Netflix original show premieres season two

Netflix released season two of its popular original show “House of Cards” Feb. 14, I have to admit I’m not entirely sure what to make of this show.

I’m addicted to it in the sense that I watched all 26 episodes in two days (as most Netflix users have probably done at some point), but it doesn’t actually interest me that much.

The show follows the career of democratic house whip Francis “Frank” Underwood. A unique aspect of the show is how Underwood speaks to the audience directly, as if we were an intern under his charge. Kevin Spacey plays Underwood, and he’s downright creepy when he looks directly into the camera. If he were a candidate in real life, he’s the kind who would have won voters by intimidation.

To help the story along, Underwood is married to Claire, who runs the Clean Water Initiative. It’s convenient because they are both very powerful in Washington, and their marriage can be described as utilitarian in the way they use their power to advance the career of the other and because they don’t have children.

Another important character is Zoe Barnes, a reporter who goes underground as Underwood’s mouthpiece. Through her, Underwood essentially sets the government up with the people he wants in power. Barnes’ character, played by Kate Mara, is my favorite character in the show. She shines as a won’t-back-down, tough-to-the-bone woman working in a man’s world.

Season two opened with a bombshell. It was so unexpected that I had to replay the scene a few more times to be sure I saw it correctly. Unfortunately, that storyline died out by the end of the season, although it was set up to be a roller coaster. Spoiler alert: an important character dies.

Underwood moves up in ranks from a representative to the vice president of the United States, and he continues to manipulate various government figures as he wants. I’m not political-minded enough to know if the government actually works that way, if Underwood is just a super-manipulative man or if the writers gave him more influence than he would actually have.

Underwood’s wife eventually gives up the Clean Water Initiative and takes up civil service. She spends season two fighting rape in the military after some of her dirty laundry is pulled out to air.

Underwood also becomes a much darker character for the first half of the season. I don’t completely understand why it was necessary, but it did seem to be a natural reaction to the traumas she was being forced to relive.

I give “House of Cards” four out of five stars. It’s dry and slow-paced at times, and mind-bogglingly political at others, but for all its faults (and my claims that I’m bored by it) I couldn’t help but finish the entire show in one weekend. It also explores topics that are currently under civil dispute such as homosexuality and conflicts with Asian countries.

Anyone interested in politics or how the government works will legitimately enjoy the show, and those who don’t will likely find themselves as addicted as I did.

To be perfectly honest, I prefer the ‘90s show “The West Wing.” It’s very similar to “House of Cards” but with a much more positive spin. Everything goes exactly according to plan in “The West Wing,” while “House of Cards” provides a much more accurate (or at least seemingly accurate) story of how the government works.