As the episode begins, we see President Underwood aboard Air Force One as he and Claire make their way to Russia. The President is seated with author for hire Thomas Yates, who he’s brought along as well. The pair are discussing their first jobs – to no one’s surprise, Frank reveals he used to do packaging work for a cannabis farmer in Virginia. He and Yates discuss one of the author’s books that involves a hustler, based on a friend of his. Frank’s intrigued by Yates’ past… I would bet money we learn more about his life as the season goes on.
Once landed in Russia, Frank and Claire meet with Petrov straight away. He has agreed to free the gay rights activist Mark Corrigan from jail, but there’s a catch. Corrigan must read a prepared statement that declares he’s sorry for displaying what the Russian’s perceive as deviant sexual behavior. Claire visits Corrigan in jail to go over the terms of his release, but refuses to make the statement. He’s passionately committed to the cause, no matter what the consequences. The First Lady tries to reason with him, (and asks to speak to him privately, telling Russian officials to debug the jail) telling Michael to think of his husband back home. But it’s no use, he still refuses.
Angered by the stubbornness of Corrigan, Claire refuses to leave the jail cell until he agrees to return home. The two are served dinner in jail together, and a sort of heartfelt therapy session breaks out between them. Both of them discuss their respective marriages and come to find out they are more alike than previously thought. Corrigan confesses he and his husband don’t speak much anymore. They haven’t slept in the same bed together for awhile, and have even thought about separating. He senses Claire has a similar situation. (We already know she and Frank have separate bedrooms.) Two sides of the same coin. The sun is starting to set, and Claire tells Corrigan she’s just going to take a short nap to rest up. The last shot we see is Corrigan looking out through the metal bars at the setting sun.
Concurrently, Frank meets with Petrov to go over the terms of the Middle East peace resolution. The Russian President is growing increasingly tired of Claire’s scheming at the same time. At first, he won’t back down from requests to have Frank read the statement instead, or have it altered. “Revolution sneaks up on you one small step at a time,” Petrov insists. Eventually, Frank gets him to relent a bit, allowing President Underwood himself to make the statement. Everything seems to be coming together superbly.
The next morning, Russian officials enter Corrigan’s cell to deliver the news. Claire awakens to find Corrigan dead. He’s hanged himself by Claire’s scarf. Shaken, the Underwood’s along with Petrov hold a press conference to express their condolences at this tragedy. Claire unexpectedly expresses her true feelings, condemning outrageous gay propaganda law and Petrov himself. She storms off, leaving Frank to apologize for her behavior.
Petrov declares the peace deal to be dead, leaving Frank fuming with anger. The President and Claire depart the country aboard Air Force One where the two get into a huge fight with each other. “We’re murderers,” Claire insists. No, Frank corrects her. “We’re survivors.” Frank says he never should have appointed her as ambassador. Claire retorts that she never should have made him President. Things spiral further into despair for the Underwoods.
Meanwhile, hacker Gavin is getting creepier by the minute. He’s still trying to befriend Rachel’s ex-girlfriend, Lisa by helping out at the fellowship she’s a part of. Their friendship grows closer, both confiding in the other. Gavin (going by “Max”) confesses that he may be positive for H.I.V. and goes to get tested. Although the nurses says Gavin’s results are negative, he lies and breaks down in front of Lisa for testing positive. The two sit and get into a deep discussion about past relationships. Gavin sneakily gets Lisa to talk about Rachel, asking her where they imagined traveling to together. She makes a reference to the Jiminez Trail, where they imagined hiking together. Bingo. Back in his office at the FBI, Gavin narrows his search for Rachel to New Mexico (where the trail is located). The game is afoot.
Can Gavin actually find Rachel? Will Frank and Claire mend their broken relationship? Does the peace resolution have any chance now? Give us your thoughts on the episode below.