Posted March 15, 2016 by Mico Orda in Movies/TV

Review: HOUSE OF CARDS S4 – The Underwoods are Back!


Last season, things didn’t go well for the Underwoods. After a series of setbacks such as America Works, the failed relations with Russia and of course, their marriage being on the rocks as they face a new territory, it looks like the life in the White House comes at a price.

As exciting as that sounds, a lot of viewers found these failures as “out of character” and the writing inconsistent. However, the slower and much different take of season 3 needed to tell the story of two lost people after they’ve accomplished so much. It built the past season’s narrative, a story which showrunner/writer Beau Willimon and his team told fantastically. We all go through setbacks of course.

This season, we find Frank Underwood in a presidential race where he could lose the nomination, with Heather Dunbar taking the lead in the Democratic Party and without Claire at his side, which doesn’t make things any better.

Gripping is one word I would use after watching all 13 episodes: the betrayals and manipulation will keep you on the edge of your seat. The media’s role, especially, will test how far you can survive an election campaign without losing your mind. After every revelation that comes out in the press, the characters become more cautious and somewhat paranoid because every move they make could backfire on them.

One of the most memorable scenes was the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta. The writers emphasized the scale: its enthusiastic audience, the energy, and even the campaign picket signs felt real, as if you’re watching the actual coverage.

And aside from the gripping presidential race, the series also had some terrifying moments in between. The dreamlike sequences were literally and metaphorically dark, reflecting the damages that Frank has inflicted on other people on his way to to the top. The grim outcome just manifests in the consequences that are yet to come.

The fourth season is also the return of the fourth wall. If in the previous seasons, he talks to us whenever he feels happy, sad or angry, this time around, there’s no specific emotion for Frank to address the audience. Frank talks to us whenever he wants; it’s a sign that he wants us to keep him company.


After more than 30 chapters, Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright have proven that they own these characters, whether in their body language or their inflection. Still, every moment is a revelation. In any scene they appear, they share that special connection with each other and with their other cast members.


The addition of veteran actresses like Cicely Tyson, who plays Texas congresswoman Doris Jones, brings a fierce yet dignified performance. Another gem is the scene-stealing Ellen Burstyn as Elizabeth Hale, Claire’s estranged mother. She brings vulnerability, warmth, and surprising bitterness to her character, and her chemistry with Robin Wright is spot on.


If there’s the downside on season 4 though, it would be that the Democratic primaries ended abruptly. It felt rushed and there weren’t enough scenes showing the tensions between Dunbar and Underwood. It would’ve been also fun to see more of Heather Dunbar’s campaign trail instead of backroom deals or news reels, but regardless, Elizabeth Marvel (see pic below) was mesmerizing to watch. She brings the humanity to the show and remains on the moral high ground, rendering an honest performance of Underwood’s main adversary.



On the other hand, Will Conway, played by Joel Kinnaman, was a complete miscast as Frank’s Republican contender. He has zero charisma and his delivery was monotonous — not to mention, he looks too young to be a New York governor. Hopefully, if we’ll see more of him next season, maybe he’ll get a grasp of his character.


Darker, more brutal, and ruthless as ever, it’s safe to say that Season 4 makes House of Cards fun again. Without spoiling anything, the last few minutes of the finale shows that the Underwoods are back for real. Even for a cliffhanger, it will leave you more than smiling at its brilliance.



Watch every episode at 9:55 P.M. on RTL CBS Entertainment.

Mico Orda

A passionate, enthusiastic writer, Mico Orda utilizes his filmmaking skills to keep his writer’s edge. He enjoys a lot of outdoor activities, which juice up his creative juices.