House of Cards Series 3 Review: Chapter 35

Series 3 Episode 9 – falling off the wagon

Jonathan is watching and reviewing every episode of House of Cards series three in one epic binge. Follow his progress here.


Perhaps it’s because I have now mainlined ten hours of dense scheming and acronyms, or it might be because I stayed up late last night drinking bourbon to ‘get into the mindset’, but the plot is getting a little hard to follow. The fact this episode starts with someone giving oral sex while imitating Foghorn Leghorn (Foghorn Leghorny?) doesn’t help matters.

Anyway, eight Russians are killed in the Jordan Valley, but they won’t let anyone near the crash site. The Russian ambassador Alexi lets slip to Claire that the entire thing is a false flag operation – hello to the conspiracy nutjobs who have just stumbled us accidentally– by the Russian military.

Frank responds by sending in his own covert team, who promptly get cut down, revealing it was an ambush set by Petrov. Still with us? Frank lies to Petrov, Petrov lies to Frank and neither believes the other, despite the boasting earlier in the series.

Also there’s some stuff about campaigning regulations onboard Air Force One, but let’s not get into that.

Remy, the slick White House Chief of Staff used to being in control of the situation, finds himself humiliated by two cops during a traffic stop. “I have my government pin” and “Google my name” are not the most endearing excuses and things escalate until, somehow, he is admitting his feelings for old flame Jackie Sharp. Lest we forget, Frank and Remy are responsible for turning the congresswoman into the monstrously ambitious schemer she is today. With an eye towards the 2016 election –when she plans on running as Frank’s VP– she lets Remy down gently.

Incredibly, it’s the Doug/Rachel/superhacker storyline that makes the most sense. Doug is given evidence that his beloved Rachel is dead, and immediately gets drunk and plays angry basketball. Then he runs to his beloved President and admits that 1) He’s been working for his rival Heather Dunbar in an attempt to be useful and 2) He’s fallen off the wagon, despite his fool proof ‘sucking bourbon out a syringe’ method of temperance.*

Frank doesn’t react, but is clearly deciding whether his old friend has become a liability. “I’m not Peter Russo,” Doug assures him. “I won’t go out like he did.”

You better hope not.

Now with Doug a broken man, Petrov leaking evidence of the American attack to Israel and the Russians looking to get a hold in the region, Frank is going to need a firm backbone and one or two stiff drinks to navigate his way out of this nightmare.

*This is actually a cocktail in certain clubs in Aberdeen. It’s called ‘You’re So Vein’.**

The Quotable Underwood


“Please, slit my wrists with his butter knife.”

“He’s not shedding tears, he’s popping champagne corks. I can hear them.”


** OK, that’s a lie, but I did once have a ‘Purple Rain’, where you sucked whisky smoke from under an upturned glass through a test tube. Fun town.