“House of Cards” is back with a real bang for Netflix

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At the tail end of last week, Netflix gave audiences another reason to binge with the release of the fourth season of their hit series House of Cards. As the show (or at least one of the shows) that put the streaming service on the map as a place for original programming, this has always been a flagship property, with anticipation for new seasons always at a fever pitch and a pedigree including David Fincher and Beau Willimon. Suffice to say, House of Cards is special. This year is no exception for the show, as season three ended on a real cliffhanger and plenty of us were dying to see what happens next. I’ll steer clear of new spoilers, of course, but just so you know, everything previously involving Kevin Spacey’s now President Frank Underwood and Robin Wright’s Claire Underwood is fair game. Let’s dive in!

For those who don’t remember, the show started by introducing us to Congressman Frank Underwood (Spacey), who is passed over for a cabinet position by the incoming President. That begins Underwood on a path for revenge, encouraged by his just as ambitious wife Claire (Wright) and aided by chief of staff Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly). By the end of the first season, among other things, he’d found a way to make himself the Vice President, utilizing a reporter named Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara). Season two opened with him murdering Zoe when she became a liability, something that he’s kept a secret. The season ended with him succeeding in his ultimate plan…becoming Commander in Chief. Last season saw him as President and eventually having to go out and campaign for the nomination. Then, we saw the season end with Claire stating that she was leaving Frank…

This season, we see the battle of wills between Claire and Frank, all the while having Heather Dunbar (Elizabeth Marvel) campaign against them. I don’t want to say too much about what happens, but we’re introduced to a few new characters, including campaign strategist LeAnn Harvey (Neve Campbell) as well as Claire’s mother Elizabeth Hale (Ellen Burstyn). All of the operatic machinations behind the scenes are still there, with some legitimate shockers thrown in. Old characters re-appear, some leave for good, and there’s an early to mid season twist that is sure to be of note to just about everyone. One thing you can say for sure is that they’re not playing it safe at all here. Things are just as extreme and fun as ever.

"House of Cards" Season 2 Netflix TC Series Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals
Going forward, it seems like House of Cards can more or less do what they want. Willimon is no longer running the show, so time will tell if that matters or not, but I suspect we’ll only mildly notice a difference, at all. This is a well oiled machine, for better or worse. Some folks weren’t wild about last season, but I enjoyed it quite a bit and feel like this season has been even better. It’ll be hard to ever top the first season, but with this show having some really strong legs, there’s certainly the possibility. The powers that be at Netflix have a ton invested in this, so it won’t be going anywhere just yet.

As you can see, I have been and remain a fan of this show in a big way. House of Cards is hardly a realistic look at politics, but it’s the sort of soap opera type program that really makes their leaps of faith work. You might shake your head at what Frank has just done, but you’ll remain absorbed in it all and eager to see what happens next. Easily the most binge worthy of Netflix’s shows, it’s an annual event to power through these as soon as they’re released. Hopefully around this time next year we’ll be talking about what craziness the new season holds for us all. My fingers are certainly crossed for that, I can tell you that much…

Be sure to check out House of Cards, streaming now on Netflix!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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