Full disclaimer: This review contains a few spoilers. While I do try my best to keep most of it under wraps, you have been warned.
This yearly tradition, where on the weekend a new season of House of Cards is released, my family and I gather around the television set and divide the season into two halves. Because, so far, that's what this series has given us the past three years and gives us a chance to watch this calmly throughout the weekend.
This year was no different. Come Saturday morning, we were getting ready to watch what we hoped would be the comeback of our favorite Netflix series.
After a rather boring third season, that served little to no purpose, I can gladly say that season four brings back everything we loved and hated about House of Cards.
The Frank we know is back. The fierce fighter of freedom and perfect manipulator to every situation that favors him. That's the Frank that was only around for a short while last season, when he wasn't fighting with his wife.
Thankfully, this season, there isn't much fighting. On the contrary, Frank and Claire have realized that united they stand, divided they fall.
About the first half of the season, we find President Underwood still going through a rough patch with The First Lady. In the meantime, Claire's mother is ill and we get to see how their relationship affects current events.
There is a crisis going on in Russia too, with Petrov asking for a bailout. Sincerely, the only thing that stuck with me was that Frank didn't "pour gasoline and set him on fire" because it would start an international incident. I suppose he's regretting this now...
The Chinese get involved, with Raymond Tusk and Remy making an appearance, as we feel that much of this first season is just the epilogue of what happened a year ago.
Then everything changes, as Lucas Goodwin is released from prison into witness protection, with a revenge plan of his own. And he almost completes it, with an assassination attempt that kills a dearly beloved character and leaves Frank in a coma, waiting for a liver transplant.
While he's waiting, the world tries to live without it's leader, as negotiations with Russia and China get quite hefty.
In addition, all the bait and switch tactics, the lies, the half-truths, the back-stabbings and everything else in between, and that honestly, make House of Cards so good, they're all here.
As we enter the second half, now with a fully recuperated President ready to resume duties, a new plan to make Claire his Vice-President only shows how long they've come to put aside their differences and remedy everything between them.
Naturally, this mission couldn't be without it's obstacles, the main one being the Conway's, a republican family led by Joel Kinnaman (Robocop, Suicide Squad), set to be the opposition in the race, making the task for the Underwood's a harder one, even more so it escalates to them working together during a hostage crisis incited by a rebel in the terrorist group ICO (Islamic Caliphate Organization), the equivalent of what we call ISIS, culminating in a finale that takes nerves of steel.
At the end, Season 4 of House of Cards brings together the best and sometimes the worst of our other favorite political shows. There's the fierce bit of Scandal (and none of the soap-opera drama), there's a touch of The West Wing at it's best and there's even a little The Wire mixed in the middle.
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright bring it all full circle and are able to top themselves. It feels right that these two main characters, along with the ensemble cast who have to deal with their own problems, make us feel at home. It's what brought us all here in the first place!
Be it as it may, the show has indeed rebounded from it's sappy Season 3, and reminded us why we love House of Cards so much. Where do we go from here? I'm not quite sure, but whatever it is, I bet it's going to be good.