House Of Cards season 4
Frank Underwood takes a tense looking call in the Oval OfficeNetflix

Towards the end of House Of Cards season three, now-President Frank Underwood had not only sacked his biographer Thomas Yates after he seemed a little too keen about digging up dirt on his employer, but his wife Claire had decided to leave him. So its rather understandable that in these recently-released images ahead of season four, he's not looking too happy.

Netflix have released four new stills that depict only the Underwoods, looking as distant as ever as they seemingly tend to their own business. Underwood can be seen making a phone call with what can only be described as a seriously stern face whilst seated at the famous Oval Office desk, while Claire is on a plane to somewhere, looking sorrowful.

The four trailers that have been released so far – entitled The Leader We Deserve, Tracks, Dig and Exhaust– are firmly tongue-in-cheek with their playful puns and are completely reliant on the fact that fans that are watching them have seen the previous seasons because of their hidden references, and their humour seems worlds away from these serious shots.

House Of Cards season 4
We're not sure where Claire is flying to, but if season three is anything to go by, it's far from FrankNetflix

The first actually did show clips from older seasons, making sure they tied in in some way with what Underwood was saying in the promo. The second, Tracks, was a little more subtle, alluding to Underwood's murder of journalist – and his lover at the time – Zoe Barnes in front of a speeding subway train. Exhaust was very much the same too, depicting an exhaust pipe chucking out smoke right before a garage door comes down (much like the events surrounding Congressman Peter Russo's demise in season one).

House Of Cards season 4
Netflix

Some of the teaser trailers have ended with a link to Underwood's campaign website, which goes by the URL FU2016.com. We sure there's some kind of subliminal message from the corrupt character in there somewhere... Hint: *They're the only two letters in red, coincidence, we think not.*

But whilst the rest of the promo has been somewhat humourous in an eerie way, judging from these recently released photos, there's not going to be any laughs when the series actually comes around. It's no secret that the slightly slower third season of the hugely popular show, whilst still very successful, wasn't as unanimously loved as its first two thanks to its [very] slightly lighter tone. With that in mind, perhaps the writers have been keen on getting the show back to how it used to be, with more dramatic moments and are demonstrating this through the new promotional material.

It was recently announced that this season will marks showrunner Beau Willimon's last so perhaps he wants to go out with a bang, whilst also paying homage to those memorable episodes he helped create before it. Either way, we won't know for certain until the next season lands in its entirety on Friday 4 March.

House Of Cards season 4
Kevin Spacey in House of CardsNetflix

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