This article contains information that could be considered too revealing according to our spoiler policy. Proceed with caution. You can't unsee it!Reason Don't read this unless you're 100% done with Season 3!
Run, Claire, Run!
Season 3 of House Of Cards ends with one caged bird set free and another buried in the ground.
"I Suppose I Can Take A Break From Manhattan..."
Alert Type: Character Resurface Alert.
Issue: Rachel's alive! She's working two jobs and living in a rundown apartment where she has to share one shower with the whole floor, but she is alive.
Complicating Factors: Doug doesn't want her to be alive because of stuff from Season 1 that we're not even talking about anymore.
Resolution: For now, Rachel's happy to take in the simple pleasures of life, from breathing fresh air to restocking shelves at the local grocery store while listening to Jacksonville southern rock. She's just glad not to be in a car with Doug on the way to her gravesite.
Spoiler: Life is cyclical.
We've Been -- SQUIRREL!!!
After Rachel's montage of freedom, we return to our resident White House prisoner. The previous episode concluded with Claire telling Frank, "We've been lying to each other," and our first scene with the Underwoods in this episode is the continuation. Not that there's much to add: Frank asks Claire to elaborate, but she just takes a beat and says, "Never mind. Forget I said anything." OH, OKAY, CLAIRE.
Doug Is Going to Caracas!
Q: Does Doug have friends in Caracas?
A: According to Doug, he has friends everywhere, but he's not going to see a friend.
Q: So...why is Doug going Caracas?
A: To beat up Gavin, who fled from the U.S. with Doug's help, until Gavin gives up Rachel's exact location.
Q: Oh. Well, how does that go?
A: Pretty well!
Earning A Living
Rachel meets with a scruffy man in back of the grocery store she works at. She forks over a big wad of cash, and, in return, he gives her a new ID, social security card, etc. So, this is why Rachel seemed so serene in that opening montage. She's about to make her escape to the Pacific Northwest where, supposedly, trees will keep her safe from the Dougs of the world. She thanks the man and motions to return to work, but, before she can leave, he offers her $100 back for a quick lay in his truck. Rachel's put her hookin' days behind her, so she tells the dude to fuck off back to his wife and kids. I'm not saying she's wrong to turn him down, but there are worse looking men you could end up banging in the back of semi for a Benjamin, AMIRIGHTLADIES???
Later, Doug pays a significantly smaller amount of money for a used van he plans on using to kidnap Rachel and drive her out to the desert to bury her. So, you can spend a year working two jobs and saving money and have it all taken away from you a corrupt Washington insider. America at work!
Why Is Mommy Talking To Daddy Like That?
Claire is sitting in the bathtub, submerged all the way to her mouth: a telltale sign that you’re a fictional character on the edge. Determined to get a rise out of her husband, Claire puts on her bathrobe, walks into their hotel bedroom, and says, "I want you to fuck me, Francis." Ewwwwww. Frank is as disgusted with the situation as I am and tells Claire that he's too busy working to fuck her, but Claire will not be spurned.
Claire slaps Frank a couple of times and then grabs his sausage fingers and wraps them around her throat. She tells him she wants it rough, and Frank is so revolted by her behavior that he actually seems willing to hurt her -- until, of course, she demands that he look her in the eyes while he schtups her.
Frank's Underwood is unable to achieve the Underwoodie Claire requires. (I'll let myself out.) "That's what I thought," she whispers to him, before he walks to the phone and orders the staff to prepare Claire a separate room.
Claire flies back from Iowa and takes her place amongst the White House décor. Just where Frank wants her.
I Want To Be In A-mer-i-ca! Dada-dadada A-mer-i-ca!
What's the occasion? Bianca, Rachel's neighbor, has finally finished that path to citizenship politicians are always going on about. And doing so hasn't brought ISIS into the country. OKAY, LOUIE GOHMERT?
What are the refreshments? A bottle of wine that Maria, Rachel's other neighbor, got from her "Thursday house." And chips!
Whose big public scene will everyone be talking about tomorrow? Maybe a cranky old lady who doesn't appreciate them having a get-together IN THE HALLWAY, but if so it goes unseen.
We do, however, see Doug, chillin' outside Rachel's building in his van being a total Doug.
