MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW…
Holy f*cking shit. What a fantastic episode, “House of Cards” is back and with it’s best episode yet. “Chapter Fourteen” is a superb hour of television, and possibly one of the best I’ve ever seen. “House of Cards” has had it’s problems, the middle part of Season One in particular, but it ended so great I was incredibly excited for it’s return. It didn’t disappoint, instead it delivered one of it’s best episodes.
“Chapter Fourteen” delivers various shocks and twist in an organic and exciting way. To start let’s address the elephant in the room, the sudden and shocking death of Zoe Barnes(played by Kate Mara). I can’t say I didn’t expect Zoe to bite the bullet this season, but this soon in the season premiere of all episodes. I love Kate Mara, and Zoe’s character was excellent, but her death has to go down as one of the most surprising and exhilarating moments in all of television. Knowing now how the scene ends now, makes the scene all the more brilliant. Frank asking her to delete the messages and contact information is given more meaning. Zoe may not have been perfect, but in the world of D.C. she was practically a damn saint, and Francis killing her solidifies his place as a monster.
The scenes with Claire are always fantastic, but Robin Wright’s performance in this episode is absolutely superb. It’s all of the subtleties in Wright’s performance that makes her shine, the scene where she see’s the news report reporting Zoe’s death in particular was a standout scene. There’s always been this whole debate I’ve had with myself as to whether or not Claire knows about the full extent of Francis’s actions(murdering Peter Russo for example), and this scene doesn’t so much confirm it but her behavior regarding the news definitely seems to suggest it. Also her scenes with Gillian were also amazing.
This season seems to be going down a route similar to the second seasons of “Dexter” and “Breaking Bad” in that it’s protagonist(the oh so sketchy Frank Underwood) is having the walls begin to close in on him. While everything seems alright now for Frank, I wouldn’t be surprised if by the season’s end Lucas makes some shocking discoveries. If I’m correct and HoC goes down that same route this is certain to be one hell of a thrill ride.
Overall, this was a stunning premiere. Without a doubt the best episode of House of Cards yet. I’m hoping to review all of the episodes one by one this year. Right now I’m watching episode two, so by tomorrow Chapter Fifteen’s review will be up.