The following is a review of the eleventh episode of season three. Expect spoilers in the plot description.
We’re almost by the end of the season, that means that we need to get through the televised debates. Finally, they’re here. Let’s get to the plot description:
The Underwoods are preparing for the final part of their campaign. The First Lady is wooing voters as she should, and Francis is preparing for the debates as he should. Now, what’s interesting is what happens at Stamper’s apartment. Now that Orsay’s out, he’s telling Doug that Rachel is indeed alive – he was just feeding him false information so that he would get him his passport. He’ll tell him where she is if, and only if, he helps Orsay’s friend. Orsay is toying with an addicted man – and this won’t end well.
Jackie Sharp is feeling uneasy about the debate-tactics, uneasy about being the pit-bull in the debate, uneasy about tackling sexism and private schools – uneasy about tackling family values. Francis doesn’t care – he brings up their agreement time and time again.
What he doesn’t know, is that she wants to endorse Dunbar – and go after Francis in the debate – no one bosses Sharp around. It shocks her, however, that Dunbar isn’t willing to play ball in their secret meeting. At this point, no one knows what Jackie Sharp wants to do. Though she tells her husband that it might be best to stick with the Devil she knows – as he had advised her to.
Throughout the opening of the debate, throughout the foreign policy and relations questions, Jackie Sharp vehemently attacks Dunbar – as Francis had planned for her to do. Though Dunbar held her own, when going toe-to-toe with Francis directly. When they go into domestic policies things take a turn for the worse. Jackie Sharp does as commanded, even going as far as attacking Dunbar’s skills as a mother. But Dunbar retaliates – attacking Sharp for the same sexism that Jackie had attacked Dunbar of during the foreign policy section.
Jackie is visibly hurt by having to attack Dunbar like that, and being retaliated upon. This is when Franics does something unspeakable. He attacks Jackie, his supposed 2016 running mate, on private schools – the one thing she had feared Dunbar would do. He is axing Jackie Sharp on international television.
As the debate ends, and the polls are being gathered – people give the win to Francis. They state that he won for being Presidential in a pit-bull debate. Masterful win for the sitting President. When Jackie meets up with Francis in the Oval Office she is angry, but don’t be cocky in front of Francis – he bites. Francis yells at her – telling her that she will do exactly what he demands. As the meeting ends, she looks visibly shaken.
Now, throughout this episode we’ve seen how Doug has been strong. He’s kept away from trying to look for Rachel. He’s been with his brother. I am very happy with this development, Doug is becoming stronger – independent from the past. Meanwhile, while giving blood, the First Lady passes out – but not before revealing some odd details to Tom Yates about her marriage. She needs her marriage to last, but she mentions how every 7 years they would take a look at how they were doing and make a decision – and the most strange thing she mentioned? Wanting to jump off a bridge.
As the episode ends, Remy Danton resigns, and we see how Jackie Sharp did indeed call off her campaign… But she did so while approving of Heather Dunbar – hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
This was a great episode. I’m a sucker for political debates, and dramatic ones? Well, I’m going to love them. But all bias aside, you’ve got to admit that the twists and turns in this episode were intriguing and exciting. I must admit, the only one I didn’t care for was how Rachel was alive. It seemed too convenient, almost. Though at least it gave us a Doug becoming free of his past.
Robin Wright was great in this episode, and the fact that her marriage became a huge focal point in this episode shows us just how much the writers of this show trusts her. Kudos. This was yet another strong outing for Molly Parker as well. She owned every scene she was in – believable.
With two episodes left of the season, I cannot wait to see what Remy Danton’s resignation means to the political race – and if Francis will try to pull Doug back in.
I’m Jeffrey Rex