Warning, just in case you couldn’t read the title, there will be spoilers for House of Cards season 3 in this post.
Once again, I am writing a blog post when I should be studying for the math test I have tomorrow. Oops.
I finished season three of House of Cards a couple days ago, and it took me a while to mull over the finale before expressing my thoughts on it. After initially finishing the season, I loved it. I thought it was brilliant, exceptional, surprising, etc. However, after giving it a lot of thought, I’m beginning to think the ending wasn’t too good.
Francis Underwood is a tyrant, there is no denying that. Him being a tyrant is what makes his character so intriguing to watch. He is the fine line between an anti-hero and a villain. Francis is not a likeable guy, so why do we like him so much? There is a small piece of him that is relatable- a tiny sliver of humanity we see every once in a while, brought out by his wife. Claire.
Claire is the glue that holds Francis together. She is his foundation. Claire is the only piece of Francis that we can relate to, because she is what keeps him human. Without Claire, Francis is nothing. Through Claire, we see that Francis is still human. He loves her more than anything, and in that love, we see his true humanity. And at the end of season three, he goes against every single thing he’s done to prove that love and humanity to Claire by abusing her, which I don’t see as being possible.
I think his character was written to abuse Claire because of the shock it would get from the audience. After watching Francis and Claire for three and a half seasons, there is absolutely no part of me that thinks the ending was feasible. If there’s anything Francis loves more than power, it’s Claire. And we’re supposed to believe that after a few rocky episodes between them, he’s going to throw all of that away? I don’t think that his character would do that.
For what it’s worth, I think that Claire’s character was written beautifully this season. I think that the writers stayed true to her, and every single scenario she was put into was met with a reaction that Claire Underwood would have. Francis, on the other hand, was written shakily and poorly in the final couple of episodes, exhibiting reactions and tendencies that I don’t think he would ever have.
I absolutely love House of Cards and, despite not thinking that the final couple episodes were true to the characters, I’m excited to see how they’re going to handle the riff between Francis and Claire in season 4. I just don’t think it would have happened in the first place.
Other than the strange choices by writers surrounding Francis & Claire’s relationship, I thought the season was fantastic. I loved the introduction of the character Viktor Petrov, the Russian president that is not-so-subtly based off of the real Russian president Vladimir Putin, and the problems that he and Francis Underwood have. I was shocked, in an extremely delighted way, to see the use of Russian pop-punk band Pussy Riot, playing themselves and giving Petrov a piece of their mind before walking out of a dinner at the White House. The conflicts and struggles in this season were extremely interesting, from Francis hiring an author to write about his new jobs program to Claire trying to convince an American prisoner in Russia to come back to the USA with her.
There was friction between every single character at some point, which in a show about politics, I’m sure is quite true. I think this season was the busiest season so far, with many different storylines, plot points, and characters, all happening at the same time. I think the execution of almost every part of season 3 was perfect, aside from the glaring problem that I see with Francis and Claire’s relationship falling apart.
Only season 4 will tell!