Hi guys! Welcome back to Washington for more shenanigans with our favourite dysfunctional couple on House of Cards. Things were set for a busy, busy election season and I have high hopes we’ll meet that smoldery Gov. Conway soon. Getcher ivory dress on, we're rolling S4:E2 Chapter 41 after the break!
Elizabeth is having high tea with several of her closest friends; they all hate Frank and non-neutral colours as much as she does. She holds the party line, though; Claire was there to see her, not because she was fighting with “classless, graceless shameless barbarian.”
Another thing they agree on is that Frances K Underwood does not DESERVE to be President and I had no idea people thought of it like mid-level treats: did you clean your room? No? You don’t deserve ice cream! Did you share personal news about an estranged family member? Gimme dem keys to the White House, mister!
Oh ho, it’s not just words, Elizabeth has a plan! She wants all her rich and influential ladyfriends to donate to Heather Dunbar’s campaign, the sooner Frank loses, the sooner Claire can start her run. Wow. Do you think it’s possible Elizabeth can have THAT much influence? Interesting.
The Ladies Who Lunch are confused: they just write a cheque? Francis cannot know, so their donations must be “once removed” *sly smirk*. I WANT to like Claire’s mama, but the icicle doesn’t fall far from the cube van.
Celia Jones is trying to work with Jackie Sharp (Molly Parker) to make her and her mama’s breast cancer clinic a reality even without Claire’s help, but Jackie doesn’t need anything today, sorry! Oh but she could use $3 million in a SuperPAC, who couldn’t? This is all arranged by Claire of course, who contacted Celia behind Congresswoman Jones’s back to put the plan in motion. The Congresswoman is quietly furious, I’m more confused that her daughter went for it, I mean, this delays her holding her mom’s seat for at least 2 years. Claire suggests they don’t talk about it directly, you know, things will have to be handled…once removed. The Hale Family is a force to be reckoned with.
Frank’s getting ready for his speech; all he wants to know is if Claire has arrived. She has indeed, Leeann in tow; asking if there’s a backup plan if Jackie gets cold feet. There is, Jackie and Remy always use the same hotel, so Leeann’s got someone posted there. There are probably a thousand hotels in Washington, DC, why not use a different one every time? Lazy bums gonna getcha caught.
Claire walks into her bedroom (I always fixate on the striped silk sofa at the end of the bed. I WANTS it) to find a pair of Francis’s mother’s earrings for her to wear that evening; walking out she throws the note and earrings in the garbage.
In debriefing with everyone (honestly, that’s more like it, I picture the POTUS constantly surrounded by people asking for his decision on important matters, this show makes Frank seem so isolated), they bring Frank up to speed on Petrov, who’s busy assassinating anyone who has anything he wants or who has openly opposed him. Chief of Staff Catherine Durant (Jayne Atkinson – I love her) reports that anti-Petrov Igor Milkin (Leonid Citer) has landed in Bangor, Maine (Stephen King will know what to do!) and is seeking political asylum. Frank calls it “Brutus, Cassius and the one that got away” and if I LOVE that as a subtitle. He tries to wash his hands of it, but there are so many complicated factors at play, including the fact that Igor will absolutely be murdered if sent back (which of course doesn’t concern Frank – he tried to slay a dragon and didn’t manage it, too bad so sad) so he testily asks if Catherine has a suggestion then? He has a speech to prepare for! No problem solving for our Francis, he’s there to stump for more dough so he can continue to fundraise from swanky digs. There is something very wrong with what passes for democracy these days.
Claire’s reviewing her wardrobe for the speech when Leeann brings in the phone; she got Mrs. Hale on the line. Claire hears a voice in the background, Elizabeth lies and says she’s in for a pedicure, but she’s in for chemotherapy. Mrs. Hale has all KINDS of ideas about Claire’s run, first off: can she use her maiden name? Or use it as a middle name? Just think about it, Claire. And no, for the love of all that is holy, do NOT wear the ivory dress, it will accentuate everything wrong with her figure (what’s wrong?? I mean). I bet $5 Claire wears that ivory dress as a big old’ off you Ma.
Elizabeth is weak, though, physically, what is it about elderly vipers that still make us feel protective?
Frank wants to keep the news of the asylum seeker on the DL, good luck with that! He gets a call just then from Congresswoman Jones and goes in to see Claire and Calista Bates (Karen Tsen Lee) who will be breaking down the evening for them in point form.
The earrings Claire threw away were 2 carats, huh. There is some polite WASPy wrangling over the events of the night and then Claire cuts it short. Frank snags Claire to stay back, can he talk to her for a moment? Some polite probing by Frank, he never shows his hand right off, does he? Angry after, he strides back to his office to make some changes to his speech, let Calista know there will be another person on the dais, will Stampy? Fanks!
Jackie and Remy (Mahershala Ali) are messing about in “their” hotel room, he wants to chat and carry on (she got a tattoo removed – they used to symbolize when she made a mistake I think) and she has less than an hour minus travel time, so chop chop, Remy! Sling some D! More cocky, less talky!
