The Netflix series “House of Cards” released its fourth season on March 4 after over a year of unadulterated suspense from last season’s cliffhanger. The binge-worthy political thriller does not fail to disappoint, with 13 episodes full of multi-faceted drama.
Season four brought back many characters that were seemingly forgotten during the tumultuous campaign season, such as journalist Lucas Goodwin, Russian president Viktor Petrov and novelist Thomas Yates. In addition to the old characters, “House of Cards” brought in new, intriguing ones such as Claire Underwood’s mother Elizabeth Hale and Republican presidential candidate Will Conway. The season had a perfect balance of recurring characters and new ones.
First and foremost, the female representation in this show—especially in season four—is phenomenal. First Lady of the United States Claire Underwood is an obvious example, exemplifying her strength and independence by not backing down from anyone—even from her husband U.S. President Frank Underwood. Frank Underwood—who always seems to dismiss his wife’s needs as secondary—has underappreciated Claire throughout much of the series.
Claire Underwood has also been undermined by much of the White House staff due to the fact that her husband helped her become the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. In the past and the present, Claire Underwood is constantly correcting people who refer to her as First Lady rather than Ambassador. She also will refer to Frank Underwood as “her husband,” rather than President. Comments on her beauty also seem to trouble her; people seem to think of her as just a pretty face, rather than a mastermind.
The power struggle between the two Underwoods plays a very prominent role in this season. Claire Underwood’s disappearance at the end of last season has proven to be the biggest obstacle Frank Underwood has ever faced, as it makes him realize that he is nothing without his wife.
Claire Underwood’s needs are finally addressed, with demands to be on the ticket as Vice President with her husband. Through manipulating and sabotaging Frank Underwood’s campaign to get what she wants, Claire Underwood finally shows how ruthless and dangerous she really is.
The avenging of journalist Zoe Barnes’ death continues in the fourth season, as well. Lucas Goodwin—who everyone thought was going to be locked up in jail for the next decade—is released and works to expose Frank Underwood’s bloody path to presidency.
Tom Hammerschmidt—former editor of the Washington Herald and Goodwin’s boss—makes efforts to carry out Goodwin’s wishes with an article making claims about all of Frank Underwood’s corrupt practices, dating back to the death of Congressman Peter Russo.
Presidential candidate Heather Dunbar—another powerful woman—ends up suspending her campaign this season. Dunbar is a very special character in “House of Cards” due to the fact that she is one of the only characters who has integrity and plays by the rules. While the event was made out to be trifling, Dunbar’s resignation exhibits the idea that corruption is the only path to power.
“House of Cards” was able to make up for the lack of action in the third season. The show came together beautifully to portray the corrupt dynamics of the White House and the crooked path to presidency.