House of Cards: Season 2

February 18, 2014
Author Article Media

ImageI loved season 1. I loved the original 3 seasons of the British version back in the 1990s. But season 2 of the American version shows promise of being the best yet.

The British version was notable for Ian Richardson's Francis Urquhart MP breaking the 4th wall and talking to the camera. Kevin Spacey retained this in season 1, along with other gems, like the famous catchphrase “You might very well say that – I couldn't possibly comment”.

In Season 2 Episode 1 (and I really don't want to give out spoilers yet), it looked like breaking the 4th wall had been abandoned. This seemed a pity, because Spacey was masterful at it. Without giving anything away, a huge amount of action happened in this first episode, which continued straight from the last of the previous season, without any recaps. The action confirmed Spacey's Frank Underwood – now settled as Vice-President – as one of TV's most hateable – and therefore likeable – villains. Then – suddenly, with no warning whatsoever, in the dying minutes of the episode, Underwood says “Did you miss me?” I was startled, because I had no idea what that line meant. Then he repeated it, and I realized he was talking to camera – or rather his reflection in a mirror was talking to camera. In the dying minutes of the program, he broke the 4th wall again! It was a stroke of genius, in my opinion. Spacey's Underwood not only includes the viewer as a character in the drama again, but by ignoring the viewer for most of the first episode, he ironically involves the viewer, by treating him/her/me with the same utter, evil contempt that he reserves for every other character. In my opinion, this was one of TV's greatest ever moments – and I was there, on the couch, when it happened! I – and millions of other Netflix subscribers on both sides of the Atlantic – was sucked in and suckered. And didn't we love it!

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