I will begin this article by saying that I have never seen the original BBC version of House of Cards, nor have I read any of the original novels. Thus, my conjectures are based purely on my own thought and what I perceive to be a storyline that has roots in reality. I should also preface this with the obvious: if you have not finished the most recent season, don't bother in proceeding through this article unless if you have no thought of actually watching the show.
Having said all I need to say, my main point is a simple one: Claire Underwood will return to Frank Underwood and will not divorce him.
I know, I know. This isn't something that is necessarily ground-breaking or revolutionary in theory. Its one that most viewers probably want given the fact that the relationship is sometimes diabolical, sometimes awe-inspiring, and always intriguing. The only reason they ever seem to stay together is not because of love or some form of feeling, but rather as a mode to maintain and gain power. They are both the King and Queen in their respective chess games that is there way of moving up in the political world.
Although some may view her return to Frank as feministic writing that spurs misogyny as she "skulks" back to the hand that feeds her, I would say quite the opposite. Through out each of the seasons, Claire has had some power over Frank. She plays crucial roles in a numerous amount of his power plays and is crucial to his role as a President. Imagine if Eleanor Roosevelt would have left F.D.R. mid-term? Could you imagine the uproar socially and the backlash that could bring about? Thus, Claire returning would not be a mark of regression but rather a show of empowerment. I would imagine she wouldn't be reverting back to him because she has not other place to go or because Frank is her only option. She would be returning because Frank realizes not only how much she does for him but also how crucial she has been to where he has gotten, which could result in the build up of her character as a woman.
Furthermore, Claire herself would be going back because she would be going back to a situation where she is more powerful now. Considering the current political situation, there are quite similar parallels between what Claire could accomplish if she returns to Frank, and what Hilary Rodham Clinton has accomplished by staying with Bill Clinton. Both have been deemed as being somewhat of cold, dis-attached people who can be hard to relate to, and both are married to men of significant power who have dark secrets hiding in their closet. It was well known that there was a large amount of tension between the real-life President and First Lady, and that Hilary was (rightfully) furious with his actions. Similarly, throughout the entire most season there is a growing tension that you can feel even from the other side of the Netflix screen. The public opinion of Hilary was also largely split between those that sympathized with her and those who thought she was part of the problem to, which is extremely similar to the characters in the show who are both appalled and attracted by the presence of Claire. Where Claire's story has yet to finish in the wake of her tumultuous relationship, Hilary's has continued past this point where their narratives could either diverge greatly or converge to become mirror-images.
We saw Hilary choose to stay with her husband and eventually say in her memoir, "No one understands me better and no one can make me laugh the way Bill does. Even after all these years, he is still the most interesting, energizing and fully alive person I have ever met" citing "a love that has persisted for decades". This being written in a memoir, is quite ironic, however, given what Tom Yates is writing in the show. The dialogue of his first chapter states:
"Here's a woman who describes her vows as a suicide flirting with the bridges edge. And a man who wears his wedding ring as a badge of shame. For the debutante deserved more. But truly, what more could she desire? Together they rule an empire without errors. Legacy is their only child.... A cold-fusion of two universal elements identical in weight and equal in force. United they stand. A union like non-other. The unsplittable atom of American politics."
It is hard to say how Hilary actually viewed her marriage, and it was probably less grim, however, it's easy to see parallels between what the preceding passage and what happened in the Presidential relationship. It would be plain for Bill to wear his ring with shame, after being impeached for adultery, and for Hilary to, thus, deserve more given his actions. Didn't Bill and Hilary technically "rule an empire without errors" before what came to the light? President Clinton's first term ran so well, he was elected for a second. But it is perhaps most telling in what Hilary has done since those dark days that makes her embody the last part of the passage. Her rise to senator and now to an increasingly possible presidential candidate, she has proved her self as her husbands equal. Their marriage is the balance of each of their respective driven personalities that has allowed them to be successful, yet which has been extremely unorthodox. The couple could quite literally be seen as a physical, realistic embodiment of "the unsplittable atom of American politics". Thus, Hilary is the realistic embodiment of this passage, and could show where Claire's character progresses from here.
Having said that, I do not think that Claire is a direct representation of Hilary. For one, I do not see Frank being similar to Bill, for a multitude of reasons, and I do not see Bill and Hilary's relationship being as open as the on-screen presidential couple's. I also note that there are multiple personality differences between the two that would put them as opposites in some ways. Instead, I believe Claire to be an embodiment of many different former First Lady, who's path happens to have some parallels with Hilary. Nevertheless, it seems fitting to consider the two side-by-side, and to use Hilary's story as a basis for where Claire's may go. It may be considered an artistic cop out for Claire to follow in Hilary's exact footsteps, but I believe, that there will be some liberties taken with where her story progresses. I believe Hilary gives us reason to expect Claire to return to Frank, but that after that, her narrative could diverge into one of many different paths that could resemble something completely different, for who knows what shape or form their only child, Legacy, will take on.