REVIEW: House of Cards – Season 4, Episode 1

Netflix’s flagship Original Production returns at the most apt of times.

*SPOILER ALERT: Contains spoilers for Season 4 Episode 1

House of Cards is a very difficult show to review on an episode by episode basis, because nobody at all watches this show in such a fashion. The uniquely Netflix process of making every episode available to binge watch in one go, means that most fans of House of Cards only get to spend about a one week per year actually watching the show. It’s always been addictive, and this season is no different.

The first episode finds Frank smack bang in the middle of a typically messy presidential primary campaign, but one that seems so much more civilized and believable than the real thing that’s happening at the moment. But from the first time we see him, it’s obvious that Frank’s normally sharp edge is wavering; something is missing. That something happens to be his partner-in-crime Claire, the ‘First Lady.’ The marital issues that had built by the end of season 3 have turned into an awkward reality now, and Frank is on the ropes because of it. A President without a wife is a President with a short shelf life.

The season introduced some strong new female characters straight off the bat, and the casting is impeccable as usual. Neve Campbell makes an impressive arrival as a clever and unflappable political fixer, who looks to have the nerve to go head to head with the ruthless Doug Stamper. How strong her loyalties to Claire remain will play a major part in how this ‘Claire wants to be a politician again’ story line plays out.

Claire finds herself back in Texas in her childhood home, and we are introduced to her estranged mother played powerfully by Ellen Burstyn. Her impact on the show is immediate, and she didn’t even have to say a word.

Speaking earlier of Doug Stamper, it’s great to see Doug back at the top of his game, doing what he does best. It never felt right seeing him struggle the way he did through his rehab. It’s a good thing for Frank that he is though, because you get the feeling that he is going to have to go above and beyond – even by previous standards – to keep Frank in office.

Will Claire get a clear run at Congress? How long can they hide their marital breakdown from the media? Is Frank totally at Claire’s mercy? And why the hell is Lucas back? Where is THAT going?

The series is set, and I’m ready to binge.

I wont do a review for each episode, I’ll probably do a wrap up for the half way mark, and then one for the finale. 

Matt Caton

Matt is a freelance writer, content marketer, comedy geek and podcast evangelist

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