It’s been so long that I’m almost struggling to remember portions of the prior season’s plot, but this season definitely seems to be stronger than the last. In the past I’ve always rewatched either the entire series or at least the prior season before starting back into the new season. I was relatively disappointed in season 4, so I didn’t bother this time around.
This season is at least off to a good start, so I’m burning through them so quickly that I’ll wish I’d watched them more slowly and methodically.
I do wish there was more of Hammerschmidt and his protege. Boris McGiver’s performance really made season one and honestly we can’t get enough of him. Conway is an interesting foil for Frank and he’s becoming a more interesting character, but I’m wishing he was stronger still. The Yates character arc so far isn’t nearly as interesting as it had been in the prior season. Durant is apparently sidelined but at least still has a role while characters like Remy Danton and Jackie Sharp have only been tangentially mentioned, but have been unseen (so far.)
Seth Grayson is doing his typical low-boil as always but isn’t as present here as in prior seasons. Neve Campbell is excellent, but her character Leann Harvey needs more to do so far.
Doug Stamper is still one of the most intriguing characters in this installment, much like he has been for the entire series. I’d keep watching just for his storyline and Michael Kelly’s stunning performance.
Frank and even Claire to some extent had really driven prior seasons, but somehow things have flattened out a lot to make a far more ensemble piece. I think the series does better when we’re more focused on one or the other. I feel like we’re not getting as much of the evil Frank Underwood fourth wall commentary as in the past, or in the awesome original British and it’s not giving the series the sharpness that it previously had. I’m hoping the second half of season 5 comes to a full boil quickly before things close out. I really hate waiting a year and a half for ensuing installments.