The road to power is paved with hypocrisy….and casualties. Never regret.
– Vice President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) in House of Cards Season 2, Episode 9
For less than the cost of a Bollywood movie ticket, once again I got to watch 13 episodes of a top-notch political drama – House of Cards, Season 2.
Darker, More Cynical
If ever the lotus eating Americans get out of their stupor and rise against their oppressive rulers in a second revolution, the TV drama House of Cards can lay claim to at least some minor credit.
Season 2 of the political series from the Netflix Instant Play streaming service debuted Friday and I quickly binged on it, completing it by Saturday evening.
Like its predecessor, the new season proved to be a riveting delight.
Solid acting, decent writing, good photography. All in all, classy stuff.
With only a bit of dramatization, House of Cards Season 2 shows America’s leaders in Congress (mainly the House of Representatives) and the administration for what they truly are – A bunch of hypocritical, self-serving, lying, corrupt, vengeful, petty bastards and thugs who’ll stop at nothing in their relentless, reckless pursuit of power and pelf (campaign contributions).
Some of the events touched upon in Season 2 – Trade war with China, illegal campaign contributions, a naval stand-off near Japan, impeachment, a deliberate murder, an accidental murder (intended victim escapes), wheeling-dealing, chicanery of a high order, lobbying and more lobbying.
One of the disappointments of the new season is that there’s absolutely no mention of the massive NSA surveillance over the American people.
Although whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations on illegal mass spying came to light as early as June 2013, there’s not a pipsqueak about the NSA shenanigans in any of the episodes.
To that extent, the episodes don’t seem current.
Also, Frank’s asides to the audience seemed fewer.
Season 2 of House of Cards strikes me as a darker, far more cynical take on our politicians in its depiction of their ruthless venality.
But moi loves the dark side of humanity. 😉
Plus with the continuing recession, the Edward Snowden revelations of mass spying, government shutdown, lousy winter storms etc, the dark side works well in these unsettling times for most Americans.
Some SI readers like Guruji whine that the ‘plot’ in Season 2 was sometimes not ‘as convincing’ as in its predecessor.
Who can say if it’s more convincing or less convincing since much of the actual political process is concealed from the public.
Hey, the reality may even be worse than depicted.
More importantly, there’s no single plot in House of Cards (be it Season 1 or 2), just multiple threads running around the core of a hopelessly corrupt political system and Congressman Frank Underwood’s ascent to the top of such a dirty system.
I thought the major subjects in Season 2 like influence of lobbyists, growing Chinese influence over American politics, and the crisis wrought by huge unidentified campaign contributions for TV ads were very convincing.
Season 2 includes 13 episodes of about 55-minutes each, same as Season 1.
Although the venality of our leaders was never a great secret, it’s mighty entertaining to see hyper-narcissistic Congressmen and senior members of the administration exposed as exemplars of egregious bad behavior.
Since the thought of serving the public never crosses the minds of our leaders, not even as an afterthought, I suppose we ought to consider House of Cards as a political satire on our corrupt, dysfunctional system.
And at the center of the sordid drama in Season 2 are the familiar figures of Frank Underwood, now Vice President, and his wife Claire.
Once again, the Oscar winning actor Kevin Spacey has done an outstanding job of playing a hopelessly amoral pol for whom nothing is beyond the pale.
But it’s Claire (Robin Wright) who seems more sinister in Season 2 since she smiles less.
All China, No India
Compared to the massive screen time for China, the Indian presence in Season 2 is minimal.
Sakina Jaffrey is back as President Garret’s Chief of Staff.
If you ask me, Sakina badly needs a laxative!
The woman has the perennial look of one whose bowels are in serious disrepair.
Then there’s mention of Indian curry (takeout) in episode one and some talk of using India as a conduit to import rare elements over Pakistan’s objections in episode 6.
That’s it for India in House of Cards Season 2.
Definitely Worth It
I will not mar your pleasure by revealing details of any of the individual episodes.
In any case, House of Cards is not the kind of TV drama where there are earth-shattering revelations in individual episodes.
The thrill and excitement here are all in the flow, of diverse events centering around Congressman Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and his wife Claire (Robin Wright) and their conquest of power, overcoming numerous obstacles and steadily climbing to the top.
Some tidbits for you – Two of my favorite characters met a bloody end in Season 2. Not telling you who! Also, interesting things happen in the first and last episodes of Season 2.
Yes, the U.S. Vice President too watches porn. 😉
SearchIndia.com strongly recommends House of Cards – Season 2 to all North American readers.
House of Cards – Season 2 is a classy affair and most definitely worth $7.99 (plus you get to watch thousands of movies and other TV shows for a month).