Correction: We all fall down, except Frank Underwood, who will be the only human keeping the cockroaches company after the apocalypse. And those cockroaches will quickly learn to do his bidding, or else.
Chapter 8 of House of Cards ends with Frank apparently foiled, while Chapter 9 pushes things even further when Frank’s nearest and dearest begin to rebel against him — though like a barbecue-loving cat, Rep. Underwood obviously ends up landing on his feet. We’ll see if he can keep that perch in season 1′s last three episodes, which may or may not feature the death of a major character.
The first of these two hours immediately brings back the forward momentum that was missing from Chapter 7 as Russo travels to Pennsylvania, where he’s campaigning and focusing heavily on the watershed bill that he and Claire have dreamed up. The bill will help to restore some of the jobs lost when the shipyard closed, but getting it passed will be an uphill battle — some congresspeople are worried about voting yes because evil natural gas conglomerate SanCorp will support their campaigns only if the bill dies, while the Democratic Party’s more liberal wing is worried it doesn’t do enough to help the environment.
But before Russo can worry about the bill’s passage, he has to deal with a more immediate problem: Vice President Matthews, a former PA governor who does more harm than good when he joins Peter’s bus tour. Matthews is sort of like Bill Clinton during his wife’s ’08 primary campaign — he steals focus, openly contradicts things that Russo says, gives speeches that go on way too long, and at one point blows the congressman off so that he can get a sandwich. A conversation with Frank, naturally, gets Russo back on the right course and gives him the balls to stand up to the Veep. That’s enough for Peter to win Matthews’s respect. Peter Russo’s problems are so easily solved! (Just kidding. Wait for Chapter 9.)
Back at the ranch — a.k.a. Capitol Hill — Frank is busily securing votes for the bill and punishing Zoe for daring to think she has the right to end their sexual relationship. As usual, things end up going his way. Underwood baldly threatens two liberal congressmen into voting “yea” before sending Claire in to ensure their cooperation, then takes great pleasure in screwing Zoe once she decides it’s better to be a whore with a great story than a journalist of integrity with nothing to write about. Frank also lets her know that the bill will pass by two votes. Victory is his…
NEXT: But not so fast!