Friday, March 04, 2016

HOUSE OF CARDS - S4E5 - Chapter Forty Four

Thoughts: A solid if unspectacular episode. I like the idea that we're bringing back some of the journalists that initially covered Frank's malfeasance, such as Kate Baldwin, and that his good luck of evading justice will perhaps finally come to an end and Lucas Goodwin's sacrifice will actually mean something. I also  really like the increasing glimpses we're getting of Doug Stamper's true psychotic nature.  That said, I still don't find the Jackie Sharp/Remy storyline particularly interesting and I wonder how realistic it is that the Acting President could sit there IM chatting with someone during a secret diplomatic phonecall.

Running time: 47 minutes. Written by Melissa James Gibson. Directed by Tom Shankland.

Detailed and spoiler-filled plot summary:

President Frank Underwood is in hospital and dreams of the civil war re-enactor being in his room and shooting him. He also dreams he's on a rowing machine and then imagines Meechum is in his room. Frank then dreams that he's in a wood being shot at by sniper fire all around him.  We also realise that Frank can hear what is being said around him. 

His aide Doug Stamper meets with a Fed to discuss the assassin Lucas Goodwin and realises that their report will show his investigation into the murder of Zoe Barnes.   The Feds interview Tom Hammerschmidt who used to be Lucas' editor and ask for his notes. Stamper decides that the Attorney General and Seth should resign. Stamper is convinced (wrongly) that Seth leaked the KKK photo. Seth tells Stamper he "knows things" and Stamper replies "nothing you can prove." 

Acting President Blythe and Doug Stamper are told that Frank needs a liver transplant within days.  Blythe then visits with Claire Underwood who continues to insinuate her way into policy-making instant messaging him throughout a phonecall with Russian President Petrov. She goads Blythe into telling Petrov that the President may die and he better get used to negotiating with him.  Because Blythe told Petrov, the White House will have to give a press conference.

Due to the Russian production cuts the US is facing high gasoline prices and fuel shortages. Remy Danton runs out of fuel in Florida and tells his lover Jackie Sharp he can't meet with her.  Claire's campaign manager Leann Harvey tracks him down and blackmails him with the pictures of him having an affair with Jackie to get him back to Washington.  Claire needs Remy to tell billionaire industrialist Raymond Tusk to propose a tie-up between US and Chinese energy companies to lower the oil price, but to pretend its his idea. 

GOP candidate Heather Dunbar covers her tracks so no-one will admit to seeing her with Lucas Goodwin.  Meanwhile Seth tells Stamper he can end Dunbar's campaign if his  job is guaranteed - presumably by going public that she met with Goodwin.  Stamper then meets with the Attorney-General who admits that she was contacted by Dunbar under the threat of prosecution.

Finally Claire addresses the press about the transplant but also the documents that Goodwin left behind accusing the President of murder.  She says they are untrue.  But it clearly piques the interest of Zoe Barnes' former editors. Kate Baldwin goes to confer with Tom Hammerschmidt but he tells her to let it go. Nonetheless, Tom decides to review Lucas' old files.

Doug Stamper tries to kill Seth Grayson but somehow changes his mind. But somehow everything seems normal the next day.  He then offers to donate his liver to Frank but is told by the doctors that as a former alcoholic he is not a suitable donor.  Finally, Remy and Jackie hook up again.

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