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WMG / House of Cards (US)

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House of Cards takes place in the same universe as Dark Souls.
I admit, I don't have anything to back this up, but It came to me in a dream and I believe it.
  • Frank is basically in hell and is doomed to repeat his life cycle until he's willing to accept defeat and let go, trapping everyone else along with him?

Matthews will lose the governor's race, meaning Francis can't become VP.
  • Jossed

Sony is winning the Console War in the House Of Cards verse.
Because Frank Underwood is just that powerful.

The Democrats are in serious trouble.
They fought tooth and nail to defend Pennsylvania during Walker's presidential campaign, a state they haven't had serious trouble with for the past 20 years in real life. The party as a whole seems much further to the right in the show universe than it is in reality, with Frank Underwood, a conservative (for a Democrat, anyway) southerner as House Majority Whip, and Garrett Walker, an apparent centrist, as President who pushed through an education bill that incorporates a bunch of conservative policy proposals in education that a real life Democrat wouldn't dare to touch. If the Democrats have had to moderate their positions so much, it's a sign that the country is much more right-wing than in real life.
  • Pennsylvania isn't a guaranteed Democratic state in Real Life either, though. Even though it's consistently gone to the Democrats since 1992, it's been fought for each time and could be swayed by a strong challenger. A bit like North Carolina for the other side.
    • This WMG actually fits quite well with the one below—well, the "Clinton—Bush—McCain" version, anyway.

How the alternate history of the Oval Office in this show timeline works
We know from characters' dialogue and the episode of Jeopardy! playing on TV that the show's political history matches up with real life at least up until January 20, 2001 and the end of the presidency of Bill Clinton — but there is never any reference to the presidency of George W. Bush or historical events directly associated with it such as the Iraq War. Furthermore, the show begins with Garrett Walker (D-CO) being a new Democratic president, having been elected in 2012, and the Democrats in control of both houses of Congress. It's also explicitly mentioned that Walker is the 45th President of the United States, meaning two things are for certain: there were two Presidents between January 20, 2001 and January 21, 2013note , and given how the 22nd Amendment works, one of them was a two-term President and the other was a one-term President.
  • Here's one theory: the point of divergence between the House of Cards timeline and ours is that Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election instead of Bush, due to the voting machine discrepancy never happening. Gore then either served one term and was followed by a two-term Republican, or served two terms and was followed by a one-term Republican. This may also account for the Democrats' much more centrist stance in the show, as Gore's victory and the absence of the Bush Administration means that the DLC faction of the Democratic Party is still dominant.
    • There is reference to Catherine Durant being "vocally anti-war" which means that while there may have been a different President than Bush in office, 9/11 still happened as it did in real life, and the War on Terror unfolded similarly to how it did in real life. For the record, invading Afghanistan would have been a no-brainer after 9/11 regardless of who was President at the time, but it's hard to believe that Al Gore would invade Iraq after that.
      • In fact, we know 9/11 DID happen in the House of Cards timeline. In season 4, Will Conway mentioned that he enlisted with the Air Force literally the day after 9/11 happened.
  • At one point, the show refers to a "Bush Senior" (implying that there is a junior as well) and the Republicans control the Senate.
    • Alternatively, "Bush Senior" is Prescott Bush (H.W. Bush's father) and the point of divergence from our own time is even further back.
      • It can't be Prescott Bush. The reference to Bush, Sr takes place in 1992, meaning it's referring to George H. W. Bush. Prescott Bush died in 1972, and there are references to the presidencies of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.
      • Perhaps the inferred "Bush Junior" is Walker's immediate predecessor as President. It doesn't necessarily have to be George W. Bush either — it could be Jeb Bush, succeeding in 2004/2008 where his brother failed in 2000. Another possibility is that John McCain was the Republican candidate in 2000 in this timeline, who lost to Gore, freeing up either Bush brother to succeed Gore later.
  • I think the safest point of departure would be the 2008 election. Perhaps in the House of Cards timeline, the electorate weren't confident that the Democrats who were backing Barack Obama would get them out of the economic slump and went with John McCain, and the Democrats lost the House. Things were then very similar to what happened in our timeline until 2012, when Walker was elected.
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  • I personally thought that "Bush Jr." was George W. Bush and his presidency still happened (since George H.W. Bush is referred to as Bush Sr.), and another fictional Republican filled in the gap between the end of Bush's presidency and the start of Walker's presidency, as it is hinted that the Democrats finally get back into power when the show starts. I don't think McCain, Hillary or Obama were that interim President from 2009-2013, as none of them are in Congress and aren't even mentioned or shown, so I think the government probably transitioned from reality to fiction (with the obvious exceptions of Frank, and other fictional characters in Congress for past years/decades like Jackie Sharp, Heather Dunbar, Doug Stamper, Bob Birch, Hector Mendoza and whatnot) around 2009.
  • A major plot element in Season 3 is dealing with reducing tensions between Israel and Palestine, and no massive ongoing quagmires in Iraq or Afghanistan are mentioned. Maybe just trying to keep things tidy, but might also be a sign that there is no conflict in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Frank's sexuality will ultimately cause, or contribute to, his downfall
Frank's bisexuality is touched upon in exactly one episode per season thus far, not enough to make it a prominent character trait, but enough to remind us that it is there. I can imagine that a revelation that he has had relationships with men will cause a media frenzy and a backlash against him. After all, being ruthless and Machiavellian is fine, making out with guys? Unacceptable!!!.

