Why to revisit ‘House of Cards’ before season three

Skyler Leonard

Spoiler warning: Important scenes  from “House of Cards” discussed.

Revisiting “House of Cards” is a horrifying experience.

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Netflix's Emmy-winning series "House of Cards" premieres its third season Friday. (Photo Illustration by Kate Winkle)
Netflix’s Emmy-winning series “House of Cards” premieres its third season Friday. (Photo Illustration by Kate Winkle)

For some reason, knowing what happens only make things worse. When Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) first meets Zoe Barns (Kate Mara), the reporter he inevitably pushes in front of a train, what initially seemed safe all of a sudden turned terrifying.

When I first watched “House of Cards,” I saw Kevin Spacey’s performance as good. He played a cold, calculating politician – nothing more. Yet knowing the entire story and the violence his character is capable of elevates Spacey’s performance to a new level as you feel the anger of the character simmering under the surface as he interacts with various characters.

What was once a political drama had turned into an intense mind-f***.

This mentality only progressed as scenes and snippets of dialogue attained new meaning. In particular, the foreshadowing of Zoe’s death so early on in season one came out of nowhere for me, yet there it was in plain sight and said by Frank Underwood.

“Don’t miss your train, Miss Barnes. It’s the last one tonight.”

house of cards animated GIF

Moments like those are the ones I love in shows. For some reason, it legitimizes the writing process and proves the writers know exactly what they are doing with each scene. Instead of watching something for sheer entertainment, it turns into art.

Rewatching “House of Cards” has really made me question the way I approach Netflix. For a lot of Netflix programming, I, like most people, watch shows in an excited consumer binge session. Yet after watching “House of Cards,” I fear that pace made me miss too many things.

Actively watching versus passively watching a show is always an important choice. For me, binging a show is a weird dichotomy between active and passive. On one hand, you are very invested in the story and need to know the outcome, but that impatience can cause important and wonderful detail to fall through the cracks.

Furthermore, the chances of me revisiting a show after I have binge-watched it are very slim. Because of “House of Cards,” I am contemplating revisiting many shows I binged because of what I know I missed.

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That being said, I doubt I will be able to stop myself from watching the entire next season of “House of Cards” this weekend. When every episode is ready, just waiting to be watched, patience is thrown out the window.

And if the season three trailer gives any indication to where the story is going, patience does not seem either probable or possible.

Gif courtesy of giphy.com.

Collegian A&E Writer Skyler Leonard can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @skyler_leonard.