House of Cards - Season 4 - *Open Spoilers*

Seems like the only other topic so far is a “how do want to handle spoilers” topic, so here’s one to actually talk about the show. You don’t need to spoiler box anything regarding the four seasons of the show.

Anyway, I say this season was so much better than the last. On par with, if not better than Season 2. Back to politicking and less moping around.

Doug going back to his Season 1 self.
Claire and Frank working together
Bring back a lot of the former characters (including the dead ones!)
Kathy calling Frank on his bullshit
The final shot with Claire also looking at the camera

Doug going back to his Season 2 self with liver donor wife
The writer guy - he doesn’t talk like any other character on this show. He brings every scene down.
The fact that I kept confusing Neve Campbell with Kim Dickens
Frank’s 2 episode long coma - Let face it, Kevin Spacey chewing scenery is the #1 reason to watch this show. Having him out of commission for two episodes sucked the life out of it.

Now, season 3 was the only season I have rewatched, so I don’t remember everything. What happened to that hacker guy? I figured he was going to come into play with all of the domestic spying stuff. Also, have we seen the congressman who lied about his service record before? I don’t remember him.

Also, does anyone else think that the whole kidnapping business was set up by Frank? I wasn’t sure at first, but at the end where he wanted them dead no matter what and just assumed the dad was going to die, made me think he knew exactly how it was going to play out.

Does that last shot in the last episode suggest Frank and Claire are going to start talking to the camera?

I just finished season 4 yesterday. Random thoughts:

I was so glad Claire and Frank decided to work together again. They are unstoppable! And Frank played Conway like a fiddle. Sucker!

OMG- Frank threatened to kill Catherine Durant Right There In The Oval Office! She should be scared! And the return of Hammerschmidt and the owner of the Herald thinking “Sure, he’s bad, but he never killed anyone.” LOL!

I enjoyed meeting Claire’s mom Elizabeth Hale (Ellen Burstyn), but there wasn’t much about why they had such a bad relationship. I wonder if that was a real house in Dallas?

I don’t like Tom Yates (Paul Sparks) so much. His book was supposed to be very critical of the Underwoods, and he was called in to provide unflattering information about them to the Conway’s, but he put just put that off. Claire picks weird people to have affairs with, but he can “see” them, I guess. The Underwoods do need an outside sometimes to help them stay “real”.

I don’t like Leann Harvey (Neve Campbell) much. Why is she there?

I was glad to see Remy (Mahershala Aliagain) (and his parents). Sure, he’s a master schemer, but I think he really does love Jackie Sharp (Molly Parker) and may have dreams of a normal life with her. He seems to have made it out of the cesspool. I wonder if she can, too.

And I was sad that Freddy was so angry at Frank. I hoped they could be friends.
My favorite scene was Frank coaching Clair for her meeting with the NRA official- OMG that Claire took a bite out of Julia’s butt!

I see Frank getting sick again- perhaps rejecting that liver- and Claire taking over.

I dunno, enalzi about the possibility that Frank planned that whole kidnapping thing. Anything is possible with that guy (or those two)! LOL! I guess this means we get another season? I though 52 episodes would be then end (the number of cards in a deck). Well, yay!

I have really enjoyed this show. I just love the music, too. I listened to this episode of “Song Exploder” that interviewed Jeff Beal about the development of the theme song and found it interesting. Perhaps you would like it, too:

They have already announced that there will be a fifth season.

I was disappointed early in Season 4- I was like, really? He’s getting divorced (and we’re all supposed to believe this would be the most riveting cultural scandal evarrr), and then he gets shot, too? He’s J.R. and Henry VIII at the same time? I felt like they had run out of ways to generate drama and were getting cheap.

But I thought they redeemed that story line with the ghosts of Frank’s victims in the oval office. After that scene, there is some kind of metaphysical structure to the world of the story, even if we only get Frank’s broken-livered, polluted-blood hallucinations. Still, it puts his ruthless decisions into context- he doesn’t care if there are creepy ghosts waiting for him on the other side (no monsters in the White House indeed), he is going to pursue his ambition on this side no. matter. what.