She asks him about Doris Jones while Remy pours bevvies; Jackie’s sorted out that Claire’s behind the 3 million in outside money. Remy’s gonna check into it, but Jackie has other plans first. “I wanna taste you first”
Leeann’s Private Eye gets them leaving the same hotel, but that doesn’t really mean anything, does it?
Elizabeth is still recovering from chemo, but she’s up and watching the speech on TV, just in time to see Claire in ivory, standing next to surprise guest Celia Jones. Claire watches Jackie and Doris Jones walk in with trepidation, what does Frank have up his sleeve?
Remy watches from a bar, oh look at that, Leeann’s there too! What a coincidence! Remy says he’s out of the business, but that he’s there on business, so Leeann and I are confused. I guess we’ll have to wait until after the speech, because shhhhh Remy, it’s starting!
Oh does Claire every look uncomfortable and stiff next to Celia Jones, her entire body angled away. Celia looks ECSTATIC.
Let’s see what Frank’s been up to! First, he mentions the strife with Russia and gives Claire props for helping to calm that down; is that a way to drag her back into it since he knows Russia is ANYTHING but calm right now? And that truly, she wasn’t successful. Leeann notes to Remy that Claire got more applause than Frank and PUH-LEEZE. Nobody likes Claire! The woman is slightly warmer than one of Giles Blunt’s books.
Remy presses Leeann; is she working for Claire or what? She pushes back with insinuations about Jackie and there we have it, everyone knows what everyone knows and now let’s see if anyone will do anything.
Oh ho and Frank’s still yakkin’, he brings up Doris Jones, who just that day called him about a Breast Cancer clinic, ohhhhh so in that one move, he gave away Claire’s leverage and took away Jackie’s promised dough too. Doris gives him a standing ovation with tears in her eyes, that is a beautiful crocodile move right there. But he’s not done, no he isn’t! He names Celia as Doris’s replacement and Claire will help with that! Claire looks like she swallowed an entire bird while Leeann swears at her driver.
Jackie calls Remy, who lies about meeting with Leeann, and he won’t be seeing her any time soon. I think he’s removing himself as a liability to her, very noble I’m sure.
Claire is being driven away to Andrews to go home when she’s informed by Secret Service that there’s been a change in plans, she’ll be going back to the White House. It is orders from the President.
Frank’s there to give Claire a spanking for her political maneuvering; my favourite part was when he said he would not “allow” her to become dangerous. I don’t think he has any idea of just how dangerous she can be. She’s wearing his mama’s earrings, too, my bad. She must have just thrown the note in the garbage earlier.
Frank pours a drink “I’ll take one” she says and he gives her his. He explains how he needs her support and why; she can’t run now, she needs to come from a position of strength. It’s about teamwork and timing. She needs to think, though, and she can’t do it here, so back to Dallas she goes. She hands him his drink, though, I don’t know what that was about. This is starting to feel like a Kubrick movie, one of the good ones, but with lots of staring and sparsely casted. And the colour blue everywhere.
Ah and finally Frank speaks to us; to tell us a story about a boy in Gaffney named Walter. Walter liked to run away about once a month and it usually led to Frank’s mama calling Walter’s mama until the last time, when Walter treed himself and wouldn’t come down. Frank tried to coax Walter down with no success, but his repeated refusals angered Frank, who thought ungrateful Walter with his nice house needed to learn what it was REALLY like to live in Frank’s house. He got out his axe and he chopped that tree down with poor Walter innit, he really hopes Claire comes around soon. He doesn’t want to have to get out his axe.
Claire finds Leeann on the plane; they know the 30th has been burned, so moving on. Leeann asks if it’s over then? But no, it’s accelerated to this cycle and they need to think bigger. With those words, Leeann commits to the job, let’s talk compensation!
Back at the White House, it’s time to deal with Petrov. It goes off the rails pretty quickly; Petrov believes the United States is behind the coup attempt (well that wouldn’t EXACTLY be shooting in the dark, would it?) so he won’t give anything at all for the return of Igor Milkin. Frank’s assurances and plans go to nothing, Petrov’s planning to manipulate the world’s energy market by withholding oil from the companies he’s seized, and Frank will not be extorted! Good day, sir! I SAID GOOD DAY!
Igor is going to be stashed; he’s taken off his plane to a secure location so they can process his asylum request.
Claire arrives home to see her mama, and we get a few more minutes of Kubrick stary-ness, we just need one note of a piano played over and over and we’ll be set. Her mother startles her smoking; she stubs it out immediately, so funny how a grown woman can be reduced to a child with a look.
They discuss Frank’s mother’s earrings, which Claire is still wearing, then move on to campaign strategy. Claire asks her mom for a $1.5 million for Leeann, plus extras, Elizabeth balks. Claire threatens to sell the land her mother’s house is on and the fight is on, slowing when Elizabeth hisses “oh you are SUCH a disappointment.” This woman wouldn’t be happy with ANYTHING!
Claire swears she’ll sell it, causing Elizabeth to LOSE it, taking off her turban and beating the stairs with it, revealing her bald head, screaming “I AM THE MOTHER!! I am the MOTHER!!” Claire watches in silence, and then walks out into a field (the stables?) to light another cigarette and stare into the darkness. We’re oot.