House of Cards: Chapter 35
March 17, 2015 7:46 AM - Season 3, Episode 9 - Subscribe

The Jordan Valley erupts in chaos just as Frank's campaign is picking up steam. Claire receives some disturbing intel and counsels him.

While campaigning in Iowa, Frank discovers that 8 Russians were killed in the Jordan Valley. The Russians have cordoned off the area so no one can go in and investigate. Petrov is pissed and paranoid, completely shutting Frank out. While waiting for more information about the incident, Claire meets with Russian Ambassador Moryakov. He implies that Petrov had those men killed and that his brother, a FSB agent, is missing. While the military has some doubts about this, Claire believes so Frank sends a team in to get evidence.

Frank is also trying to get Harlan Traub's endorsement for the Iowa caucus. He puts Traub on Air Force One so he can talk to him in DC. Traub is briefly and accidentally seen in the press pit is noticed by Kate. When she brings it up at a press conference, Frank is forced to send him back to Iowa without any facetime.

Remy is also having a no-good, very bad day. It starts off small as he finds out Jackie enjoys being married. Then as he takes Traub back to the airport, he is referred to as a chauffeur. His frustrations come to a head when he gets pulled over by the DC police for speeding. He discovers he doesn't have his wallet with him so he gets a patdown and in confronting the police he's handcuffed. Faced with his powerlessness without his identity, he comes to Jackie to tell her what happened but ends up kissing her.

Doug finds out from Gavin that Rachel's body was found in Arizona. Naturally, Doug gets super drunk and leaves a coded message to Frank. When they meet in the Oval Office, Doug confesses everything - that he liked Rachel and she's dead, that he was working for Dunbar in order to prove his usefulness to Frank, and that he's drunk and needs help. Frank does offer help but Doug tells him that he won't go like Peter Russo. When Frank tells him that he'll get better, Doug clings to him like a child.

Dunbar is able to secure Traub's endorsement but receives a phone call from Frank. He berates her for putting Doug to work and how it nearly killed him.

Without proper preparation, a rogue agent compromises the team and Frank is forced to abort the operation. Petrov lets Frank know that he knows about the operation and leaked footage to the Israelis and Frank accuses him of killing his own men. The episode ends with the Jordan Valley in a worse state and with Frank writing a condolence letter to the soldier who was killed during the operation.
posted by zix (6 comments total)
"Frank does offer help but Doug tells him that he won't go like Peter Russo."

This is about as close as the show gets to having comedic relief.
posted by hellojed at 9:35 AM on March 17, 2015

Doug's attachment to Rachel has always seemed like one of the most forced parts of the show. It creates drama if he cares for her and simultaneously fears her escaping into the world, but beyond the fact that it creates drama, I couldn't see any reason for it to happen. It's out of character, they've written Doug as basically a soulless anhedonic drone.
posted by skewed at 10:59 AM on March 17, 2015 [5 favorites]

This season has been terrible. That Claire would just uncritically believe that story and pass it on to Frank seems out of character for her. Most of the stuff they've had her doing seems to come from someone else completely when compared to the previous seasons.

Doug is just, I don't even know. He has this weird devotion to Frank that just doesn't vibe with how otherwise cold and calculating he is. This season's attempts to make him a figure of some humanity that anyone could sympathize with have been ham-fisted and transparent. I really don't care how drunk and sad he gets, he's got all the relatability of a man-eating crocodile. This plotline of his search for Rachel just makes me feel very anxious.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:46 PM on March 17, 2015 [5 favorites]

the question I have is if Rachel is really dead? Did Gavin, in an overwhelming sense of urgency, piece together information that makes it look like she's dead to get Doug to make good on his promise?

I didn't get berating Dunbar other than to possibly try again to throw her off balance. Doug definitely seems like the type of guy that needs to work. He is methodical and obsessive (which is why I could also buy his Rachel obsession). Drinking eases his mind when he can't keep it busy any other way.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 5:54 PM on March 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

insert clever name here,

Yes (to make good on his promise of getting him a passport) but also something else (but, can't mention, spoiler).

I'm watching along at my girlfriend's request and it's dragging. This season has been so disappointing. The only intrigue that is keeping me interested is wondering why Doug is so interested to find Rachel. Without spoiling (most recent episode that I saw is #36), is there a reason besides that he's falling in love with her and becoming practically obsessed with her whereabouts?

My initial guess since season 1 or 2 is that she has some information about him and Frank that would sink their political careers would she choose to come public on it.
posted by fizzix at 2:03 PM on April 1, 2015

" This is about as close as the show gets to having comedic relief."

In a sense, yes. But from another view, this whole danged season is comic relief. It's so ham-fisted that my partner and I play a game called "First person to spot the Object of Symbolism wins." This episode it was the pen. Last was hurricane, Mandala before that, then the ceramic eggs, and on and on.

And Claire, she is just the most aggressive, unpredictable, confrontational, non-pragmatic, undiplomatic embassador ever. She's like the anti-embassador. It's fucking comedy gold as far as I'm concerned now.

(off to watch the next one!)
posted by iamkimiam at 3:35 PM on April 3, 2015

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