‘House of Cards’ returns post Kevin Spacey


'House of Cards' returns post Kevin Spacey
House of Cards Season 6 PHOTO: COURTESY

In Summary

  • Netflix is set to release Season 6 on Friday, November 6, and if you thought there was too much drama already, you are yet to have the best of it.
  • Other than Petrov, chauvinism and misogyny, Claire is in Season 6 presented with other challenges to her head of state position, including new characters, of the Shepherd family, a powerful U.S family that have her on a leash.
  • Doug Stamper remains loyal to Frank even in his grave, but won't do the same for Claire.
 

Political series ‘House of Cards’ last year saw a reality plot twist after lead actor Kevin Spacey, starring as Frank Underwood, was accused of sexual assault.

Let me explain:

Spacey faced more than ten accusations from men and women alike, with cases dating as far back as the 80’s. The first case heard was from Star Trek actor Anthony Rapp who said Spacey made sexual advances to him in 1986 when he was 14 and Spacey 26.

An allegation that Spacey apologised for via Twitter, saying it could have been something he did under the influence. Taking to Twitter, the veteran actor termed his actions as “deeply inappropriate drunken behavior” and expressed the “sincerest apology.”

This was followed by other people coming out to accuse the same man of sexual assault, eight of them who worked with him on the series House of Cards (HoC).

While the accusations were still under investigation, Spacey’s esteemed reputation as a film actor, producer and director in Hollywood came crumbling.

The award winning artist was poised to be honoured with the 2017 International Emmy Founders Award; a decision which was later rescinded.

He was also starring in a biographical film, ‘All the Money in the World,’ at the time but was later cut off from the film and replaced with Christopher Plummer.

Netflix officially cut its connection to Spacey.

An already shot film, ‘Gore’, was shelved, and his key role in House of Cards denounced just when they were about to finalise it.

This decision is reported to have cost Netflix a whopping $39 million, but it was a risk they were willing to take.

House of Cards Season Finale was initially supposed to be released in 2017, but the turn of events made it impossible.

Frank Underwood had to be done away with, and all scenes he appeared cut off; A tall order for the series, whose plot revolved around his character.

But the show has to go on.

Conveniently, Season 5 ended with him leaving the spotlight to his wife, Claire Underwood.

From day one, the plot was supposed to wind up with the idea of America’s first ever female president; Claire (played by Robin Wright) recently said on Variety.

They just weren’t sure when, but as fate would have it, it just happened before the unfortunate sexual harassment accusations and Claire seemingly becomes the new Frank, with a touch of her female but not-so-female, soft spoken but not to be walked over, gentle but non-compromising attitude. The kind of je ne sais quoi that can only be pulled off by Claire Underwood.

“How Claire experiences this new journey… I didn’t base her on a particular woman, because she is kind of a surrogate man. The way we operate is very different, men and women. And she is the best of both sexes,” said Robin, who is also calling the shots behind the scenes as the Season 6 director.

Netflix released the series on Friday, November 2, and if you thought there was too much drama already, you are yet to have the best of it. Speaking to NBC’s Today show, Robin said that they sought to top the drama currently going on in the news.

“Just to be, I think, the most operatic and the most dramatic, and the most machiavelli we could be for the last season,” she said.

Spacey is no longer in, but the trademark House of Cards drama is held together with some of these happenings that are revealed in the trailer:

Claire’s cruelty escalates

Though we all knew she had potential, the Frank in Claire fully came to realisation on Season 5’s last episode.

The season ends with Claire having taken oath to office, and making her first speech, where she said that no mistakes that were done before will go unpunished. This in the moment is in reference to Frank Underwood’s crimes while in office. Crimes he claimed to have made public himself so that Claire can take up office, and pardon him.

Francis hears the speech and says, “If she doesn’t pardon me, I will have to kill her.” [insert dramatic instrumental].

Killing was a norm for Frank, having gotten rid of the “distractions” that were Peter Russo, Zoe Barnes and LeAnne Harvey.

Well, for the first time, Claire too was seen getting rid of his lover Tome Yates, who had written an expose on the first couple. A classic Frank move.

The season ended with Claire breaking the fourth wall (another classic Frank move), saying, “My Turn”.

“Here’s the thing, whatever Francis told you in the last five years, don’t believe a word of it,” Claire says in the trailer, “The reign of the middle-aged white man is over.”

Doug Stamper’s allegiance

Now Doug, played by Michael Kelly, was so much loyal to his boss Frank Underwood, that he literally killed for him. Twice. (Remember Rachel Posner, to prevent her from snitching on Frank, and Laura Moretti’s husband, so Frank can be treated first?).

In fact, season 5 left it at Doug going to prison as yet again Frank’s sacrificial lamb. But with Frank dead in this season, what is left of his allegiance? To his boss’ wife? Well, Claire, in the gentle, not-so-nice way won’t have it.

She tells Doug, “We’ve been entwined you and I, for decades now, we deserve to go our separate ways.”

Doug, on another scene, defends Frank even in his grave, and trumps loyalty to Claire.

In what looks like snitching on Claire, he says to someone not seen in the trailer, “You said it yourself she’s as he [Frank] is, I’m saying maybe more.”

On another scene, he is asked by Russian president Petrov, yes the same Petrov on Season 5, what he is afraid of and Doug says “Her.” We know who.

Is Doug now in bed with the head of state to America’s enemy country?

New Political foes

Other than Petrov, chauvinism and misogyny, Claire is in Season 6 presented with other challenges to her head of state position.

A scene in the trailer actually shows an attempt to assassinate her.

She is presented with new characters, Annette and Bill Shepherd, members from a powerful family, who for once have the invincible Claire Underwood on a leash.

“The American oligarchs out there, they are coming for us. They are trying to strip me of my constitutional power as your commander in chief,” Claire tells the nation in a speech.

Annette Shepherd is finally a perfect fit for Claire’s new nemesis. With wealth comes her power, and her unique Claire-ish attitude tops it.

In only a way that Claire would, Annette tells Claire, “You know I slept with him once, your husband.

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Story By Linda Ngari
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