By Jennifer Cooper
In America, the land of the free and home of the brave, we the people, above all, fear government corruption. House of Cards, a Netflix series created by Beau Willimon starring Kevin Spacey, just released its latest season on March 1, where U.S. President Frank Underwood will stop at nothing, even corruption, to keep his position in government.
This series circles around Frank Underwood, originally the House of Representatives majority, battles with tenacity towards the position of the president of the United States. The first three seasons revolved around his unmitigated ambition to demolish anything in his way towards becoming commander-in-chief. His wife, Claire, typically supported, encouraged and helped his scheming. With twists and turns in every episode, the first three seasons are worth the watch. The third season finale culminated in a struggle between Frank and his wife due to his relentless power running away with him.
Ruthless and cunning, Frank manages to keep the boat from capsizing in season four. This season most adequately encapsulates the title. Frank’s presidency is merely a fragile house of cards, and with each new obstacle, another card is added to challenge the balance of the built house. Some of Claire and Frank’s skeletons threaten the base of the house when old characters make appearances throughout this season such as President Walker. New characters like Claire’s mother are introduced, and old characters leave (I won’t spoil it). The midway point through the season marks a story changing event that completely shakes up Claire and Frank’s life. The end of the series closes in on the new race between Underwood and his Republican opponent. It is safe to say that by the end of the season, the metaphoric house has become so wobbly and threatening to crash around the Underwoods that Claire and Frank will hold it together by their own teeth if they have to.
This season raised as many questions as this season answered. Viewers should look forward to season five, which Netflix has renewed but not set a release date for. Highlights of this season as well as the series include Kevin Spacey’s terrific and terrifying portrayal of Frank—the protagonist that you absolutely loathe and love at the same time. This show’s depth has increased due to this wonderful installment of the season. Spacey allows us a glimpse at the most powerful man’s weaknesses. The saying goes, “Even Achilles was only as strong as his heel,” which speaks for the series. All of the supporting characters add to the layers of complexity, and makes the viewer question their own political beliefs, morals and definition of freedom.
House of Cards is especially a great watch for political enthusiasts because it shows no general bias other than that of characters beliefs, and for journalists because it shows the intricate role that media plays in shaping our nation. It is also great for general entertainment, and it does educate viewers on certain processes of government. People who like this show may also enjoy The West Wing, another political drama, as well as Breaking Bad because of the complexity of the main character. Season 4 earns a ten out of ten approval rating because as devious and greedy as Frank is, his desire to succeed is something we all can relate to. How far would you go to achieve your dream of dreams?