|Kate Mara at the London première|
PLOT SUMMARY: In the wake of the failed Watershed Bill vote, chief whip Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) takes the rap, sheltering Linda Vasquez (Sarakina Jaffrey) from President Walker's (Michael Gill) anger, and currying favour by persuading Gillian (Sandrine Holt) to help Vasquez' son get into Stanford. Frank tells Claire (Robin Wright) in no uncertain terms that her charity is not as important as his political goals. She reacts by visiting Zoe (Kate Mara) before joining her ex-lover Adam Galloway (Ben Daniels) in New York. Zoe (Kate Mara), disgusted and alienated from her apartment, sleeps with her ex-colleague, Lucas. Meanwhile Frank sets up Gubernatorial candidate Peter Russo (Corey Stoll) with Doug's hooker Rachel (Rachel Brosnahan), resulting in him falling off the wagon and blowing a radio interview. In the final scene, Peter goes awol.
COMMENTS: A good, tense episode focussing on the emotional fallout from Claire's betrayal in the last episode. It was obvious that Claire would go to New York, but not that Zoe would sleep with Lucas, seemingly having a change of heart about her nakedly ambitious, heartless career choices to date. It was also a surprise to see (presumably) Doug and Frank set Peter up for a fall, although one can't yet see to what end. Doesn't it look bad for Frank to have backed the wrong horse - a man so obviously in a fragile recovery? I guess we have to wait and see who he plans to put into the gubernatorial race instead, and to what end that helps him. Finally, Frank knows where Claire is. Will he go and get her? Or just wait for her to return? I thought the acting in this episode was particularly top notch, especially as it didn't rely on zingers, or any dialogue at all, but rather long drawn out reaction shots. I loved Kate Mara's reaction as she does a double-take of her grimy apartment, seeing it through Claire's condescending eyes, tinged with her own bad choices and memories. And I loved the look on Corey Stoll's face when he drank his first shot, and I really hope he gets some awards love for this challenging performance.