Drama, TV

America, Meet Your New Daddy: A Review of House of Cards , Season 5

Early in the latest season of Netflix’s prestige drama, Kevin Spacey turns to the camera (I still don’t get the point of this device) and actually speaks the line, “America, Meet Your New Daddy”.

That’s all you need to know. 3 stars out of 10. See you all next time.

3 out of 10 stars (3 / 10)

Oh. Damn. Steve says I need to write more. Apparently there are ‘standards’ for a review on this site. Pfft.

The latest season of House of Cards picks up with Frank and Claire Underwood scheming to keep control of the White House.

Oh, did I say Spoilers yet? Because spoilers. I’m going to spoil the entire season for you. Spoilers.

Last season we met the ‘charismatic’ Republican nominee that seemed poised to thrash the Underwoods in the upcoming election. And by charismatic I mean he is very young, he and his wife have lots of hot sex, and of course he likely has some DEEP DARK SECRET from his relatively short past.

This seems as good a time as any to start listing the many, many plot points from this season where the audience is asked to suspend their disbelief beyond all reason.

Insane Detail #1: EVERYONE in politics has a skeleton in their closet. A huge one. A skeleton so large and grotesque that it can be used as leverage against them for the rest of their careers. Every single elected official on House of Cards has either participated in a genocidal pogrom, orchestrated a college gang rape, or at the very least choked a man to death in a well-lit parking garage. (If this sounds extreme, just watch all 5 seasons of House of Cards and tell me I’m wrong…)

The Underwoods, being comically evil villains, set out to destroy their rivals and keep control of the White House indefinitely.

Oh, boy, we’re already at…

Insane Detail #2. The Underwoods literally discuss their plans to blatantly ignore term limits. Now that they are in office, they plan to be there for at least the next 30 years. This is just one of many cases of the show writers winking at us as if to say “Get it? GET IT? It’s like TRUMP!”

Part of their nefarious plan involves a renowned hacker (I could SWEAR he was a Silicon Valley type tech guru last season, but I guess the writers needed him to be a Snowden stand-in instead?) who ends up ‘detained’ in Russia, to be used as a needless pawn in a pointless diplomatic dance with the show’s thinly-veiled Putin stand-in. Yadda-Yadda something about secret Chinese-Russian technology in Antarctica, blah-blah the bearded Putin-devil making sexual innuendo at the President of the United OH DAMN, I FORGOT:

Insane Detail #3. Frank is the president. Then he isn’t, and his wife is ‘acting president’. Then they have a kind of ‘do-over’ election and he’s the president again. Then he quits, to do something even MORE powerful in the private sector, so Claire is the president again. This is all totally legal and everyone is cool with it. There are a few dozen protesters each day outside the White House, and some pundit-CHUDs on CNN (played to perfection by themselves) fret about the abuse of power, but basically it’s totally fine for the first lady to become the VP and then the President and then the VP again and then the President again.

Frank realizes that the REAL power is in the corporate world. Who needs to be president when you could be… Patricia Clarkson (AKA ‘Tammy #1 from Parks and Rec), who apparently runs a small mom-and-pop “Middle Eastern Death Council” of sorts. She routinely out-plays the CIA and FBI this season, all while mentoring young women in politics. (She takes both Claire and Neve Campbell’s character under her wing, to help sculpt the next generation of scarf-wearing war criminals.)

Frank comes to this conclusion after a weekend in the woods, which I can only describe as a first-year literature major’s vision of what secret societies look like: old men gathering the woods to don robes, worship a sacred crow, sleep in tents, and generally just shoot the shit over pancakes and baked beans. You know, typical summer camp stuff. Like if Henry Kissinger spent his summers playing croquet with Willam F. Buckley, the CEO of Dow Chemical, and oh wait that sounds very realistic after all. Never mind.

The first few seasons of the show were filled with deft political machinations, complex plans that required weeks or months to unfold, and tenacious reporters looking for the TRUTH. Season 5 has an angry old man at a newspaper who, even armed with definitive evidence that the president of the united states murdered someone, is incapable of doing anything. Like, I get that the head of the FBI is in the administration’s pocket, but maybe, just MAYBE… if you have evidence of a murder, you could go to talk to a cop? Like, ANY cop, anywhere? Maybe?

Which brings me to:

Insane Detail #4: The vice-president / acting president / president… fuck it, CLAIRE… Claire murders a guy. Straight up murders him. Poisons him, then fucks him in front of a fireplace (in an empty house owned by some random Roger Stone stand-in, who inexplicably jumps from the Republican campaign to the Underwood White House because fuck it that’s just a thing that apparently happens in this universe) until he dies. She leaves the body there, naked on the floor, for someone else to deal with.

Ok. If you watched Season 2, you saw Frank shove a woman in front of a train. You accept the fact that these two can get away with anything.

But Claire kills her lover. The vaguely handsome novelist dude who really ‘gets’ the Underwoods, becomes their speechwriter, and then MOVES IN TO THE WHITE HOUSE to sleep in Claire’s bed every night. This dude just suddenly vanishes one day, and nothing happens.

Oh wait, one thing happens: the woman who gives tours of the White House asks “hey, has anyone seen that dude lately?” And that’s the end of that. Murder never has consequences on this show.

Insane Detail #5: Writer guy’s absence is noticed by tour lady because earlier in the season they had sex. In the White House. In the press briefing room. On the podium.

You live with the Underwoods, you KNOW they murder people, you KNOW they are paranoid and have spies everywhere, and you… cheat on Claire IN the White House? Like, there are cameras in the White House, right? Not just the secret ones Frank installs literally everywhere on earth later in the season, just the REGULAR White House cameras? Apparently that never crossed writer dude’s mind.

House of Cards has become the silliest show I watch, and I eagerly await Season 6. Frank will likely end up in prison (Claire didn’t pardon him), possibly alongside Doug (who really needs to find a shred of a second dimension… he was interesting in earlier seasons, now he just scowls and threatens murder in every conversation). Frank and Doug will then team up, Prison Break style, to take their revenge on Claire. I’m hoping for a Fast/Furious crossover here, with the Rock and Jason Statham breaking into a maximum security jail to work with Frank and bring down the Putin/China super soldiers being bred in tanks in Antarctica.

You heard it here first: Season 6 – The Rock, Antarctic super soldiers, and maybe a talking bear.

I can’t wait.

5 out of 10 stars (5 / 10)

5 stars out of 10. If you watched the first 4 seasons and you have a weekend and some unused brain cells to spare, enjoy.

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