House of Cards Recap Season 4

House of Cards Recap: [Spoiler]'s Back!

The following recap contains spoilers from the first episode of House of Cards‘ just-released fourth season. Proceed at your own peril.

House of Cards went directly to jail at the start of Season 4 to check in on an old friend.

In a jaw-dropping kickoff to the season, disgraced journalist and anti-FU crusader Lucas Goodwin — who has maintained an off screen presence since getting carted off to prison in Season 2 — is seen, um, assisting his Armenian cellmate with a personal matter. We quickly learn that Lucas’ randy roomie is his ticket out of the pokey. And sure enough, by the end of the opening hour, he is once again a free-ish man.

The character’s return, coupled with a certain ominous S4 teaser, suggests that this may in fact be the season Frank Underwood’s murderous past catches up with him.

Other key takeaways from “Chapter 40”: Claire, fresh off dumping Frank, flees to Texas to crash with her estranged mom (a formidable-as-ever Ellen Burstyn), who, unbeknownst to her, is battling cancer. There’s an ulterior motive behind her visit: Claire has her eye on Texas’ 30th congressional seat. She recruits a formidable Democratic consultant (played by Neve Campbell) to spearhead the would-be campaign and run interference with Frank, who is hellbent on crushing his wife’s political gambit. By the conclusion of the episode, Frank and Claire agree to a compromise: She’ll attend his State of the Union address if he agrees not to “meddle” with her campaign.

But back to the episode’s big comeback…

In the below Q&A, Lucas’ portrayer, Sebastian Arcelus, tackles a handful of burning Qs about his alter ego’s surprising reemergence.

TVLINE | What was your reaction when you learned you would be returning? 
I was so excited. It was one thing to be invited into that room to begin with several years ago. And then I said my goodbyes and made peace with the fact that the show was moving on with a different story. But then they called [about returning in Season 4] and I was so excited.

TVLINE | You’re literally the first thing people will see when they start binging Season 4 this morning.
That’s pretty exciting, isn’t it? It’s been a season and a half since Lucas fell so hard from grace. And it’s thrilling to know that he’s not just rotting in jail, but using what talents he does have to stay alive. [Laughs]

TVLINE | That was some scene…
I literally went up to [showrunner] Beau [Willimon] and was like, “So it must’ve been 3 am and you were sitting at your computer going, ‘How can I mess with Sebastian…'” And he actually came back and said, “To be honest, I wanted to find a different and unique and exciting way to reintroduce you.” And I think he did. He found the most interesting way to get me back in and get me back out.

TVLINE | What is Lucas’ mindset in this first episode?
It’s all about survival. He found a way to suffer enough for the purposes of staying alive. Also, when you know you’re right, there’s a different kind of resoluteness that happens to a person.

TVLINE | Do you think he spent that year-plus in prison thinking up ways to make Frank pay for what he did to Zoe? 
I think he never really let it go. Again, when you know you’re right, you can’t just let it go. He’s been spurned by the system. This is a system he worked at protecting and then he was brought down by it. So I don’t think he ever let go his desire to see this through.

TVLINE | How long before he reconnects with Janine (Constance Zimmer)?
Janine made it pretty clear in Season 2 that she wanted nothing to do with him.

What did you think of Lucas’ return? And the Season 4 premiere overall? Vote in the poll below and then elaborate in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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4 Comments
  1. Freddie says:

    Looks like I won’t be coming on to TVLine for the next few days until I finish this season. Don’t need to be annoyed with constant “Spoiler returns!” “Shock! What Will Happen Now That Spoiler Is No Longer Spoiler!” with pictures that constantly spoil the story anyway. Sorry TVLine, but while I understand the need to cover shows, there should be a different playing ground for streaming binge shows. People watch these at different paces. I’m not saying don’t cover them, but perhaps be more considerate to the fact that not everyone can watch all episodes in one sitting. Let alone in one weekend! Last week’s influx of Fuller House articles was off-putting. And it looks like the same with happen with HoC. Again, I won’t be returning until I’m done.

    • Mike says:

      What are you babbling about? The picture was of Francis, not the person who returned. And this was for the FIRST episode, so your ‘we can’t finish the whole series in one weekend’ doesn’t apply at all.

    • April says:

      lol WHAT? that picture couldn’t be any less of a spoiler — unless u didn’t know Kevin Spacey was on HoC. and some of us DO binge these shows as Netflix intended it, so i appreciate the coverage.

  2. Kevin says:

    Just fresh off the 1st ep….That was some intro….and that dream sequence….crazy stuff…on to ep.2 now