TV Review: House of Cards Season 5, Episodes 1-6

But is it really deja vu? Is it really that far off to believe somehow, the House of Cards universe suddenly finds itself feasible? Rather, are we so induced into whatever universe we find ourselves in that we find HOC plausible?

There’s no other way around this but tackling it head on, so let’s delve into how far from reality this is– and yet how it’s so comfortably foreign. Maybe it’s just that deja vu moment everyone in the show talks about, or maybe it’s that we’ve seen things so obscure become reality that we can’t really question it with certainty at this point.

The first six episodes brings us on a wild roller coaster ride that really can’t be explained other than the shameful acceptance of one that marks the near end of a series. Doug has a girl, the Underwoods are forever closing in on an election with no end, whatever Claire and Thomas have going on seems to be accepted and ignored– everything that we should expect to have happened between seasons four and five but are still shocked to see. In a succinct, basic gist of what went down this first half of the season, it’s that the showrunners behind House of Cards are putting a lot of trust into its viewers for the first time and it’s paying off.

But is that trust too much? Just starting off with the new episodes, there’s a lot of unexplained action viewers are left to assume– and it’s rather delightful to do so. I wonder where Doug met that girl. When did Seth start being more than a static character? Are you telling me Thomas can start having sex with Claire and a tour guide in the White House? 

There’s a lot that’s unexplained– but that’s perfect. We don’t need the constant elaboration that was so consistently boring of the past four seasons. And while I must agree with the cast members in how exciting this season is, it hasn’t fully crossed the stage of “a Netflix Original Series” that it brought in all those years ago.

That’s right. It’s a chore at this point. Just like how I can’t stop watching The Simpsons over two decades later (“Oh, but I already put in 29 seasons. I can’t quit now!”), at this point, I can’t stop watching House of Cards. It lost its political rigor prominent in the first (and maybe fourth season as a stretch); it lost its audience attention in the second (unexplained sexual acts finally touched upon in the fifth– to a certain extent); and it never really held onto its cult status that it had in 2013. At this point, it becomes a reality of conspiracies that promotes an Empire feel with a childish Goosebumps violence.

That’s not to say this season cannot be appreciated. Rather, TV-making wise, this is the most noteworthy. The great trolley/zoom of Claire and Thomas in episode four, the great jump cuts of the same scene (and somehow same angle!) of Secretary Durant in episode six– everything a film school would teach you all in the political drama you can enjoy without worry– for once.

Halfway through this season, the only thing I can say with the utmost certainty, and with great difficulty as it does bring entertainment above all else, is to just let it go. I assume this season was left open ended, and of course we will have a season six. But that’s it, leave it there and call it a day. Redeem yourselves instead of creating more political drama. Everyone knows we don’t need more of that.



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