House of Cards Season Five Episode Twelve Recap & Review

Secretary of State Catherine Durant (Jayne Atkinson), against President Frank Underwood’s (Kevin Spacey) wishes, has decided to testify to the house judiciary committee. That is, if she wakes up after being pushed down the stairs by Frank.


In the public eye, Frank is business as usual, working to broker peace in the Middle East in spite of his impeachment scandal. Behind the scenes, though, he is vetting Leann Harvey (Neve Campbell) for her upcoming testimony and trying to weed out loose strands in his administration.

In the midst of this effort, former Washington Herald reporter Sean Jeffries (Korey Jackson) worms his way into the White House to tell the President about Tom Hammerschmidt’s (Boris McGiver) investigation on the murder of Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara).

And the biggest test for resident fixer Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) is presented to him through the Underwood’s. They ask him to implicate himself in the death of Zoe Barnes to divert suspicion away from the President himself.

If this isn’t shocking enough, not to mention mouth-wateringly intriguing, Stamper is also revealed to be the anonymous source that has been tipping off the Herald on the murder.

Then there is the situation involving Tom Yates (Paul Sparks), whose salacious inside details of the Underwood administration could prove deadly for them. Or deadly for…well, you know.

If the previous episode was the shot that started the race, this episode is the restless scramble to make sense of the moving parts. Admissions and double crosses come to a head in fascinating ways, and the entire world of House of Cards threatens to collapse like…well, like a house of cards. That is the whole point, after all.

This is the best episode of the season so far. Even minor character arcs that were superfluous and in some cases downright boring culminate fruitfully here. Case in point is the relationship between Claire and Yates. Granted the interest in this episode comes from the rather definitive end to both the relationship and Yates, but still.

The episode ends with a gripping (if not gripping, at least so out of left field that it is generally baffling) cliffhanger in which President Frank Underwood resigns from his office, seemingly in a burn-it-all-to-the-ground, anarchic fit of martyrdom. It is martyrdom for the sake of immorality, but I guess that is still martyrdom.

And then there was one. It might get bloody.


As always, thanks for reading!

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—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)


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