House of Cards will be four seasons total.
Four seasons of 13 episodes each equals 52 episodes total: the same number of cards in a standard deck.
  • Apropos? Most definitely! (Especially if there are two "between season" comedy episodes, in addition. In a word: Jokers!)
  • Also appropriate in that each season takes approximately one year, and if the Underwoods lose in 2016, it would coincide with the end of the fourth season.

Claire Underwood is hiding a secret past when she was known as Jenny.
After a long, sad and troubled life on the road, Jenny Curran abandons her infant son to the care of her first love and resolves to make something of herself. Drifting to South Carolina and meeting Francis, a man who is the polar opposite of Forrest, she changes her name to Claire and plots a move to the highest office in the land.
  • Unlikely. Claire is a wealthy Texas socialite, and it is even occasionally hinted that Frank married her for her family's money.

Season 3 will have the hacktivist and Rachel as prominent antagonists.
Basically, there's the shot of the former in his "office", as the camera pulls back. It's possible he and Frank's new chief of staff (who will take the position officially when Doug's body is found) will face off. As for Rachel—well, assuming she won't just hide somewhere and never be seen again in the show (She Knows Too Much, after all), we could well see her teaming up with the hacktivist (and, what the heck, the remaining member of Zoe's team—who'd panicked after Zoe's death) to seek to expose the truth. Of course, Frank—being Frank—will destroy them by the end of the Season. Cue Season 4.
  • Semi-Jossed for them both. Neither of them are really antagonistic, the hacktivist just trying to stay free and Rachel just trying to not get killed to protect a secret she has no interest in revealing.

Frank will die at the end of the last season.
The body count is rising - season one opened with the death of a dog and built up to the death of Peter Russo; season two opened with the death of Zoe Barnes and ended with Doug Stamper's apparent death. Each death leaves Frank more and more vulnerable, and if this trend continues then, once he loses the few people he has left on his side, Frank'll probably end up biting it.
  • Turns out Doug isn't dead after all.
    • Given the ending of the original version of House of Cards, I'd say that Frank's end will be getting shot by a sniper during the unveiling of a memorial.

Frank will be ousted as President at the end of season 3
Frank Underwood is finally at the top. There is only one direction for him to go. He will be disgraced, just like his predecessor, and will be forced to swallow his just desserts. Season 4 will be all about Frank making amends and returning to power.
  • Jossed for season 3, which has a major theme of him trying to secure re-election, and ends with him winning the Iowa Caucus.

The envelope Frank burned at the end of Season 2 was empty.
The letter he thought he was burning, that contains his confession, is still with Walker and will be key in Frank's downfall.

