Frank Underwood is an anti-hero. The cool thing about anti-heroes is that the audience gets to like them, and even root for them, despite all their despicable deeds. Until Frank crosses the line and ruthlessly pushes one of the main characters (and a favorite of mine) to her destruction. When that happens, you know they’ve just decided to take this whole production into a new level of shade.
The reason this works is because Frank Underwood is, well, Frank Underwood. He’s not a murderer in the sense that he likes killing people. It’s just that he’s not afraid of ruthlessly shoving them out of his way if they happen to threaten his ascent to power. He’s not evil for evil’s sake, he’s evil for power’s sake. And there’s a difference. That difference makes him way more compelling… and keeps viewers rooted to their seats.
Frank Underwood is conniving, manipulative, a liar and a threat to anyone he sets his mind out to destroy. But he’s controlled. He never acts on impulse, he never says something without thinking about how it would affect him. He’s a master at what he does, which makes him one of the most dangerous anti-heroes out there.
In spite of all this, I am tempted to say that Frank isn’t the character that holds this season together. This season, that would happen to be Claire.
Claire… strong as steel. Power-hungry, manipulative, classy and determined. She knows how to work people and is the perfect compliment for someone like Frank. The few times he shows some weakness, Claire demands him to be strong. She supports him fully but also works for her own dreams, as well. They make a good couple because they’re honest with each other and don’t hide who they really are. Neither tries to control the other, because neither feels superior to the other. It’s a strange dynamic, but it works.
However, Claire is not quite as sociopathic as Frank Underwood. She’s never killed anyone, for starters. And towards the end of the season there was one scene where she breaks down and we get to see that maybe, just maybe, she has reservations about this whole rising to the top of the top affair. All of this, however, happens on the inside. Even if Claire does have reservations, she never expresses them. She’s an ice queen, and a dangerous one too.
But really, after this season, I’m hoping to see their downfall next. The whole thing has become too ruthless, too brutal, for them not to get what’s coming to them. When they do fall, I hope it’s epic.