House of Cards recap: Episodes 9 and 10: We All Fall Down

Frank is confronted by rebellion on all sides -- but can he still end up on top?
Ep. 09 | Aired Feb 5, 2013

FACE OFF It's Frank vs. the world -- and, for once, his wife as well.

Patrick Harbron/Netflix

…except it isn’t. Those two key votes actually prevent the bill from passing — and though Frank doesn’t know it yet, the fault lies solely with Claire. She’s angry at Frank because he’s prioritizing his own work over hers, and she’s also told lobbyist Remy that she’ll kill the watershed bill in exchange for SanCorp doing the CWI a favor. So she slyly tells the men Frank bullied that it won’t be the end of the world if the bill fails; subsequently, they vote “nay.”

Naturally, Frank is furious when he discovers his wife’s treachery — especially since Zoe’s the one who tells him what his wife did. Claire responds by up and leaving D.C., taking refuge in Photographer Adam’s enormous, gorgeous New York apartment, and dirty dancing with one of her lover’s hot female artist friends. Take that, Francis.

Adding insult to injury, Zoe is threatening to break the story of Claire killing the bill unless Frank can give her some better scoop. And as the cherry on top of Frank’s sh– sundae, Russo threatens to publicly admit how he helped Frank destroy that disgraced ex-Secretary of State candidate way back at the beginning of the series — unless Frank can figure out a way to bring more jobs to Pennsylvania. And that, my friends, is the straw that breaks the southern snake’s back.

Frank kills two birds with one stone by persuading Russo to attend a gala, where prostitute Rachel is waiting to tempt the barely reformed addict with booze and sex. Though he valiantly rebuffs her advances at first, Peter eventually gives in… despite me repeatedly yelling, “No! No!! RUSSO! STOP IT!” at my computer screen.

Watching this storyline play out is like seeing a train wreck happen in slow motion — especially when a still-drunk Russo wakes up the next morning and completely embarrasses himself during an important radio interview. Frank tips Zoe off about Russo’s disastrous appearance. Before long, the story’s everywhere — and Peter’s candidacy is effectively kaput. In the midst of all this, Frank also manages to do a major favor for presidential Chief of Staff Linda, which will probably be important during season 1′s home stretch.

There are just a few threads left dangling at the end of the episode. One, Frank doesn’t quite seem to know what to do about the Claire situation. And two, after realizing that he’s destroyed everything he’s been working towards for the past six months, Russo disappears. Why do I have a bad feeling that he’s going to turn up floating in a bathtub somewhere before the season ends?

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