Thoughts: Perhaps my favourite moment of this entire series is when Hannah Conway asks Claire Underwood if she regrets not having children, and Claire asks if she regrets having them in return. It's amazing how many mothers feel it's fine to ask that question because it's assumed to be the default setting. I must remember to use that rebuttal in future! Other than that, I'm suspending judgment on this episode until I've seen the next one because it's evidently meant to be viewed as a tense two-parter.
Running time: 46 minutes. Written by Laura Eason & Bill Kennedy. Directed by Jakob Verbruggen.
Detailed and spoiler filled plot summary:
IT analyst Aidan Macallan monitors internet traffic during a televised debate between the Democratic and Republican Presidential and Vice-Presidential nominees, Frank & Claire Underwood and Conway & Brockhart. We learn that Frank has sent US troops on the ground to fight ICO, and that Conroy's lead is narrowing. Aidan gives Leann specific information on which words score high with voters. In the debate Conway and Brockhart deny contacting Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee to veto the Russian involvement in the deployment. The debate is interrupted by a military envoy telling them that three Americans have been taken hostage by ICO but within the USA. ICO is demanding money, negotiation with Conway, and the return of their leader.
Meanwhile, Frank's Chief of Staff Doug Stamper pressurises a member of the HIC to admit that Brockhart did contact him or Stamper will expose the fact that he lied about his service record. He plays hardball so Frank threatens him directly.
The Conways move into the White House. The security forces work out who the hostage-takers are. Claire and Hannah Conway speak. We learn that Claire's bill did not pass the Senate. Hannah is fawning.
In the situation room, it is decided that Conway will field calls from the hostage-takers but won't reveal that he knows their names. When they threaten to cut out the girl's tongue Conway calls them by their names and speaks to the hostages. Conway admits he has nightmares about killing people. He says that he wouldn't do it again and is ashamed of what he's done. The captors release the call to the press. Tom Hays writes a speech for the eventually that the hostages are killed.
Tom Hammerschmidt meets with former President Garrett Walker who resigned rather than be impeached and resents his party for refusing to back him. He turns in an article to Margaret Tilden. They decide to send an email to the White House the following day.
Remy Danton meets with Democratic Whip Jackie Sharp to discuss Tom Hammerschmidt's investigation. She knows he knows that she whipped the votes for Garrett's impeachment. She wants them both to talk to Tom on the record. She's also told her husband about their relationship and that he'll give her a quiet divorce.
Aidan Macallan is disconcerted to have NSA men in his office now that they need to monitor traffic pertaining to the hostage situation.
The leader of moderate muslims, Ibrahim Halabi, goes on TV to warn against a rise in anti-muslim feeling because of a few extremists.
Claire mysteriously asks Doug to deal with a secret plan, that also involves a call with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He then has supper with Laura Moretti.
The next call comes in and Frank decides that he will speak to the hostage takers rather than Claire.