With great controversy, the long-awaited, final season of Netflix’s “House of Cards” premiered Nov. 2, just in time for the United States midterm elections. Due to the show’s intentional parallelism with the American political climate and last year’s sexual assault allegations against lead actor, Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards” fell from being one of Netflix’s trademark productions to highly contentious, notoriously dark entertainment. Season 6 proved to exceed this standard, capturing the thoroughly corrupt presidency of Claire Underwood (Golden Globe-winning actress Robin Wright).
Back during its 2013 premiere, the show was a magnet for political drama fans like myself (“West Wing,” anyone?), and it was the perfect distance from reality. Now, Season 6 just feels like a repetitive, fear-instilling lecture. We’ve all had two years to see “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “American Horror Story: Cult,” “Black-ish,” “Saturday Night Live,” “Grace & Frankie,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” and so on. I was hoping for something unexpected, a game-changing plot twist, but I received more of the same since the 2016 election. Although it’s so important to use your platform, to inform the public and encourage them to vote, when do audiences become desensitized? And when does the plot monotony become ineffective?
Other than the change in protagonist, the show remains stylistically consistent, in terms of writing and cinematography. On one hand, I understand the show’s overall thematic message: government is inherently corrupt and will never change. On the other hand, I shouldn’t be able to imagine our beloved Francis Underwood saying the same exact lines scripted for Claire this final season. This similarity makes Claire seem like a mere reflection of her husband. Also, when the season ended with Episode 8, I was extremely confused. The show wasn’t just anticlimactic at the end; there literally was just no clear ending. The conclusions of every other season were more captivating, so this postmodernist allude was quite the disappointment.
Farewell, “House of Cards.” It’s been a journey, just one with one an imperfect ending.