Spoiler alert! If you are a House of Cards stan like me and haven’t watched season 5 of House of Cards, check other blog posts that might interest you, please.
So the anticipated intensity of the new season was justified. The campaigns were in top gear at the end of season 4 and Frank’s re-election was in the balance. Conway was not slowing down. Without further ado, here are the 13 points I took note of in the new season.
- Fourth Wall debuts: Right from the first scene, we’ve been introduced to the Fourth Wall by Frank. That was actually my 1st time of seeing a movie with a fourth wall. Since then, the fourth wall has been exclusive to Frank Underwood. Through it, he dropped his dope quotes, stared at us and carried us along. Alas! The director has had enough of its monopoly. Claire made her debut with the fourth wall in this season, although Frank still dominated it. Also, when Frank was being sworn in and made the real estate and location analogy to the Fourth Wall, Mark Usher waved at
- Sex & more sex: Sex and politics isn’t exactly abnormal. It oiled Frank and Zoey’s relationship. This season though, it went a step up. By more sex scenes, I meant explicit scenes. While season 1 had three sex scenes; seasons 2 and 3 had 3 scenes apiece while season 4 had just one scene. However, Season 5 had a whooping 5 sex scenes.
- Homosexuality: This aspect of Frank’s life has been alluded to in previous seasons. It usually came up in discussions. In this season though, Frank damned everything and went for his ‘grandfather’s’ mouth. Why the creator of HoC had to portray him as is not still clear to me. It had no bearing on the storyline.
- Where are you, Remy & Jackie?: I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought these two would have made impact in Season 5. Remy being a lobbyist (even though he claimed to have retired from lobbying, I didn’t believe him for a second. Jackie also laughed at his phantom retirement) and being his role in the ending of season 4, coupled with his past relationship with Frank, my expectations were justified. Jackie, having done Frank’s bidding for long, turned against him in the last part of Season 4. She played prominent roles leading up to Frank’s ascension to the Oval Office. So, it came as a surprise when she didn’t even get screen time. Maybe they rode off into the sunset as their last scene together showed.
- Power and not letting it go:
“And if you think it was hard getting here, you’re beginning to understand what I’m willing to do to stay”- President Frank Underwood S05E09.
Hasn’t this been the theme of the show? Yeah. This time though, it’s two-pronged-Frank going against his wife and Claire building her own base. We saw what Frank was willing to do to get and keep it. With MacAllan, behind the computer monitoring and shaping voters’ decisions, it wasn’t impossible to achieve this. This isn’t even unexpected. However, this theme was reinforced when Claire was Acting President. Having tasted power for a few days, she wasn’t gonna let go. Ambitious and independent as ever, she organised her own team, much to the disapproval of Frank. After Frank’s theatrics at the hearing and facing the possibility of becoming president, she put in motion acts to stamp her ownership of the White House- moved Frank out of the House, got rid of Seth Grayson (who was surprisingly silent this season) and pushed Harvey out.
PS: Was I the only one who noticed the similarity between Claire’s dress on her inauguration as Ag President and Cersei Lannister’s dress on her crowning as queen in Game of Thrones?
- Entry of Mark Usher and Ms Jane Davies: A Republican, Usher came late to the party as campaign manager; but not too late to make a difference. He brought experience and connections to the campaign. The first feature I noticed about him was his calm mien and confidence. His confidence is quite infectious. Not one to take nonsense and condescension, he clashed with Conway as the season rolled on. Still being a Republican, he crossed over to work with the Underwoods due to his pragmatism. He was the only one who really threatened Doug’s relationship with the Underwoods. A good friend of Cathy’s, Davies looks harmless and delusional. But is there any harmless person in DC? She is the Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade. Tapping into the crisis of the missing truck, she showed what she was capable of. Both of them have a history though.
- Tom’s death: A character that oozed smartness and intelligence, I was surprised by his actions which led to his death. How dared he threaten the Underwoods? That was foolish. People lost their lives for less. Did he mistake Claire’s seeming love for him for weakness? Dude should have asked Adam Galloway. Maybe he was just overconfident- or how could one explain his act with the tour guide? If there’s any consolation, he went out hard.
- Behind the Social Media scenes: Conway really gave Frank a run for his money. He seemed like the real deal. But behind the scenes, he really is an arrogant and entitled prick. Even though he showed glimpses of this in Season 4, it was full blown in Season 5. This led to the sympathetic viewers from the previous season to hating him. His condescending disposition to General Brockhart was irritating. His actions while in the military when brought to fore showed some deep rooted fears and anxiety. It might be linked to PTSD though.
- As loyal as a Doug: If you thought the highest act of loyalty was displayed when he murdered Rachel, I’ve got news for you. Doug would do stuff that would jeopardize his career for Frank. From being the fall guy during the Xander Feng- campaign funding investigation in season 2 to illegally moving Frank to the top of the donor list, Doug was going to do anything for his boss. In season 5 he accepted, without hesitation, to claim he killed Zoey Barnes. How loyal can that be?
- Frank and Claire can never go back to how they were: From
“I love that woman… I love her more than sharks love blood”
“If she doesn’t pardon me, I’ll kill her”
That’s quite a huge leap. A lot of water have passed under the bridge. As Frank doesn’t joke, this threat isn’t an empty one. To be factual though, their marriage was never going to remain the same after the stunt Claire pulled in Russia in Season 3. With Claire’s last words to the Fourth Wall, she’s willing to go after her husband.
- Hammerschmidt is never giving up: His article at the end of Season 4 set the tone for what to expect in Season 5. And he’s not stopping till he finds answers to his questions, not even if he gets assaulted in the process. This season though, he showed his will by going against The Washington Herald’s ethics- through a proxy, he floated a story he believed was right but had no source. The man has been quite busy you know!
- The Macallan’s Knot: Without Aidan’s help, the race for the White House might have been over for the Underwoods before it even got started. Even though it seemed he was going against his beliefs and thoughts, he got the jobs done anyway. In the middle of it all, he fled the country- Snowden style. It wasn’t surprising that he went to Petrov’s Russia. Being a plethora of The Underwoods Secrets, he became a bargaining chip for Petrov. However, his escape from Russia back to the US befuddled my mind. It seemed he just jumped on the available plane back home. Also, his killing in his hotel room left more unanswered questions than answered ones. Obviously, Davies does more than International Trade.
- The Underwoods are not leaving anytime soon:
“It’s no longer about who lives in the White House; it’s about who owns the White House” – Frank Underwood, S05E13.
If you watched the trailer, you probably would have had an idea. What you didn’t know was the schematics he was going to use. Frank wants to be Raymond Tusk 2.0- a godfather of some sort. He wants to have the kind of influence Tusk had while insulating himself from it all. Thus, he created the confusion all along- such as feeding information to Hammerschmidt anonymously. He admitted he has had the bull’s-eye on his back for so long. Giving up his Executive Privilege to appear at the Judiciary Committee was intentional too, although his advisers saw it as a stupid move.
Frank isn’t done with DC yet!
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