Warning: This piece contains major spoilers. If you have not yet watched the first episode of the second season of “House of Cards,” do NOT read on.
“Did you think I’d forgotten you?” Vice President Frank Underwood says directly to the viewer at the end of Episode 1 of the second season of the Netflix hit “House of Cards.”
“Perhaps you hoped I had. Don’t waste a breath mourning Ms. Barnes — every kitten grows up to be a cat. They seem so harmless at first — small, quiet, lapping up their saucer of milk. But once their claws get long enough, they draw blood — sometimes, from the hands that feeds them. For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there can be no mercy. There is but one rule — hunt, or be hunted.”
Underwood has just killed Zoe Barnes, the enthusiastic, over-her-head journalist who served as one of the main protagonists in Season 1 of the show. Just like that, Zoe Barnes — who ended up asking one question too many — is gone.
It happens little more than a half-hour into the new season. Underwood meets Barnes in a Metro station, where he is wearing a fedora and glasses to mask his appearance. Barnes asks him if she had unknowingly participated in the murder of Peter Russo. Indeed, she helped contribute — it was Underwood who murdered Russo at the end of Season 1, making it appear as if the troubled former congressman had committed suicide.
But Underwood does not reveal this fact.
“Jesus,” he says, dismissively.
“I want to believe you, Francis — ” Barnes starts, chasing him back behind a barrier. But before she can finish her thought, Underwood is there, waiting for her, ready to push her in front of an oncoming train. It’s his second cold-blooded murder in a pretty short span.
Those who have seen the British version of “House of Cards” weren’t necessarily surprised by this. Francis Urquhart, the “Underwood” character, confesses to a murder in front of the reporter, then throws her off the roof.
Still, it was a daring move for a television series — albeit one that can break a lot of the traditional boundaries because of its unusual, release-all-13-episodes-at-once formula. Mara is popular, and Zoe Barnes was an important — albeit divisive — character.
But her death makes it clear — Frank is in charge, and he’ll do anything necessary to get someone out of his way.
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