Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

REVIEW: ‘House of Cards’ Season 2

Netflix delivers another addictive season of dirty politics and backstabbing reporters definitely worthy of binge-watching

By: Jake Horowitz

Published: February 17th, 2014 in Culture » TV » Reviews

By now everyone knows the Netflix release model. Take a great show, release it all at once, and let the buzz build to a point where if you don’t watch the show in question, you’re a horrible person. It’s a model that worked so well last year for Netflix’s first high profile release, House of Cards, that the show ended up with nine Emmy nominations and a loyal fan base that couldn’t wait for more.

House of Cards started out last year with a strong foundation that built to a thrilling and dramatic climax. After 13 hours of binging on murderous politicians, backstabbing reporters, and a whole lot of moody lighting, our journey was over as quick as it started and we were left to wait another year for more Frank Underwood.

Luckily, that year has now passed and we can get back to enjoying House of Cards the way it was meant to be enjoyed; in unhealthy doses over an obscenely short period of time. But after an entire year is the House the same as we left it, or have things changed for the worse?

During the first episode of Season 2, we’re immediately launched back into the story we left over a year ago. There’s no slowing down and there’s no playing catch up. If you don’t remember what happened last year, you’re best served to watch the recap, otherwise you’ll most likely be lost amidst the political jargon and intricate web of lies being spun.

Since the entire 13 episode season has been released at once, like last year, the goal of House of Cards seems to be to mainline it into our systems as fast as possible. Season 2 is not your grandfather’s episodic television. It’s not even your episodic television, since every episode is so deeply connected that to call these episodes is like calling Frank Underwood a saint. Make no mistake that House of Cards Season 2 is a 13 hour movie that will leave you both exhausted and clamoring for more.

Where Season 2 succeeds is that it takes the foundation of Season 1 and builds upon it in a fast paced and brutal way. In all 13 episodes there’s simply no slowing down. If you were a fan of the bloodshed and unflinching look at dirty politics in the first season then you’re in luck. Not only is the darkness of season one still on display, but it’s darker than ever before.

Though Season 2 had a lot to live up to, luckily the show recognized it’s strengths and built upon them. Gone is the slow burn of Season 1, and replacing it is one stabbed back after another. No one is safe in House of Cards, and that’s just the way it should be. It makes for a hell of a show, and one where watching 13 hours straight with no bathroom breaks doesn’t seem so much like a chore as it does a privilege.

In the immortal words of Frank Underwood, “Binge watching is a dirty game. If you want to stay above water, you’re going to have to outswim the sharks and watch as many episodes as you can before the Internet spoils it for you.”

Okay, so maybe he never said that. But after a whole weekend of dirty politics and dim lighting, I can pretty much hear Frank Underwood everywhere. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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