"House of Cards" may throw fans for a loop after they watched the first episode of its second season. The season opener reveals the tragic fate of one major character as Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) continues to get rid of any obstacles in his way to presidency.
Thus, [SPOILER ALERT!] when Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara) correctly assumes that Frank was behind Peter Russo's (Corey Stoll) death, Frank kills Zoe by throwing her in front a subway train. Following the shocking scene, series creator Beau Willimon discusses Zoe's tragic end.
To TV Guide, he says that Zoe's demise "was always in the cards." He claims, "I always knew what we wanted to do with Zoe's story, and so did Kate. The decisions of where we go with Zoe's story ultimately were made before we even began writing Season 1 in earnest."
To understand Frank's action, he suggests viewers "to think about it as Francis would." Willimon adds, "[The act] is one of expediency and one of decisiveness. You have to be decisive and ruthless in order to climb the highest summits of power. Francis' evolution is one of climbing higher and confronting the things that he has to do to take the next step."
If there's someone safe in Frank's ruthless world, "it's absolutely Claire," Willimon says. "Her approval is really the only approval that he truly cares about. And we've seen the price of what happens to the Underwoods when they are not working together," he explains. "Without each other, they are in free-fall. Ultimately the strength of their bond is the key to their mutual success, and that is definitely something we wanted to explore more in season 2."
Of Frank's insatiable thirst for power, Willimon says, "Francis wants power for power's sake, and he wants that power because power ultimately means possibility. The more you have, the more you can be the master of your own fate."
He continues, "None of us can cheat death, but we can more or less exert control over the path that our life takes, and both Francis and Claire want as much control over that as possible. I am not sure either of them can ever be fully satisfied. I think, for them, satisfaction is a form of complacency. That's what makes them so ruthless, and also so successful."
"House of Cards" 13-episode season 2 was released in its entirety on Netflix on early Friday, February 14.