House of Cards: Season 1, Episode 2

Chapter 2 (1 Feb. 2013)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama
8.7
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Reviews: 3 user | 9 critic

Francis and Doug plan to frame Secretary of State nominee, Michael Kern. Meanwhile, Zoe's popularity at the Washington Herald continues to grow.

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Title: Chapter 2 (01 Feb 2013)

Chapter 2 (01 Feb 2013) on IMDb 8.7/10

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Francis and Doug plan to frame Secretary of State nominee, Michael Kern. Meanwhile, Zoe's popularity at the Washington Herald continues to grow.

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Drama

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1 February 2013 (USA)  »

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Goofs

In the scene in the Metro, the platform red lights on Francis's side are flashing, indicating an incoming train. No train arrives, but a few minutes later, one arrives on the other platform. See more »

Quotes

Francis Underwood: What a martyr craves more than anything is a sword to fall on. So, you sharpen the blade, hold it at just the right angle, and then... 3,2,1...
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Written by Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collins
Performed by Lynyrd Skynyrd
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User Reviews

 
A slight drop in quality
8 March 2014 | by (Austria) – See all my reviews

House of Cards doesn't exactly incur a collapse in quality in its second chapter, but it does lose some of the appeal it previously had, as the general course of the Netflix project becomes clearer. Nevertheless, David Fincher's second and (presumably) last directing effort on the series is fine work and an interesting look at politics, just one that could benefit from some more vigour and spirit.

The opening scene, kicking in directly where chapter one left off, assures us that Kevin Spacey's weird unfitting monologues aren't something House of Cards is likely to drop very soon, and thus smashes the feeble hopes I've had after watching the pilot. The good-looking visuals may not be a proper compensation for that, but I did again find numerous praiseworthy things in the work cinematographer Eigil Bryld and his crew achieved, such as Frank smearing blood-reminiscent sauce on the President's picture in a newspaper in just that opening scene, so the look of the series stays one of its biggest merits.

Another, slightly shrinking pro in this episode, is the script – great with characters and plot (I'm unaware how much of that was taken from the British original, though), but disappointing with the dialogue, an equally important matter for a series about politics. Especially, but not only in Spacey's one-sided conversations with the audience, the words are unrealistically grandiloquent and delivered faster than I could read them out loud, while they at the same time lack something to make them worth listening to. Due to the series making Frank seem to be the only intelligent politician in the whole U.S. of A., there isn't any room for heated or thoughtful debates, and whenever you may feel as if a clever conversation is in the offing, the scene is cut after two minutes, for whatever reasons.

Let's not get too negative though, since House of Cards is still a good series, upholding a sort of look on politics that's exceedingly rare in mainstream media, knowing how to use the talented actors it has got, and giving a wonderful lot of focus on little details. I want to see more of it after this episode, but that's mostly because I want to see it become better.

Memoranda: • I forgot to mention it in my review for the first chapter, but the on-screen text messages are looking really great, even if House of Cards isn't the first to have that sort of idea. • The six education experts Frank convenes not showering for a week or so is something I don't suppose to be anywhere near reality. • Realism issue again: Who would ever nominate someone with that bad of a rhetoric for Secretary of State? • Claire at the coffeehouse and Frank with the homeless man are two utterly useless scenes without any significance for further episodes that shouldn't have made it into the final cut. • Best quote: "When it comes to your life and what I know about it, you should assume that there's no such thing as a secret." I'd rather have chosen the one of the pilot again, since it is repeated in this episode, but this one shows first signs of Doug Stamper being a bad-ass and thus had my esteem for him rising instantly.


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