And Now, a Short Rant About ‘House of Cards’

Robin Wright as Claire Hale Underwood. 

(ALERT: Spoilers ahead for the final episode of Season 6 of House of Cards.)

I just finished watching the series finale of House of Cards last night. Others have written entertaining and insightful pieces about the disappointment this show eventually became (check out this article in The Atlantic), so I’ll just add my two cents: what a waste! This show began as a fascinating, if implausible, look at power-hungry types in Washington, D.C., boasting interesting dialogue, compelling performances, and really marvelous music that ranged from unobtrusively tone-setting to operatic to deeply disturbing. The show grew more unbelievable and much less fun to watch as it went on, but I had to see how the story ended.

The entire final season seemed rushed, with plot points glossed over and new characters introduced and then barely mentioned. Although Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) was dead, his memory dominated the action. Unfortunately, his wife, Claire (Robin Wright), was the new protagonist in name only, stepping into Frank’s shoes as a ruthless, amoral (and suddenly pregnant) manipulator. But there are so many unanswered questions! Including: why does Claire want so badly to be president? Is it just to wield power? She seems to have no pet issues or projects. How did a fifty-something woman get pregnant? She’s got to be pretty much menopausal at this point. Who is really the father of this hard-to-believe baby? It can’t be Frank — there’s honestly no evidence of him ever sleeping with Claire throughout the storyline, let alone near the end of Season 5. So the father is probably Tom the Novelist. Why on earth is Doug Stamper so loyal to Frank? OK, evidently Frank helped Doug get sober, but still.

One of the most frustrating aspects of Kevin Spacey’s departure from the series at the end of Season 5 is that, as we watched his nefarious dealings throughout the series, we assumed we would get to enjoy seeing his eventual comeuppance. Instead, Frank’s death — like Claire’s final triumph over Doug in the show’s final minutes — is sadly anticlimactic. And in the end, my biggest question is: what is the point of all this? All the enormous amounts of money, time, and talent spent creating this show — when it’s not even entertaining anymore, then what was it all for?

Democracy is so overrated.

— Frank Underwood, House of Cards