REVIEW: House of Cards – “Chapter 35”

I'm Jeffrey Rex Episode Review - Netflix - House of Cards 35The following is a review of the ninth episode of season three. Expect spoilers in the plot description.

Now that Frank is going all-in, what will this lead to for his opponents – and is Claire still having fun at the UN? Come find out. Let’s get to the plot description:

The episode opens with the replacement reporter, Kate Baldwin, sleeping with Frank’s author. Meanwhile, Frank is holding a political event about his campaign for 2016. The President is fighting for his spot as the Commander in Chief. A vote for him is a vote for America Works. During the event his wife informs him that 8 Russians have been killed in the Jordan Valley

Orsay is becoming anxious – he needs to know that Doug is doing what he promised him. Doug instantly contacts someone at Homeland, and Orsay calms down. Rachel took over the identity of Rebecca Sands, a girl who died in 1993. But Orsay has terrible news – Rachel has been found – dead. Orsay has matched the fingerprints from A Tale of Two Cities to this Jane Doe. Rachel’s dead. Doug snaps. He’s broken. Lost. Orsay did his part. Right when Orsay leaves, Doug calls up Seth Grayson and claims that he needs to speak to the President – he needs council for Doug’s mother, he claims, has died. Though as we later find out, the President knows that this is untrue – he attended her funeral ten years ago. What’s he planning?

Petrov is vehemently angry at Underwood. Believing he is at fault for the death of the Russians. Underwood tries to make Petrov understand that he should let the UN look at the Blast Site, but Petrov doesn’t budge. Both the reporter, Baldwin, and Frank know what this could mean – this gives Russia an out.

At a secret meeting between the Russian and US ambassadors to the UN, Claire is informed indirectly that the explosion might’ve been planned. This might all be a scheme. The Russian ambassador is afraid of going public – citing Xander Feng as an example of why he simply cannot trust the US to protect him and his family. When Claire presents this to the war-room, they entertain the idea of this being possible. They end up deciding that they are to send a team to the blast site. Frank trusts Claire’s judgement.

In what will probably be one of the most important scenes this season, Doug reveals it all to Frank in the Oval Office. Rachel’s dead. Doug’s no longer sober – and he’s been working for Dunbar. He wanted to prove that he was still useful.

Frank says that he’ll help him, but Doug suddenly says: “I’m not Peter Russo – I won’t go like he did.” – Doug is dangerous. Frank is calm, though, saying that he knows Doug will get better. As Frank sends Doug on his way, he tells Meechum to stay with Doug until they know what to do next.

Frank calls up Heather Dunbar, blames her for the state of Doug – and warns her that if she does anything that endangers his health again, he’ll end her. It is then revealed that she is chatting up someone the President thought was a supporter of his campaign.

At the end of the episode, we see the war-room reacting to the team going to the blast site. The mission is a disaster, the on-ground agent was hostile – and they’re aborting mission. Failure – one soldier killed in action. As the dust settles, Petrov calls up Underwood – the Russians have leaked video to Israel, showcasing the secret mission the Americans conducted. Israel is getting antsy, with the covert missions and Russian silence to blame – they go to the blast site. Chaos in the Jordan Valley.

One of the things I failed to mention in my plot description was the actions of Jackie Sharp and Remy Danton – their romance doesn’t interest me, and while I like both actors, I thought there were a couple of unnecessary scenes. The important parts in the episode focused on the Jordan Valley and the Russian blast site – and I didn’t feel the subplot worked well.

Robin Wright actually directed this episode, I thought she did a nice job – no drop in quality in direction. Still a stunning episode, as we’ve come to expect.

I never thought that House of Cards would tackle Israel and Palestine this season, but it looks like we’ve got ourselves more than just a political thriller.


I’m Jeffrey Rex

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