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House of Cards S04E09 Recap & Review

Caution: House of Cards season four, episode nine (and previous episodes) spoilers ahead!

The Democrat VP race has gone to an open convention, with each state casting delegates for different candidates. The administration has decided to put their chips behind Secretary of State Catherine Durant (Jayne Atkinson), although current VP Donald Blythe (Reed Birney) isn’t exactly on her side.

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Inside the administration, we see a side from Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) that we haven’t seen in some time, and that is one of empathy. As he scrolls through images of the man that he urged the hospital to let die so that President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) could rise in the liver donor list, we see unease plastered on his face.

At the DNC, in a surprise upset, all 237 delegates from Texas go to First Lady Claire Underwood (Robin Wright). It becomes clear where the Underwoods true motives lie, pulling the strings so that it appears that they want Durant and it is the DNC who insists on Claire. Of course, presidential biographer and newly placed speech writer Thomas Yates (Paul Sparks) sees right through this facade.

Republican Presidential nominee Will Conway (Joel Kinnaman) attempts to obtain a resurgence by stealing the thunder from the DNC and Frank Underwood. He does this by demanding that the President do something immediately about terrorist organization ICO, as well as apologize to General Brockhart (Colm Feore), formerly part of the administration.

In response, Frank apologies and invites Conway to meet personally with him to talk about the ICO issue. The real conversation, of course, is about the campaign. It is a scene oozing with sleaze and private mud-slinging that is fun to see unfold. It also leads to an increased zeal in Frank to continue his surveillance, specifically targeting Conway.

Another surprise comes out of the DNC as Louisiana chooses to pledge its delegates to Durant for President, stirring up immediate controversy over Frank’s ability to command his own party. Given the Underwoods tactic of snaking around Durant, it seems as though securing the Democrat nomination may be harder than they initially thought.

The introduction of the DNC into season four adds an amount of energy to the show that has been fading ever since the assassination attempt. What appeared to be a clear Underwood vs. Conway race is becoming increasingly complicated, and seeing it play out will likely be more interesting now.

As always, thanks for reading!

—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)

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