It took me about 10 days to watch the second season of House of Cards, but more than a month to sit down and write about it.
It was less exciting, less scandalous, and more slow-moving and into itself. About midway through, after I’d devoured eight episodes in the three days following its Valentine’s Day première, I needed a break. Finishing the season felt like a chore or, worse, a workout: you put in the time and got a small reward every few, torturous sessions.
I liked the first season of House of Cards but do remember a lull in the middle episodes. Some have written that on closer inspection, even the first season of the show isn’t strong. It has elements of a great show, but it isn’t one. I disagree. I was under no obligation to watch it but did – and quicker than I care to admit – and thought it was exciting, compelling and novel enough for me to even be giddy about the season-two première. I stopped watching Derek, the Ricky Gervais Netflix series, two episodes in, so the notions that people will binge-watch a show just because they can or because it’s available are not true.
Season two of House of Cards picks up where the first left off, with Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey) just days from the office of the vice presidency he so cunningly chased in season one. Again, Spacey is marvellous as the sociopathic, psychopathic, cold and calculating Underwood. The whole cast, really, does tremendous work, especially Robin Wright as Claire Underwood and Michael Kelly as Underwood’s chief of staff Doug Stamper. Now that Francis is VPOTUS, there’s only one office – and one man – separating him from ultimate power. It makes sense that a character portraying the VPOTUS seeks the office of POTUS on paper, but in theory and in House of Cards, Underwood undermines everyone he’s around, regardless of whether they are above his pay grade. He already seems more powerful than the president.