Review: House of Cards Season 5 Episode 4 “Chapter 56”

From the first shot in this episode there is an inherent sense of change to the norms. Just as the real 2016 Presidential election shook tradition and expectations, ‘House of Cards’ notes that political certainty cannot always be confirmed. Francis and Claire Underwood relish uncertainty and chaos, with this episode showcasing their composure and grasp upon sustaining control while also bringing their trademark terror. The pace does initially seem slow, but this episode is pivotal in setting up the long-game, noting that the election itself is not the primary climax of episodes of storytelling, but simply another stepping stone. The structure promotes a constant comparison between those with experience and those new to the political arena and the 24hr news cycles. The notion of the political illusion is most potent here, highlighting that the Underwood’s order, their plan, and their vision is disguised as paranoid, scrambling chaos, something that this episode makes compelling despite convoluted subject matter.

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