Friday 2 June 2017

Homecoming of Terror: House of Cards Season 5 Episode 1 Review

Summer has hit really bad in India this year with the heat wave not letting me go for hangouts with my friends. Thankfully, there are some good things in life, even in this sweltering heat, such as mangoes and Season 5 of House of Cards, both of which I savored to the fullest in the last few days. May ended on a great note as Season 5 of House of Cards premiered on 30th May, 2017 on Netflix. Well, it was a long wait since Season 4 was out in March, 2016, but I must say that the wait was totally worth it.

House of Cards

House of Cards is a very popular U.S TV series based on the novel by Michael Dobbs. It is a thrilling American political drama TV/web series created by Beau Willimon. It tells the story of a ruthless politician, Frank Underwood, who can go to any extent to conquer Washington, D.C. He does not want to end up as a one-term president. He is aided by his shrewd and pragmatic wife, Claire Underwood.

House of Cards deals with themes such as manipulation, power and ruthless pragmatism. The lead actors of this political drama are Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright who have done a phenomenal job in all the seasons. Spacey and Wright have also won Best Actor and Best Actress of Television Series Drama in Emmy Awards. 

Episode 1, Season 5 [Chapter 53]

I must say that Season 5 began on a very interesting note. Since I will be reviewing the first episode of Season 5 in detail, there may be some spoilers in this blog post. So, go ahead only if you are okay with it.

Season 5 of House of Cards picks up just a few days after the finale of last season, where we saw ICO terrorists capture the Millers, an American family. The Underwoods could negotiate the release of Caroline (mother) and Melissa (daughter), but Jim (father) was beheaded ruthlessly live on television at 9:00. The Underwoods promised to 'make the terror' instead of 'submitting to terror'.

Season 5 begins with Claire Underwood looking at the camera and recording a message for the citizens of America. She warns the people of America by saying that they should tell if they see anything odd and suspicious in their neighborhood. The trademark icy glare of Claire makes you all set for the thrilling events that will unfold in Season 5. 

The speech of Claire is followed by another interesting scene where we see Frank Underwood entering the chamber of Congress, where a politician is provoking others to take a stand about the misdoings of the President. Frank Underwood unapologetically grabs the microphone and says that he is on his way to the funeral of Jim Miller, who was beheaded ruthlessly by ICO on the American soil. He expresses his surprise that the chamber chooses to debate him instead of focusing on the present important issues. He says that he wants war against ICO.

Claire and Frank Underwood at Jim Miller's Funeral 

These two opening scenes are so powerful that it sets the mood for House of Cards Season 5. I was totally drawn into the Season by the end of these two scenes. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are such good actors that it’s always a treat to watch them as Frank and Claire. 

Another powerful scene that I loved in the first episode was when Melissa, the daughter of Jim Miller whispers in Frank Underwood’s ear at her father’s funeral, “I wish you die and she (Claire) becomes the president.” Melissa believes that Frank is responsible for her father’s death and therefore, hates him. Frank’s stoic expression on hearing the words and Claire’s twinkling eyes after learning what Melissa said in Frank’s ears was noteworthy.

Will Conway, the Republican Party nominee was furious to know that his wife, Hannah has uploaded a video online sympathizing with Joshua Masterson’s mother. As Claire gets to know about the video, she decides to meet the terrorist’s mother. 

Mother of Joshua Masterson being interrogated by Claire Underwood

The scene between Claire and Joshua Masterson’s mother is another favorite scene of mine in this episode. The polite chat soon turns into a hostile and unsympathetic interrogation. When Claire tells the mother that she must have known what was going in her house, the mother starts weeping to which she doesn’t receive any sympathy. Claire sternly tells her to appeal to her son to surrender.

However, the last ten minutes of the episode was what blew my mind totally.  When it was revealed to us that Frank already had Joshua Masterson in custody the entire time, my jaw dropped. Frank taunts Joshua Masterson and then gives order to an agent to kill him. He orders to get some usable, good footage of the killing of the terrorist. 

Frank Underwood taunts the terrorist, Joshua Masterson

In the last scene of the episode, we see Frank and Claire saying to the people “You’ve nothing to be afraid of.” He then turns to the camera and says the same to us with a sneer.

My views

I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode of Season 5. There were elements of thrill and suspense at every turn. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright delivered top-notch performances. It was a treat to watch them both. Even petty expressions such as a glare or a smirk were pitch-perfect.  

If you watch the first episode, you will agree with me that Season 5 seems much more intense and focused than the last season. Here, we see the Underwoods determined and ruthless like never before. At the same time, I would like to point out that appearance of characters such as Catherine Durant and Doug Stamper were few.

The background music goes perfectly well with the scenes. The first episode of Season 5 kept me on my toes. I am sure the fans of House of Cards will absolutely love it. You can watch the television premiere of House of Cards Season 5 only on Zee Café on 3rd June, 5 pm onwards. Get set to have a rocking Saturday! #HOConZCafe

Frank Underwood is coming to India with the television premiere of House Of Cards Season 5 on Saturday, 3rd June, 5 PM onwards, only on Zee Café!

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