Spoiler alert: Events from all five seasons of "House of Cards" are discussed below. Better go binge before reading on.
Almost five years after changing the landscape of television, the Netflix political drama "House of Cards" appears to be collapsing in a manner befitting its title. Allegations of sexual assault against Kevin Spacey and the actor-producer's botched apology were followed by word this week that.
The off-set controversy is appropriate in a sad and troubling way for a show that made its name with an over-the-top political story line and cast of ruthless and craven antiheroes. The show's first few seasons alsofor Spacey, co-star Robin Wright and director David Fincher. Along the way, "House of Cards" changed how we watch television, when Netflix . Almost overnight, the show made binge-watching a mainstream phenomenon and transformed Netflix and other streaming services into major players in television.
But now, nearly half a decade in to the series, it seems we may never get to learn what becomes of the most murderous couple to ever occupy the White House, just as the series was taking a major turn. Even if we've binged our last season of the show, we can still imagine what could have happened in season six to wrap up the whole thing. With that in mind, here are five suggested endings to the show that changed how we watch shows.
The British ending
The Netflix production of "House of Cards" is adapted from a trilogy of BBC miniseries that aired in the 1990s. The original version sees British Francis ascending to the height of power, only to eventually die in an assassination setup by his wife. It would be interesting for the series to stay true to its roots and find a way for Claire to have Frank taken out in order to make him a martyr and rehabilitate his public image and legacy. This plot twist would have the added bonus of making it significantly easier for Claire to have "her turn," her way. Surely this was at least considered for the series finale script that we may never see.
Leave it where it is
A key thread throughout the series has been the slow but steady ascent of Claire Underwood toward a more powerful position than that of her husband, Francis. The couple has remained loyal to only two things: each other and the pursuit of power. But season five finally brought these two pursuits onto a collision course, leaving us to wonder if the Underwoods might finally go to war with each other. The final moment of what may be the last episode ever produced gives us a recently sworn-in President Claire Underwood refusing to answer calls from her exiled husband before looking straight into the camera and saying simply: "My Turn." It's actually a rather fitting ending to the whole thing, which leaves the door open for a spinoff series without Spacey.
Season five ends with loyal Underwood foot soldier and former Chief of Staff Doug Stamper under house arrest as he prepares to take the fall for Francis' murder of the reporter Zoe Barnes. For those interested in seeing justice done in the "House of Cards" universe, Stamper could be the key to a satisfying ending. Having lost everything, and unable to lean on the crutches of alcohol or workaholism as in the past, Stamper could see the light in a final season. Perhaps he learns that LeAnn Harvey survived the car crash the Underwoods set up to murder her at the end of season five and decides to take the Underwoods down with him. It would add a nice bit of catharsis and comeuppance to the show's roiling pit of death, deception and darkness.
The war of the Underwoods
I suspect this may be what the actual plan for season six entailed: We see Francis and Claire finally go to war with each other as Claire begins her presidency using the promise of a pardon as leverage over her husband. I could see the feuding easily filling a final season, only to end with the long-awaited demise of the Underwoods and the beginning of a Mark Usher administration that promises to be no less dirty. Then we all wait for the announcement of the Campbell Scott and Patricia Clarkson-led spinoff series with just as much madness and corruption, but this time from two tragically underappreciated actors finally getting their breakout roles.
The "Fear of the Underwoods' Dead"
Just think how much better the show could be with zombies. Season six could be when we learn of the voodoo spell cast on the Underwoods at Elysian Fields that results in all their victims rising from the dead to exact their brain-eating revenge. It could be the only satisfying way for the show to complete its trajectory toward more darkness. Final scene: a zombie-fied Zoe Barnes turns to the camera and utters the line, "Now, it's my turn," through her decomposing face before chowing down on Frank's cerebrum. Now that's vanguard television.
Let us know in the comments below how you'd end one more season of "House of Cards." You can also tweet your ideas for wrapping up the Underwoods' reign to @EricCMack.
Correction, 6:25 a.m. PT Nov. 3: Fixes a detail about the original British series. The first suggestion for an ending was revised accordingly.
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