Frank and Claire duking it out on the screen would’ve gone down in TV history as some of the most explosive scenes to watch between married and then divorced couples. Sometimes you don’t get that luxury and need to do a fair amount of telling to piece together the story. This is what the final season had to do. A protagonist needs an antagonist. Nothing wrong with Diane Lane and Greg Kinnear, but it wasn’t Kevin Spacey. Had he stayed, it would be another dynamic between Frank and Claire. They would compete for loyalty among the same crowd. The progeny of Frank wasn’t enough for me. I’m sure he would’ve grown up to be semi maladjusted like Annette Shepherd’s son, Duncun. It did little to excite me since her child was still in the womb and even after Claire gave birth, the best her child could offer was the difficulties of being the President of the United States and a single mother. Due to Frank’s absence, it gives Claire the opportunity to promote and further her influence on the Capitol. From the beginning of the show, you knew their desire for power at whatever costs. Their level of depravity went deep. Her level should’ve gone deeper. I personally would’ve loved to have seen Claire holding Frank, think body double, in the first episode of season six and go from there. The whole point would still be who killed Frank and the hurdles Claire has to face. As other Presidents have faced before, impeachment should’ve been a part of this season.
You work with what you have.
Jogging your memories of the earlier seasons, there was Zoe Barnes who had a relationship with Frank. There was Adam Galloway who had a relationship with Claire. Frank becomes the Vice President and Claire the Second Lady. They use every bit of their pasts to political advantage and rarely show vulnerability in public or private. When they ascend into the White House, things intensify and cracks become larger. They are the dysfunctional couple who likes to exercise. She by running outside and he on the rowing machine. She convinces him to be running mates in the next Presidential election. Things turn out in her favor and after beating Will Conway and kicking other adversaries to the curb, she assumes her role as President of the United States. Remember Catherine Durant, Tom Yates, and Tom Hammerschmidt? They come back to peck at Claire’s exterior, but that’s all they do. Doug Stamper did get to repent for some of his errors although I wonder what he did to incapacitate Frank? Did he shove poison into his mouth and hold it shut. If his physical prowess was similar to Frank’s, you’d think there would be more than a little struggle. Or did he give him poison discreetly, but given what had just happened, I doubt it. The part that bothered me was Claire’s pregnancy. It screams a little bit of desperation on her part. If it was truly Claire’s turn as she said herself, there wouldn’t be a baby involved. She would have found a way out of this situation. The relationship between Claire and her Vice President, Mark Usher, was okay. The ending was the biggest disappointment. If Doug Stamper’s goal was to protect the Underwood legacy, aren’t there other things to do that will stun and delay Frank. Even though Kevin Spacey was not there, another actor could have played him. He could’ve been locked up somewhere, his face obscured, but again it’s easier to kill the character and be done with it. I could see Claire being transported to a secret place where her husband is being hid in the last episode. She opens the door and says, “let’s talk, shall we?” and leaves it open ended. Given how lethal Claire could be, I wanted her to have more involvement in the reveal of Frank’s death. We are left with Michael Kelly and Robin Wright’s performances, which were great, but it wasn’t enough to end the series on a really high note.
“Competency is such a rare bird in these woods, that I always appreciate it when I see it.”
I rate Season Six of House of Cards Three Fingers at 77%.