In Case I Ever Need To Flee Frank By Single Scull
The Scene: Claire wants to go for a run in public, but doing so will draw attention to the fact that she's not on the campaign trail mere days before the Iowa caucus. So, Claire has the staff drag out of storage....
The Symbol: THE BROOKSTONE ROWING MACHINE OF POWER!!!!
The Meaning: When Claire bought the machine for Frank all the way back in the first episode of the series, she intended for him to shed a few pounds (read: get his mojo back after being passed over for Secretary of State). It quickly became a symbol of Frank's desire to exert his own will over Washington. Now, Claire is using the machine to harness her own strength. And, as Frank points out about the oval office, "there's only one seat."
"You're Good With Flying Twice In Two Days, Right?"
Frank swallows his pride and calls Claire at the White House to see if she'll fly back out to Iowa and appear on stage with him after the caucus, win or lose. Claire's like, "Sure thing, but I gotta run because I need to wash the shampoo out of my hair and I left the Hot Pockets in the oven for too long. That's right, Frank, I cook Hot Pockets in the oven. You have a problem with that too? Talk to you later."
Why Not Ask Tom A Question About His Day, Huh?
Who called the meeting? Claire.
What's it about? Claire wants to have "an honest conversation" with Tom about how he views her marriage. Because you can just summon people in the middle of the night and use them to work out your relationship problems when you're the First Lady.
How'd it go? Tom's initially skeptical, but, if you know Tom, you know there's nothing he loves more than honest conversations about honesty. Claire asks him if he let her pass out at the blood drive in New Hampshire on purpose, and Tom responds that the only way to get either her or Frank to open up is, apparently, to literally suck the blood from their veins. As if to prove his point, when Tom asks why she isn't in Iowa, Claire pauses and replies, "I'm flying there tomorrow." Claire finally works up the bravery to ask Tom whether she expressed any emotions while all fainty, other than what he wrote in his book draft. "Hatred," Tom replies, "for how much you and Frank needed each other."
That Quote"I'd rather imagine who you might be than who you actually are."- Tom to Claire -
"I'm Really Not Sure Where She Is. Something About A Hot Pocket?"
Situation: Frank won the Iowa caucus!
What makes it awkward? After her talk with Tom, Claire decides not to fly back to Iowa after all, so Frank has to make his cowboy-for-the-people victory speech all on his lonesome while Claire watches on TV, wearing the most turtlenecky turtleneck known to man.
How is order restored? Order will never be restored.
The Final Saga Of Doug And Rachel
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Underwood vs. Underwood
Claire is in the Oval, contemplating where she went wrong with her life, when Frank returns from Iowa. He tells her that, one way or another, she will be on the plane with him when he leaves for New Hampshire the next day. Claire realizes it's real talk time, so she goes into Frank's desk to grab a cigarette but instead finds the black decorative Easter egg that was used to symbolize her own independence back when she was trying to earn the U.N. ambassador position. (Later, Claire drags out the photo of the sand mandala that those monks made to symbolize the Underwood marriage, because it's finale time and you need to be reminded of every ham-handed metaphor from this season.)
Claire tells Frank that she hated having to ask for him to give her the ambassadorship when she couldn't earn it on her own: "It's not me. I hate that feeling. I don't recognize myself when I look in the mirror. I do things like I did in the hotel in Iowa." He stiffens when she brings up that incident and calls her "deranged" and "an animal" for behaving as she did. "If you wanted a husband who proved his manhood to you that way, you should have stayed back in Dallas...and married the prom king." Frank and Claire trade barbs back and forth. She continues to question his manhood and he calls her selfish for demanding more than the White House. "All I'm hearing is 'not enough!'" he screams at her, to which she looks him dead in the eyes and declares, "It's you that's not enough."
And that's when Frank strips away his human façade and transforms into the monster we've always known him to be. Kevin Spacey's good ol' boy accent evaporates and in its place is just a demonic growl. The pretense of respect for Claire that he's maintained all these years -- that he used to fool even himself -- is gone once she questions his supremacy. "Here's the brutal fucking truth," he spits in her face. "Without me, you are nothing."
It's brutal shit.
Winner: No one.
That Quote"You will smile and shake hands and kiss babies, and you will stand with me on a stage and you will be the First Lady! I don't give a damn if you vomit on your own time."- Frank Underwood -
Get The Look: Soon-To-Be First Ever Divorced First Lady
This is how you dress when you leave the President of the United States.