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03rd Nov 2018

Here’s how Kevin Spacey in the final season of House of Cards

Rory Cashin

We finally know who did it, and why

In the lead up to the release of House Of Cards Season Six, we already knew that Kevin Spacey’s former President Frank Underwood had been killed off.

What we did not know was how, or by whom.

It was probably safe to assume that Robin Wright’s current President Claire Underwood Hale had a hand in it, especially considering how things had ended for them at the close of the very underwhelming Season 5, but now we know for sure.

We just had to get through all eight (down from the usual 13) episodes of the final season to find out.

And not only that, we had to wait until the last few minutes of the final episode, too.

So if you want to know nothing more, then read no further…

Still here?

Okay, on we go.

Try as she might, Robin Wright/Claire Hale can’t completely fill the void left behind by Kevin Spacey/Frank Underwood. His shadow hangs long and heavy over the entire season, but purposefully in terms of plot, and in ways we’re sure the show’s writers, directors and producers were hoping wouldn’t be the case.

Spacey and Wright, Underwood and Underwood, with their love/hate relationship, a perfect seesaw balancing act of psychosexual warfare always toiling away under a layer of deep respect and a very unique kind of love, were always more interesting than the majority of the political machinations that the characters were dropped into.

Without Frank, Claire doesn’t have anyone to really enjoy sparring with, always the smartest and most devious person in every room she’s in. Even new cast additions Greg Kinnear and Diane Lane (the latter of which is having a blast playing a full-on villain) can’t compete, playing a rich brother and sister duo who have the power to potentially eternally support or completely destroy Claire’s reign. They too eventually just get chewed up and spat out.

The season begins with Frank already dead, and Claire telling the audience on screen in The White House – and at the screen, telling the viewers – that she isn’t entirely sure how Frank died.

Claire has lied to us before, but we do believe she isn’t in full possession of the facts, especially since Frank’s long-time lapdog Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) doesn’t believe Claire’s version of events.

Eight episodes later, with plot deviations including everything from pregnancies, nuclear showdowns, a murder montage that would make the writers of Game Of Thrones proud (RIP Patricia Clarkson’s Jane Davis, you deserved better!), long funerals, big time-jumps, hidden wills, and more of the same mix of soap opera and Shakespeare that House Of Cards viewers have loved/hated/delete as necessary, we get to the finale.

Claire and Doug are alone in the Oval Office and in an almost entirely empty White House, the place evacuated following a threat made against the president’s life, and the room is crackling with tension.

Following months of pressure from all sides, Doug has been essentially hired to kill the heavily pregnant Claire. He can’t stand her dragging her dead husband’s name through the mud any longer, using his death as a morality springboard to become even more loved in the eyes of the American public.

Then Claire drops the bombshell. “I forgive you. I know it was you.”

Turns out it was Doug who killed Frank, who was on his way over to the White House to kill his wife: “I couldn’t let him destroy everything we’d built. I had to protect the legacy from the man.”

Claire tells Doug that Frank hadn’t gotten weak in his final days, which sends Doug into a fit of rage, pushing a letter opener into Claire’s throat, drawing blood. He pulls back, apologising, before Claire takes that same letter opener and stabs Doug in the chest with it.

In a callback to Frank’s opening scene, in which he puts a suffering dog out of its misery – “There are two kinds of pain. The sort of pain that makes you strong or useless pain. The sort of pain that’s only suffering. I have no patience for useless things.” – Claire has no patience for Doug to slowly bleed out on the carpet, and holds a hand over his nose and mouth, ending his useless pain.

Covered in blood, all of her enemies defeated or destroyed, Claire looks for the last time directly at the camera, at us, and it cuts to black.

It makes sense that House Of Cards, the show that essentially kicked off Netflix as we know it, the show that set the precedent of binge watching, should end this way.

After the first few seasons, which were great, the latter seasons didn’t maintain that same level of quality, so it makes sense that Netflix should finally end its, and our, suffering.