Cast : – Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly
Genre : – Political Drama, Fiction
So, the end of May brought another set of episodes on the digital streaming service of Netflix (something I have been waiting for all year). House of Cards has been on my top 10 list of favourite TV shows to watch of all time. Has this season promoted its ranking? I don’t think so. Was it a bad season for a very good TV show? No, it was very good but it technically wasn’t the best HOC season. And before you go all ballistic on me, read the full review and try to understand my reason.
So, House of Cards season 5 takes place in the months of somewhere between mid-October to following February of Election year. With Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) fighting the dropping public opinion of Frank’s past actions been flung into the media. The people feel deceived and enraged of Francis J Underwood’s past actions and have shifted their support to his Republican competitor – Will Conway (Joel Kinnaman), a comparatively inexperienced candidate. The season continues down the election lane and how Frank Underwood with the help of Claire, his Chief of Staff – Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) and LeAnn Harvey (Neve Campbell) manage to stay on top and win the election.
So, the season has a basic premise. You have yet another task set up in front of the protagonist and you take the popcorn, to sit and watch. To see how he crushes his opponents and rips the sense of reality/reason your mind has set out in the course of the show. This season was no different.
The season gave Frank Underwood a new and even bigger set of challenges. In the season finale of it’s preceding season, we had an article published by Tom Hammerschmidt (Boris McGiver) which clearly states all the crimes and proof of them from Frank Underwood’s past. And there seemed to be no coming back from that, well atleast a normal person couldn’t. But Frank is no normal person is he? The season chases around how Frank holds the public hostage, of how he manufactures terrorist attacks from a Middle – Eastern terrorist organisation ICO (fictional correlation to ISIS – bit too cliche for a terrorist group isn’t it?), his jeopardizing the elections to ensure there aren’t people who have voted for him, putting the Congress in the voting seat instead of the general public due to the lack of free and fair in all the states (a measure in the constitution whose tie can be broken down by the flip of a coin – really? who even thought about it.), the manipulation of the media to bury the news of his article to prevent his impeachment etc were some of the highlights of this season.
We don’t submit to terror. We make the terror. – Francis J. Underwood
Kevin Spacey was as usual a ruthless devil this season but Robin Wright has been stealing the show for the past two seasons for sure. She on a stretch has been growing in the characters she has been playing (WW and this, any conflicts?).
Now, the season was way too good and had an OMG moment more than once in every episode but I still feel the second season was my favorite and here’s the reason why.
- This season in short, crippled Frank and his ability to spearhead – something the character is known for. Sure, he was doing a lot of butchery but his pace was decelerated by a great extent. Guess something’s had to change for the show to go on.
- There were a few other things that were so perfectly timed that audiences didn’t have the time to question , like what was going on with ICO – why were they silent throughout? Whenever there is a terrorist strike as beautiful as this, why didn’t the organisation release a video saying it took responsibility of the attack? Because after all the White House was using the organisation to forward their goals and declare war on them even though they had nothing to do with it. Maybe it was good for them but the videos would have gone a long way.
- The presence of private industrial entities was lacking here in the elections. Everyone knows the US elections have private entities crawling all over it. After all, the greatest influence of politics is “Money” – as Frank himself told in the third season. There were, private PMC’s involved later on but none of them were actually there in the elections. Companies like, these fortune 500’s or private space agencies or oil company’s that directly fund a candidate and have lobbyists do their work have existed in the past such as Remy Danton (Mahershala Ali) but this election lacked their presence considerably. Maybe they have learned their lesson of not trifling with Frank Underwood but Will Conway could have still been a good catch for them.
- At the end of S4 we see the fourth wall, which was broken the least amount of time in this season had a new participant – Claire Underwood and when that happened I lost my mind because we finally got two people in the driver’s seat and this was exciting but sadly she used it way too rarely for her own reasons as she said which was disheartening to say the least.
- I missed the one or two line quotes of wisdom Frank Underwood gave everytime he broke the fourth wall.
- I also missed the team Frank, Claire and Doug used to be. Of how it was those two and Doug against the world. Now, obviously the show has been grooming and building Claire to take the chains for two seasons now but I did wish it didn’t mean Frank had to be out on the street. It kind of is sad.
But, that is all the faults I could find in the season and trust me I had to a microscope to find those unlike the other shows that were pretty transparent. I liked how the show took and groomed Claire to become the president and even though she doesn’t have the experience to be a president she is cunning enough to know if she is being taken advantage of. The addition of new characters such as Jane Davis (Patricia Clarkson) and Mark Usher (Campbell Scott) whilst a few old ones were killed – LeAnn Harvey and Thomas Yates () kept the aura of suspense and the curiosity of what these new characters bring to the table intact. I liked how the show creators found new ways to blow the minds of the audiences with every succeeding season. The Congress electing a new POTUS was something totally unexpected. I did feel horrible about the fate of the Conway’s. I quite liked his – Will Conway commanding authority and her – Hannah Conway (Dominique McElligot) undying support to her husband. It’s sad how something that was rightfully his, was snatched from him with no reasoning at all. And Frank’s ultimate fate, of losing the presidency and fighting for his pardon from his wife – Claire sure amps up the game for the next season.
All in all, I quite liked the season but felt it gave me more S3 vibes, remember the hurricane switching paths at the last minute? Feels like Karma caught up to Frank after all. So, tell me how you hated or liked this season.
My Rating :- Altering Possibilities