant from a married man.) To put an end to the lawsuit before it can gain any traction, Claire offers Gillian her position as head of the Clean Water Initiative organization since she will be much busier as the vice president’s wife. Gillian takes up Claire’s offer and drops the lawsuit. Two down, one to go.
Zoe Barnes is convinced about Frank Underwood’s involvement in Russo’s death but she lacks the proof necessary to feed Frank to the media wolves. Francis offers her an olive branch, a chance at a fresh start for their relationship. Francis will continue to be Zoe’s source, this time inside the White House, in exchange for Zoe dropping her investigation into Russo’s death. Initially Zoe agrees to this, but her intuition is preventing her from trusting Frank completely and she continues to question him about the Congressman’s death. Francis is left with no other options, if he is to remain the Vice President and continue to build on his control in Washington, then Zoe needs to be put away, permanently. Unlike Doug’s approach with Rachel, murder is on the menu. No more loose ends, for now.
Franks’ appointment to vice president means that there’s a vacancy in the House Majority Leader position. Whoever takes over this position will become, politically, the third strongest individual in the party. It will be their job to “Whip” up votes in Congress to support the party’s position on various bills that make it to the House and Senate floors. (There’s a great deal more to being House Majority Leader, but for the sake of this show, this is all you really need to know.)
Two congressman are clear favorites to fill the void, Howard Webb and Wes Buckwalter. They aren’t, however, Frank’s ideal choices. His main choice is Jackie Sharp, a three-term congresswoman and a veteran, but openly coming out about his choice isn’t in Underwood’s best interests as it would certainly divide the party. Instead Frank must quietly manipulate his fellow Democrats to vote Jackie Sharp into the position, and manipulation is a game Francis knows how to play all to well.
The Rest of Season 2
A full review for House of Cards season 2 will be up on the site shortly. If you’ve already watched all 13 episodes then I suggest you check it out and leave your comments and thoughts for what you believe to be in-store for season 3. If you haven’t watched any of season two’s episodes yet and have managed to stumble upon my review for the first episode, then what are you waiting for, get to watching House of Cards now! It’s the best show not on television, and having watched the entire second season myself, you would be doing yourself a great disservice if you didn’t watch this show. Even if you don’t have Netflix, spend the $7.99 for a single month just to watch House of Cards. Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, and the rest of the supporting cast are simply phenomenal.
After marathoning season 2 and/or the entire series, you’ll soon be suffering from television withdrawal like I was while you wait for season 3 to premiere sometime in 2015. There’s a reason House of Cards is an Emmy-nominated series, and based on this first episode alone, we could soon be saying ‘House of Cards, the Emmy-winning television series from Netflix.’