Tuesday, June 20, 2017

TV Show Review: House of Cards (Season 5)

With the insanity of the actual White House, it is hard to match the chaos. House of Cards tries to reflect current events and create a compelling story but ultimately, watching CNN is just too crazy these days for this show to really resonant. We've also been watching the Underwoods scheming and the brilliant acting for five seasons so the plot twists in this season don't come off as fresh or original. Like the show, Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) fights to stay afloat as the president with the general election coming in the middle of this season. Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) conspires with her husband as the Vice President. 

The Republican opponent Will Conway (Joel Kinnaman) leverages his military career and photogenic family to challenge Frank's political dominance. The biggest plotline pulled from the headlines is a hack from the NSA to sway the votes. Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) and Leann Harvey (Neve Campbell) work with hacker Aidan Macallan (Damian Young) to initiate the election rigging. When Frank sees the election not going his way, he causes Ohio and Tennessee to have a stalled vote, giving the Underwoods a chance to alter votes. Meanwhile, Tom Hammerschmidt (Boris McGiver) at the Washington Herald investigates the long conspiracy that has unfolded over several seasons all the way back to Zoe Barnes's death.

Frank Underwood has to negotiate with a secret society of billionaires including Conway's campaign manager Mark Usher (Campbell Scott) who finally helps assist the leaks that damage Underwood's opponent. Claire continues her affair with Thomas Yates (Paul Sparks) though she struggles to explain his continued presence in the White House. Seth Grayson (Derek Cecil), the press secretary, must deal with the constant leaks of the White House as another reporter Sean Jeffries (Korey Jackson) works to figure out the truth despite being fired from the Herald. Jane Dais (Patricia Clarkson) tries to turn the Vice President against her husband and facilitate the impeachment of the President.

The show plods along as Francis evades controversy and throws everyone under the bus or pushes them down the stairs if they won't cooperate. Thomas Yates threatens to publish an inside story about the Underwoods but Claire won't let that happen. Frank pushes Doug to take the fall for Zoe's death and testifies in front of Congress offering to resign in the penultimate episode. The relationship between Claire and Frank has always been contentious and central to the story and with Claire's chance at the presidency in sight as she already had a taste of it earlier in the season brings the finale to an interesting conclusion. 

This show feels like it is working towards an ending though a show mainly about Claire Underwood would be something new. She did break the fourth wall to finally speak to audiences in a highlight of the season. I was unable to follow the complicated plots of this season mostly because they didn't interest me to pay full attention as I let some of the episodes play out. I wouldn't be surprise if the final season is announced with Netflix cancelling some of my favorite shows and moving towards newer programming. I started with House of Cards in the early days of the Netflix binge model and would like to see it go out before it outstays it's welcome.

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