Stamper isn't dead.
He was Left for Dead by Rachel, but she's just an average young woman who doesn't seem to make a habit of exercising or murdering people, she might not even have really wanted him dead specifically as much as she just wanted to get away from him, and bashing with a rock isn't necessarily the world's most effective murder method, so I doubt his injuries are too severe. Since we didn't even see him lying on the ground or anything, it seems like a pretty strong setup for him to have a surprise reappearance.
  • Confirmed as of Season 3: the first episode chronicles his physical therapy after the attack.
Walker will play the role that the King did in the original UK series

Walker in Season 3/4
Season 3 and/or 4 will be all about Walker finally realizing that Frank played him like a fiddle and attempting to expose what he's done. The climax will be the 2016 primaries where Walker will once again run and become Frank's main rival for the nomination.
  • Jossed for Season 3, Walker does not appear and is barely mentioned throughout the season.
    • More likely for season four, in fitting with the fact that that's the next major election cycle (2016), and at thirteen episodes per season, we get 52- the same as a set of cards

House of Cards ends with Frank starting a nuclear war with Russia.
Frank loves to manipulate people, make plays, and he wants more than anything to keep his power strong. If he's losing the presidential or primary election in Season 4, he might just try a Wag the Dog, incite tensions with Russia in order to give the voting public a strong reason to keep him around... and then it backfires.

Season 3 was Stamper's dream/nightmare/fantasy.
Frank Underwood's constant OOC behavior throughout the season really give the impression that something's "off". Considering how part of the implication of the last several episodes is that it's up to Doug to clean up the mess—and that he's more than up to the challenge—it's interesting to speculate that Doug's dreaming about how desperately Frank "really" needs him, telling himself that without his help, Frank's nothing.

The House Of Cards-verse history of The Washington Herald

The Washington Herald in House of Cards is obviously a stand-in for The Washington Post. In real life, there was a paper called The Washington Herald that operated from 1906 to 1939. William Randolph Hearst, who already owned The Washington Times, took over the Herald in November 1922. Though he consolidated the operations of the papers, they still published separately except for a joint Sunday edition, which is how they worked until 1939 when they merged to become The Washington Times-Herald. Then the combined paper was bought out and consolidated into The Washington Post in 1954.

Perhaps in the House of Cards universe, The Washington Herald that Zoe Barnes starts off the series working at is the original Washington Herald that Scott C. Bone founded in 1906. Its history is unchanged until 1954. The merger of The Washington Post and The Washington Times-Herald was instead a reverse merger (think similar to the one where US Airways was merged into America West Airlines, and while America West's management continued, the US Airways name was one that was adapted and which was used until the company was merged with American Airlines), wherein the Times-Herald and Post were consolidated, but the Herald name was the one that survived.

Claire may strike up an affair with Meechum
It was implied in the original House of Cards (UK) that Urquhart's assassination was coordinated by his wife and by Commander Corder, and they may have had an affair. So very likely, they could translate this to the American version pretty easily.

The real events of political history since 2012 happened in the House of Cards-verse
In House of Cards, we deal with a number of political issues along the way, like Claire's non-profit, the education reform act and teacher's union strike in season 1, Claire's campaign to pass a bill regarding sexual assault in the military in season 2, and the talks with Russia in season 3. In the same time period as the show, real events that impacted politics included the legalization of gay marriage nationwide, the legalization of marijuana in Washington State and Colorado, ISIS, trust between police and the public after the killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Freddie Gray, and the Confederate symbolism controversy that ensued as the result of the Charleston shootings.

What I'm getting at is that I think that, besides the political subplots that happen in House of Cards, the real events of Washington politics also happened, albeit slightly rewritten (we don't know what Frank's stand on gay marriage is, or his stand on gun control, among other things).

Donald Blythe is related to Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton, in real life, was born 'William Jefferson Blythe III', and changed his last name to 'Clinton' at age 15 as a gesture toward his stepfather Roger Clinton. Donald Blythe is explicitly a Democrat, and his actor Reed Birney is about eight years younger than Clinton is. So my theory goes that in this alternate timeline, Donald Blythe is a cousin on Clinton's father's side.

How Frank is going to win the reelection in 2016
Perhaps Frank is going to use the same tactics that Francis Urquhart used in the original series to orchestrate the downfall of his general election rivals: since he lost the Democratic nomination due to Jackie Sharp switching to side with Dunbar after Frank's mistreatment of her, I imagine Frank's comeback will involve possibly finding anything that could compromise Dunbar and make the voters question whether they want her as President.
  • Except Frank didn't lose the nomination to Dunbar — in fact, he won the Iowa caucus, meaning that right now he's ahead of her. While it's not out of the question that he'll end up lagging behind later in the race and then resort to extreme methods, right now it's not necessary.

