House of Cards final season review: It could have been so much better


House of Cards ended their six-season run on November 2, when it released its entire season on Netflix.

Now that I’ve had a few days to decompress from binge-watching eight episodes and to write eight recaps, I’m finally ready to talk about my opinion on the final season of House of Cards.

I didn’t watch House of Cards from the beginning. I started binge-watching it around when Season 5 premiered. I was hesitant because I hate political shows that make one party seem like evil villains and themselves look like saints.

This was nothing like that because EVERYONE regardless of political affiliation was trash bag humans! And at the helm, a superb actor who has always been great at playing despicable human beings (maybe a little too good?), Kevin Spacey. I know what he did. I think it’s disgusting. However, it doesn’t change the fact that he played the crap out of Frank Underwood and that character made the entire show. (Me paying a compliment to his acting skills in no way validates what he did. He’s a trash bag human in real life.)

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Yes, Robin Wright as Claire Underwood was equally wonderful. But she wasn’t front and center of the show. She didn’t sit in Lincoln’s chair until this season.

I think her character blossomed, especially when Frank and Claire were at odds and no longer allies. It made me have high hopes for where the writers and showrunners (and Wright herself!) could take her character after Spacey’s firing. My first thought was, “The show could totally go on without him because they have Robin Wright!”

By the end of the season, I missed Spacey. And frankly, I’m annoyed that the show made me feel that way.

Here’s where I think the show went wrong.

The Shepherds

The show introduces two heavy-hitters, Diane Lane and Greg Kinnear, as the brother/sister duo Annette and Bill Shepherd. It was great in the beginning. I was willing to overlook the fact that these two people who seemingly had been intertwined in the Underwoods’ lives for quite some time, even though they had never been mentioned before. I get it. The show needed star power to replace Spacey and sort of rewrote history a bit.

The tension built nicely between them and Claire, each taking shot after shot at each other. But as soon a Claire reached a certain level of crazy, their place on House of Cards got increasingly boring. One of two things should have happened, either Annette should have matched Claire’s crazy or Bill should have become diabolical. Sure, they did plot to assassinate Claire. But as the last minute of the series ran out, Claire was still breathing.

Instead, Annette got a couple of good lines, but she never fully-formed. And Bill, he went out with a whimper. I’m not sure what the point of him sitting on a porch, waiting to die was to the story.

The Shepherds were a good idea in theory but misused.

The pregnancy storyline

No. Just no. That fake belly should have never even left the back of the costume department. I said it in the recap, making Claire pregnant made no sense. The woman had three abortions. Would she have really gotten pregnant just to ensure she got Frank’s inheritance instead of Doug? She’s already rich! What could she have possibly wanted to keep away from Doug? And we never even found out why she wanted it!

Too much Frank

They may have fired Spacey, but Frank was still alive and well on the show. I know he was technically dead, but Frank was mentioned constantly through the entire season. Enough already! If they really wanted to distance themselves away from Spacey, they should have done so with his character, too. They should have let Claire fly on her own instead of constantly competing with his ghost.

And having Doug be the one who killed Frank to “protect the legacy they built?” PLEASE! Weakest ending ever. I know Doug is not above killing people he loves (i.e., Rachel). But having him be the one that killed his mentor is just silly and lazy.

I would have had much more respect for the series had they made Claire be the one who killed Frank and then maybe Doug be the one to kill Claire. Perhaps that’s predictable, but it’s maddening that the ending didn’t satisfy the way it should have.

Which brings me to my next point…

Someone should have defeated Claire

The only way to stop the crazy train is to end it at the driver. I mean, she was about to drop a nuclear bomb for no reason. She was getting crazier and crazier. Yet, she not only survives the series, but she’s also probably still president in the House of Cards alternate universe. She probably rewrote the law to abolish elections, wrote sanctions that everyone must wear slate blue, black, and white colors, and maybe even married Petrov. Who knows.

Next. House of Cards series finale recap: Chapter 73. dark

What I do know is ambiguous endings are infuriating, especially when we know the show isn’t coming back. It’s a disservice to your audience.

I will say, though, my mine problem is with the storylines and not the acting. I think the actors, especially Wright, did the best with what they were given.

What did you think of the last season of House of Cards? Am I too harsh? Do you agree?

Watch the season for yourself.

Then read my recaps, starting with Episode 1.