Monday, August 22, 2016

What I’m Watching: House of Cards (Season Finale)

House of Cards: Season 4, Episode 13 “Chapter 52” (B+)

I wasn’t so taken with this show at various points towards the start of this season, and man did it rally to a truly awesome ending point. It’s able to multitask in a strong way that showcases supporting and guest characters as if they were the center of the universe, and the way that the Conway family has become such a big part of the story is a testament to that. The introduction of this terror threat guard me off guard, and I couldn’t have expected the way that it went down. Getting the mother and daughter released was a definite win, and it’s very possible that the father could have been spared as well. Instead, Frank and Claire made a decision that they were going to use this a distraction tactic to make sure that Tom’s article couldn’t hurt them. Announcing that they wouldn’t negotiate and that they were at war was a bold and assertive thing to do, but it would be foolish to expect anything less of Frank Underwood. The huge surprise that came at the end of this episode was Claire turning to look directly at the camera and address us when Frank said “We make the terror,” making it abundantly clear that Claire and Frank are now on the same page, back as a united front after so much time spent at each other’s throats. Going to war is going to change things, but that doesn’t mean that Tom won’t stop trying to hit them. Doug is coming apart but seems to have found a new source of comfort, and the other Tom was upset that Claire started lying to him but likely won’t go anywhere. Remy and Jackie chose their path, and I wonder if we’ll see them again (their Emmy-nominated portrayers likely hope so). And Conway hasn’t lost the election yet, but it’s going to be a challenge to defeat a sitting commander-in-chief. This was a very smart Emmy submission for Kevin Spacey, and he might finally win for it. I look forward to season five - this season really did come around in its second half.

Season grade: B+
Season MVP: Joel Kinnaman as Conway

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