There will be a terrorist attack in season 4
A casting call for people with medical knowledge and possibly working paramedics suggests that there might be a terrorist attack, an assassination attempt, or something to that effect.
  • Jossed. It's not a terror attack, but an assassination attempt on Frank's life.
  • Although there IS a terror attack in the last two episodes, where the Islamic Organization Caliphate kills an American citizen.

The Feds Have Been Investigating Frank for the deaths of Barnes and Russo this whole time
Here's a theory: some at the FBI do believe Frank killed Russo and Zoe. While they may not be able to get Frank for the actual murders, they might be able to get him on charges relating to the cover-ups of both crimes. And they are investigating Frank, it's just that the reason we don't see them is because these investigators know that as VP or POTUS, Frank is practically untouchable, and because of his position in power, these Feds can't make a move against Frank because I'm pretty sure that he would find out, and try to get them to back down by sending them death threats, or the threat of reassignment to different divisions/departments... or complete removal from their agency. If anything, these secret investigators probably have built a case against Frank, and are just waiting until Frank is out of office to indict him, so as to avoid scandal.

Rachel's death will come back to bite Doug in the ass
Come on, he left Gavin Orsay alive. Gavin knows Rachel's real name. He's in a perfect position to blackmail Doug in exchange for silence. And I believe he even said that he had contingencies that guaranteed that his secrets would be released if he died under suspicious circumstances.

There is an Underwood "death list" conspiracy theory
Think about it. There are allegations that Bill Clinton had a "death list", which is a list of people allegedly ordered killed on orders of the Clinton administration. So, in the show universe, there might be conspiracy theorists who will say that Peter Russo and Zoe Barnes were on the Underwood death list. Now while Frank did personally kill both of those people in ways that look like a suicide and accident respectively, that won't shut up the conspiracy theorists.

Doug's loyalty to Frank will be tested in season 4
Frank knows Doug's one and only desire in life is to serve him. Doug's brother even pointed out that his life is all about Frank, while the brother has the nice home, wife, kids, "the American Dream", basically.

It wouldn't surprise me if at some point in Season 4, Doug finds out Frank has been having him closely monitored ever since their meeting in the Oval Office when Doug burned the journal.

I'd also bet that Claire was right, and Doug actually did make a backup copy of that journal as insurance, just in case his meeting with Frank didn't go as smoothly as he hoped. Doug may be blindly loyal when it comes to Frank, but the man isn't stupid and considering the role he played in Peter Russo's and Zoe Barnes's deaths, Doug has seen first hand the lengths Frank is willing to go to when someone presents themselves as a threat.

Claire is pregnant at the end of season 3
Towards the end of season 3, Claire shows a range of strange emotions in regards to her usual personality that seemed a bit out-of-character. Perhaps these are mood swings related to a pregnancy. Evidence:
  • Her sudden appetite. At the end of Chapter 28, she claims she is not hungry, and then almost throws up before making some not some great looking eggs in a hurry.
  • Up and down emotions, and mood swings, a big change from her usual self.
  • In later episodes, we mostly see her around kids reading to the group of young kids and the mother with the young child. The mother mentions to her having a husband cheating and being stuck to him due to having a child with him- which is referenced about Claire's marriage to Frank.
  • In Chapter 39, there's a scene where Claire lights a cigarette, but if you watch closely, she never actually smokes it.

Rachel is still alive
And Doug never killed her. Look, they never actually showed Rachel getting hit. They showed him turning around in the van, but before he gets very close to her, the scene cuts away. And then we see less than five seconds of Doug burying with a shovel. Without showing what happened between those two points in time, it seems to point to the dead body possibly NOT being Rachel, even though that appears to be red hair, just like what Rachel has, sticking out of the grave. It points to a possible season 4 storyline twist of Doug killed someone else.

