by Henry Hill
*This a spoiler-free review*
“After a dog’s bitten you, you either put it to sleep, or put a muzzle on it. I’ve chosen a muzzle… for now.” – Frank Underwood
In Season 4 of House of Cards, Frank and Claire are still at odds with each other following the events from last season which ended in the middle of a presidential campaign with Claire leaving Frank. The story picks up this year from where it left off, with Frank trying to fend off a surging Heather Dunbar, who is leading him in the national polls for the Democratic presidential nomination.
New to the cast this year is Neve Campbell, who plays Leeann Harvey, a political strategist and campaign manager. She becomes a major player as the season unfolds and provides the show with another solid female presence. One of the great things about this show is that it’s female characters are every bit as powerful as the men are, and sometimes even more so. Oscar winning actress Ellen Burstyn plays Claire Underwood’s mother, Elizabeth Hale. Seeing the dynamic between her and Claire provides insight into how Claire became the woman she did and why she is dead set on obtaining power. Joel Kinnaman joins the cast playing Republican presidential candidate Will Conway. Conway is a great foil for Frank Underwood, and Kinnaman brings his A game to the role as he looks to outsmart the Underwoods at every turn.
Without spoiling any of the many great moments that happen this season, I will say that Season 4 is easily my favorite season apart from Season 1. In many ways, it brings the show around full circle from the very beginning. You will see familiar faces from the past return and there are some major repercussions that the Underwoods have to deal with that make for some really terrific episodes. The relationship between Claire and Frank becomes even more complex, and Spacey and Wright provide some of their finest work together this season. If you thought that the Underwoods were going to soften up this season you were sorely mistaken. Frank Underwood is as menacing as ever, and he has some great lines that he shares with us, the audience, as he looks into the camera. The new cast members all do great work in their roles, with Kinnaman’s role as Will Conway really standing out. As ruthless as Frank Underwood is, Conway uses his likability and youth to project his strength as a candidate, but he also has an edge and isn’t afraid of the Underwoods.
I give House of Cards Season 4 a 5 out of 5 and I can’t wait for the fifth, and possibly final season. If you haven’t started watching this show, get binging now! I can promise that you won’t be disappointed. *knocks twice on desk*