The Hudsonian Tells Us About ‘The Reign of Underwood

House of Cards Season 5 Review
by Joshua Hudson

(This article contains spoilers!)

Season 4 was redemption for House of Cards. But the thing I loved most was the rise in importance of Frank’s wife Claire. Season 4 laid the groundwork for Claire’s rise and season 5 completed it. It just took until the fifth episode for you to firmly realize it.

Once again starting slow, Cards took its sweet ass time getting to the point. Season 4 left off with Frank wanting to declare war on ICO after an affiliated terrorist cut off a US citizen’s head on live TV. He thought this was his ticket to winning reelection over the Republican golden boy Will Conway, played by Joel Kinnaman. It took Frank an eternity to realize the American public didn’t exactly adore him, but they sure loved his wife, which is why he begrudgingly put her on his ticket as VP in an effort to get reelected.

Season 5 hit Netflix last week, and the drag of this season is the election itself, which goes on far longer than it should. We’ve witnessed enough election snafus in real life to know that it shouldn’t take a TV show 4 episodes to fully process it.

What bingeing Season 5 really did for me was open my eyes to some little known amendments that could happen in the darkest of times. Yes, for all practical and boring purposes it became a PBS docu-series.

This wasn’t what I bargained for, but I powered through. Well, “moped through” would be a more apt description. Things didn’t pick up as far as I’m concerned until about episode 10, when you see that cunning, manipulative, devious Frank come through in the clutch.

The feeling I got this time around was that the writers found them stymied when they should have been energized and rather than work hard for those big TV writing bucks they just tied up all the loose ends in one big Frank Underwood bow. As a dedicated member of the House of Cards audience, I felt that all of us viewers had been insulted.

I’ll definitely be back for more next season. Because I’m intrigued. Thanks to various calculated plot turns, for all practical purposes, Claire emerges as the real star this season. She takes a Lady MacBeth Meets Frank Underwood turn, and lo and behold, finds herself on top.

Of a dead guy, no less.

Hey, I warned you there would be spoilers.


Joshua Hudson is a producer, writer, and actor. Find out more about him at Hudsonian Productions. Hi, Josh!