[Spoiler alert for season 2 of House of Cards. If you haven’t finished watching, stop reading!]
Besides the same first name, Rachel Brosnahan may not have a whole lot in common with her House of Cards prostitute-turned-hideaway character. But with the recent success, Brosnahan has found one similarity: A struggle to keep secrets. “I’ve been pretty good,” she explained. “All my friends were texting me SHOCKED after the first episode [of season 2], wondering how on earth I kept that [twist] a secret. I don’t know how I did it [laughs]. I had to tell someone — I told my mom!”
But while Kate Mara and the rest of the cast may have always known Zoe’s fate, Brosnahan explained that for her own big plot points, she only finds out about what the show is planning for her a few weeks before they shoot. “The last episode of the second season we didn’t really know anything, I think they were still figuring things out when we were shooting.”
“Figuring things out” included the decision of whether to kill Doug Stamper, Frank Underwood’s aide who’d been nursing a growing obsession with Rachel, culminating in Doug’s decision to move her once again/possibly kill her. But Brosnahan doesn’t think fans should be too quick to say goodbye to Underwood’s favorite suck-up. “I don’t think we know that he’s dead yet,” the bloody brick-wielder revealed. “It cuts so quickly. I don’t think we can say for sure that Stamper is dead.” Prior to filming, “Michael [Kelly] and I had some conversations [about the ending moments]. He’s very upset with me! [Laughs] It was some tough, crazy scenes in the woods, but I don’t think I’ve ever worked with an actor that is so kind and positive all the time. Michael’s amazing. He can’t be dead!”
Dead or not, it doesn’t spell great things for Rachel. But while fans may be dying to know what her new, hopefully Stamper-free life would look like, Brosnahan isn’t sure she’ll be back for more to answer that question. “I have no idea. They tell us all very, very late,” she explained about her possible return. “I have no clue what is happening with the third season. I think Rachel should come back. I think there’s a lot of loose ends. I also think it’s interesting if Rachel came back because she’s one of the bigger threats to Frank now. She’s still the missing link, and people are discovering that she exists.”
Of course, a little possible-murder in the woods wasn’t the only thing Rachel got up to this season. There was also that time she threatened Doug with a knife when he came to pick her up. “I was very surprised when I got the script [for that scene],” Brosnahan said. “But it makes total sense to me because when I read the first scene in that episode, I thought, ‘She can’t freak out there because [she’s in public].’ But then she has a moment to go home and think about having to pack up her life all over again. She says, ‘I don’t want to start over. I already did it.’ And in that lifestyle — the call girl, D.C. — picking up and starting over [is constant]. And in a way, Stamper becomes another pimp. He’s picking her up and telling her what to do. So that scene makes sense to me; I think she just panics.”
When it comes to Brosnahan’s own viewing, she’s just like other fans: Obsessing over Claire. (She notes she’s on episode 7 in her current binge.) “I love this Claire/military storyline with the rape stuff,” she said about her personal favorite plot points from season 2. “I think it’s amazing. First of all, Robin Wright is a god and deserves every award ever for episode 4. It’s blowing my mind. And I’ve read the script; I knew it was happening and I still had chills. Chills, all over my body!”
Now she knows how we felt when we saw the knife.