A new teaser for Netflix’s highly anticipated sixth and final season of House of Cards confirms the death of Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood. In doing so, Netflix has made official what most had assumed would be the case ever since House of Cards’ final season was announced. There really weren’t many other ways the series’ writers could have gone, as featuring Frank in any form became impossible once Spacey’s apparent habit – as alleged by multiple accusers – of committing sexual harassment and assault became public in the early stages of the #MeToo movement.
While House of Cards season 5 had aired months before it became apparent that Spacey was a liability to the Netflix original he once led, the ending of that season actually gave writers and producers a pretty good opportunity to write Frank out of the story. As fans will recall, Frank ended season 5 having resigned the presidency, with plans to begin using the private sector to influence government policy. This left his wife – and sitting Vice President – Claire (Robin Wright) to take over as POTUS.
Previous marketing for House of Cards season 6 had made it clear that Claire was now firmly in the lead role, but in Netflix’s latest teaser, it’s visually confirmed that Frank has died since the events of season 5. Thus, the only person in Washington, D.C. as ruthless as Claire is now out of the way, leaving her to presumably govern unimpeded. Check out the full clip below.
Despite Frank’s resignation as president offering a fairly easy way to write him out of the bigger picture of the series, the fact is that with Spacey unable to return for even a guest appearance, the only real option was to kill Frank off. If Frank was still out there, and still attempting to influence the government, there would be no logical reason why he and Claire wouldn’t encounter each other at some point. Plus, Claire’s final speech in season 5 neglected to offer the pardon she promised Frank and his chief of staff Doug Stamper, earning the ire of her husband. There’s no way he would have let that betrayal stand.
Interestingly, in the above teaser, Claire doesn’t seem at all saddened by her husband’s death. While the series had long-since made clear that there’s was a marriage based more on mutual political ambition than any kind of romantic love, the two always did seem to care about each other’s well-being to an extent, and always ended up back on the same side after their numerous fights and disagreements. For Claire to make such callous remarks at Frank’s grave suggests that she might be colder and more dangerous than anyone ever thought, although her murdering Tom Yates in season 5 certainly proved that she was capable of anything. Could Claire have somehow orchestrated Frank’s demise in order to ensure she could maintain complete control? It seems very possible.