Vulture

Skip to content, or skip to search.

reflections

If You’ve Watched All of House of Cards’s Second Season, Let’s Discuss

Did you watch all of House of Cards this weekend? Some of us did. The few, the proud, the conflicted. Obviously marathon-watching affects one's attention to detail, so I'll grant there are story moments here and there I found a little confusing that I'm sure would seem more clear on a saner watching schedule. But let's not kid ourselves: The whole point of Netflix shows is to bury yourself in them. Let's go through some scattershot ideas about season two of House of Cards. To be clear, this post covers the entire season, and contains spoilers galore. We'll be revisiting many of these ideas in recaps and other articles down the road, of course.

— Meechum! Get it, son! Amid the scandals and maneuverings, HoC made room to remind us about Frank's bisexuality. Last season, we saw that present itself when Frank returned to his former military college. This season, it was the long, slow seduction of Agent Meechum, the secret service bodyguard who became something more to both Claire and Frank Underwood. My guess is that it'll be a one-time thing — now that we've all been appropriately titillated, there's not that much more story to tell. (See our GIFs of that moment here.)

— This show is not kind to its balds. First Peter Russo, now Doug Stamper. Poor Doug! (It's possible that Doug survived the bludgeoning, but it seems unlikely, given the glassy, lifeless stare. But maybe.) House of Cards has its flaws, for sure, but one thing it does very well is give its bad guys soft underbellies. And even though Doug was vile in many ways, he also craved tenderness. RIP, Doug.

— Speaking of RIP, obviously RIP to Zoe Barnes, the Twitter Twat herself. Her death absolutely surprised me, though once she died I became profoundly not interested in Sad Lucas and Over-It Janine. I know, I know; they were uncovering all the secrets. But Zoe was the only interesting one! Bye, other people.

— Lucas's ongoing hacker plot was not … good. Are a lot of "hackers" into sending anonymous iPads, and then insisting they be destroyed?

— Good-bye, cats and tribbles. The new animal for evil masterminds is the long-haired guinea pig, apparently. Hackers! They are so hackery! Long live Cashew.

— One thing we know about Frank is that the show will never really find a suitable foil for him: He's always going to be the smartest, the best at creating schemes, the savviest and most heartless. (Except for Claire, maybe.) This is why Tusk felt so flabby to me. Frank goes up against a shady billionaire — hmm, I wonder what will happen. Of course Frank will prevail, because this is a show about how Frank prevails. I just wish Tusk had been a more worthy, or at least more inventive, opponent.

—Are we done with Gillian? On a show where people get murdered kind of a lot, a wrongful-termination suit seems like small potatoes, but season one led me to believe that Gillian — Claire's pregnant employee — was somehow significant. Guess not. Her storyline wrapped up (or … was dropped) after a few episodes this season, and now I don't ever get to know what she named her baby.

— What did Claire's photographer lover do to deserve this? It's one thing to screw people over when they've screwed you over, but all he did was provide muscular lovemaking and a loft apartment.

— Sorry, Linda, but Leo McGarry would definitely have know how to handle all this bullshit.

— Does Claire just not care about clean water anymore? Obviously her main arc this season is as an advocate for rape victims, but we know all our characters contain multitudes. When she wasn't busy manipulating the first lady, she probably had time to give a speech at some kind of NGO panel.

— Why are reporters willing to go on this show and play themselves as terrible reporters? Ashleigh Banfield came across terribly in her interview with Claire, and Morley Safer seemed like a dumdum in his interview with Frank. Stop going on House of Cards, people!

— If the show is tough on its bald characters, it's even tougher on its young female ones. You can be murdered, basically imprisoned, cruelly dumped for reasons outside of your control; you can attempt suicide after a Congresswoman degrades you on television after coming forward about your rape; you can endure the death of your boyfriend and still have powerful people whisper about you sleeping with your boss. Eesh.

— Does Kevin Spacey not know how to throw a baseball, or does Frank Underwood not know? It's not a shot put. Straighten that arm on the follow-through.

— Is it going to be interesting to watch Frank be president? I'm not sure. Part of Frank's MO is that he's the also-ran, the guy who got passed over and passed over; it's what the first season hinged on, his own ideas about himself clashing with other people's perceptions of him. So now that he's getting what he says he wants, there can't really be that scrappiness to the story. Frank wanted power and recognition. He's the damn president now. How much more power and recognition could there possibly be?

Photo: Nathaniel E. Bell/Netflix