Massive spoilers ahead for House of Cards Season 5. Don't read on unless you've finished watching.
Netflix's House of Cards is a groundbreaking TV series that broke the mold in regards to how quality programming is produced in the age of streaming. Since then, Netflix and its competitors have produced an outstanding amount of online programming, which is able to function outside of the world of advertising. And with House of Cards releasing its shocking fifth season, the dark political drama shows no signs of slowing. On the contrary, Season 5 was perhaps the most cutthroat and thrilling entry into the series yet. Plenty of jaw dropping moments occurred, and we've managed to whittle it down to seven savage moments for Season 5.
Francis Has Terrorist Joshua Masterson Killed
In the final episodes of Season 4, we saw as two domestic terrorists kidnapped an innocent American family on our soil. And while the mother and daughter were eventually released, the shocking cliffhanger saw James Miller beheaded by the ICO sympathizers, with Claire and Francis proclaiming that they will use terror and fear to rally the American people. The first episode of Season 5 saw the wide range manhunt for terrorist Joshua Masterson, but Frank had other plans
Because he had captured Masterson all along, using the threat of his escape as a tool to manipulate both the public and press. We see Francis come face to face with Masterson (the first time Frank addresses the audience in the season), and assume he'll quickly be tried and sentenced. Instead, Frank tells his guard to murder him and "get rid of the asset". Despite Masterson being an American citizen, Francis refuses to give him the right to trial, and takes him out of this world.
The Underwoods Steal The Election
While the Underwoods were facing a variety of threats to their security this season, they were also in the midst of their campaign for Francis' re-election, with Claire running as VP. But with the massive amount of scandals and protest around the country, the Underwoods saw a potential loss on the horizon. So it was time to play dirty...er.
In order to put a pause on the election, Francis and his associates ran a long con. Using the threat of domestic terrorism, they had states open polling centers that were heavily guarded. And on election day through the use of fear, staged attacks, and insane favors from politicians, the Underwoods stopped two states from successfully polling their constituents. From there, they reached in and out of all branches of government, before opening up those states again after Will Conway's own scandals shifted the power back to Frank. And just like that, both Underwoods were sworn in.
Claire Kills Tom Yates Mid-Coitus
Throughout Season 5, we saw the divide between Claire and Francis continue to grow. While they worked together, the couple were largely unromantic. Instead, writer Tom Yates spent a great deal of time at Claire's side, with the two even sleeping most nights in her bed together and sharing words of love. But when Tom's presence in the White House threatens to bring another scandal to the administration, Claire breaks it of. The only problem is that she'd already revealed Francis' murder of both Zoe Barnes and Peter Russo, so Tom knew too much.
In order to rectify this, Claire meets with Tom one last time. The two share a drink and begin having sex, but it soon becomes clear that Tom is having trouble breathing. While she continues their sexual escapade, Yates eventually dies, with Claire revealing that she poisoned him before they started doing the horizontal mambo. With Claire's hands now bloody as well, it seems like she's at her most deadly and cold.
Frank Has LeAnn Killed
One of the more interesting characters revealed last season was Neve Campbell's LeAnn Harvey. A campaign manager and Claire's personal confidant, we saw how LeAnn and Doug clashed in their respective styles for getting things done. In Season 5, LeAnn had a ton of ups and downs. Her relationship with Aidan Macallan helped the Underwood campaign steal information from potential voters, allowing them to target specific audiences illegally. But after the Underwoods finally won the election, things started to go downhill for LeAnn.
She was quickly forced out of the White House, with Claire and Francis attempting to distance themselves from both LeAnn and Aidan. She was briefly brought back as President Claire's chief of staff, before once again being kicked out. Seeing the writing on the wall, LeAnn attempted to get enough intel to protect herself. But as she drove with her gun in hand, we saw headlights behind her. What resulted was a giant wreck that most likely killed LeAnn, with Francis making the call for her death.
Doug Takes The Blame For Zoe's Death
As an audience member, House of Cards is interesting because you're simultaneously rooting for the Underwoods, while also hoping they finally get caught. Regarding the latter, we saw Zoe's former boss Tom Hammerschmidt continue to investigate the Underwoods, as well as Zoe's sudden death from the Season 2 premiere. And although Tom was attempting to nail down the Underwoods, his gaze soon turned to Doug Stamper.
Doug's apparent guilt came partly from Rachel Posner's ex-girlfriend Lisa, who showed up in DC looking for answers and justice. When Doug briefly stalks Lisa, Tom understands that there is something shady going on. Additionally, footage from the day Zoe died shows someone who appears to be Doug in the same train station. It was actually Frank, but Stamper eventually agreed to taking the blame for he and Claire. In Doug's final moments of the season we see him at home, with an ankle monitor on. His fate is ultimately rather unclear.
Claire Doesn't Pardon Francis
While the Underwoods managed to secure a victory to their Presidential Run, it wasn't without missteps. The couple, mostly Francis, have committed a variety of crimes during the show's run. And although they won the election, Frank decides to resign from the Presidency so he could work from outside the confines of the office, while also presumably coordinating with President Claire. But the only way he could survive the allegations and attacks on his character was by a Presidential Pardon.
But Claire has other plans. Now that she's got the power, Claire makes a Presidential address that seems to hint at her husband's corruption. And the speech comes and goes without her public pardoning of Francis, meaning that Kevin Spacey's signature character may be SOL in Season 6. Frank's lack of communication with his plans to resign was the straw that broke the camel's back, and it seems like Claire is flying solo from now on.
Claire Finally Addresses The Audience
Season 4's finale saw Claire look directly at the camera, hinting that she'll be breaking the fourth wall and speaking to us the way Frank has. Season 5 teased this multiple times, adding a new level of tension and building anticipation. She would first break her silence around midway through the season; Claire tells us she's been aware of our presence all along, but isn't sure of our intentions. And intentions matter to her.
Things would go on with business as usual until the final moments of Season 5. After Francis realizes Claire isn't pardoning him, we see her in the Oval Office. It's here when she looks directly into the camera, and strongly declares "My turn."
This was a shocking and fantastic way for the season to end, and has the potential to change the series as a whole. If Claire is now breaking the fourth wall regularly, does that mean Francis no longer will? Is it quite literally her turn, meaning that Kevin Spacey won't be delivering his asides to the audience? We'll just have to wait and see. Here's to another year of anxiously anticipating a new season. This time with even more cliffhangers.
Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.
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