“We don’t submit to terror; we make the terror.”
Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) utters those words directly to the audience as the camera zooms in from a wide shot of him and Claire (Robin Wright) sitting side-by-side in the Situation Room at the end of season four.
And in season five of Netflix’s House of Cards, that’s exactly what the Underwoods do: make terror.
The Washington power couple becomes even more formidable when Claire joins the ticket as the vice presidential nominee in the latest season of the fast-paced political drama.
Eventually, Claire gets her chance in the spotlight when a botched general election leads to a vote in the House and Senate for the president and vice president, respectively.
Claire is elected VP and serves as the acting president while the Presidential candidates struggle to reach the required votes in the House of Representatives.
Season five gives the viewers a huge dose of Claire Underwood, the likes of which we haven’t seen on House of Cards before.
Claire is truly ruthless while in a position of power all her own. Wright is given the opportunity to develop her character in a way that wasn’t possible in prior seasons, even breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly to the audience, which was previously reserved for Spacey’s character.
Outside of the character development of Claire Underwood, season five boasts a lot of uncanny resemblance to the current state of the American government.
The confusing general election closely mirrored our own, and throughout the course of the season, we get to see both possible outcomes of the 2016 election play out on screen.
For the period Claire is president, we get to see what the reality of a woman in the White House might look like.
When Francis pushes Republican presidential nominee Will Conway (Joel Kinnaman) out of the race, we see the reality of a brutal tyrant — one who did not win the popular vote — taking office.
During his inauguration, Frank turns to the camera and says: “You made this bed, America. You voted for me. … This democracy, your democracy, elected me.”
While Francis wasn’t elected in exactly the same way as President Trump, the sentiment is similar to that of many people following the 2016 election, described by Francis as one of “confus[ion]” and “bewilder[ment]”.
Season five of House of Cards also includes the presence of perceived Russian interference and the increasing military threat of the Islamic Caliphate Organization, the show’s thinly veiled version of the Islamic State group.
The season is complete with some incredible monologues — including one on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial — and a dash of political humor.
The increased character development in Claire and the scary similarities to our own current political climate make this both the best and most jarring installment of House of Cards since the first season.