“My turn,” were the final words of Season 5, spoken by Claire Underwood — as she now spoke to the audience directly, to tell her story.
Nov. 2 was the release date for the anticipated final season of the powerhouse series that is “House of Cards.” Claire Underwood is “Madam President,” two words that in reality the United States has not yet embraced. “House of Cards” however decided to challenge this, by presenting a powerful female president through the character of Claire Underwood, played by Robin Wright. This paired with an all-female cabinet, shows the barriers “House of Cards” decided to break down in the final season of the hit political show.
There are numerous dramas that have challenged the misconception that men are only good in political leadership positions; “Madam Secretary” being one of them, with its portrayal of a female Secretary of State played by Tea Leoni.
Debuted in 2013, the series was a streaming revolution as the first show made for Netflix. With the demise of Frank Underwood, Claire Underwood takes over the reigns as Commander-in-Chief. Showing the greed and corruption in American politics, the show does not disappoint in its final showdown.
The final season presents a complete gender flip. However, with Kevin Spacey’s character Frank Underwood dead, President Claire Underwood still struggles to escape his shadow in the first few episodes. What the show misses in this regard is its reluctance to let go of Spacey’s character. By not focussing on Frank Underwood a lot, the show could have placed more of a spotlight on Claire Underwood and the ups and downs of her presidency, as they did with Frank’s in the previous seasons. However, one cannot argue that the show’s portrayal of Claire and her fight to destroy the strain of Franks past, is a thrilling storyline.
The show indeed presents America’s unfound greatest fears of having a woman in the Oval Office. The storyline itself is exciting, tense and shocking, “House of Cards” breaks new ground in portraying the enigma that is Claire Underwood. The show’s presentation of diplomacy, bureaucracy, manipulation and, of course, politics is eye opening.
The actors of “House of Cards” are phenomenal, led by Wright as POTUS, they do an excellent job. They are some of the best actors in the industry: Robin Wright, Jayne Atkinson, Patricia Clarkson, Michael Kelly and Boris McGiver, who play Claire, Secretary Catherine Durant, Jane Davis, Doug Stamper and Tom Hammerschmidt, respectively. They provide the audience with extremely tense and strong acting. Yet, these are only a few members of the stellar cast.
The directing and shooting of the show are also sophisticated. The writers and creators including Beau Willimon, do not disappoint. Specifically, the brief wrenching flashbacks between Claire Underwood’s childhood and present are seamlessly shot and bring tension and development to the central character.
“I enjoyed it! It still had elements from previous seasons. The ending was a bit abrupt and left too many questions unanswered, but they did a good job considering the circumstances,” Arjun Gupta, Drexel University student and fan of the series, said.
However, when asked about the show’s portrayal of women in power, Gupta highlights how other shows like “Madam Secretary” have done better.
Critic reviews have been for the most part positive. Both critics and fans alike hailing Wright’s performance as the president. All reviews aside, “House of Cards” is a must watch. The series paints a somewhat depressing picture of the actual current political climate, especially against the backdrop of the controversies in the White House. The show is highly recommended; if you enjoy thrills, politics and manipulation, Netflix’s “House of Cards” is the destination for you.