House of Cards Season 4, Episode 9: The Live-Binge Review

A potential preview of the chaos that is a brokered political convention


As in previous years, I’m binge-reviewing the latest season of Netflix’s House of Cards, the TV show that helped popularize the idea of “binge watching” when it premiered in 2013. Don’t read farther than you’ve watched.

Episode 9 (Chapter 48)

Potential good news for real-life news networks in 2016: Open political conventions make for great TV. The insanity of multiple ballots, grandstanding state delegates, and the fact it seems like anyone can vote for anyone indeed does elevate what otherwise is, in the words of a Van Jones on CNN-Cards, a “four day infomercial.” But if the Republicans go through all of this in a few months, it will be quite a bit different, one imagines: For one thing, Melania Trump can’t run for VP without sending her husband’s birther fans into fits.

Someone should catalog the various types of political schemes that the Underwoods have attempted over the course of this show. We’ve seen the one that they pulled on Cathy Durant here—where they profess to work with someone while secretly working against them—a few times. It’s amusing and unsettling to watch it unfold, given that it involves so much blatant lying to various peoples’ faces. Cathy, to her and the show’s credit, recognizes the ploy as the very one that landed her as Secretary of State. She turns it back on Frank by emulating the maneuver he and Doris Jones used to undermine Claire earlier this season: by suddenly making a pass to the other team.

Conway receives that pass ably while also staging a table-turning press event about Islamic terrorism. Frank notes that this ploy’s a lot like one he’d pull, and their buddy-buddy interactions during their closed-door chat underscores just how alike they really might be (and should turn some viewers on to the mobile game Except: Conway is younger, more technologically savvy, has served in the military, has an adorable family, and hasn’t been tainted by scandal. Last episode, it was asserted that the Underwoods’ advantage was their ruthlessness—but what if this guy is just as morally flexible?

Read the review of the next episode.