The third season of Netflix’s massive success (…we assume, since exact ratings remain a mystery) House of Cards debuts tomorrow. But before fans have the chance to binge-watch the entire thing, one lingering question hangs above it all: Where can Frank Underwood possibly go next? (Spoilers follow.)
At the end of season two, Underwood assumed the highest office in the land and one of the most powerful positions in the world: President of the United States. He had spent two seasons manipulating his way through the ranks of Washington to attain this power—but now that there’s no higher job to (literally) kill for, ever-ambitious Underwood must be having a bit of a career crisis.
The answer to that crisis may lie in one of Underwood’s pastimes: video games. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, to be specific.
House of Cards and Advanced Warfare share a key element, one that suggests the former could learn a thing or two from the latter. Kevin Spacey plays Underwood in Cards, but he also stars as the villain in Advanced Warfare, Jonathan Irons. And Irons’ aspirations make Underwood’s ambitions look like a toddler trying to rule the playground in comparison.
Irons begins Advanced Warfare running the Atlas Corporation, a private military contractor. After a worldwide terrorist attack leaves many of the world’s government and militaries in shambles, Irons swoops in with his massive resources. He feeds and protects innocent civilians, converting Atlas into a weird governing corporation while inflating his ego at a continuous rate. The man becomes power-hungry, ruthless, and more than a little crazy. Sound like any other Spacey characters?
Late in the game, Irons reaches peak megalomaniac and dips into an Underwood level of ego. As Underwood’s direct camera addresses prove, the politician delights in seeing his plans working. While Irons doesn’t pause during the game’s action to speak to the audience through animal metaphors, he does tap into Underwood’s persona during a briefing at the United Nations General Assembly. While there, Irons pontificates to the gathered leaders before essentially declaring war on… the world. Not a country, not another military corporation: the entire world and all of its leaders, who he believes are the problem.
Global domination seems like the next logical step for Underwood. He has the entirety of America under his control already; why not take things planetwide? The United Nations is the perfect organization for Underwood to set his sights on next. He can even learn the dos and don’ts of worldwide rule from a virtual version of himself.
House of Cards season 3 will likely allow Underwood to explore the powers of the presidency. Gaining this position has been his goal for two seasons, and he’s not about to grow bored a few minutes into sitting behind the Resolute desk. Restlessness will eventually settle in for the conniving, scheming Underwood, though. He’ll have to craft a new plot, choose a new power to usurp, and manipulate a few more heads of state who should be brilliant but come off as buffoons.
He can start small—dominate a country here, take over another superpower there. But either way, Underwood can’t simply abandon his treacherous ways and act as a responsible, moral president. Where would the fun in that be?
Instead, as a gamer himself, Underwood can take a cue from a Call of Duty villain, one who looks suspiciously familiar, and continue his ascent to power. He may have put down the controller last season, but surely he’ll sneak in a few rounds of multiplayer between Cabinet meetings. Advanced Warfare may just be the spark of an idea Underwood needs to continue his meteoric—and murderous—rise. After all, there’s no one better to inspire Underwood then another version of him.