It’s been an open question how Netflix’s House Of Cards might seem relevant or topical in the age of Donald Trump following an election that was filled with so much nastiness, but the season 5 trailer might give a hint.
In the clip, we see a barrage of context-free imagery from the upcoming season, which will seemingly pick up weeks before the general election between Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood and Joel Kinnaman’s Will Conway. Based on those images, it’s clear that the election will go down to the wire, that Tom Hammerschmidt (Boris McGiver) will continue investigating, and that the allusions to a Trump/Underwood parallel will be unsubtle. Those “Never Underwood” signs are an indication of that. Same as Frank Underwood’s line in the trailer about “writing” people’s “wildest dreams” and “crafting their worst fears” — which has Trump’s “Make America Great Again” promises and “American cities as hellscapes” narrative in its crosshairs.
It’s also pretty clear that Frank and Claire are going to continue to be an alliance of terror and smirks, but the hunger for power seems like it’s about to take a turn toward the ravenous. Especially when you listen to Frank’s words toward the end of the trailer.
“Underwood 2016, 2020…”
Sure, Frank feels unshakable in his confidence that he can win two terms. Makes sense.
Claire’s ascent to the vice presidential nomination last season seems like a clear indication that Frank wants to engineer the same kind of familial legacy in Washington as the Kennedys, the Clintons, the Bushs, and maybe the Trumps. So this makes sense too.
“2032, 2036. One nation, Underwood.”
Oh no. Unless there’s a charming cousin that’s about to be revealed, this sort of speaks to the idea that Frank’s desire to remake this country includes toppling some of its key rules on term limits.
He clearly wants to attain ultimate and everlasting power, and that’s the kind of thing that seems completely divorced from reality… save for the fact that it sort of feasts on the worst fears that people have about Donald Trump. Fears that are bolstered when Trump talks about breaking up courts that get in his way and says that the process through which checks and balances are achieved in Congress is “archaic” and bad for the country. Not saying, of course, that Donald Trump has designs on being president forever — that would be a big league leap. But it’s easy to see how his presence and swagger makes it seem like Frank Underwood can go to that place without it taking people out of the show now. So, thanks, Donald?