‘We don’t submit to terror, we make the terror!” This was Frank Underwood’s (Kevin Spacey) declaration at the start of season five. House of Cards has been hitting home runs every season. This one is no different.
However, there is more (if not everything) at stake for our Janus-faced politician.
In playing puppet master as he plotted his way to the presidential seat, his ruthless ambition opened a Pandora’s box to anarchy.
When he wasn’t holding a very captive audience among his fellow political rivals and allies, he was weighing his options with certain “difficult” problems.
Where deception, bribery or blackmail failed him in furthering his agenda, murder was the solution.
However, achieving that Holy Grail of goals came at a price. Let’s just say the trail of victims he left in his presidential wake are seething with unbridled fury.
He’s become the target now. And all those cover-ups and artful planning are fast-becoming undone. Rivals are baying for justice and there is a concerted effort being made to hold Frank accountable for his crimes to date.
His response to them: “I will not yield. I will not yield. I will not yield.”
Saying it three times could have been more about his flair for dramatics. But his showmanship didn’t fail him. Everyone got the message.
The writing is incredible. There is so much realism to the storytelling with Frank painted as a tyrannical Trump-esque president.
Unlike the previous season where his marriage to Claire (Robin Wright) was on the rocks as he was at the pinnacle of unbridled power, they have become a tour de force couple once again.
The actress, recently seen in Wonder Woman, maintains her clout. She isn’t a pushover. That much has been established. She has the potential to be even more ruthless than Frank when those gloves really come off. She uses her poise and intelligence to disarm threats. Hence, she is one of Frank’s most powerful weapons and greatest asset.
Then there is Douglas “Doug” Stamper (Michael Kelly), the White House Chief of Staff and the person who gets his hands dirty when the situation merits it. He has been loyal to a fault from day one.
Yes, the two hit a rough patch when Doug’s obsession with a “witness” spiralled out of control. But they are back on track.
The question is: How far will Doug go to protect Frank?
Right now, the proverbial has hit the fan. And while Frank’s detractors are plotting his downfall, he seems to have a trump card up his sleeve. Doesn’t he always?!
House of Cards uses perfectly planted pawns to contribute to the intrigue, despair, disruption and drama of this season. Then again, the world of politics is often a playground for not just pandemonium but also sophism.
And this series manifests that to praiseworthy perfection.
Beware: there is a major power-play at work - but the move is so calculated it will blind-side fans!
* House of Cards 5 airs on M-Net (DStv Channel 101) on Wednesday at 10.30pm.