Then it got back to everyone’s relentless scheming and counter-scheming, and it was the House of Cards I wanted to see. Bravo! It seemed too short, like the story was only now set up and rolling, and then it was over.

Nice dismount with the last scene: we create the terror. ICO chops a head on national TV for the first time, and it is all about a news-cycle oneupsmanship maneuver to win an election, the Underwoods’ latest murder for their benefit, broadcast to the world. It was one of a few real-world echoes that made me think. In episode 4, gas prices are through the roof, in total contrast to the actual situation. There is an open convention, but on the Democratic side. The GOP candidate is perfectly sane, competent and reasonable electoral threat- obviously this is a work of fiction. ICO is a somehow-few-years delayed ISIS, and Frank is going W on us, starting a war to boost his numbers. Makes ya think. To what degree are our actual politics like this? Were ISIS’ acts of mass-media atrocity manipulated for political ends? If so, which? The real-world response to ISIS seems marked by some actual restraint…

I did note that the show started playing fast and loose with reality; they changed basic political rules far more than necessary. For example:

They showed the State of the Union after the the New Hampshire primary; it’s always at least two weeks before.

There was an attempt to nominate someone as president during the VP vote at the convention, but the VP vote is always after the vote for president.

Frank and Claire can’t reside together; the VP and president can’t come from the same state. There are ways around this, but it was ignored.

I’m willing to go along, but it’s disconcerting to see their world breaking the rules they’ve set down: that this is a realistic look at political power and they can change the rules whenever they want.

The last time this was true was two decades ago. The State of the Union came after the New Hampshire primary in 2008 and 2012, and less than two weeks before in 2004 and 2000.

No it wasn’t. Claire’s from Texas. He official residence is where her mother lives/lived. She was going to run for Congress from there. It was specifically addressed.

In 2016 the State of the Union was on January 12th and the NH primary was on February 9th.

Oops. In my defense, the 2016 election is pretty fake-looking. But it’s still not a rule.

No, it isn’t. And given your examples, the writers weren’t being ridiculous so your larger point still stands.

The hacker ran away mid-season 3. Doug found him on a boat on a Mexican dock where he got the location of Rachel. After that, Doug left him alone.

I highly doubt the kidnapping was orchestrated by Frank. Teetering on a “house of cards” is one thing. Trusting two unstable kids to carry out a terrorist plot and not have it at all link back to you? That’s political suicide. That’s go directly to jail, no pardon from next President, suicide.

No Frank knew how it was going to play out because Frank is good at moving pieces on a chessboard. I discovered when I played chess that when I made sound strategic moves, I often ended up with my pieces in the right position to counter strategies I didn’t see coming until that very turn.

I actually enjoyed the minutiae and maneuvering of season 1 and 2 much more than the macro level current events type maneuvering of this season. An election, media manipulation, that’s interesting, but for some reason the individual wrangling of votes and trade deals was moreso in the early seasons.

At the convention it’s clearly announced that Claire Underwood is considered to be from the State of Texas. Frank, of course, is from South Carolina.

Both of course have lived in DC for years - which is not a state at all. But that is of course true of many President/VP pairings. The 12th Amendment really isn’t super clear what it means by “inhabitant” of a state but by any normal definition, in 1996 both Bill Clinton and Al Gore were inhabitants of D.C. That’s where you’d send mail to them, anyway. Same with Reagan and Bush in 1984, Eisenhower and Nixon in 1956, etc. So either DC doesn’t count, or you’re an “inhabitant” of your original home state (which is of course a nebulous concept itself; Ronald Reagan was born in Iowa but was considered from California, Barack Obama was born in Hawaii but his home state is really Illinois, etc.)

As to whether Frank was behind the kidnapping, of course he wasn’t. Frank is opportunistic; the point of this is that once again he has taken events beyond his control and twisted them to suit his needs. Over and over during the series things have happened that he could not have prevented or foreseen, but he manipulates, schemes, threatens and murders to make it work for him or kick the can of trouble further up the road.