Doug didn't want to kill Rachel
He clearly had feelings for her. I don't think he wanted to have to kill her (this is assuming she is in fact six feet under), but he knew if he let her go and she reneged on her whole "I just want to live my life away from it all" deal, and went public with any of what she knows, it would mean his own death because Frank would most certainly kill him if he failed again. It was him or her.

Janine Skorsky will reenter the show
I think there've been articles and interviews with Constance Zimmer suggesting that Janine Skorsky, last seen hiding as a teacher in Ithaca trying to distance herself from Frank, will revive interest in Zoe's death and bring about Frank's downfall.

Season 4 will end with World War 3
Given that a major element of Season 3 is that Frank is getting played left and right by not!Putin, my hope is that the show will end with Frank and not!Putin forcing each other into a corner, and with Frank wanting to pull a "Wag the Dog" to improve his chances of reelection, he miscalculates his schemes and things go to hell in the end.

Off the Season 4 trailer, these things might happen
  1. There's a shot of Claire facing off with Petrov. They're big rivals, so.
  2. There's a shot of a woman sitting on Frank. Many think it's Zoe Barnes because of her height, body, and the clothes she wears resembles something of Zoe. Possibly a vision or another woman who reminds him of her.
    • It's Frank having a hallucination.
  3. A shot of the actor who played Augustus Underwood in that Civil War reenactment scene in season 2. So he either comes back for another reenactment or he's either joined the Anti-Frank and will attempt an assassination on him or is joining Team Frank.
  4. There's a shot of a crowd panicking and taking cover. It looks like it could be an assassination attempt, since the only people standing appear to be Secret Service agents.
    • It's the crowd scattering after Lucas Goodwin attempts to assassinate Frank, only succeeding in wounding Frank and killing Meechum.
  5. There's a shot in which we see Claire's reflection while someone else attacks Frank. Assuming this could be either Meechum or someone else within the Secret Service detail because that would be impossible to happen with a regular person since he's the President.
    • It's Frank hallucinating being attacked by the ghosts of Zoe Barnes and Peter Russo in the Oval Office while he's undergoing surgery
  6. Doug attacks someone and throws them to the floor. I think most have said the person Doug is attacking is the Underwoods' former PR guy Connor Ellis, but it looks more like the guy being attacked is Michael Kern. Kern would be another loop from the old days. He was the first person Frank tore down, and of course with the Walker stuff. He could have information or be suspecting something and Doug acts quickly.
    • It's Seth Grayson, and Doug is attacking him for leaking a photo of Frank's father posing with KKK members and another one of him with the Civil War reenactor.
  7. There's a shot of Lucas Goodwin in prison, so he's back in the picture. Perhaps he's conspiring with a cellmate who's about to be released, or maybe it's someone undercover to stop Lucas or maybe against Frank. Or possibly someone hired by Frank through Doug to kill Lucas in prison.
    • That's Lucas talking with the Armenian cellmate
  8. In one shot, we see Heather Dunbar looking out a window with her staff appearing to be questioned by police or Secret Service. Maybe a scheme to end her campaign.
    • Her staff are being questioned about a meeting she had with Lucas Goodwin.

Frank will die in season 5
Its already been foreshadowed in season 4 that FU won't make it past season 5. There's his liver problems, and then there's the fact that you get a hint Frank seems to be fighting for his health ever since getting shot

Frank will commit suicide rather than go to jail for his crimes
It'll be fitting, especially when you consider how he staged the murders he committed (Peter Russo's as a suicide, Zoe Barnes' as either suicide or a tragic accident), and his own views on people who do commit suicide. Plus, it'll give him a chance to make a truly Shakespearean villainous speech to the audience one last time.

Tom Hammerschmidt actually does believe Frank is a murderer

Watching Tom Hammerschmidt's plotline in the second half of season 4, part of me wondered, why is Hammerschmidt focused on exposing Frank's corruption as opposed to linking him to Russo and Zoe Barnes' deaths? In Chapter 49, when Heather Dunbar visits Hammerschmidt at his house, and he lets her in on what he's been doing. As they are talking it over, she says "I don't think Frank's a murderer," and Hammerschmidt agrees.

