Article by: Danny Buell
The house of cards seem to be coming down following the events of the last season. Season 4 is a step in the right direction from the drag-fest of season 3, bogging itself down in challenges and obstacles that tried to hard to be relatable to current events. This season tosses the Underwoods into the sea wondering if they sink or swim. Fading from the iconic scenes of Washington D.C in the shows great jazzy opening, we see a Frank Underwood unlike ever before. The composed, ruthless, and determined man we have followed from the start has lost his other half seemingly in a very short time after season 3’s ending and Claire’s exit. We see in this moment as a stark reminder that neither Claire nor Frank are at their strongest without each other. He is frantic as she takes refuge in the confines of her mother’s large Texas estate, drawing further interest in the public eye. Frank has no choice but to draw Claire out through total war which could cost them both dearly.
What this season has over the previous is that it doesn’t limit itself to current events, such as Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the backroom dealings between the United States and China. The story broadens itself to allow a more predictable future and therefore creating its own fictional but believable story to work from such as a gas crisis where gas is seven dollars. Only one instance of reality was present in this season near the end, ICO or a sub-faction of ISIS, but that is as close as it gets. The episodes still focus on a noir-style element and on the political turmoil of politics. The season also drives a hard focus on Claire and her ‘strength’. Never doubting Claire’s ability to equal Frank in ruthless-tactics and cunning, she just happens to muck everything up for Frank for the sake of having more importance. Yet what the show does with her character after the first three episodes makes all hate dissolve as she and Frank make an incredible tag-team.
Season 4 also drifts from Frank’s position as president and solely focuses on the presidential race. The season lacks many social issues in the country or many issues at all unless they’re scandals. Old characters once forgotten returned to try and take the stage from Frank Underwood. There is also a host of new characters such as Conway, the Republican front runner stealing the show and swooning the American people.
The new season technically is better than the previous season. The cinematography is spectacularly smooth and interesting. The soundtrack is still that classy noir-esque style present in the previous seasons. Scenes can become suspenseful and the cloak-and-dagger games Frank and his new opponent Conway play are delivered in such a believable manner that sucks you in further to this drama. The acting has improved and Kevin Spacey’s accent sounds less like Foghorn Leghorn and more like an actual person from South Carolina. Without getting into spoilers, the first couple of episodes are slow but after episode 3, the season begins to find its rhythm and make you want to binge through it all to see how it ends. Season 4 is a large and ambitious improvement over its previous season and only elludes to something that’ll have you binge through the whole season in one sitting.