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House Of Cards Went About Two Seasons Too Long, According To Fans

The legacy of Netflix's "House of Cards" is a tricky one.

Once the flagship series of the world's first earnest streaming platform, the show slowly devolved from an arrestingly bleak depiction of Washington politics to a soapy melodrama that failed to match real-world intrigue. The final nails in its coffin were the 2017 child sexual assault allegations against leading man Kevin Spacey, which ultimately forced the series to awkwardly resolve a convoluted plot without its central character (via People). In its earlier, simpler days, however, it was regarded as a harbinger of what streamers could do for prestige television.

For those who missed the series and are understandably averse to it given Spacey's uncomfortable presence, it followed Frank Underwood, a ruthless politician in Washington, D.C. When President Garrett Walker reneges on his promise to appoint Frank as his Secretary of State, Frank launches into a scheme to remove him from power. By Season 2, Frank steals the presidency.

At the end of the show's penultimate season (before Spacey's allegations came to light), Frank is sent to prison, where he awaits a pardon from his presidential successor — his wife, Claire (Robin Wright). The twist is a bit bizarre, made even more so by Frank's unceremonious death between Seasons 5 and 6. Even Wright wishes "House of Cards" had gone a different route. Because the plot got somewhat off the rails as the series progressed, some fans argue the showrunners should have closed the book on a much earlier  note.

Season 2 had a perfect ending

In a Reddit thread on the r/television subreddit titled "What shows had a perfect ending, way before they went downhills to their actual ending? [sic]", u/Daidono stated that "House of Cards" went longer than it should have. Their comment — which received over 1,700 upvotes — reads, "I think House of Cards on Netflix should have ended at Season 2 when Frank achieved the Presidency." Frank Underwood begins Season 2 as vice president, a position he quietly maneuvered his way into with both situational and psychological manipulation.

He spends the second season working against both President Garrett Walker and the corporate machinations of Raymond Tusk. Frank ultimately orchestrates a scenario wherein Tusk is imprisoned for a crime connected to Walker, forcing the president to resign and cede his position. The season ends with Frank basking in the oval office, before wrapping his knuckles against the wood desk — the sound of which was once the Netflix "tudum."

Another user said the knock would have been "a perfect ending" to the series." For other users, however, two seasons wouldn't have lived up to the title's promise.

The show needed at least four seasons

Though u/Cole-Spudmoney felt that the Season 2 finale would've been a fine ending, they think it also would've been a half-measure. "It would've looked like they'd ended the show halfway through," they wrote. "I was expecting four seasons, 52 episodes, showing Frank's rise and fall." With each season consisting of 13 episodes, four seasons would have mirrored the number of cards and suits in a traditional deck. u/Welcome-War even joked that Kevin Spacey's eerie YouTube videos would be the jokers in the deck.

It's important to note that proponents of the four-season arc are mostly not suggesting the series should have ended at the Season 4 finale. After a polarizing arc involving foreign interests, the war on terror, and a hostage situation, Season 4 ended with the Underwoods declaring America at war to keep their power. Ending the series here wouldn't work on a narrative level. For these Redditors, the latter two seasons would have ideally shown Frank struggling to keep his power because of how he obtained it, with his demise the inevitable result of reaping what he once sowed.

As allegations against Spacey ultimately drove the show to a wildly diverging end, it may behoove new fans to simply enjoy the first two seasons as a complete story arc — avoiding the more convoluted developments to follow.