After Kevin Spacey faced allegations of sexual assault last year, Netflix made the decision to drop the actor from House of Cards.
The political drama featured him as the main character, so fans were concerned how the newest season would play out.
And after watching the first five episodes of season six, I can honestly say that his termination was the best thing to happen to the series.
House of Cards has been a masterful twist of legal strategy and sinister plotting, exposing the underbelly of politics the public never sees.
After Francis Underwood secured the presidency at the end of season two, critics thought the following three seasons became a grasping at straws, trying to find a new goal for the man who finally achieved what he wanted.
However, others believe that they were necessary and highlighted the dangers of corruption, for they explored the possibility of a criminal in as commander-in-chief of a nation. How would he keep his position?
His downward spiral into the depths of worse and worse crimes, in my opinion, showed that this corruption cannot be sustained in a position of power – eventually, you’ll be found out (or in this case murdered).
But the real focus should have been on Claire's rise from background co-star to forefront leader.
So, where does this leave us in season six?
Claire Underwood is president and steps up to fill Spacey’s shoes. Actually, not fill his shoes because that would ensue she is merely a replacement when in actuality she dominates the lead in a way he never could. She fills the screen with stigma-shattering power.
The opening scene begins with Claire sitting in the oval office at the president’s desk while two men stand in front of her, telling her what she should do.
From the start, we know the newest season isn’t just going to pit Claire’s strength against the presumed authority of men, but it means so much more amidst the current sexual assault allegations in Hollywood.
It’s time for women to step forward and refuse to be “managed” – that’s the word she uses throughout her role. Claire says men have tried to manage her her whole life and instead of blatantly putting them in their equal place, she takes them on Underwood style.
Through a series of well thought out moves, Claire plays into the common beliefs that everyone around her has – “a grieving widow is not fit for office” and “women are too emotional to be involved in war strategy, let alone have the nuclear button”.
She plays the role so well that even I became frustrated with her actions. For while she chillingly breaks the fourth wall to promise us her honesty, we still remain in the dark when it comes to her grand plan.
It’s not until the fifth episode that everything falls into place and her mastery is revealed. And I felt my conviction for, at times, falling into the stereotypical trap. Of course, Claire is the smartest character to hit the screens, she knows exactly what people want to believe and how to use it against them.
Although reviews have been mixed about the newest season, everyone seems to agree that Robin Wright (Claire Underwood) shows unparalleled talent in her role – as if it was who she was born to play.
My advice is to re-watch the last season or at least a few episodes before you start season six, for they bring back a few far off characters that I had forgotten about.
And be sure to accept the newly introduced iconic Shepherd duo. Their roles are brilliantly thought out and needed as Claire’s arch enemies. Bill Shepherd is the entitled white man we all want to punch in the face, and Greg Kinnear portrays him perfectly.
And even if you feel lost among the first four episodes, stick through it until the end of the fifth. You won’t be disappointed, for there is nothing more satisfying then when everything clicks into place – especially when it’s for a character you’ve been rooting for.