House of Cards Live Blog Part 2!
We’re back with part two of our House of Cards Season 4 Binge Watch! Here’s the recap of what’s happened so far:
– Frank and Claire were at odds with Frank preventing Claire’s ability to procure a congressional seat.
– Claire demanded Frank make her his VP nominee or she would divorce him.
– Lucas Goodwin gets out of prison and enters witness protection. He attempts to contact Heather Dunbar about Frank’s corrupt White House, but is turned away.
– Frank is shot by Lucas Goodwin, Edward Meechum is killed in the crossfire
– While Frank is unconscious Claire successfully creates a deal between Russia, China, and the US solving the energy crisis which was killing Frank’s administration
– Claire’s campaign consultant Leann Harvey discovers the Republican nominee is skewing online search results in his favor.
– Claire and Frank have tentatively reconciled, the power couple is back.
So far the season has reasonably impressed me. All of the suspense and drama of season two has returned, and I feel like I care about the characters again. My only complaint is how limited Frank’s speeches and nods to the audience are. I miss them and kept expecting Claire to turn to the camera with her signature smug smile saying “You’re dealing with me now.”
I digress however, let’s get this party started!
Episode 7: Chapter 46
A new player has entered the game, we see Republican nominee Will Conway. We’ve heard brief mentions of Conway in the past, his presence only becoming important with LeAnn’s discovery of his search engine abuse of Polly Hop. We immediately get to know Conway as a warm, family man a stark contrast to the cold, blue lives of the Underwood’s.
In the kitchen, Frank discusses newly laid plans with Claire. His language has changed from “me” and “I” to “we” and “us.” He reminds Claire to find her steel.
Frank and Claire begin their morning meetings. For Frank, the discussion is an Islamic organization similar to ISIS called ICO. While Frank speaks to the military appearing hesitant to deal with ICO situation, he has lawyer speak with a judge ordering new domestic surveillance (to deal with ICO, supposedly).
Frank shoots down Brockhart’s plans to attack a location where ICO leaders are supposedly stationed. Claire on the other hand begins the workings of a new anti-gun lobby, showing the pistols which killed the loved ones of families standing near her. The last gun, she says, killed Edward Meechum.
Frank and Donald Blythe stand over Meechum’s grave. As they speak, Frank offers the VP slot to Blythe, knowing he would turn down the position. The media takes photos of them as they discuss another option. Frank dances around with his language that would later make Claire his vice president.
Cutting to a campaign rally, we finally get a chance to see just how beloved Conway is.
While Conway busies himself with campaigning, Frank meets with the leaders of the Democratic party who tell us that Conway is considered a rockstar. He’s young, likeable, and already ahead in the polls.
Everything hinges on who Frank chooses as his VP. When he offers Blythe, the leaders suggest he pick someone more amiable to the voters. Instead of suggesting Claire however, he agrees to listen to the party’s suggestions. It’s clear he’s playing ball to set up a chance for Claire to slide in.
For a few minutes we see just why Conway is considered so charming, as Frank, Leann and Stamper discuss laying the ground work for Conway’s prosecution for altering the Polly Hop search network. Despite Leann’s protests, Frank chooses to stay the course rather than expand his viable options.
Conway accuses Frank’s administration of turning a blind eye to ICO. As the rally ends, a reporter questions Conway about Polly Hop asking if Conway is pulling voter data from the search engine. It’s enough of a spark to get the media in a frenzy. As Stamper and Frank discuss Leann’s plan B, Frank finally addresses the audience.
Stamper and Leann meet with Aidan, her genius data interpreter who’d been helping Claire with his data. They strike a deal with him giving him complete access NSA files under the pretense Aidan would take complete responsibility for it.
Conway holds a fundraiser and is questioned by an attendee regarding Polly Hop. In the basement of the hotel he secretly meeting with his staff. It’s revealed the reporter who opened the door for the press was not with the press pool. Angry Conway calls Frank who taunts him with the fact that the Justice Department will be investigating Conway’s connection to Polly Hop.
