House of Cards Season 5 Full Season Review

House of Cards Season 5, did the unthinkable and managed to entertain me more than the first season did. Kevin Spacey (Frank Underwood) and Robin Wright (Claire Underwood) are the main actors of this season and while Kevin Spacey is favored a bit more with the screen time, that favoritism is not as strong as it was with previous seasons. Without spoiling the ending, I will say it has been heavily implied that Claire Underwood is going to be the central focus of next season. Careful attention is as always paid to how each scene is shot and combined with classy fitting music. With the addition of a series of key plotlines which coalesce into a masterfully orchestrated political story, it daunts the imagination to think how such a well-thought piece of entertainment can be made. This, is how a flagship show meant to help Netflix compete with television, should be done.

Does this particular season manage to compete with any seasons of the only other show that approaches this level of quality, complexity, and brutality... Game of Thrones? That's like asking if Game of Thrones without the fantasy setting, increased realism, and slightly fewer characters, is better than normal Game of Thrones. I naturally favor the latter over the former but that is more preference than criticism. Though, at least with Game of Thrones there at least seemed to be a significant hope the good characters can succeed; the taste of scum left in one's mouth when watching Frank Underwood and Claire Underwood carry out their atrocities with little hope of them being stopped, is as always as intriguing as it is appalling.

An in-depth review of this season's alignments with the 2016 election could fill a couple-hundred pages easily over this one season alone. The overtone of the 2016 election was combined with various references to real life events and people fictionalized to fit this altered universe in which Underwood reigns. If I were to so boldly propose some alignments, I would say Frank Underwood is Donald Trump if Trump was a genius, and Claire Underwood is Hillary Clinton if Clinton was as bad as some of the worst conspiracies made about her.

The plotline involving how Frank Underwood killed Zoe Barnes is still building throughout the season but it is still, being built up for use in yet another season. At this point, the safest bet is that the season in which that plotline comes to a close will be the season House of Cards ends; it is a too-big-to-fail plotline due to how much hope and focus has been pressed onto it. If that plotline comes to a close, all the built-up interest in Frank Underwood being brought to justice, would suddenly disappear which would not be good for the show.

House of Cards is presently setting the new standards for acting. The difficulties of understanding the subtle implications through facial expressions, bodily movements, and certain emotional emphases on different words, is what adds a particular necessary layer of depth to House of Cards that I believe is what sets it far apart from what I personally view as its main competitor, Game of Thrones (sorry Veep). Game of Thrones, while it does show off some of the best acting in the history of acting, does not spend such a massive amount of time emphasizing and focusing on the constant use of such subtle social nuances and implications. Constantly in House of Cards, the viewer is sent such mixed subtle meanings from characters that it is an interesting puzzle in itself to go through the season and try to figure out what a character really means or plans. It always makes sense in the end but the path to understanding each character is wrought with nuances the average person will not immediately or fully understand until after the fact. House of Cards has set the bar for subtlety in acting by keeping it so relevant, frequent, and consistently sensible. I would easily state that some of the best acting in all of human history can presently be found in House of Cards Season 5.

I rate House of Cards Season 5 as 5 houses of cards out of 5. If you are remotely interested in politics or the deeper darker social nuances in human interaction, watch this season.


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