House of Cards season five is now available on DVD and Blu-ray and with season six expected to hit Netflix at some point in 2018, now is a good time to be a fan of the always exciting political drama. However, what would the show be without Frank Underwood?
We’ve spent the past five years watching him manipulate those around him and it’s fair to say he’s by far the most devious – and delightfully evil – characters on television today.
Below, you’ll find our look at ten of Frank’s most devious moments. It goes without saying that spoilers follow but regardless of whether you’re a longtime fan or just curious about what to expect, you’ll want to keep reading to find out what makes Underwood great!
10. Frank “Concedes” Defeat
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Frank Underwood over the years, it’s that he always has a plan. After concocting fake terrorist threats to shut down key polling stations in areas supporting his election opponent Will Conway, the President realises he needs to distance himself from any accusations of voter suppression so makes an unexpected call.
Conway – who is confident he’s won the election by this point – hears from Frank and is congratulated on his win as he reveals that he’ll concede to his opponent because it’s what’s best for the country. Alas, Frank has figured out a way to remain in charge of the country and turns to the camera and says, “You think I learned nothing from Al Gore?”
It was clear from the start that House of Cards featured a ruthless lead but things took an unexpectedly dark turn when Frank manipulated poor Peter Russo into drinking again and screwed up the chances of him becoming Governor. However, to stop him from confessing to his crimes, Frank fakes Peter’s suicide and leaves him for dead in a parking garage.
However, this wasn’t Frank’s last murder. At the start of season two, the show left us with all our jaws on the floor when Zoe Barnes’ questions about Peter’s death became too much for the Vice President and he threw her in front of a train. It was here House of Cards made it clear we should always expect the unexpected when it comes to Frank’s machinations.
8. Husband vs. Wife
Frank claims to love Claire but should we believe him? When things were looking bad for the couple in season four, they were forced to resolve things in order to unite against a common enemy. However, before that could happen, we got a very frightening glimpse into Frank’s psyche as he imagines brutally attacking his wife in order to assert his dominance.
Interestingly, rather than this playing out like a “normal” fantasy where he overcomes her and gets his revenge, Frank seems to realise that this is a fight he may not come out of completely unscathed as Claire strikes back by stabbing him and gouging his eyes out. Was this is an indication that he always knew his wife would always get the better of him?
7. Sacrificing Doug
Throughout all five seasons of House of Cards, Doug Stamper has been Frank’s most loyal ally. However, by the time the latest batch of episodes rolled around, his past crimes finally started catching up to him, hence why he had to give up his Presidency when all was said and done. To stop things getting even worse, though, some sacrifices needed to be made.
Over what initially appears to be a straightforward dinner, Frank and Clair convince Doug that he needs to confess to the murder of Zoe Barnes. That’s the only way to keep Frank out of prison and while the Chief of Staff is initially reluctant, he quickly accepts his fate and seems content with taking the blame (especially after he killed Rachel Posner).
6. An Unexpected Confession
As we’ve established, Frank can be a very frightening man and that was never more clear than when the President and his Secretary of Defence had this tense confrontation back in season four which saw him confess to the murders Lucas had publicly accused him of.
Of course, he quickly laughed that off before following it up with a threat which put the understandably terrified Catherine Durant in her place. The fact that a woman as powerful as she is (who at this stage stood at least a slim chance of becoming President) would bow down to him after this conversation showed us who the real dominant force in The White House is and featured a powerhouse performance from the amazing Kevin Spacey.
5. Did That Just Happen?
Talking of poor old Cathy, season five of House of Cards features a moment most of us assumed was part of a fantasy sequence as opposed to something really happening. When his Secretary of State jeopardises his plans by deciding to testify to the senatorial investigation, Frank realises he needs to take drastic measures to stop her in her tracks.
So, what does he do? He declares that “You need to take a fall” before pushing her down a flight of stairs in the White House. She’s alive (for now) but is unable to testify and that means he’s in the clear for now and able to enact his plan for Claire to become the new President. This just proves Frank will stop at nothing and won’t let anyone get in his way.
4. Claire Underwood
While we’re used to seeing Frank scheming but getting to see Claire do the same was a treat and season four made it clear that she’s every bit as smart. Determined to become Vice President after her husband sabotages her chances of entering the political arena, she uses an old photograph of Frank’s father to make her position clear and takes advantage of his time in the hospital by getting in the ear of the then acting President Donald Blythe.
It’s there that she manoeuvres herself into a spot which she and Frank later use to their advantage to legitimise her hopes of becoming his running mate, proving she’s every bit as smart as he is and that’s something which continued as we moved into the fifth season.
3. Homemade Terror
With Frank and Claire’s own house of cards close to toppling by the end of season four due to the expose by intrepid reporter Tom Hammerschmidt, things looked bleak for their chances of spending another four years in The White House. Determined not to be beaten, they decided that the key to remaining in power is fear so they take the country to war.
As Frank breaks the fourth wall to address the audience, Claire (for the first time) hears him and also faces the camera. It was a chilling moment and a terrifying glimpse into what may or may not go on behind closed doors with those who rule over us. Still, there’s no denying that it was a smart move which did indeed keep Frank in power for a little longer!
When it becomes clear that Frank isn’t going to be able to remain on as President, he formulates a plan for his power to be handed over to his wife (and Vice President) and sets his sights on moving into the private sector so they’re able to control the country on two fronts. However, when the season wraps up, Claire still hasn’t granted him his pardon!
As a result, a livid Frank makes it clear to us that, “If she doesn’t pardon me, I’ll kill her.”
There’s a chance he will get that pardon but if not, Frank is clearly devising yet another devious plan to take his wife down with him because he’s worked too hard and sacrificed far too much to stop now. It’s just a shame we have to wait until season six for answers!
1. Frank Underwood: President Of The United States
All Frank ever wanted was a position of power in The White House but when President Walker cheated him out of that, he decided that the Vice Presidency would be his. We watched as Frank plotted and schemed to get that and, well, he ultimately succeeded.
However, that wasn’t enough for Frank and it took no time at all for him to realise that he wanted the ultimate position of power in the United States: the Presidency. Manipulating everything from behind the scenes, Frank set things up in a way that meant Walker would be impeached over his connection to China and Walker learned the hard way not to never be that trusting again. That final shot in season two is arguably one of the show’s best.