Wright has been the Netflix drama's "not-so-secret weapon" since the show launched in 2013 and the spotlight suits her with Kevin Spacey now gone, says Daniel D'Addario. The problem, though, is that House of Cards has always preferred situation to character. So even with Frank Underwood dead, the writers have trouble allowing Claire Underwood to break through in Season 6. "Even as Frank Underwood is gone — dead, with no small amount of ambiguity around how and where he died — he hangs over the story, with old plotlines (some reaching back across seasons and testing fans’ memory) and new ones referring endlessly to the late president," says D'Addario. "Obviously, Frank’s death is a big deal in this universe. But it feels at times like the series, scrambling to come up with a plot for a final season without its first-billed lead, never quite escapes his gravitational pull. The show, one that’s wildly changed narrative course many times even without pragmatic real-world reasons at stake, seems surprisingly confused about how to reboot. House of Cards didn’t need to scorn its own history in order to create a satisfying conclusion, but fans have a right to expect it to be fleeter-footed in giving them a tale worth caring about post-Frank, which would have called for meaningfully moving past him."
Good riddance to House of Cards: "Things have changed, to say the very least" since its premiere in 2013, says Hank Stuever. "Now the painfully protracted, often overwritten, covertly Shakespearean melodrama comes to an end, at last, with the release of Season 6 on Friday, while the rest of us keep shuffling toward the end of the world. Besides noting House of Cards’s role in the streaming-TV revolution, there’s not much left to say about it, besides good riddance to its perpetual notion that Washington only works when Washington is cruel...Even as a hate-watch it had stopped delivering."