Spoilers Alert! Do not read ahead if you have not seen Season 5
House of Cards Season 5 was already looking far fetched. Season 1 and 2 established that we had to understand that anything was possible and the Underwoods were terrible, horrible people.
The audience who the main character Frank Underwood, breaks through the fourth wall to lecture, hector and sometimes reminisces about his worldview – found itself amused, seduced and plain intrigued.
The intrigue being how longer can we root for a character who is ruthless, a murderer, self-serving and completely corrupt.
The characters on House of Cards always had depth. They were three dimensional. Frank Underwood the elected representative and then the unelected Vice President and President is has depth in his character. He was unpredictable with his wit, charm and schemes.
His wife, Claire Underwood is even more interesting as a charachter. Someone who navigates sexism, completely ruthless and professional but has some sort of ethical core that could be salvaged.
The other charachters like Doug Stamper who is Underwood’s fixer, Remy Danton the lobbyist, Peter Russo a Representative who is an addict and flawed but still quite likable, Zoe Barnes, the young journalist and Freddie, the man whose joint is often frequented by Underwood.
These charachters are complex and all add to a rich story telling experiance, even if it is a highly unlikely story.
Trouble with the series started with the portrayal of the Petrov, the Russian President. The character is at times hilariously two-dimensional. He probably fits into a Jame Bond movie from the 60s or 70s.
The problem with Season 5 is that every character gets the Petrov treatment. Everyone is flattened and ironed into two-dimensional cardboard pieces. The entire season is terribly predictable too.
We all know that Underwood will struggle to keep his Presidency, we already know he might have to step-down, because he is breaking a million laws.
His wife is already the Vice President and we know that she will end up with the Presidency.
We know they will blackmail their opponents to survive.
All of the above happens. So a full season of no surprises, no twists or turns and nothing really to look forward to.
Maybe Netflix should just cancel the series and not drag this out longer than required.