Frank addresses the audience again (yay!) and tells the story of the Roman General Sulla, and his much younger rival Marius. After Sulla had Marius killed, he held Marius’ head up in the forum and stared in his eyes saying “First, must pull an oar. Only then you can take the helm.”
Conway is upset after speaking with Frank, and is comforted by his wife. At the White House, Frank helps Claire rehearse a meeting with Julia Melman regarding new gun legislation and getting the approval of the NRA. He pushes Claire to be tougher, and stronger than she’s ever been.
Conway speaks with General Brockhart about a conversation had with Congressman Dreyer regarding Brockhart’s frustration with Frank’s inaction regarding ICO. Conway devises a plan to force Frank’s hand.
Brockhart attempts to resign from Frank’s administration. He claims his reasoning is the lack of action on ICO and not wanting to remain on the staff so long as another threat is present. Frank quickly deduces Conway has put Brockhart up to the resignation, and that Brockhart has passed information to Conway. He tells the audience Brockhart’s resignation has less to do with his conscience and more to do with moving on ICO. However, he decides to go with Brockhart’s suggestion wording it as though the Brockhart convinced him.
The authorization of the mission threatens Leann’s plan B. She pushes for the plan but fails to convince Frank and Claire. Later Frank and Claire rehearse their meeting with the Democratic leaders in which they will preen Claire as the VP candidate. Or at least that’s what we think.
Somewhere quiet Tom Hammerschmidt meets with the only other person who knows Lucas’ story is true, Janine Skorsky. She’s hidden herself away well, and Tom questions whether or not she has any evidence to back Lucas’ story. She doesn’t and does not want to help. We find out she’s become addicted to Xanax and cannot calm her nerves. Tom realizes she really cannot be of any help, and comforts her.
Conway speaks to Brockhart to find Brockhart has caved. We notice social media is an integral part of Conway’s campaign which probably garners a lot of support from the younger generation. He does a live webcast from his home. Through his webcast, he admits his partnership with Polly Hop. He has his friend, the CEO of Polly Hop appear on the webcast and assures voters that he’s not personally tracking individual people but metadata and large scale browsing patterns. Essentially, he’s blown up Frank’s plan A and uploads every email, photo, and text message his phone has ever sent or received. It hits well with the voters and the media. Polly Hop’s traffic jumps and Conway is seen as more charismatic than ever.
Frank and Claire discuss the back up plan, Frank is hesitant but Claire points out the Underwoods are always willing to go a step further than anyone else. As a result of the webcast Frank must use Plan B and abort the mission. He does so, against the General’s wishes and prevents the General’s resignation. As he and Claire prepare for bed, still in separate bedrooms, Claire calls him with information. On December 31st, 2012. Recorded is the first meeting between Frank and Conway. The damning conversation caught on tape has Conway saying he joined the military on 9/11 only to bolster a career in politics.
Frank on the other hand seems to become nostalgic for better times and joins Claire in her bedroom. His says to her, “We’re going to destroy them.”
“Yes, we are.” Claire responds.
Episode 8: Chapter 47
Conway sits across from Tom Yates encouraging Tom to publish his book based on the Underwoods, and make a very convincing point of doing so.
Have I mentioned how happy I am to see Frank’s asides return? I think they finally found a good middle ground for them. It seems as though the further Frank went off the deep end, the less we got to see of him. Now that he’s back, it’s all fun again.
The leadership presents Senator Dean Austen as Frank’s running mate. He’s a safe choice with few enemies and obviously someone Frank has no interest in. The party is having trouble keeping up their end of the bargain with Claire however who refuses to budge on getting the bill pushed through both houses.
Frank discusses when the announcement should be made, and all agree to keep Austen’s VP nomination under wraps. Claire meets with Kate Baldwin and manages to pass by the room Frank and Austen just happen to be in. Kate instantly puts two and two together.
