Warning: spoilers ahead for House of Cards, Season 5! Watching House of Cards on Netflix is not for the feint of heart. You have to stay focused. You can't miss a word the Underwoods and their various minions might be saying because if you do, take it from me, you will be utterly lost. You have to keep your energy up, stay hydrated but not too hydrated, because pee breaks are a bad idea. They pull you out of the narrative. You need to keep a weather eye out for possible House of Cards, Season 6 theories. Because Season 5 ended with the obligatory cliffhanger (or five), and all of those unanswered Underwood questions need to get cleared up somehow, right?
Season 5 ended with Claire Underwood sitting as President of the United States (on television, we sometimes get to have a woman president, it's pretty fantastic). Frank Underwood miscalculated in a huge way by keeping Claire out of the loop with his scheming, and could now face numerous charges for crimes he committed while acting as president and beyond. Doug Stamper is no longer White House Chief of Staff, Seth Grayson has been booted out as press secretary. Leanne Harvey appears to be missing in action (and possibly dead). Secretary of State Catherine Durant was pushed down the stairs by Frank Underwood, And Tom Yates is dead, killed by Claire Underwood during a little lovemaking on the floor. What in the world could happen next? I have some ideas...
Claire Struggles With Her New Job
Claire is finally the president. She announced the country would be going to war with ICO, the terrorist group, with her first presidential address. She did not announce that she would pardon Frank, as promised. Claire could be swimming over her head here with serious players like Jane Davis and Mark Usher in the White House (and Frank banished to sulk in a hotel room). Plus, we all remember her disastrous attempt to negotiate with Russian President Petrov in Season 4. Claire has proven to be a master strategist... but with Tom Yates dead and Frank out of the picture, will she be able to handle the pressure of running a country and going to war? Or will she crack without Frank's guidance?
Frank Goes To Jail... Or Goes In For The Kill
Frank is in serious hot water. If the Department of Justice decides to go ahead and follow through with their investigation into Frank's past with President Walker, he could land himself in jail. Or he could follow through with his final promise of Season 5... when Claire didn't announce his pardon, he swore he would kill her. And I believed him.
Doug Turns On Frank
Doug Stamper was loyal to the last for Frank Underwood. To the point where he was willing to go to jail for Zoe Barnes murder to protect him. Will he continue to protect Frank if he did have Leanne Harvey killed... or will he turn on him and bring the entire House of Cards crumbling down? The Underwoods might have finally pushed Doug to the brink.
She lost her confidante, Aidan Macallan. She lost her position in the White House. And in the final episode, Leanne was driving to see Doug when a big SUV came barreling down the highway towards her. She's not answering her phone when Doug calls her. But she's not dead... because I say so.
Jane Davis Will Take Control
Here is my theory for Jane Davis, Claire's new adviser and probably the most powerful woman we've seen yet; she's going to rule the White House. As Claire noted in Episode 13: "You seem to fulfill promises only when it suits you."
Jane has a serious end game here. And I think whatever she wants, that's what she'll get. After all, she's the first person ever to go up against Frank Underwood... and win.
Mark Usher Will Become Claire's VP
Mark Usher was in charge of Will Conway's campaign until Will threw a fit on a plane and Usher decided he wasn't worth his time. Will Conway did not become president. Mark Usher appeared to be a maker of kings and queens, much like Jane Davis — happy to pull the strings from behind the scenes. Or at least he was happy backstage; until Claire became the president and Usher told her he expected to be vice president. Despite the fact that Frank warned Claire about Mark Usher, I think he'll be VP. I think he'll want to make his way to becoming president.
And I think Claire would be wise to keep Jane Davis in her corner. Because she seems to be the only person who has Usher's number.