Caution: Spoilers for House of Cards season four, episode 12 (and previous episodes) ahead!
House of Cards season four, episode 12 opens on White House covert surveillance guy Aidan MacAllan (Damian Young) blasting loud music as he watches traffic in relation to the dual President-Vice President debate.
The debate, which highlights the major points of contention with the presidential race, is interrupted and Frank (Kevin Spacey) and Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) are whisked away by military officials.
The reason for the sudden interruption is a hostage video from terrorist organization ICO, who make demands for billions of dollars and the release of their imprisoned leader. The real crux of this video politically, however, is that they wish to speak only with Republican Presidential candidate Will Conway (Joel Kinnaman) and not the sitting President.
Frank spins this undermining tactic by embracing Conway’s assistance rather than shy away from it, making sure that the sensitive political situation can only hope to blow up in both presidential candidates’ faces.
Former Washington Herald editor-in-chief Tom Hammerschmidt (Boris McGiver) continues his investigation on Frank by lying his way into the home of former President Garrett Walker (Michael Gill). But Walker is going to need some convincing, given whistle-blowing on Frank means turning against his own party.
The administration needs to tap into domestic surveillance to locate the terrorists, which is to say, they need to tap into MacAllan. This is something that may pose a problem, seeing as how many government officials will be around the man serving the president illegally.
Remy Danton (Mahershala Ali) and Jackie Sharp (Molly Parker) agree to risk the revelation of their affair in order to go on record about Frank’s illegal dealings.
In the situation room, Conway engages the terrorists in a phone conversation, where he is indicted by the radical sympathizers. When the terrorists threaten violence against the hostages, Conway is the one to break from the script and edge toward making concessions, yet he comes out of the situation on top.
For the penultimate of the season, this episode is rather low on energy and action. The calm before the storm, perhaps? It seems Hammerschmidt’s piece will be the closing bell on the season, perhaps even a cliffhanger that dangles Frank’s future as a politician in the balance in the face of a formidable political opponent. That, or the final episode will be a firestorm.
As always, thanks for reading!
—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)