Spoiler-free predictions for House of Cards Season 5

Possibly more important than the start of the Fall television season is the new season that has made its presence felt in recent years: The Netflix summer binge season. And fresh off pounding through all 13 episodes of season 3 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt over a weekend, it’s now time for me to dig into the political machinations of the Underwood family (Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright) as they seek to maintain their grip on the United States Presidency in House of Cards Season 5.

The fifth season was released on Netflix on May 30th, which means many have no doubt already powered through the whole season. House of Cards is so well known for its intricate political maneuvering, that trying to predict exactly what will happen is nearly impossible. The show has taken main characters and ruthlessly removed them at a moment’s notice and faked out audiences with plans within plans within plans. So rather than take the risk of making predictions that have at best, a 50% chance of coming true, here is my exceedingly safe list of things that will almost surely happen in Season 5.

1.) Frank Underwood will turn to the camera and talk directly to the audience

What was once a little stylistic flourish has turned into a pretty integral and, let’s face it, really fun part of the show. While TV shows are generally supposed to show, rather than tell, somehow having Spacey break the fourth wall to give us the skinny on his plans helps to make us feel connected to him, and even root for him, even though we can all concede that he is a sociopathic egomaniac.

2.) Frank will berate and belittle someone into doing what he wants

Even more enjoyable than Frank’s numerous monologues are when he brings an unsuspecting lobbyist, congressman, reporter into his office, and proceeds to harangue the poor sap until they submit to his will or, at the very least, leave thinking, “Is the President going to spend the rest of his life trying to ruin mine?” Watching Frank as the man who seemingly holds all the cards is infinitely more fun than watching him consistently get outmaneuvered by a Russian President like he did in Season 4. If I wanted to see that storyline, I’d just watch the real news.

3.) Doug Stamper will have psychological issues

Seriously, for a supposed world class fixer, Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) certainly has his share of breakdowns. And yes, I know he had to kill a prostitute that he seemed to really care for in Rachel, but c’mon man, get your shit together! You have a Presidency to save. Nevertheless, I have a sneaking suspicion that at some point, Doug will be in the middle of strong arming some politico into helping Frank when a phrase will reduce him into a blubbering mess on the floor.

4.) Claire will continue her ridiculous and ridiculously boring affair with Tom Yates

I struggle to decide which tangent to the cold blooded beltway politics of House of Cards I hate more. Freddy the rib guy (Reg E. Cathey) or Tom Yates (Paul Sparks), the writer/gigolo that was meant to write a presidential biography, and somehow ended up being Claire’s boytoy. His presence in season 4 almost always ground the show’s action to a halt. And yet, given that his affair with Claire was given tacit approval by Frank at the end of last season, I have no doubt that the man will be returning to plague this show for another season.

5.) Someone will win the presidency

Season 4 ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, as the Underwood’s shady dealings were revealed to the world just as they were gearing up for an election against former New York Governor, Will Conway (Joel Kinnaman). And although House of Cards, does have a tendency to drag out storylines, I want to believe that they will have to at least decide who will be President before the season is done.

6.) Frank will backstab someone

Yeah, we’re REALLY going out on a limb here (I told you these were safe predictions). After all, for someone who managed to manipulate his way from House Minority Whip to Vice President to President in the span of less than 4 years, is there any doubt that Frank will be up to his usual shenanigans, telling someone exactly what they want to hear, just as he is sticking the knife in that person’s back? It’s a House of Cards hallmark and I can’t wait to see who the victim is this season.

7.) Frank will be playing a new video game to unwind

In case you didn’t notice, House of Cards has had a rather odd relationship with video games over the years. In each season, there is a relatively small, but obvious scene that has Frank showcasing some game that he’s playing. In early seasons, he’s playing Call of Duty online. In the third season, he’s playing Monument Valley on his IPad as well as The Stanley Parable. And in season 4, he’s playing indie darling Agar.io. While it is of course heartening to know that the leader of the free world is cool with vegging out with the latest mobile app or PS4 exclusive, it does sometimes come out of nowhere. Still I can’t wait to see what new game Frank has decided to share with us this season.

Although House of Cards does not necessarily have the same “Prestige TV” cachet of say Game of Thrones, it’s important to remember that the show does have an important place in television history. It was the show that ushered in Netflix era of binge watching, and helped signal to the world that Netflix was going to be a major player in the television space. And although there is only so much story to be wrung out of the schemings of a political power couple, House of Cards has continued to be a fascinating look at what we think Washington looks like. Even if the truth is (hopefully) far from this alternate reality.

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Brian Chu
Brian Chu 221 posts

Brian Chu is a Staff Writer for Nerd Reactor and aspiring Jeopardy contestant. He thinks Picard is the best captain, Cumberbatch is the best Holmes, Bale is the best Batman, and Tennant is the best Doctor. Follow him @chumeister

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