10:00am PT by Etan Vlessing
'House of Cards,' "Chapter 35": The Underwoods Take Russia to Task
To mark the debut of House of Cards season three, THR will be breaking down the biggest moments from each episode every day through March 11. Read the previous breakdowns: Chapter 27, Chapter 28, Chapter 29, Chapter 30, Chapter 31, Chapter 32, Chapter 33, Chapter 34.
Foreign policy crises do tend to intrude on presidential campaigns, so it's no surprise when President Underwood's (Kevin Spacey) stumping in Iowa is interrupted when eight Russian troops are killed in the Jordan Valley. Middle East chaos soon has Frank cutting short his campaigning, putting another huge wrinkle in his plans.
Speaking of potential challenges for Frank, Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) meets hacker Gavin Orsay (Jimmi Simpson), who tells him told Rachel Posner (Rachel Brosnahan), who clocked him on the head at the end of season two, is dead. A bloody crime-scene photo is produced. Doug, losing his unrequited lover, falls off the wagon. It's unclear how this will affect Frank going forward, but it seems clear he is uncomfortable with what's going on with Doug.
During Doug's visit to the White House, Frank promises him he'll get back to health, and sends him home. Frank calls Dunbar to blast her for coming "very close to killing" a recovering alcoholic. Is Frank truly concerned for Doug, or does he just want him to stop associating with Dunbar?
Meanwhile, Remy Danton (Mahershala Ali) is carrying his own torch for ex-lover Jackie Sharp (Molly Parker). While giving her talking points, Jackie mentions her new husband and step-children. Remy's cutaway reax shot has him no longer flirty, but fuming.
Later in the episode, Remy's pulled over in his car by a cop. Showing too much lip, he's arrested. After being cut loose, Remy shows up on Jackie's doorstep and kisses her. For a long time. The price of his career is having no one in his life — or so he thinks.
Presidential advisors are skeptical when Claire relays that intel. They sense a trap set by Moscow. But Frank sides with Claire, and orders troops into the Jordan Valley. Death does strike, however, when Frank and his team in the situation room watch as U.S. troops covertly parachute into the Jordan Valley. A fire fight breaks out, and one American soldier is killed.
"Shut it down. Bring them home," a somber Frank declares.
Petrov calls and tells Frank he's trying to bring him down, again (Remember Claire and Michael Corrigan). Now it's Frank's turn to slam the phone down on Petrov.
An epic battle awaits.