Review: House of Cards — Season 4

house of cards season 4 still

Shit hits the fan for Frank Underwood as the series heads towards election climax

(No spoiler from this season)

In the first season, we see Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) masterminding his quick climb from being a Whip to the Vice President. Then in the following season, he gets to the President to resign for himself to be sworn in. It was all brilliant, fun and morally challenging until the previous season where it tries to reference the current events and issues in the real world and ends as though the second act isn’t complete.

This season starts exactly where it left off, or should I say, where Frank’s wife Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) decides to leave him during his tight race against fellow Democrat Heather Dunbar for the presidential nomination. Fortunately, things didn’t go as predictable as I thought it would. What I truly admire the most about this season is its powerful portrayal of Claire’s capabilities, character and motivation after all that slow development in Season 3. The Underwoods are almost unbeatable together, but they are also equally capable of destroying each other. Fantastic performance once again by both Spacey and Wright.

house of cards season 4 FU poster

As the election draws closer (cleverly in line with US 2016 election in the real world), the series introduced the Republican nominee, Will Conway played by Joel Kinnaman (RoboCop 2014) and put the two parties go head-to-head in a campaign war through smear strategies, media manipulation and public preference, utilising internet search engine data, social networking sites and more. Very, very interesting and terrifyingly possible if both Google and Facebook chose one side in the real world. However, it’d be even cooler if they had their version of Saturday Night Live as well.

The plot also continues to indirectly play around with what was going on in reality — ISIS, Gaza, Russia, citizens privacy, elections and probably more than I know of (with all due respect, we have enough problems in our own country in Malaysia already) — and basically still conveys that politicians, from either side, simply don’t give a crap. Like the initials of Frank’s name, a big FU, they just do whatever they’re willing for their career and gain power.

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By the way, it’s about a president, along with the first lady, who’re involved with big-time corruption scandals and murder allegations, I think many Malaysian viewers may probably find this story more believable and relatable than Americans today. Those who used to root for Frank to win it all, you might find yourself at the edge every episode actually hoping to see his end to finally come, and that’s the dramatic thrill that this season certainly offers.

Verdict: Way more intriguing and climatic than the previous season.

Favourite episode: Chapter 42 (episode 3) directed by Robin Wright and written by Frank Pugliese

Least favourite episode: Chapter 52 (episode 13 season finale) directed by Jakob Verbruggen and written by Beau Willimon

Rating: 4 / 5

house of cards season 4 posterBased on: Francis Urquhart novel series by Michael Dobbs

Episodes: 13
Directors: Robin Wright, Tom Shankland, (…)
Screenwriters: Beau Willimon, Melissa James Gibson, (…)
Cast: Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Joel Kinnaman

Malaysia Release Date: 5 March 2016
Local Broadcast: RTL CBS Entertainment HD, channel 616 on HyppTV, Telekom Malaysia

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