‘House of Cards’ returns, as binge-worthy and cynical as ever | Season 4 Review


Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood in the Netflix original 'House of Cards.' (MTSU Sidelines / FILE)

House of Cards is one of the most unique shows on any format of television with its depth and intrigue of a political drama and the sickening darkness of a crime noir. In three seasons, we have received the honor of seeing Francis Underwood’s powerful development. Kevin Spacey’s character has seen every form of torturous obstacle, and as an audience, we have enjoyed every second of it. Now, House of Cards has arrived at its fourth season, and it’s about time for the first lady to step in.

One of the major element changes of this new season is a renewed and sharper focus on Claire Underwood. Her story arc in this season is one of great passion and cynical calculation. This is, of course, a tightrope to walk, but Robin Wright more than rises to the challenge. We get to see a truly emotional side of Claire unlike what has been presented in the past. We are able to dive into the spirit of Claire’s personal turmoils. The audience becomes a part of her pain like never before, and yet, we see a cold, powerful side to the character. She demands the stage as she finds weaknesses and brings men to their knees. Each word she utters feels expertly crafted and dangerously sharp. She is cold, she is calculating, she is Claire Underwood.

Kevin Spacey is in typically fine form in this new House of Cards iteration. As strong as Claire’s character has become, Spacey is still never overshadowed. Each fourth wall break creates a chilling and domineering presence. Watching him manipulate characters is as fine treat for any audience. His power is clearly defined and his verbal attacks will leave viewers breathless.

Along with the two leads, the supporting cast is seemingly more characterized than ever. Through these actors, the political corruption is believable and fully realized. There are many moments were no dialogue is uttered, yet we can see each emotional thought through their troubled expressions.

This new season takes many brave stylistic choices. And for the most part, they pay off. There are moments of pseudo-metaphoric reality breaks that give the audience an added insight into the scene. This mix of camera tricks and odd effects creates a sense of delightful uneasiness. It feels as if the show is pulling us deeper and deeper into the intriguing world of the Underwood’s.

In the fourth season of House of Cards, the Netflix original has not lost a step. The actors are continuously able to reel the audience into their dark world. Spacey continues to amaze as the lead, and his supporting actors have become even stronger. The camera work lends well to this new, artsy approach to the show. Story-wise, the show is as binge-worthy as ever, and there is no sign of tired writing. House of Cards is a cynical, dirty world, but it also happens to be one that is impossible not to watch.

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To contact Lifestyles editor Tanner Dedmon email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

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