With the American elections in the spotlight, Netflix could not have picked a more appropriate time to release the fourth season of their original series, House of Cards, with all thirteen episodes were premiered online on March 4th. The series is centred on Kevin Spacey’s fictitious character, democrat Frank Underwood, and his rise to power within the US government. The series places a strong focus on the relationship between Frank and his wife Claire, played by Robin Wright, who portrays a strong-willed female amongst a political world dominated by men. If you are interested in US world relations, politics or drama, then this is the series for you.
If you didn’t manage to catch the first three series, or exams and deadlines are stopping you from a binge-watching session, the new series dives straight into the action and all will become clear as the episodes go on. Frank’s devious and scandalous nature is apparent from the first moment he is introduced to the screen and past secrets will unfold as the characters, both new and old, resurface. The series seems to be conflicted between showing its audience the behind-closed-doors intimacy between the President and his First Lady while also accurately depicting the formalities of the American political system. This conflict only feeds the addictive nature of House of Cards, a political drama that simultaneously pieces together the scandals from the third season whilst setting up future troubles for the fifth season.
Without releasing any spoilers, the new season of House of Cards follows Frank and his 2016 Presidential campaign. In-keeping with the previous seasons, Frank faces several obstacles on his way to power. Not only does he have to confront internal opposition from the Democratic Party, his Republican opponent is a tough act to keep up with. The strain on Frank’s personal relationships at home become evident and the couple are brought together, only ever so slightly, by a traumatic, life-threatening event that encapsulates the series. On top of this, international relations are brought into question with the introduction of plots involving the Russian president, the Chinese government, and a radical Islamic group.
As far as political dramas go, House of Cards’ fourth season draws on striking parallels to reality, captivating its audience and indulging the classical Netflix approach to TV-watching: the binge-watch. In classic House of Cards form, you might end the season in the exact state of confusion you started with, but that’s what it’s all about. With the perfect combination of powerful soliloquies by Frank and a string of ruthless deceits conjured up by him and Claire, viewers are exposed to an unflinching gaze into the world of US politics. From the threat of a falling house of cards at the beginning of the season, it seems that Frank and Claire find a way to come together and rebuild their ‘house’ on the foundations of a mutual desire to deceive anyone who disrupts their journey to the top.
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