It took a while, but finally Doug killed Rachel Posner on House of Cards in the season three finale. Is it just me, or was this season of Netflix's House of Cards pretty tame? I suppose that's the leash that comes with being the leader of the free world. The ambitious writers got away with their out-of-line remarks. The political opponents are all still breathing. This was not the only death, but it was the only murder, and it was a slow burn. Doug started off the season still recovering from Rachel's attack. He then spent most of the thirteen episodes crouched in diners with hacker Gavin Orsay trying to locate Rachel, only to exact his master plan in the final episode.
The hunt for Rachel took the entire season and Gavin had a lot of fun getting into character to befriend Rachel's ex-girlfriend Lisa, played by indie actress Kate Lynn Sheil. Orsay then lead Doug to believe that Rachel was dead in order to manipulate and extract more favors from him. Meanwhile, Doug was manipulating the folks in Washington. I kind of loved the way that Doug was playing Heather Dunbar and Frank Underwood against one another. It was brilliant, and made me really want to root for him.
However, Rachel couldn't hide forever and Doug could not remain a good guy that bonded with his brother's kids and regained the trust of the POTUS. I'm actually shocked that Rachel did a better job hiding herself than infamous hacker ultimately did. Doug Stamper found him with almost zero effort. He then tracked down Rachel and started stocking up his unmarked van with rope, bleach, a shovel — you know, typical murder supplies. Even Anastasia Steele would have figured out what this dude was up to with that shopping list. It was like a combination of The Fall and Breaking Bad.
We saw a little glimpse of Rachel's simple off the grid while Doug stalked and captured her. They drove to the middle of nowhere and he dug a geometrically neat, but shallow grave. He definitely would not have lasted in Holes. Doug assured her that her death would be painless. That confused me. Was this revenge, or protection against exposure? I'm not sure why Doug felt the need to murder this girl. Neither did Rachel, who tried to reason with him, claiming that she had re-invented herself and just wanted to stay hidden. It looked like she had gotten through to him and he let her go... only to change his mind minutes later and run over her with the van. So much for a painless death!
I have to say, it hurt my feelings a little bit that while this season of House of Cards was great for female characters overall, it had to end with such a typical storyline in which a man hunts a young girl. Revenge or not, it was like a cruel reminder that we can't have it all. This glorification of violence against women gets more disturbing the more I see it my television screen.
Image: Nathaniel Bell/Netflix