Aidan, the data analyst secures his NSA bid and begins delivering information to Leann. That information is printed and disseminated as necessary. Conway and his wife Hannah do a photoshoot with Vanity Fair telling the editor, Dana Treister, about Tom’s book. Stamper approaches Tom for an excerpt of his book. We find out he’s holding to publish pending a meeting with Frank.
The data Leann sent out reaches… Leann. She feigns surprise but approves the use of the data. Claire records a broadcast for her gun control bill while Aidan pulls more and more data while dancing shirtless in his office. I mean that, the dance is super bizarre and kind of uncomfortable to watch.
Senator Austen’s office begins getting hundreds of calls, it’s obvious the news of his impending Vice Presidency has been leaked. Frank and Claire share a cigarette for the first time in a long time. He reads a part of an excerpt from Tom’s book describing their dead marriage. Claire points out that this is not who they were any more, and that Frank had once felt something for Tom. Claire felt as if Tom had seen her, and Frank agreed.
Tom Hammerschmidt continues digging into Lucas’ story. Zoe’s father called regarding an affair he had when Zoe was 17. He was unable to confirm if Zoe was having an affair with Frank.
Austen is confronted by the NRA representative who Claire met with earlier. A meeting with Claire gets Julia on board to depose Austen as Frank’s running mate and sub in Cathy Durant instead all while Frank secures Austen’s support for the gun bill in exchange for the Vice Presidency.
Frank passes the painting that hangs over Meechum’s handprint. He takes the painting down and places his hand over the painted over fingertips, missing his friend and companion.
Back to the action! Frank walks in on Claire in the tub, and they both confirm that each other’s plans are in motion. While he reminisces on Meechum, Claire brings Yates up. In hopes of mending the hole in Frank’s heart she feels Yates may serve as a form of replacement.
Meanwhile, Hammerschmidt visits Zoe’s old apartment. As he attempts to buzz the new tenant, a homeless woman threatens to call for the police. Impersonating an officer, Hammerschmidt confirms that Underwood was the bad man she’d seen on the block and that Zoe was a “whore.” Questioning the homeless woman why leads Hammerschmidt no where.
Conway approaches Brockhart to resign once again, blaming Brockhart for ICO’s continued actions. Conway wishes to make the Brockhart his running mate.
The Vanity Fair editor Conway’s wife Hannah approached is now meeting with Kate Baldwin. She offers Kate the chance to see Tom’s book excerpt. Although Kate states it’s a conflict of interest she considers the editors offer if it means anyone other than Frank in the White House.
Claire meets with Tom who wants a real ending for his book based on them. Claire relents to his request only if he agrees to hold off on publishing and to write speeches for Claire and Frank. Through observation he might finally get the closing he has been looking for.
Frank memorializes Meechum, using the press to announce Austen’s support of Claire’s gun control bill. That night Hammerschmidt finally gets the confirmation of Frank’s presence in Zoe’s neighborhood through Meechum of all people. A local pizza man recognizes Meechum on the recording of a memorial. It’s the first inkling that Lucas’ story is true.
Tom looks over his ending, weighing Claire’s offer in his mind. He deletes the end, and a phone call to Conway confirms Tom’s decision to go with the Underwoods
Austen caves under heavy pressure from the NRA and pulls out as Frank’s VP. Frank suggests Cathy Durant as his running mate. However, instead of showing Frank choosing Cathy, Frank insists the party chooses Durant. By doing so it would create a media circus that keeps all eyes on the Democratic party.
As Conway’s campaign readies the announcement that they’ve successfully poached Brockhart, Treister convinves Kate into writing about Brockhart in place of writing about Tom. Speaking of Tom, he meets with Claire and Leanne to discuss speeches Tom will be writing. He admits to being hungover which clearly irritates Claire, but not enough to throw her off her game.
