Since its debut in 2013, House of Cards can be viewed as one of the progenitors of the binge-watching phenomenon. It is a series that has built on its existing premise and flourished within the VOD revolution. It may not be absolutely perfect, but it is able to boast a fantastic cast, gripping storylines and a relative freedom from meddling producers to create a tense and watchable drama.
Following on from a somewhat lacklustre Third Season, Season Four sees Frank and Claire Underwood campaigning to remain in the White House as a general election looms on the horizon, whilst also dealing with marriage problems and conspiracy theories bandied about by the press, as well as international conflicts that mirror the current state of affairs in the world today.
The series is populated with a powerhouse of incredible actors, the most obvious being Spacey and Wright as the President and First Lady respectively. It is the chemistry between the two which helps to drive the plot along, and their manipulations of numerous allies and enemies makes for compelling viewing. In addition to the cast of regulars, Season Four also sees Neve Campbell joining as Claire’s Media Relations Adviser. Campbell herself is far and away the breakout character of this season, with a steely-eyed, no-nonsense demeanour that helps to power the Underwoods through some of the tougher aspects of their campaign.
Season Four also ushered in allegories for numerous hot button issues that have been plaguing the media over the past year. The rise of Islamic State is covered through the not-very-subtle introduction of the terrorist group Islamic Caliphate Organisation (ICO), which dominates the final episodes of the show with very clear hints that it will be the driving force for the plot of Season Five. As well as the terrorism aspects of the series, House of Cards also endeavours ed to weigh in on the divisive issue of gun control. Despite getting somewhat forgotten as the story progresses, the topic still remains a controversial matter, and will hopefully return as a secondary or tertiary storyline in the future.
Whilst the story celebrated some fantastic highs, these were balanced out by some very emotional lows. The sudden departure of Nathan Darrow and Sebastian Arcelus (who played Edward Meechum and Lucas Goodwin respectively) is a fantastic scene which will leave you speechless, and the aftermath is played out in a very tender fashion, as well as? changing the political game that the Underwoods have been playing. It is truly a masterpiece of screenwriting.
House of Cards Season Four is a very tensely written, keenly acted drama that has returned to form after the disappointment that was Season Three. It may have been almost too heavy-handed in showing its knowledge of current affairs, but the final words delivered direct to the audience are a powerful acknowledgement that the next season will have a much darker tone and take on the War on Terror as the main story-line. It’s sure to be something to behold.
HOUSE OF CARDS SEASON FOUR IS OUT ON DVD AND BLU-RAY NOW!