The rise and fall and rise again of Netflix’s poetic, enticing, addicting drama House of Cards seems almost by design, as if the writers of the show had a hand in dictating the world around it as well. Despite how the shocking and regrettable the circumstances surrounding Kevin Spacey’s exit from the show were, they seemed to play into the show’s evolving core message all too well.
Of course, this was no grand cosmic plan, but it does display perfectly why House of Cards is the most relevant series of our time.
* SPOILERS AHEAD FOR HOUSE OF CARDS SEASONS 1 – 5
This final season of House of Cards is certainly not how the show was intended to end, to the reshuffling that will surely take place will feel undoubtably a tad artificial, but if there was ever a show equipped to handle such a dramatic upheaval, it would be this one.
Just as the show has long since been telling us that Frank Underwood was never really suited for the throne, neither, apparently was the actor. And just as both Hollywood and Capitol Hill have been largely run by men, so too has been the world of House of Cards. In the final season, Claire Underwood will take her long fought for place as the head of the show and the country. It seems that in light of recent sociopolitical uproars, the actual United States of America will be soon following a similar path — that is, one that is newly controlled by a previously marginalized subpopulation. Of course, Claire Underwood is no angel, but regardless, her status as the leader of a terribly corrupt world sends a distinct message in the context of the 2017/18 political climate.
The show could have ended with the downfall of Spacey/Frank, but it’s choosing to end with the reign of Robin/Claire. Given the popularity of the show and its relevance in today’s culture, this is a very significant point of observation.
House of Cards was built on the notion that politics is corrupt, and that no person within the system does anything because it’s the right thing to do. This dismal view of the American political system resonated with viewers because they knew that though it was dramatized, much of it was rooted in very hard truth. The show asks viewers to side with Frank, and they have little choice given the options. Meanwhile they present Claire as the more appealing of the two, and let the assumption go unsaid — she’s not an option.
So becoming the President was one thing, but now Claire will actually test her wit and skills when she has to go at it alone. Watching a capable woman take on the world without a man at her side is perhaps the most rebellious and thrilling statement a political drama can make today. Perhaps, in a show so full of despair and deceit, this season will provide a hopeful note for the finale of the series. And maybe this hope will translate to the world offscreen as well.
But of course, not before a tense, drama-filled season. So whether or not the message of this elaborate story will come to be true is yet to be determined.
House of Cards season 6 premieres on Netflix on November 6.