Wow. Just . . . wow.
That’s my immediate reaction to the second-season premiere of “House of Cards,” which will be available Friday on Netflix along with the rest of the season.
Trust me: You don’t want to miss this show. It’s that good.
There’s a reason the series — the first original drama produced by Netflix — snared 14 Emmy nominations last year, including nods for stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. (Neither won, but Wright did win a Golden Globe last month for Best Actress in a Drama.)
The show’s writing, breathless pacing and even its clever use of graphics (visually superimposing phone text messages onto particular scenes) stands head-and-shoulders above most of its TV brethren. And, if you’re a “Breaking Bad” fan who enjoyed that show’s endlessly dark tone — and might not have seen “House of Cards” the first time around — you’ll be spellbound by its spiral into an abyss of immorality (but, unlike “BB,” without the occasional foray into dark comedy).
Season 2 picks up right where the Season 1 finale left off, with malevolent, devious, power-hungry Congressman Francis “Frank” Underwood (Kevin Spacey) in line for the US vice-presidency, a position into which he manipulated himself at the end of last season with Machiavellean scheming — and murder.
His equally duplicitous wife, the icy Claire (Robin Wright), is dealing with internal problems at her office, and using her own cunning methods to resolve issues with Gillian Cole (Sandrine Holt), her pregnant former associate who’s threatening legal action.
Meanwhile, intrepid reporter Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara) — whose self-serving affair with the much-older Frank short-circuited near the end of last season — is still trying to piece together the puzzle she thinks will tie her ex-lover to Rep. Peter Russo’s timely “suicide,” which cleared the way for Frank’s run at the vice-presidency. Those pieces involve the frightened prostitute (Rachel Brosnahan) who helped orchestrate Russo’s death and Frank’s loyal and sinister right-hand man, Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) — who will spare nothing to help his boss. This guy enjoys getting his hands dirty (and the seething, beetle-browed Kelly is perfectly cast).
There aren’t many protagonists here, but that’s not the point; you don’t watch “House of Cards” for its uplifting message, but rather to see how much more Spacey, Wright, Kelly et al. can plumb the depths of emotional depravity.
Netflix had TV writers, including yours truly, sign a document stating that we wouldn’t reveal any key plot points. I wouldn’t think of doing that — it would spoil all the fun you’ll have immersing yourself in this dark world.
So dig in, enjoy and binge away.
Season 2 will be released at 12:01 PST and I can't wait