The following story discusses at length MAJOR SPOILERS from Season 2 of House of Cards. Read at your own risk.
Kevin Spacey's Vice President Frank Underwood is very stressed in Season 2 of House of Cards. So is Robin Wright's Claire Underwood, but mainly because Frank can't keep things together.
[REALLY, BIG SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN'T GOTTEN TO EPISODE 11.]
And then, one night, Claire and trusty Secret Service Agent Edward Meechum — played by Nathan Darrow — relaxed over some drinks.
But, Meechum cut his hand on a wineglass that Claire dropped and broke, so Frank had to help clean him up.
Then, the VP — whose past with a guy in college, and continued feelings for him, were touched on in the first season — and Meechum kiss.
The end. We see no more.
Incidentally, in the next scene, we see far more of another same-sex encounter — this one between two younger women, Rachel Posner (Rachel Brosnahan) and Lisa Williams (Kate Lyn Sheil). The voyeuristic nature of that encounter — and distinction between the two — makes sense in a way, as the second scene features Underwood's chief of staff, Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly), voyeuristically looking in on the two women. The questions about those decisions, though, are sure to be discussed elsewhere.
For now, back to the episode, which takes us back to Frank and Claire after the sun rises.
When Claire asks him how he's feeling, Frank responds: "I slept like a baby."
Claire, as only Claire could do, replies: "Good. You needed that."
So: WHO IS NATHAN DARROW? Totally coincidentally, Meechum's story tracks Darrow's in some pretty interesting ways.
Darrow, who went to New York University, met Spacey when they were in Richard III together.
Back in October, Darrow told KCUR:
"And he (Spacey) was already about to do House of Cards and they were casting it around the time we were touring Richard III. And he kind of put me up for it. So I went in for (director) David Fincher and the folks, and that's how I got on the show."
Darrow almost didn't play Meechum, the driver turned Secret Service agent because Underwood put him up for it.
Of Spacey, Darrow said:
"He takes his position as kind of a mentor really seriously. And also, he understands that this is all a very long tradition. And he was kind of given opportunity and given attention as a young actor, and that's very important for him... He kind of sees that as part of his job, really, to continue it, to pass it along."
Before Richard III, Darrow was in Kansas City in '08, starring in The Little Dog Laughed:
Darrow played a young actor who "agonizes over his need to keep his sexual orientation secret (particularly during negotiations to play a gay man in a new movie)."
In a review of the show in Camp, Darrow (on the left in the photo above) was called a "great casting choice," while the shirtless actor, Michelangelo Milano, was called "hot. Ummm, really hot."
By the end of 2009, though, Darrow was in New York City, where he was an understudy in In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play).
Less than two years later, he was in London for the opening of Richard III at the Old Vic in London. The rest is history.