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House of Cards: Volume 4

Score: 90%
Rating: Not Rated
Publisher: Sony Pictures Home

Region: A
Media: Blu-ray/4
Running Time: 646 Mins.
Genre: Political/Drama/TV Series
Audio: English, French (PAR), 5.1
           DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French,
           Portuguese, Spanish

House of Cards: Volume 4 puts President Frank Underwood in a couple of tight spots. Not only do some of his old ghosts harking back to the first season come back up, but he might end up facing off against his most devious opponent yet, his wife.

When we last left Frank (Kevin Spacey, American Beauty, The Usual Suspects), he was just getting started in his re-election campaign (or is it election? What do you call the campaign of a sitting president that wasn't actually voted into office?) It's him versus Heather Dunbar (Elizabeth Marvel, True Grit) as they battle it out for the Democratic nomination, and while Frank managed to pull a victory out of Iowa, several new events will force him to take time away from his campaigning.

For one, his wife Claire (Robin Wright, Forrest Gump, The Princess Bride) has decided to leave him and has returned to her mother's house in Texas. She hasn't just decided to return home and disappear though. While her time on the campaign trail has helped Frank, she still finds herself in his shadow and has decided to take action to make a name in her own right. To that end, she elicits the help of a well-known campaign manager, LeAnn Harvey (Neve Campbell, Party of Five, Scream) and decides to become the next congresswoman of her home district.

In order to hide Frank and Claire's separation, Frank's team, Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly, Now You See Me) and Seth Grayson (Derek Cecil) put out a story saying that Claire is visiting her sick mom who is in advanced stages of cancer. Unfortunately for Claire, Frank sends Doug to put a monkey wrench or two in her budding campaign and the two Underwoods are forced to work out a compromise that won't hurt either one's image too much.

As fans of the show might expect, Frank's desire to get his own way and not be guided means that he will find a way to make sure Claire has no chance of actually running. Unfortunately for him, when Claire finds herself in that situation, she starts playing games of her own.

A lot goes on in House of Cards: Volume 4. The manipulations between Frank and Claire lay down the groundwork for the rest of the season, but when one of Frank's old enemies shows up, it sparks a drastic change in the path the season was following. Not only does this event lead to the death of one of the show's regular characters, but it might lead to some of Frank's other dirty laundry from Volume 1 getting aired out. This, coupled with fighting for the Democratic nomination, choosing his running mate, and actually being President of the United States (which includes an emergency or two) means that Frank Underwood has a lot on his plate.

While I didn't enjoy Volume 3 as much as the previous seasons, Volume 4 looks like it has gone back to its roots. Where the previous season saw less manipulation and a lot of Frank fumbling with his new power, this season has both Frank and Claire pulling strings and puppeting everyone around them in order to get what they want. This season really seems to kick things up a notch, and as always, leave you wanting more. It is definitely a must see, and quite frankly, I found the video quality of the Blu-ray to be far superior to what I was getting on Netflix, so it might even be worth watching a physical copy of the show just for the uptick.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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