With Frank's health hindering his campaign, Claire leans on Yates for support, while Tom gets some crucial information from Remy
Credit: Netflix

With their dual nomination secured, the Underwoods are hitting the campaign trail hard. “Chapter 50” opens with a montage, Claire and Frank flying from city to city delivering speeches, trying hard to close the gap between them and the Conway/Brockhart ticket. Things aren’t looking good though. Conway still has a double-digit lead and the Underwoods haven’t had much momentum since Claire’s speech.

Making things worse, Frank’s told by his doctors that his travel time should be reduced to once a week. He needs to stay in Washington and get healthy; flying risks an organ rejection, and nobody wants that. Frank wants to be out there meeting with the people, but Claire convinces him to stay home, saying that she can handle the appearances.

On the plus side, the time in Washington gives Frank a chance to focus on ICO. The military has essentially slowed ICO’s advancement on the Euphrates, but it’s only a matter of time before things get going again. They need a big strike as soon as possible. Frank’s plan is to convince Russia to send in ground troops in exchange for some of their oil drilling back. That plan would make Frank look great, as a President tough on terror but also focused on keeping American troops safe.

Of course, such a move stands in direct contrast to what Conway wants, and the shiny new Republican surely won’t stand by and let it all happen. While he certainly wants ICO taken care of, he doesn’t want Frank to get that victory. He tells Brockhart that they need to try and block the move in some way. The General isn’t too pleased about it — he naively thought that Conway was a different kind of politician — but Conway is clearly in control.

Meanwhile, Tom finally snags a meeting with Remy outside of Freddy’s old BBQ joint. He tells Remy that he knows about the money laundering and changed travel records, but he wants more and he knows Remy has it. Remy says he hasn’t agreed to anything yet, but he says that while he’s focusing on the “who, what, and when,” he better not forget about the “where.” THAT’S THE SAME AS TELLING HIM, REMY! JUST TELL HIM MORE!

That leads Tom to Freddy, who has a blowup with Frank in the White House when the President does his faux-friend/slightly racist act with Freddy and asks him to cook him ribs one last time. Tom thinks Freddy might have overheard a lot of things at his BBQ joint, but Freddy isn’t exactly looking to talk. Instead, he beats the hell out of Tom and tells him he’s not a snitch, even if he thinks Frank is an asshole.

Out on the campaign trail, Claire is having trouble connecting with the people. Enthusiasm for an all-Underwood ticket has waned and she’s not sure why. Yates has a few ideas though. He says Claire has moved away from her message, from what makes the Underwoods appealing. It’s the fact that they’re more than a married couple, that they’re a life team, that makes people respect them. He urges her to get back to that message, right before the two of them get intimate again.

NEXT: Three’s company

After sharing yet another intimate moment, Yates decides that it’s best if he leaves the Underwood campaign and head back to Boston. He doesn’t want Claire to have to ask him, but he knows it’s for the best. So, he leaves Claire on the campaign trail with a renewed focus on her message of being “beyond marriage,” representing that Claire and Frank are more than just husband and wife.

Claire heads back to Washington though and essentially tells Frank about her affair with Yates and about how he’s heading back to Boston. Surprisingly — or maybe not, considering his cheating and threesome history — Frank isn’t too upset about it. In fact, he brings Yates in for a meeting and tries to understand the connection that the two of them have. He understands that Yates is giving Claire something that he can’t, and perhaps he’s okay with it.

Meanwhile, Frank is forced to move ahead on ICO with American troops. It’s a plan that Conway insists Frank would never do, but Conway should know Frank better than that. Still, Conway seems to be in the position of power, laughing at Frank’s desperation on the phone and even hanging up on him. Oh, Conway. Do you even know how dangerous Frank is?

Remy, meanwhile, meets up with Tom again. After Tom details the beating he took at the hands of Freddy, Remy agrees to “talk.” Or rather, he picks up Tom’s beer and tells him about an old drinking game he used to play called “never have I ever.” Tom picks up on the cue and starts asking question, while Remy responds by taking a sip to confirm any allegations. Tom finds out about almost everything, including the plan to impeach President Walker so that Frank could take over as President.

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Now Tom just needs proof. He goes back to the Washington Herald and asks for full autonomy over a team of fact checkers. He’s given exactly what he wants and his investigation is officially underway with the legal backing of the Herald in case the Underwoods come out swinging at some point (and you know they will). No one has been this close to exposing the Underwoods in quite some time, so this story line injects some serious stakes into the show as the season nears its end.

Despite Conway’s big lead and Tom digging into the Underwoods — oh, and Doug meeting with Moretti’s wife because everything he’s done is starting to take its toll on his conscience/he’s addicted to being terrible to himself and others — Frank and Claire seem to think they’re in control. Frank gives Claire the option of keeping Yates around, saying that he can offer her all sorts of things that he can’t, and that it would be good for both of them if he stuck around. She seems hesitant but ultimately agrees, and the three of them share a quiet, controlled breakfast.

It sure does feel like the calm before the storm.

Episode Recaps

House of Cards

Ballots, betrayal, and barbecue combine in Netflix’s original drama, which stars Kevin Spacey as cunning congressman Frank Underwood and Robin Wright as his equally ruthless Lady Macbeth. Based on a 1990 BBC serial of the same name.

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