Friday, March 25, 2016

TV Show Review: House of Cards Season 4

The Netflix political thriller continues with President Frank Underwood and First Lady Claire Underwood battling one another after the fallout from season 3. I've followed along with Frank's steady rise from Majority WHIP to Vice President and President. Kevin Spacey has been nominated multiple times for his role but the true star of this season is Robin Wright as the scheming wife. There will be some spoilers in this review.

The show picks up in the midst of the primary campaign. The Underwoods are facing opposition from the former Attorney General Heather Dunbar played with a steely gaze by Elizabeth Marvel. I was stoked to see how Frank Underwood who is so callous would try to interact with people to win votes but Spacey does a brilliant job turning on the light-hearted charm in front of crowds. 

The Underwood campaign is threatened and beset by questions of turmoil in the marriage. Frank works to snub out these rumors and find Claire in her home state of Texas. The brilliant Ellen Burstyn appears as Elizabeth Hale, Claire's wealthy mother and no lover of Frank Underwood. Robin Wright really shines in the back in forth between these two veteran actors and the writers always find a clever way to pull Frank out of seemingly impossible situations.

Frank disposes of opponents and moves onto the general election where he faces a Republican opponent. The new character competing against Spacey's crafty Underwood is the growingly popular Joel Kinnaman. I've enjoyed his work since The Killing and I'm really looking forward to his role in Suicide Squad. Kinnaman puts on the boyish charm as Will Conway but he's not match for the ruthlessness of Frank Underwood. 

As the campaign heats up, so does an investigation into the events of the first season that have slowly developed throughout the show. Sebastian Arcelus played Lucas Goodwin who was a friend of Zoe Barnes, the reporter from season 1 and 2 who did not survive her encounter with Frank Underwood. Lucas has had his life destroyed but still works to come back with the truth. This character arc leads to the assassination attempt, which was one of the most exciting parts of this season.

I was greatly intrigued with the direction this show and it ended with some great cliffhangers right before the election. The final shot showed that now Claire is part of the scheme even breaking the fourth wall with her husband. There were some silly pseudo reality parts like the ISIS copy of ICO and a hostage situation on American soil but overall this show has been fun to watch and changed the way television shows are released. I would recommend this show to anyone interested in the political intrigue or thrillers, it is available on Netflix to stream all four seasons. 

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