[Spoilers for the final season of House of Cards below.]
Netflix cut all ties with Kevin Spacey following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against the actor. Gore, an expensive biopic about Gore Vidal, was scrapped, and Frank Underwood was written out of the final season of House of Cards. The president’s fate was revealed in a teaser (“When they bury me,” his on-screen wife and current (and much improved) commander-in-chief Claire Underwood says by his grave, “it won’t be in my backyard”), but it wasn’t until season six premiered on Friday that we learned the exact details of his death.
Frank is first mentioned minutes into the season, when the White House informs Claire that threats against her life are “significantly up” since she moved into the Oval Office. “There are roughly four times as many threats on any given day,” she learns. “Now it’s twice that since Frank died.” It’s eventually revealed that Frank died from an overdose from his liver medication, with Claire beside him in bed. That’s the public story, at least. But in typical House of Cards fashion, it’s more complicated than that (or as Claire puts it, “A man like Francis doesn’t just die. That would be, what’s the word? Convenient”).
Frank’s actual fate is finally disclosed in the final 10 minutes of the series.
But who is the “you”???
It’s Doug! “He was coming here to kill you,” Frank’s right-hand-man tells (a very pregnant) Claire. “I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t know. I used his meds. I didn’t know how long it would take, but I… I knew. I couldn’t let him destroy everything we built.” Doug killed Frank because Frank was going to kill Claire, and “I had to protect the legacy from the man,” he confesses through tears. When Claire tries to get Doug to admit he’s happy Frank is dead, he puts a letter opener to her throat; she gets him to put it down, only to grab it and stab Doug in the gut and then suffocate him. House of Cards ends with Doug dead, Francis dead, and Claire as the president. Her final words to Doug before he dies?