House of Cards – Season 4: Review

Frank is back, bolder than ever

Season 4 of House of Cards really was a tale of two halves, with the first being dominated by Frank and Claire working against each other and using their particular talents for manipulation against each other – then the reconciliation in the second half putting them on a collision course with their rivals.

Frank being shot in Season 4 was one of those incredible TV moments that the show does well.  With the high drama of the situation at hand, there were also two other key story points woven in – with Lucas Goodwin, who always knew the truth about Frank killing Zoe Barnes, being the shooter and Edward Meechum, Frank’s beloved bodyguard, being killed defending the President he so proudly served.

House of Cards is a clever show and it did that best this year when all of the little side-plots came together under the umbrella of investigating Frank’s rise to the top.  Former Washington Herald editor Tom Hammerschmidt, who was in charge of both Lucas and Zoe, starts investigating the claims made by Lucas in his suicide note and begins to get the evidence of the political dealings of Underwood.  This involves visits from a whole host of former key players, such as Jackie Sharpe, Remy Danton, former President Garrett Walker and Freddy Hayes.  These make it all the more interesting, as between them they have all been party to the inner workings of Underwood’s evil – and between them they could put together a story that could end his Presidency.

The stand-out moments in many senses were the scenes where Frank’s conscience starts to play into his actions, with the finest example being where he tells all to Cathy Durant before taking it back.  That scene was electrifying and showed his menace in a way that we hadn’t for years.  The finale, too, showed Frank at his evil best with the scheming taking on a new dimension of war.

The biggest shock of the season, though, was saved for last when it was revealed that Claire too is “in” on the idea that we are watching them.  Frank’s actions have always been done with the knowledge that he is aware of being watched but simply doesn’t care, and his asides to the camera where the breaks the fourth wall explaining himself are often the most interesting parts of the episodes.  Now knowing that Claire knows this too, but has chosen not to interact with the viewer, changes things a lot.  Now she’s just as much a protagonist as Frank and her evil is brought to the fore more strongly too.

Season 4 was high in drama and only makes it harder to wait for the next batch of episodes to arrive, presumably next year.  House of Cards is back to its’ place as the crown jewel of Netflix’s original shows.  We never should have doubted that Frank Underwood could get back to the top anyways.

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