Season 4 returned House Of Cards to its former glory by mining old narratives & establishing new ones.
“We make the terror.”
House Of Cards is no longer The Frank Underwood Show.
Don’t get me wrong, that delightfully wily, manipulative bastard still charmed his way into our hearts, but he was eclipsed by his equally formidable partner in crime. And that’s exactly what Frank and Claire are: partners. After years of lurking in the shadows and playing second fiddle to her more flashy companion, she stole the spotlight this season, and never once looked ready to give it back.
Season 3 dragged Claire through the mud in an attempt to humanise her – but it also undermined her stature. The formidable facade was stripped away, as the show continued to sideline her ambitions in favour of Frank’s. Pitting her against her husband helped Claire regain a little of what was lost last year – but it was Frank’s mid-season absence that brought a new dynamic to her character, finally allowing her to flourish as a bonafide lead.
And House Of Cards felt richer for it. There was a depth to this year’s narrative that was lacking during Season 3. The show drew heavily on its ensemble cast, and featured enough intricate power struggles and backstabbing to make Game Of Thrones feel inadequate. The show was laden with sub-plots on top of sub-plots – many of which stemmed back to its freshman season. It mined its rich history of characters and stories from years gone by – and all the while ensured the momentum of current events never slowed.
Joel Kinnaman, Neve Campbell & Ellen Burstyn injected the show with a new energy, while veteran cast members like Mahershala Ali, Elizabeth Marvel, Paul Sparks, Nathan Darrow & Jayne Atkinson anchored proceedings with some of their finest work to date. Michael Kelly’s Doug Stamper remains one of TV’s most twisted and compelling characters, and everything was held together so exquisitely by Kevin Spacey and (in particular) Robin Wright.
This dragon now has two heads – and I can’t wait to see the havoc they wreak next season. They’ll certainly do it with a lot more style than the swollen-headed idiot currently occupying the Oval Office…
Episode Highlights: Chapter 44 | Chapter 45 | Chapter 43 | Chapter 52
He may be a corrupt, manipulative, murderous sociopath, but I’d take Frank Underwood as President over his real life equivalent any day – and that’s a tad worrying.