House of Cards wasted no time settling viewers into Season 4 of the hit Netflix series. There was no "what happened last season" recap or a three-minute montage of what to expect as Season 4's story unfolds. Instead, we dove straight into the action — and we started with Lucas Goodwin. (Remember him?) Now paired-up with his cellmate Gagik in prison at an undisclosed location, I was curious if the scene sets the stage for trouble to come later for the Underwood gang. More specifically, I wondered what Lucas' cellmate's tattoos mean, and if Gagik will become a bigger fixture in Frank Underwood's dark and devious political playground? (The short answer? He likely 100 percent will.)
It's revealed pretty early on that Gagik's doing hard time because he allegedly killed someone, but we learn that Gagik might not have told the courts the whole truth. He confides in Lucas that there's a group called "Armenian Pride in LA," and then flat-out admits that he took the fall and is doing time for murder all for the head honcho. In the midst of all these big reveals, Gagik's gaggle of tattoos hardly go unnoticed. (His back is covered in them.) Since he's clearly got some kind of gang affiliation going on, what does his back ink mean? Personally, I think it's hinting at a much larger theme at work here: God vs. man. And you can bet your bottom dollar that doesn't bode well for Frank Underwood.
Our first glimpse of the prisoner is a full-body back shot, where religious tattoos extend from shoulder to shoulder, from nape to small of his back. He's got a total of three crosses across the top of his back, and then the phrase "AP 13" repeated on his lower back. There's also a huge tattoo set squarely in the middle of his back that reads, "Armenian Pride" with a woman's face etched above it. Above that is the name "Mayda." According to Name.com, "Mayda" means "maiden" and is Armenian in origin.
On the back of Gagik's head, the letters "A" and "P" stand out, most likely as a nod to his devotion to the group. Maybe the "13" stands for the year he joined the gang? Though answers are pretty N/A at this point in the first episode, I'm sure they'll come. It makes no sense to introduce the series with Gagik and the Armenian Pride and then let the storyline shrug off unanswered. House of Cards doesn't like loose ends, and I have a feeling this won't be one of them.
Long before he ever became the President Underwood, Frank Underwood acted as the show's god-as-man character. He does more than step on toes: he singes them off, pushes people in front of trains, convinces the former president to step down from his position, all because for everyone one thing they've got on him, he's got 10 more in his back pocket. He bows for no one, save himself, so I think the juxtaposition of a man like Gagik, flooded with religious symbols at the onset of Season 4 is a hint of the trouble to come for Frank. Up until now every move has been choreographed in an effort to secure the White House, but now that he's got it, can that carefully, meticulously orchestrated dance hold? The finale of Season 3 saw Frank's world collapse: He wasn't the DNC's pick for a presidential candidate even though he was acting-President, and Claire walked out on him. His god-as-man complex was unraveling — and fast.
To be greeted with such profound religious fixtures (even if just in tattoo form) was definitely interesting. Obviously it presents a god vs. man showdown in the series, but I think it says something larger about Frank's unwavering faith in himself this season. If there are bigger powers at work in Season 4, they're clearly here to f*ck with Frank — and that's going to shake things up pretty seriously.