It’s not easy being an Underwood. At least not in the White House, that’s for sure.
The episode opens with Claire on the hot seat. She’s seated before a Senate committee hearing, hoping to convince them that she’s worthy of being named ambassador to the United Nations. It’s a tough sell to a group of mostly white male Republicans, however. Chances of a nomination? Slim.
While being questioned by the Underwoods’ political adversary, Hector Mendoza, Claire drops a poor comment calling American troops “irrelevant.” (Noooooo!) Mendoza latches on and runs with her mistake, baiting her until she finally snaps back at him. Claire looks like an impulsive, angry hothead unfit for the United Nations position. Well played, Mendoza. How will anyone be able to see her as capable of handling a heated political situation now? Claire’s political career appears to be damaged beyond repair and her chances at being confirmed look unlikely.
Meanwhile back at the White House, Frank’s facing a similar takedown. In a meeting with the Democratic leadership from Congress, he learns that the party does not want him to run for reelection in 2016. “If you do run sir, you won’t have our support,” a party leader declares. Ouch, a huge vote of no confidence. There’s clearly some much needed work to be done by both Frank and Claire to gain back trust. The pair hole up in their respective offices upon arriving back home and get to work making calls to find anyone willing to back them up. For a couple who have been so thirsty for power in the past, it’s harrowing to see them spiral so quickly into disgrace.
Late into the night Claire is still glued to the phone, struggling to find an ounce of support ahead of her nomination vote tomorrow. Frustrated, she goes for a run to clear her head with Secret Service in tow. She enters Frank’s office only to find him curled up on the floor sobbing. In a total Claire power move, she brings him back from the brink in what is one of the weirder sex scenes this show has given us so far. Whatever works, I guess?
Enough about the President and First Lady, though. Focus shifts to another scheming member of Congress, Jackie Sharp. Remy meets with her to get a sense of the Democratic leadership’s motives, but she has other plans. Jackie makes her intentions known: a spot back in the inner political circle. She wants to be Vice President on the next presidential ticket. Underwood/Sharp 2016. Remy is sent off to make it happen. Tough sell, as Jackie hasn’t proven herself to be particularly loyal or useful to Frank quite yet. She’s going to need to prove herself in order to make her Vice President dreams a reality. As Remy walks away, we see Jackie text Ayla Sayyad, a Pulitzer-winning reporter at the Wall Street Telegraph. If you wanted to leak some crucial information to gain influence, that’s certainly the way to do it.
Back with Claire, she’s busy picking out the official eggs for the annual White House Easter Egg roll. Her aide interrupts to bring tidings of bad news: her nomination has been voted down by a margin of 52-48 against. Obviously hurt, she gives a brief press conference in the press room to express her disappointment. Claire’s political endeavors appear to be over before they’ve even begun.
In contrast, Frank decides not to take the his lack of support lying down. Along with Seth and Remy, he hatches a cunning plan. The Democratic leadership gathers in a room where Frank declares that he will in fact not run for re-election in 2016. Instead, he wants to focus on getting America Works passed by Congress in the 18 months he has left in office. He doesn’t just ask for the support of the party, he basically tells them they will support the bill. Frank may not get a shot at the presidency again, but he is determined to leave a lasting legacy any way he can.
Later that evening, Frank addresses the nation live on air. He declares, “The American Dream has failed you. Your children will not have a better life than you did.” The President has come out swinging to push the jobs bill forward. Frank spells out the details of the plan, looking to create 10 million new jobs for citizens. The catch? Social security and entitlements are done away with. He ends his speech by declaring, “I would rather leave this office having accomplished something of value rather than secure another four years having done nothing at all.” President Underwood is ready to do everything in his power to get America Works passed.
After the speech, we see Seth pay Doug Stamper a visit. Doug knows Frank all too well, letting Seth know he doesn’t buy Frank’s intention to not run. Seth leaves, and we see him indulge in another squirt of whiskey from the syringe. It’s painful to see him slip further, and we’re left wondering if he’ll ever gain control from his addictions again.
Claire isn’t ready to admit defeat quite yet. She approaches Frank while he’s making a pb&j late at night and asks him for a recess appointment. “I prepared for it. I can do this,” she declares. Frank gives in, saying he will honor her wish. Looks like we’re off to the United Nations, only this time Claire is prepared to fight for the ambassadorship.
What did you think of the episode? Will Claire be named to the United Nations? Can Frank actually pass this crazy jobs plan? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.