House of Cards Review: Robin Wright Elevates Muddled Final Season

TVLine | 10/23/2018 | Michael Ausiello
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I feel compelled to grade House of Cards‘ sixth and final season on a curve. Or at the very least with an asterisk attached to it.

In case you’ve just awakened from an 11-month coma, last fall Netflix fired the series’ leading man Kevin Spacey one month into production amid a growing sexual-misconduct scandal. By December, the streamer announced that it would scrap the three episodes previously shot and start Season 6 over with a drastically streamlined narrative (eight episodes vs. 13) that centered squarely on Robin Wright‘s newly-minted POTUS, Claire Underwood.

Task - Showrunners - Melissa - James - Gibson

It’s hard to imagine a more daunting task facing showrunners Melissa James Gibson and Frank Pugliese. Not only were they being tasked with an 11th-hour rewrite of an entire season without their co-lead, but they were being asked to pull it off in a way that brought the entire series to a satisfying conclusion.

So, while watching the first five episodes of Season 6 (all that Netflix has thus far made available for review), it was impossible not take into account what all involved were up against. And, when a creative lapse or misstep occurred, there was a temptation to cut them some slack.

Way - Season - Problems - Pacing - Continuity

That’s my roundabout way of saying that Season 6 is flawed. There are problems with pacing and continuity, with some scenes feeling super rushed and others dragging on far too long. Serious weight is given to mundane moments with other, seemingly more substantial ones ending before they began. Everything just feels a little… off.

And yet, amid the choppiness, I found myself mostly engrossed in what was happening — and the reason for that is Wright. Already a commanding presence in House of Cards‘ first five seasons — the force of nature often even eclipsed Spacey and his scenery-chewing — the actress now goes it alone and more than...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TVLine
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