House of Cards Season Five Episode Seven Recap & Review

Interim President Claire Underwood (Robin Wright), being backseat-driven by former President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), decides to execute a strike against a known ICO terrorist that America has sights on.


With the election back on in Tennessee and Ohio, this and other factors play heavy in how the Underwoods are perceived. The other firepower they have is Will Conway’s (Joel Kinnaman) VP running mate General Brockhart (Colm Feore) making threats on a post-interview hot mic.

Presidential aide Leann Harvey (Neve Campbell) continues her attempt to suppress the smoking gun knowledge of Aidan Macallan (Damian Young), who was last seen with Russian leader Viktor Petrov (Lars Mikkelsen).

More presently, however, the White House is affected by a stolen truck of nuclear material. And while the administration is stuck safely underground, reporter Tom Hammerschmidt (Boris McGiver) starts tossing barbs on cable news about the lack of transparency coming from the White House. He also gets one step closer to connecting Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) with the murdered Rachel Posner (Rachel Brosnahan).

With the knowledge that evacuating Washington D.C. and causing a panic will ruin their chances in the Ohio re-vote, the Underwoods are working to prevent both a domestic attack and a public uproar. Both seem entirely possible outcomes, until the ulterior motives of a pair of White House generals come out through cracks.

Season five of House of Cards has shaped up to be less of a momentum-builder and more of a series of hiccups in a single momentous event. Each episode has its own, self-contained narrative that only adds a few wrinkles in the larger plot.

What this leads to are episodes whose success hinges on the power of its own self-contained story. In the case of episode seven, the plot is the most obvious hiccup, a fake terrorist attack that leads to nothing but a delay.

The minor pieces building to the momentous whole aren’t all that compelling, either. The Hammerschmidt investigative journalism narrative has been slow going from the start, and here he is mainly just speaking empty threats through a television set.

Same goes for the Macallan subplot, in which the hacker is not even on screen anymore, but instead merely mentioned in passing as a continued problem. We grow no closer to the resolution of this problem here.

Beyond these things, the episode serves little narrative purpose. It is a filler episode, all things considered, extending the period before we are able to get the resolution that we have been waiting for. But it is not an anticipatory, excited waiting. In the case of this episode, it is a dull waiting. A we-are-ready-to-get-on-with-it waiting.


As always, thanks for reading!

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—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)


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