Robin Wright in season 2 of Netflix's "House of Cards." Photo credit: Nathaniel Bell for Netflix. HOUSE OF CARDS Season 6: SPOILERS

With the sixth and final season of HOUSE OF CARDS coming out later this year, fans have to wonder about the future of the Underwoods. Not just because of the usual cliffhangers from previous seasons, but also with Kevin Spacey expunged from the cast.

For those unaware, Kevin Spacey faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct during the fall of 2017. Though Spacey apologized for his initial accusation of making sexual advances toward Anthony Rapp, (Spacey aged 26 and Rapp aged 14 at the time) several more allegations followed, leaving the Academy Award-winning actor under scrutiny.

HoC Season 6: SPOILERS
Image courtesy of Netflix

With production of HOUSE OF CARDS having to backtrack, we have an inside look at what this final HOUSE OF CARDS season will look like. Before I get into this preview though, let’s do a quick recap of the series thus far.

HOUSE OF CARDS Season 5 Recap: SPOILERS

President non-elect, Frank Underwood, is gunning to continue his reign with Claire on the ticket as Vice President for the upcoming election. Their opponent is New York Governor and Republican candidate Will Conway (Joel Kinnaman). With careful planning and manipulation, along with the help of NSA contractor Aidan Macallan, the electoral vote is at a standstill. Ohio and Tennessee are unaccounted for. Leading to a contingent election, Claire is chosen by the Senate as Vice President and acting president until the House can decide between Conway and Frank.

Conway Throws the Election

Several weeks have passed since the initial electoral vote between Conway and Francis. Neither of which has received the required amount of votes. Conway is close to buckling under pressure from his wife and campaign manager. During a flight, Conway yells at his pilots for not letting him fly the plane, threatening them and his campaign manager (Mark Usher) in the process. The Underwoods received a recording of the dispute. Mark is confronted and decides to assist them in their campaign instead of Conway’s. With the recording gone public, Frank wins Ohio, along with the presidential candidacy.

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Loose Ends

After the Underwood election, a judicial committee is formed to investigate. Desperate to hide their trail, the Underwoods turn their sights toward Aidan Macallan and LeAnn Harvey. Similar to an Edward Snowden situation, Aidan found asylum in Russia with Viktor Petrov using him as a bargaining chip.

Aidan manages to return to the States in an attempt to run away with LeAnn, revealing a past relationship. She gives Aidan a gun and tells him to run and forget about her. Aidan kills himself soon after. At the end of season five of HOUSE OF CARDS, we find LeAnn has died in a blazing, overturned car, presumably homicide.

House of Cards Season 6: SPOILERS
Image courtesy of Netflix

The End of Frank’s Presidency

With more evidence and testimony from the likes of Garret Walker and Hammerschmidt, Frank is running out of options in protecting his presidency. With Hammerschmidt getting closer to solving the murder of Zoe Barnes, Doug Stamper is asked to take the blame for the Underwoods. Continuing his trend of absolute loyalty, Doug admits to the murder without the collusion of Frank.

The end of the season concludes with Frank Underwood resigning as President, making Claire the new Commander in Chief. Blindsided, Frank tells Claire it was all orchestrated for her to assume the role as president. In accordance, she is to pardon both Frank and Doug for their transgressions. During her first televised speech to the nation, she refrains any mention of a pardon for either of them, with Claire exclaiming to the audience, “My turn.”

Season 6 Episode 1 SPOILERS: The Reign of Claire Underwood

With a sneak peek into the first episode of the upcoming season, how is the sudden disappearance of Kevin Spacey’s character explained? Claire kills Frank Underwood. How she did it? We have yet to find out. With Frank’s waning health in the previous season, I can imagine most of the suspicions were put to rest.

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The First Hundred Days

To the public, her first months in office were that of mourning. Burying the previous president as well as her husband is a good excuse to stay cooped up in the White House. Being the first female president also comes with additional adversity. A slew of social media death threats has the FBI and Secret Service taking extra precautions as Claire is about to send off the first tour into Syria. With opposition to her presidency and the previous season’s declaration of war on ICO, an assassination attempt remains expected.

The Fourth of July

Against the warnings of her staff, Claire finds herself celebrating the birthday of America with its servicemen. After thunderous applause, she begins working the line of soldiers heading to their first tour of duty. To her surprise, it’s a female soldier that questions the president’s motives. As much as Claire claims it’s the woman’s turn, sending America’s youth to war without a plan of pulling out doesn’t sit well with many.

A bullet pierces Claire’s rear-window during the return trip. Situated in a more secure location, thoughts of passed presidential assassination attempts run through her mind. Without any bodily harm, Claire perversely sees this as the first real sign of respect she has received in her first hundred days.

HoC Season 6: SPOILERS
Image courtesy of Netflix

Old Ties and New Enemies

Old ties made by Francis come to haunt Claire in the form of new characters from the elite class. It’s a group that Frank tried to collaborate with while still trying to become president-elect. His goals changed suddenly as season five came to an end. Frank exclaims in the last episode that real power comes from those who own the White House, not the ones that live in it.

In this latest season, the elite comes in the form of the Sheperds (played by Greg Kinnear and Dianne Lane). Another power couple, much like Francis and Claire, Bill and Annette Sheperd seek the cooperation of the presidency. Claire, wanting to separate all ties from Frank’s past, shows opposition. With broken promises, the upper echelon of the wealthy stand against Claire and her presidency.

We also have a short scene with a new and tenacious journalist, Melody Cruz (Athena Karkanis). Threatened by previous politicians that she’d end up in a river only adds fuel to Cruz’s fire. As a character similar to Hammerschmidt and Zoe Barnes, I expect Cruz to be a formidable threat when it comes to the media.

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What to Expect from this Final Season of HOUSE OF CARDS

Hammerschmidt could investigate Claire’s involvement with Frank and Doug’s crimes. But even then, it’s hard to say whether he has much motivation anymore. Both characters are essentially out of the picture. Melody Cruz will probably take up the Zoe/Hammerschmidt torch in that aspect.

Frank’s passing leaves an ominous presence, but Claire makes it clear his death was necessary. In one scene we find Claire with a trapped bird in Frank’s old bedroom. As she captures the poor creature, it feels almost sadistic; the audience wondering if she will kill it or not.

Doug still stands as a threat with all the Underwood knowledge weighing on his shoulders, but he seems determined to protect Frank’s name. He is currently in a psychiatric ward for the top percentile, still unpardoned, and with added disdain for Claire. I’m just not sure how much more his character can be involved. Yet, he manages to be the barrel of gunpowder ready to explode and reveal all of the Underwoods’ transgressions. Of course, I would love to see some redemption for him.

House of Cards Final Season Preview: SPOILERS!
Image courtesy of Netflix

Claire’s Adversity

The new elite and the ongoing war in Syria are currently the only active conflicts for Claire. We have a general idea of the Sheperd’s influence, seemingly surpassing that of the White House, so anything is possible. The war in Syria will more than likely involve Russia’s Viktor Petrov, so expect odder sexual tension between him and Claire.

I’m excited to see Frank’s better half as president. How is she going to compete with the devious Francis Underwood? She’s already killed her former lover, Tom Yates, meaning first-degree murder isn’t an issue for her now. And she has connections to all of Frank’s crimes. How far will Claire go to solidify her position as Leader of the Free World?

What’s unfortunate is that this season of HOUSE OF CARDS will be its last, and a shorter one at that with only eight episodes. Without an exact release date mentioned, we can hope to expect the premiere near the end of this year. Here’s to hoping Doug receives his redemption!

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