However, that's assuming that Hammerschmidt was being honest when he says he doesn't believe Frank could have killed anyone. Reporters are like police detectives - sometimes they'll lie to get someone to say things they wouldn't normally say. An example of this is in Chapter 51 when Hammerschmidt pays a visit to Garrett Walker. The dialogue seems to imply that Hammerschmidt had to lie to Walker on the phone about the purpose of his visit in order to secure an interview time. Given that, part of me thinks Hammerschmidt very much suspects Frank killed Zoe and Russo (or at the very least hired assassins to kill them, if not just his part in the cover-up). He just can't go public with that for a few reasons:

  1. If debunked Clinton "death list" conspiracy theories have shown us anything, it's that the idea of the President of the United States being a murderer is tin foil hat material. And Hammerschmidt would know that. So he's choosing to not 'publicly' pursue that portion of the story. Instead he's wisely choosing to go after the "corruption in the White House" angle, because that's more acceptable, and probably a lot easier for the public to believe.
  2. Hammerschmidt's reputation is only just on the mend, especially since he went freelance after he left the Herald and only returned to the Herald for backing when he knew he was on the verge of breaking the story. To go public on "Frank Underwood is a murderer" without credible sources to back him up would probably be career suicide.

Frank's asides to the Fourth Wall are possible because this is Frank's autobiography and he's speaking to the readers
He can't die until he writes a rough draft at the very least, not that it guarantees his safety or even that anyone will actually read the book. Alternately, like Goodfellas and Heavenly Creatures the asides are from court transcripts. Claire can do it too because she's either a co-author or she's written her own book on the same time period.

Claire Planned It All

At the end of season 5, Claire is now President and addresses the audience for the first time, saying "it's my turn." This has been her true game ever since Frank took over and perhaps more than that. Everything that's been done has been part of Claire's calculated plot to become the first female President. She knew the lengths Frank would go to and also knew of the mistakes he'd make that could force him out of office. She manipulated him into seeing her as running mate being the only office for his own survival, not just her own and has been pulling the strings to ensure his fall came. Season 6 will have her explain things, with flashbacks, to reveal that while Frank thought he was in control, in truth, he was nothing more than a pawn to Claire in her plot to become President and thus reveal she is the true mastermind of the show.

John Edwards was the 2008 Democratic Nominee in the show's timeline.

The show's order of presidents corresponds to Real Life up until George W. Bush, and since Walker is a Democrat elected in 2012, we can assume that the 44th president in the show's universe was a Republican (let's assume John McCain, to keep things corresponding to real-life). So how did McCain win in the show's timeline, despite Bush's massive unpopularity (and thus the unpopularity of the Republican party as a whole at the time) and Barack Obama being a young, charismatic, and exciting figure promising the "hope and change" that American craved at the time? Simple, Obama wasn't the nominee, for one reason or another, and neither was Hillary Clinton; rather it was Edwards, who presumably would have been the frontrunner without Obama and Clinton in the race and whose anti-poverty populist rhetoric would strike a chord due to the looming financial crisis. McCain managed a victory due to the massive controversy regarding Edwards' extramarital affair that came to light after he won the nomination (this was what derailed his candidacy in real life as well). McCain goes onto largely continue the policies of Bush (as he presumably would have done if he'd won in real life), and gets defeated in 2012 by Garret Walker, the exciting figure in the show's timeline that Obama was in ours. This being the point of divergence also explains why the Democrats still have control over Congress at the beginning of the show, when Walker assumes the presidency.

The sixth season will end with Claire AND Frank in ruins

Because are they really going to have the show end in The Bad Guy Wins after the lengthy and numerous trials and tribulations of those who the Underwoods screwed over? Crapsack World as it might be, is it really going to end in a Downer Ending, or is it more compelling to have the dogged heroic side Earn Your Happy Ending by pulling together to finally bring the Underwoods down after all they have cost?

The sixth season will have a Downer Ending where Claire gets away a Karma Houdini

Conversely, it is entirely in character for the show to end up with The Bad Guy Wins. It's depressing, sure, but all the Underwood's innumerable victories still haven't driven voters away with Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy — and if anything, the Bile Fascination of Rooting for the Empire has only increased. And on a meta level, would the show really follow up Kevin Spacey's firing over sexual misconduct allegations by torpedoing the female Villain Protagonist after just one season of unambiguously holding the spotlight?


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