There comes a certain point while watching a reality TV show that you start to wonder just how real the show is. Then comes the frightening opposite of it, when watching a dramatically licensed TV show based on daily life causes you to timidly question how real it truly has become.
Unfortunately, the more we delve into the reality of House of Cards, the more we find out everything is plausible, given our discerning attitudes towards our current political atmosphere. While this season was without a doubt the most technical and loophole-filled (let there be a delineation between loop holes and plot holes for clarity’s sake), it all seems scarily applicable.
Claire seemed like the only normal person we were rooting for in a show with characters that have only negative qualities. Claire shocks us all by not only turning on Donald Blythe, the one character we still hated but at least held some sort of sympathy for. Then she truly turns heads by speaking into the camera, telling us she knew we were here the whole time but still needed time to figure us out.
Excuse me! Claire, you don’t need any time to do anything– you hold yourself to this all-knowing standard that becomes uncharacteristic of you to not only talk to us in an aside, but say you still need time. It’s been five years, and if you really knew we were here the whole time, then who else does? Is this some sort of sixth sense thing that only the Underwoods have the power to see? Or rather, does this change the name of the game? Is what we assumed to be just an aside in terms of Shakespeare’s actors giving the audience a brief respite in comedy/explaining wordy concepts to be more than that? Are we characters at this point, or have we manifested into a camera, an omnipresent being akin to a god but one that has no power whatsoever?
The shocker at this point is, of course, Claire. But hold on a second, and major major (major) plot point ahead: she hangs up on Frank. Sure, it was heavily foreshadowed in the Chekhov’s gun building of Claire’s and Frank’s agreement, but this is different. Even if it was foreshadowed and even predictable to some, did we ever think she would go through with it? That she would indeed turn her back on Frank?
Rather, this is a story that should be less asked of Claire and more of writers and political commentators of female go-getters. This is a question that is asked time and time again about the role women have in their professional and social lives. You mean to say a woman would rather not have children just to pursue a career? How selfish. Were a man to do the same thing, it’s a selfless and noble act. You mean a woman who was promised the world and gave up on her career to help her husband’s finally takes a stand? How outrageous and indecent. A man? Great, he got out of an abusive relationship and got what’s better for him.
At the end of the day, this HOC season was less about the real world and more about the reel world. Sure, there’s a lot of similarities between reality and fiction, but the main difference is how the world is treated through the characters’ perspectives. There’s nothing wrong with showing a little confidence and aggressiveness to get what you want and rightfully deserve, just as there shouldn’t be any kind of name-calling or discrimination based solely on a person’s race, gender, or orientation. This season of House of Cards perfectly combines what’s going on in the outside world with what issues people care about most in a hugely successful, dramatic way, and it only goes to serve them a sixth (and hopefully final) season.
Didn’t understand a thing that happened? Here’s Doug a la Margot Robbie to teach us a lesson.