Frank gets the news of Brockhart and immediately goes to Claire, together they realize Brockhart is going to be Conway’s running mate. Stamper immediately places the blame on Leann, and demands Seth look into Leann. Claire and Frank use Brockhart’s resignation to light a fire under the Democratic party leaders.
Hammerschmidt begins a tentative timeline based on Lucas’ story, finally starting to believe he was telling the truth. He starts with Meechum’s travel reports.
Episode 9: Chapter 48
We open on a Durant rally. It seems Frank really is running with Durant. Surprisingly, Claire’s name does appear as having been voted for the VP slot. Senator Sheer cast a vote for Claire which Claire coyly pushes aside for Catherine Durant.
Frank meets with the parents of the boy whose liver is in his body. Embracing his transplant and with the DNC keeps the Democratic party on top. Conway’s team is frustrated that the Republican voice is being drowned out by the theatrics created by Frank. Conway’s wife Hannah suggests Conway go to “where the thunder is.”
In an off the record interview, Blythe informs a reporter that it was Claire not Cathy Durant who brokered the deal with Petrov. Claire, Cathy, and Frank strategize to gain votes for Cathy. The reporter who spoke with Blythe confronts Durant that it was Claire who sealed the deal with Petrov, Cathy’s reaction speaks volumes for her.
The tables begin to turn on Durant as Texas casts all 237 of its votes for Claire. Celia Jones secures Claire’s place as a potential VP candidate in an interview saying Claire, “… is the best woman for the job.” Tom brings a speech for Claire’s review, and alludes to wanting to be the only speech writer for Claire. Left alone in the room with Frank, Tom finally speaks to the President.
Tom has worked out that Frank intends Claire to be the VP, and plans on writing “the speech to end all speeches.”
In the meantime, Claire continues to insist she’s not a real candidate and is joined by Durant. The self-same reporter from before beings up Claire’s foreign policy experience and Claire interrupts in order to garner support for Cathy. However, in side conversation, Cathy brings up the leak to Claire who offers even more of her continued support. Frank and Claire discuss preparing a meeting with Cathy to give her the news that the nomination is actually not hers.
Stamper pushes Seth for dirt on Leann, and is unhappy to find she’s clean. He demands for Seth to keep digging.
Frank and Conway meet if only to discuss Conway’s ownership of Polly Hop. When Conway attempts to actually steer the conversation to ICO, and he and Frank have a real conversation and Conway shows him the game Agar.io (which is a real game by the way). The two appear to be bonding, which is mildly terrifying.
The story of Claire’s support in Brandenburg breaks in the news, giving Claire more support. While Frank and Conway continue talking when Conway gets a call. Frank calls Leann in an attempt to have Aidan tap the call, but is refused. It’s after this call that Seth tells Leann of Stamper’s ambition to get her removed. Seth begs Leann for something to give to Doug so he can stay.
Conway and Frank watch as Claire racks up votes for the Vice Presidency, however Louisiana turns the tides on Frank attempting to nominate Catherine Durant for President. They are denied and end up casting all 61 votes for Durant.
Conway tells Frank his call was to secure Durant in the Vice Presidency. Durant has betrayed both Claire and Frank.
Frank and Claire discuss their next moves as they prepare to fight Cathy. Claire suggests going to Texas to “look in on her mother.” Frank suggests Claire take Tom with her in order to write the “speech to end all speeches.” On the plane, Tom and Claire prepare her speech.
Episode 10: Chapter 49
An intern Seth is sleeping with reads about Claire’s dealing with Petrov. Durant has officially joined the Presidential race. As the media tears into Frank once again, Claire becomes even more prevalent as Frank’s potential running mate.
Claire visits her mother to find her on the first floor rather than upstairs. Tom peaks in and meets Claire’s mother. Her mother chastises her in front of Tom but is kind to Tom as he leaves. Frank attempts to breed solidarity in the party and has the Democratic chair Patty Whitaker delay the vote until the President returns from Washington.
