The final shot of House of Cards Season 4 was a huge mic drop moment: Claire Underwood became the second character on the series to break the fourth wall. Does that mean that Claire will replace Frank on House of Cards? While that might be a fitting ending or final season for the series, with Frank dying or stepping aside so his wife can shine, I have to say — I don't think that's what the final image of the scene was meant to indicate. Instead, note how clearly the show lingered on the shot of both Frank and Claire looking at the camera together. I think it suggests that, finally, the Underwood marriage is back to the place it was in Season 1, before Frank's plans drove them apart, and the two are equal partners again.
After all, the final episode of Season 4 was all about how no matter how difficult, they were going to find a way to run for Frank's reelection as husband and wife and president and vice president. I don't know if that glance to the camera means that Claire will continue to break the fourth wall throughout the fifth season of House of Cards, but it does mean that the next season will feature a newly reunited couple. And, I think these examples from HoC Season 4 prove my point.
They're Both On The Poster
And, in addition to Frank & Claire both being present on the key art, they split screentime a lot more evenly this season. Claire didn't totally overshadow Frank, or slowly take over the season — it was a fair split from the beginning.
Frank Welcomed Thomas Yates Back
Frank has frequently been jealous and callous about the extramarital affairs Claire has engaged in, particularly when it came to Adam Galloway. Frank also ignored the effect that his affairs had on Claire. But, when he saw how Thomas Yates made Claire so happy, he decided to let her have that happiness without interfering, even welcoming Thomas to their breakfast table.
Claire Refused To Play Nice
For the first few episodes of Season 4, Claire was set on running for a seat in Congress in her home state of Texas. And, while Frank immediately tried to strong-arm her out of it, it literally took mentioning it in the State of the Union to stop her. Season 2 or Season 3 Clair would have given up long before that.
Their Rehearsal Scene
In a total flashback to the first and beginning of the second season, Frank and Claire rehearsed their respective meetings the night before they needed to be on their A-game. Both Underwoods, working together in the pursuit of a shared, collaborative goal.
They Didn't Flinch
Now we're back at the final scene of Season 4, just before Claire looks into the camera for the first time. The last major conflict in the season was Frank's attempt to negotiate the release of a family of hostages from terrorists. And, when Frank (purposely?) fails, and the family's patriarch is brutally killed by the terrorists, Frank and Claire don't flinch, while the rest of the people in the room have to look away. While Claire might eventually usurp Frank's power on House of Cards, for now, the show is suggesting that these two are a perfect pair.
Image: David Giesbrecht/Netflix (5)