RED ALERT! Everything is going down in flames! Doug has reached his lowest point. Petrov is off the deep end. The peace deal is dead. Frank’s campaign is at risk of spiraling downwards. Could it get any worse? Let’s rewind and recap all of these various plot threads first…
First, we see Kate and Yates are still continuing their relationship. They seem to be pretty open with each other, which seems like a horrible idea. (They are sort of working on opposite sides?) The pair blow off an entire day of events while Frank is on the ground campaigning in Iowa, a careless move if you ask me. Frank asks Yates if he wants to join them up front in Air Force One and he declines, I’m betting he has at least an inkling that something is going on here. This relationship seems doomed unless the two are more careful with their sneaking around.
Speaking of relationships, Remy can’t shake his own past in this episode. He gets pulled over after dropping off Harlan Traub, a member of the Iowa Democratic Party, for allegedly speeding. The incident clearly has him worked up, he jets over to Jackie Sharp’s apartment building right after. They talk in the lobby, where she tries to be there as a friend but Remy is overcome with old feelings and goes in for a kiss. She doesn’t pull away exactly, but stresses her marriage. She’s there for him, as a friend. Nothing more.
Meanwhile, let’s get to the main dealings of the episode. While Frank is out on the road giving a rousing speech in Iowa, horrible news comes down the pipeline. Eight Russian soldiers have been killed in the Jordan Valley. Claire discreetly delivers the news to him on stage and the campaigning is abruptly put on hold. The Underwood’s immediately are back on Air Force One and headed to the White House. There’s such a rush to get back home that Frank takes Harlan Traub aboard the plane. One catch: there’s no campaigning allowed on Air Force One in accordance with the Federal Elections Commission. Kate sees Traub aboard and starts snooping around.
Back in DC, Claire heads to the United Nations to try and dig up who attacked the Russians. She meets with the Russian ambassador alone in the only room that both sides claim they haven’t bugged. (No privacy anywhere!) The ambassador tells her that Petrov himself is behind the attack: he’s using it as an excuse for Russia to back out of the peacekeeping deal. Furthermore, Russia won’t let the UN or any other nations near the the site of the attack. Claire goes back and informs Frank and military personnel in the Situation Room. They are skeptical of the information. Frank asks Claire if she’s certain Petrov is behind the attack. She assures him and the President orders a covert American mission to try and get into the site.
The mission starts off smoothly and quickly goes awry. One American soldier is shot and killed, the rest are ordered back to safety. Later that evening, Petrov calls Frank – he knows about the attempted mission. Petrov accuses the US of being directly responsible for soldiers’ deaths. Frank alleges that Petrov himself is behind the killings. The Russian President denies the claim, both sides stay locked firmly against the other.
Lastly, we go back to that same cafe where creepy hacker Gavin and Doug Stamper meet once again. There’s nothing but bad news this time. Gavin claims he’s found Rachel. She’s dead. Stamper refuses to believe it at first, but Gavin has photographic proof. The shock is too overwhelming. Doug totally loses it. He stumbles home drunk after getting smashed out of his mind at a bar.
After hearing word from Seth, Frank sends for Doug and meets with him in the Oval Office. There, Stamper delivers the news about Rachel. Frank realizes how much she meant to Doug in that moment, as he sees him on the verge of tears. Finally, Doug fesses up and tells Frank he’s relapsed. He admits to working for Heather Dunbar, but only because he thought it would be useful to insert himself as a double agent and potentially gain vital information that would benefit the Underwood campaign. Stamper pleads with Frank to not send him to rehab, saying he’s “not Peter Russo.” Meechum ends up taking Doug home, but only before we see a sad (but sweet?) moment with Doug crying on Frank’s knee.
Things couldn’t possibly get worse though, right? I wouldn’t be so sure, things are coming to a head here. Someone is bound to go down hard soon. What did you think of the episode? Drop us thoughts in the comments below.