Post-Trump, Bringing Back Zoe Barnes Might Be The Only Move 'House Of Cards' Has Left

New teaser hints her character could be making a highly unlikely return

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House Of Cards - a TV show based on the unlikely premise that a scheming narcissistic only interested in power to satisfy his own rampant ego could somehow win the White House – clearly has a problem.

How to satirise American politics in a time when reality is stranger than fiction?

Let's take a quick look at the big plot points from season 4, which ended back in the innocent days of April 2015 when the idea of a Trump White House was still a joke coastal liberals laughed at over dinner parties.

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In the show, Claire Underwood running as Vice President despite having relatively little political experience is presented as almost impossible to sell to the American electorate. IRL, a reality TV star with zero political experience became President.

In the show, the President is rocked by a scandal when it's revealed his father once posed for a photograph with a member of the KKK. IRL, the President and his closest advisors are white supremacist heroes.

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In the show, President Underwood enters into a tense stand off with President Petrov of Russian. IRL, President Trump this week said he respected President Putin and defended him against accusations of being a 'killer' by saying "there are a lot of killers. We've got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country's so innocent?"

And so on. Like South Park, the writers of this once-controversial show are therefore stumped. The show's creator, Beau Willimon, has even left the show to focus on campaigning against Trump. So what can the team that is left possibly come up with that will top the daily drama of politics in 2017?

There is one House Of Cards storyline, however, that is yet to be neutered by the Trump Presidency – and if the show's latest teaser is any indication, it may be where a presumably desperate writer's room is looking in order to inject some excitement into season 5.

In the opening episode of season 2, viewers were shocked when Underwood – then still on the rise to power – threw journalist Zoe Barnes in front of train because she'd gotten close to revealing some of the secrets from his past.

It was the moment viewers realised the depths Frank was prepared go to in his quest for power and how dark his character truly was – a sort of hammy version of 'College', the landmark early Sopranos episode in which Tony strangled a man to death – while also killing off a major character. It should be noted that, to date, no one has accused Donald Trump of murdering anyone.

This was no ambiguous, Game of Thrones-style killing off, either. You literally saw Barnes pummelled by a train. In a later episode, a character even watches it back on CCTV.

So what to make of the Twitter teaser that shows a gif of Barnes' face looking out of a car window?

It could be that the show is merely playing with us - that Barnes is being used symbolically because the issue of her murder, rather than the character herself, will be resurrected.

Or, as some fans are theorising, it could be they really are planning to bring Barnes back from the dead, a feat of logic-stretching script writing that, pre-Trump, would have surely sounded the death knell of the series but today, you'd almost forgive out of sheer sympathy.

After all, no amount of Machiavellian scheming or third wall breaking soliloquies is going to cut it as political satire in 2017. As far as script writers are concerned, to paraphrase Michelle Obama, when they go low, you might as well go completely f**king absurd.