Episode 11 Recap & Review is here.
Clearly there are multiple SPOILERS ahead so don’t read unless you’re up to speed with the nefarious Frank Underwood.
The race to the election is hotting up and Frank and Claire face off against Conway and his running mate, General Brockhart. At the same time Doug Stamper is doing what he does best and applying pressure, presently to a member of the Intelligence Committee who has proof of Brockhart’s influence on their decisions, something the General is currently lying about on live television. The committee member’s career is over, one way or another, and Doug is simply providing a more comfortable noose for him to put his head in. Before the debate can end however, serious security types arrive to get the President and First Lady; there’s been a kidnapping and execution threat to American citizens by ICO. And it’s happened on American soil.
The terrorists have issued the expected demands for the release of one their leaders, a large cash sum etc… but also something else; they will only talk with Conway, not Frank. And that gives President Underwood an idea. Conway likes the spotlight, likes it a lot and Frank has already told us he thinks this is his rival’s biggest flaw. So Press Secretary Seth slips in that Conway has been asked to help, giving the Republican candidate no room for leeway.
Meanwhile Tom Hammerschmidt’s investigations have finally led him to the door of (ex) President Walker, the man Frank so expertly ousted to get into the Oval Office. Despite the fact that Tom is effectively working towards the removal of a sitting Democratic president in favour of a Republican, Walker gets on board after hearing Tom’s findings.
At the same time, Remy Danton and Jackie Sharp meet on the steps of the Capitol. There’s clearly still very much a spark between the two and when they both admit they’ve been in contact with Tom, Jackie decides she’s ready and willing to go on record. True, her career would be over, but that seems a fair price to pay for the downfall of Frank Underwood.
In the Situation Room, Conway is relishing the chance to play with the big boys and takes charge of negotiations with the kidnappers; little does he know this is all part of Frank’s plan. The terrorists have been identified and Conway tries to build a relationship with them, talking of his own military service, the fact he’s killed and the nightmares it give him. He seems totally unaware that the kidnappers will, of course, release the conversation; Frank was perhaps right – maybe his love of the limelight will be Conway’s undoing.
At the White House residence, the Underwoods have invited the Conways and their children to stay during these tense times. Claire and Hannah Conway talk and all appears cordial until Hannah casually asks if Claire ever regrets not having children. The icy stare she receives as a result stops her in her tracks but she almost spits out her drink when Claire coolly asks of her brood, “Do you ever regret having them?”. Way to go Claire.
With only one more episode to go, it seems clear that the twin threats of home-grown terrorism and Tom Hammerschmidt are going to try Frank and Claire, and not the election that was being set-up. And that’s as it should be, for Frank will either win or lose; either way, that’s Season 5, due next year. For now, it remains to be seen whether Conway will fall fully into Frank’s trap and exactly how Frank will use the potential death or deaths of American citizens on American soil to his advantage. It’s a given he will.