Frank uses ICO as the excuse to return to Washington. At home, Claire finds Tom and her mother having a grand old time together. Elisabeth compares Tom to Claire’s father. She’s obviously in a great deal of pain and shoo’s Claire out of the room instead of accepting her help. Outside, Tom points out Claire’s obvious hatred of her mother.
Frank finally gets Cathy in a room alone with him. She calls Frank on his betrayal, and demands one thing: The vice presidency. Cathy also has Jackie Sharp calling delegates in California claiming Frank both bullied and intimidated her. California has 476 delegates. Leann confronts Stamper, and tells him to “get past our personal shit and be a team.”
Finally we catch a glimpse of Hammerschmidt who is piecing together the president’s movements bit by bit.
In the limo, Frank continues to cool the wrath of Catherine Durant and continues to find himself pinned in a corner. The broken trust will prove to be precarious to repair if there’s any repair possible. Seth admits to telling Leann everything and holds his ground against Stamper who cannot let go of his personal fears and anger.
Democrats demand for the vote to begin and Claire’s resolve begins to crumble. Frank believes Claire’s mother is effecting Claire’s strength. Frank assures Claire he can take care of Durant while Claire takes care of her mother. Claire and the in home nurse tap dance around the topic of potential euthanization of her mother.
Cathy’s pettiness bleeds through into the situation room. She presents radical plans for handling ICO and plans to use Franks inability to use her extremity as a way to bury Frank once and for all. Elsewhere, Hammerschmidt is meeting with Heather Dunbar to confirm that Lucas was, in fact, telling the truth. Dunbar reveals Frank’s weak link: Remy Denton.
In Texas, Claire and her mother speak about her childhood. Claire admits that she cannot kill her mother, but Elisabeth speaks plainly. Her death will help Claire win, and that is all she wants to do. Their hands embrace, and Claire prepares for her mother’s passing. Elisabeth invites Tom to attend. Claire administers the fatal dose, and Elisabeth passes away.
Stamper stares down a hotel mini-bar waiting to confront Seth. Seth arrives tells Stamper that his “scorched Earth” policy is destroying the campaign. Honestly, even I don’t have the patience for Stamper’s issues. Even though Seth probably doesn’t give a damn about Stamper, at least he’s trying. I guess he didn’t donate before to the dead man’s fund, but Stamper is certainly donating now. Thanks for putting Frank in danger YET AGAIN.
Worst chief of staff EVER.
It’s situations like this that make me wonder why I’m rooting for Frank, considering he’s a terrible person all around, but I guess that’s the point of the show. Anyway back to the programming, Frank speaks to Claire who demands Frank to get Cathy on board.
Frank meets with Cathy one more time to show her an article written about her failure at the G7 summit. He informs Durant Claire’s mother has just passed. He tells Durant about his hallucinations about Zoe Barnes and Peter Russo, and confesses to killing them both. He then threatens Cathy just before pretending he was kidding about the confession. His threat however is very real.
Unsurprisingly, Cathy relents.
Tom checks in on Claire and finds her sitting in her mother’s room. He offers to make the call and make the arrangements for Elisabeth. Claire responds by taking Tom upstairs. The next morning as they lay in bed Tom says “We made the sun rise,” one of the last memories shared by Elisabeth and Claire. Elisabeth’s body is removed from the house, and Tom and Claire get back to work.
The Conway’s offer their condolences through yet another web video. Frank receives Claire and gives her a warm hug before sending her into the room he prepared for her to practice her speech. At the DNC, Catherine Durant takes the stage and finally steps down. It seems Frank’s message has finally gotten through. Claire’s speech begins, and it truly is the speech to end all speeches.
Frank and Claire succeed in getting the nomination.
Folks, that wraps up tonight for me. Join me tomorrow for the final three episodes to see if the Underwoods win the election!