Unprocessed ammonia floats around in Frank Underwood’s brain leading him to hallucinate about a Confederate solider standing in his hospital room. He looks to the man, cleaning his musket, and just when you think Frank’s gonna say something like, “Grandpappy?” the solider shoots him in the face. Cue opening credits.
In Chapter 44 of House of Cards, fever dreams ravage the mind and tickle the conscience of the king, while the world on the outside keeps on spinning.
Doug discovers it was Seth who leaked the photo of Frank and the rebel solider to the media and he tries to fire him. But if there’s anything we know about Seth is that he is the cockroach who survives the nuclear attack — try as anyone may, he cannot be squashed.
Seth’s plan to keep his job is simple: tell the world that Dunbar had a face-to-face with Lucas “President Shooter” Goodwin, essentially ruining her campaign and ensuring she’s not a threat to Underwood 2016. It looks like Heather is going to live up to her name and be Done-bar (sorry). The expression of “FUUUUUUUCCCCCKKKK” on her face when she sees the FBI agents in her campaign office says it all. Also, the fact that her BFF the Attorney General basically gets blackmailed into telling Doug and the Secret Service agents that Heather did, in fact, meet with Goodwin, doesn’t help.
Despite these small victories, Doug is not doing so great. He’s basically being squeezed out by Claire, he can’t give the President his liver, and he can’t even control his subordinates. Also, his daddy (Frank) might die.
Even the slightest inference that the President might kick the bucket, and Doug’s like, “No.” His confidence in Frank’s imminent recovery is so bold that Seth’s like, “You’re not God!” but Doug’s like, “I’m your god now” and suffocates him momentarily with an empty glass.
“You’re fucked up man.” — Seth Grayson
Glass Half Full
Claire fills a glass of water to flick her cigarette ashes into. Donald Blythe’s worried about his teleconference with Petrov, and asks Claire for advice. She’s going to listen in on the call and message Donald during the process.
Claire knows how to get people to open up. Her bold and direct questions like, “Are you in love?” are one of her sharpest tools in an arsenal of manipulative weapons. She asks Donald point blank what it was to watch his late wife, Marjory, die.
Marjory’s mind had gone long before her body, so Donald’s experience is a little different than Claire’s. Claire shares her indifference about her mother’s impending death and the possible passing of her husband and how it has rendered her hollow, “I feel nothing.” It’s a rare slice of honesty for an Underwood. Donald mansplains it’s just her way of processing her feelings. Does she have feelings though? With Lady Claire one can never be to sure.
Claire extinguishes the smoke, just before Donald can suck a drag. She denies him smoked filled lungs, but she does give him a confident mind, and he stares at her lovingly with puppy dog eyes.
“I’d trust you with my goddamn life.” — Donald Blythe
Speaking of doggies, we get to meet a new one (statistically speaking, dogs do not get a good deal in this show considering the first episode featured Frank killing one with his bare hands). Tom Hammerschmidt and Faustus (dog) are interrogated by the FBI concerning Lucas Goodwin, and the notes Tom gathered when he was trying to ascertain whether or not there was a real story with the Underwoods.
Tom doesn’t think that Lucas’ story has any credibility, but when the FBI returns Tom’s notes, and the front page news is about Lucas and Dunbar, a little light bulb turns on just over the top of Tom’s head. He takes a second look at his research, which is kind of a dick move considering Faustus is clearly hungry.
Running On Empty
Remy is down in Florida visiting his parents and missing Jackie. The tank of his car is empty, and so is his poor little heart. Leann tracks him down with a job from Claire: go convince Raymond Tusk to have a Chinese-American alliance that ensures gas prices don’t get so high that there is a revolt, Russia calms the fuck down, and they all make a bunch of cash.
Remy’s been outta the game and wants to stay that way, but when Leann and Claire threaten to release photos that basically confirm that he and Jackie are fucking on the regular, he has no choice but to be a pawn, so that his love muffin’s career can flourish.
“I’ve had enough people say they’re sorry.” — Claire Underwood
Claire is a great VP, and kind of a parasitic mind-brain controller. She gets Donald to tell Petrov that Frank might die, ensuring two things: 1) Petrov understands that he must deal with Donald (Claire) and 2) Revealing Frank’s weakness and making way for her to usurp his throne. It totally works and Petrov goes from calling Donald “Mr. Vice President,” then just “Donald,” back to “Mr. President” in the time it takes for Claire to type Don’s script.
“She’s good, isn’t she?”— Leann Harvey
Claire doesn’t miss a beat about Lucas’ suicide note. Lucas penned an incriminating letter detailing how Francis killed both Zoe Barnes and Peter Russo, but Claire gets out in front of the problem, releasing the letter to the media moments before the press conference. She feeds the information to press with a spoonful of, “This man was clearly insane.” It’s one of the very best and most insidious PR moves we’ve seen on HoC for some time.
While Frank lies helpless in a hospital room with nothing but his demons to contend with, Claire maneuvers her way around rising gas prices, possible murder charges, and has the ear and heart of the most powerful man in the world.
Out Of The Oval
St. Remy – As if Remy Danton wasn’t already a sex-pot we get to the panty dropping scene where he speaks French with his “ma-mon” and “papa.”
Oh, and he’s also “nervous” when he sees Jackie again after a long time and holds her hand in the elevator. Seriously guys, I can’t.
Tossed Salad – In case you were wondering how Claire fits into size zero, form fitting, never more than ¾ length sleeve outfits, it’s because even after an entire day of sitting with her incapacitated husband and not eating a thing all day, her midnight snack is a leafy salad. SALAD. If I were in her high-heels, I’d be stress-eating mayonnaise.
Lucas No-win – It struck me as odd that Lucas would have left an old fashioned hand written letter. He’s a tech-savvy dude, and it would seem like a better idea for him to co-ordinate a huge email blitz to all media outlets just after his death, instead of leaving the letter in his house where he knows the FBI will find it and, therefore, the information can be controlled (as we see it was).
I dunno, that’s just what I would do. But then again, I’ve never tried to reveal a sordid conspiracy and assassinate a President, so what do I know?