In its final season, “House of Cards” buries Kevin Spacey in a bank grave — so shallow, you can still apprehend Frank Underwood knocking. Killed off as a agency to alibi Spacey’s abrupt absence from the series, afterward his abortion a year ago for declared animal harassment, Francis still steers the ship. Added than bisected the final division passes afore “House of Cards” feels like Claire Underwood’s (Robin Wright) adventure instead of his epilogue, and alike aback she starts to see her eyes borne out, the abiding questions are all about Frank. Despite the hype, Division 6 isn’t Claire’s show. It’s still Frank’s, which undercuts the season’s abounding attempts at women-first belief and keeps drive stagnant.
Really, in its dying hours “House of Cards” becomes a murder-mystery. Seeing it this way provides a bit of cool absurdity to a alternation consistently toeing the band amid affected authority and bubbling melodrama, alike if the story’s aberrant attraction with how Frank died blaze bad memories of “This Is Us,” Jack Pearson, and a slow-cooker. To accomplish the delay added tolerable, admirers are accustomed a barbecue of beginning aptitude and old faces. Combined with an affected beheld burnish that feels alike added aboriginal than before, it should be accessible for anyone absorbed to accomplishment the series, alike if what’s there is far beneath awe-inspiring than aboriginal offerings.
Season 6 picks up about 100 canicule into Claire’s presidency. Embroiled in a political minefield area alike her cachet as a added can’t assure her from innumerable afterlife threats, Madam Admiral (an honorific Claire hates) is artlessly aggravating to survive. Her new carnality president, Mark Usher (Campbell Scott), is a little too controlling. Her old acquaintance from school, Annette Shepherd (Diane Lane), is a little too acquisitive to use Claire to back-scratch favor. Her friend’s brother, Bill (Greg Kinnear), is far too edgeless in his admiration to assignment Claire like a puppet. The Shepherds run an automated amassed not that altered from the Koch brothers’ business, and showrunners Frank Pugliese and Melissa James Gibson don’t chip words in creating real-life parallels amid these ancestors and wealthy, abhorrent Republicans. (At one point, Bill alike says, “No one loves women added than me.”)
Meanwhile, ghosts amble in the background. Everyone from the series’ best abominable victim to its best contempo abuse to accountability Claire’s bid for power, while aforetime inconsequential associates of the active are trotted out with new purpose. Constance Zimmer is consistently a acceptable afterimage (even aback her Janine Skorsky is accomplishing actual little reporting), and Michael Kelly manages to accomplish Doug Stamper into a complicated villain-type yet again; the asleep president’s right-hand man is adamantine to basis for, accustomed everything, but he’s far from accessible to basis against.
Towering amid all acknowledging players, though, is Patricia Clarkson. After aing the casting in Division 5, the Oscar appointee (and, if there’s any amends in this world, approaching Emmy champ for “Sharp Objects”) operates on addition akin than the blow of the casting — addition show, even. Her character, Jane Davis, is an calm adopted diplomacy adviser who’s aing with Claire, but not as aing as she is with a acceptable espresso served to her in bed by a able-bodied adolescent who’s added than a few years her junior. It’s these dalliances, and the beam of childishness apparent while active them that separates Jane from Claire. The above is algid and calculating, but Clarkson warms her up with adorable reactions to the best abhorrent orders. Who amidst us, aback ordered to annihilate a aing friend, says “I couldn’t alive with myself” in such a way that a) she absolutely can’t alive with herself, and b) is acutely activity to do it anyway? Jane Davis, that’s who.
David Giesbrecht / Netflix
Clarkson illustrates the best of what “House of Cards” has larboard to offer. Rampant redundancies in artifice — from bottomless coil (remember aback Claire fucked a guy to death?) to skyrocketing political assassinations (two presidents!) — accumulate the alternation from actuality taken too seriously, while bootless attempts to arena the anecdotal in our accepted political absoluteness advance it abroad from afire topicality. What’s larboard is gasp-inducing action with a ancillary of delicious, amusement one-liners. The annihilation abstruseness can accommodate a athletic abject for admirers to angular into the series’ abandoned pleasures. (Again, see Clarkson’s performance). But there’s still a common activity of actuality conned.
Part of that affliction stems from Frank actuality gone, yet far from forgotten. The showrunners gave themselves the absolute out at the end of aftermost season, a bit of accidental timing all but wasted. Aback Claire addressed the camera and said, “My turn” and all but asleep her camera-whore bedmate from control, there was no acumen the admirers should accept otherwise. Instead, bristles of the eight final episodes over-emphasize his accent and abort to actualize arcs aces of Wright’s talents or Claire’s individuality. Worse yet, they abate the show’s acquainted accomplishment to highlight the bigotry adverse changeable politicians.
There’s a scene, abrupt in the Division 6 trailer, area Claire is chock-full in the alley to allocution to a antagonistic dissenter. As he speaks, she turns and sees a camera accomplished on her from addition room, so she looks aback at the guy ambience her up and artlessly says, “The administration of the middle-aged white man is over.” These days, her account is accessible to get behind. But what “House of Cards” doesn’t assume to apprehend is appropriate words can appear beyond as assuming aback you’re aloof reciting them for the cameras.
“House of Cards” Division 6, the final division of Netflix’s aboriginal aboriginal series, premieres Friday, November 2.
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