A new season of House of Cards is available now, and as is tradition, Netflix has released the entire season — all 13 episodes — at once for your binge-watching pleasure.
Warning: the following article will include spoilers for the first three seasons of the show. While I will not be writing about any of the key plot elements of season 4, I will touch upon some of the characters, new and old.
The first Netflix original show, House of Cards is loosely based on the trilogy written by Michael Dobbs. The show revolves around Francis Underwood and his wife Claire. The first two seasons focused on the rise of the Underwoods in the political world. The second season ended with Frank as the President of the United States and the third was all about his battle to stay there.
While the first two seasons were excellent and gained a lot of praise, many viewers felt that the third season was a little weak in comparison. The new season certainly won’t be considered weak. In fact, in my book, it’s tied with season 1 as the best season of the show.
This show is not about heroes. Anything but, in fact. And the latest season reminds us of the lengths ruthless people like the Underwoods go to to get what they want. The show mirrors what’s actually happening in the world right now, primarily focusing on the 2016 elections. That’s not all, though. House of Cards has its own version of ISIS, called ICO in the show. The show also touches on mass surveillance carried out by the United States government.
We always need an antagonist, and for the first half of the season or so, it was Claire Underwood, who walked out on Frank at the end of the last season following the rift in their marriage. The rest of the season focused all of Frank’s energy on Will Conway, the Republican candidate in the 2016 elections. Will Conway and his wife, in many ways, reminded me of a less sophisticated Frank and Claire.
We also see a string of characters from previous seasons, including brief appearances by Zoe Barnes and Peter Russo. The show-makers handled their appearances in an interesting way, about as well as you can bring back dead characters without a flashback.
The narration and general pace of the show also reminded me more of the first season. Frank breaks the fourth wall much more often than last season, something that irked me as this has been one of the stand out features of House of Cards. In many ways, we get to see more of the arrogant Frank Underwood, as opposed to the man who seemed to focus solely on grappling with the difficult task that the Presidency is.
We also have some new characters. Claire’s mother plays an important role throughout much of the season and through her interactions with her daughter, we also learn a lot about Claire. We’ve always known a lot about Frank because of his fourth wall breaking habit, but much less about Claire who’s always been a relatively cold and closed character. We’re also introduced to LeAnn Harvey, who in many ways is the equivalent of Doug Stamper to Claire.
And that brings me to Doug. Doug is back, y’all! He spent much of the last season recovering after he was attacked. But this season, we see the powerful, and frankly crazy, Doug Stamper make a return. Once again, we see his utter loyalty to Frank and the lengths to which he will go for Frank. I’m really glad that they brought back the crazier, unpredictable Doug.
So, what do I think of the latest season? I love it. I love everything about it, from the general narrative and pace of each episode. Robin Wright, who plays Claire on the show, also directed a few of the episodes and these are also possibly some of the best. All the episodes are out and yes, you should go and watch it as soon as possible. Providing you can wait a whole year for your next fix of House of Cards.