Review: House Of Cards Season 5 Episode 1 “Chapter 53”

Approaching this season premiere it was impossible to avoid the constant comparison between the current era of Trump and Francis Underwood’s administration. Such a comparison is explicitly highlighted throughout this episode, as the writers present a forceful desconstruction of the real and fictional US Presidents. One may debate the decision to use such a narrative and if the show should have instead gone in a more original direction, but the results are undeniably exhilarating. Spacey continues to work wonders as Underwood, never delving into Trump for too long, but presenting some similarity that will make many shiver. It’s a performance excellently complimented by Robin Wright, whose composure and softer address is cleverly promoted with keen symbolism that denotes a blurring of hierarchy between Claire and Frank. The orchestrated nature of political capital and fantasy like direction emphasises political harmony and co-operation as a dream is brilliantly realised, as is the more subtle commentary on gender politics and the capitalisation upon femininity. There is certainly a lot going on here, and it does detract from the quiet moments as the writers seem to focus upon the bigger, more melodramatic surprises, but this return both retains a level of authenticity while treading new ground for the series. 9.2/10

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