04/13/2013 11:42 EDT | Updated 06/13/2013 05:12 EDT

<em>House Of Cards</em> Season 1, Episode 10 Recap: Things Fall Apart


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Contains spoilers -- do not read unless you've seen House Of Cards Season 1, Episode 10

It was bound to happen before long: all of Frank's allies are turning into enemies. Even his beloved Claire, the woman who's stuck by him for decades, has had enough of his lies, his manipulation and his using. For her to break away signifies a major shift in House Of Cards -- could it be that Frank's carefully calculated empire is finally crumbling to dust? Or is it possible for him to rescue his plans from imminent failure?

It remains to be seen, though Frank is definitely in dire straits, a position we're not used to seeing him in. Somehow Zoe has found out about the plan sabotage, and she's also discovered that it was Claire who did the deed (her "sources" informed her). She scurries to tell Frank, who then hightails it to CWI to confront Claire.

Their argument is like a clash of the titans, truly. In a way, it's glaring how much these two overpower their fellow castmates with their acting chops, and it detracts from some of the others' interactions. But when we get a moment with Spacey and Wright, we must cherish it, because it's some superb acting. Claire finally yells what we've all been thinking this entire time, which is "You're using me!" and Frank (of course) minimizes it by asking if her outburst is because of menopause. There couldn't be a more wrong thing for him to say, and Claire orders him out of her office -- not once, but twice. There is no way in hell she's going home tonight. No way. We know where she's going as she tells a cabbie to take her to Union Station. Yep, Adam's.

But first she makes a pit-stop at Zoe's place and completely owns her in a lecture that made me salivate. I mean, we've been waiting 10 episodes for Claire to unleash, and we're finally getting it as she stalks around Zoe's apartment like a stalking lioness. It's truly enjoyable to watch Zoe get taken down a few pegs as Claire rifles through her grungy clothes and sarcastically quips, "Ooh, a fire escape! How lovely!" Seriously, Claire is as hard as her jawline, and she leaves Zoe like a ravaged corpse in her shitty apartment, the scene of Frank's infidelity.

Frank's other puppet, Peter, is also fed up with him. Last week, Frank promised him that the watershed bill would be passed, and Peter's campaign run for governor was dependent on it. That failed, and now Peter is uncomfortably treading water, and has to deal with a desperate group of constituents who just want jobs. He exclaims to Frank, "I'm not afraid of you anymore!" (also the wrong thing to say) and much to Frank's surprise, Peter means it. Instead of the subservient man-boy, Peter is all firebrand when Frank goes to meet with him, and he's actually standing up for himself. Something in Frank's face lets us know that this won't stand -- somehow the power must shift back to him, and sure enough, it does.

In a two-part plan, Frank gets Remy to agree that if Peter accepts and supports Sancorp's drilling initiatives (a totally hypocritical move), then Remy will back Peter's run for governor. In exchange, tens of thousands of jobs will be made available to the citizens of Pennsylvania who lost theirs when the shipyard was shuttered. Peter is hesitant to accept this idea, but in the end acquiesces because ultimately, he wants jobs for the people he f**ked over. The second part of Frank's plan involves resurrecting Rachel the hooker, who he's cleverly kept in his back pocket for just such an occasion. Stamper (and Frank) get an apartment for Rachel, and offer to pay first and last month's rent, as long as she does a favour for them.

At a fundraiser, Rachel seduces Peter with ample cleavage and alcohol, two of his most profound weaknesses. Despite Christina and despite several months' sobriety, Peter folds as Rachel slides him her hotel key -- and he doesn't even remember who she is, even though she was with him in the car when he got pulled over for the DUI. It broke my heart to see Peter knock back the whiskey, and it's nearly impossible to watch him the following morning as he calls into a radio station drunk, and makes a complete fool of himself. He swears, he slurs and even calls the radio host by the wrong name. It's apparent he's drunk, and the entire country now knows it. What Frank bringeth up, he can also bringeth down. In a matter of hours, Frank completely destroys any promise Peter once had. By the looks of it, his political career is basically over.

Things are better for Claire, who's over at Adam's having sex, drinking and smoking pot at a party full of "artist" types (you know what I mean). She even dances suggestively with another woman! Claire is truly letting it all hang out, and she's having a ball. I like this Claire, though I have the feeling she'll have to return to D.C. before long.

Zoe, on the other hand, is seeking comfort after her lambasting by Claire. Her apartment is absolutely filthy, and she hates it now. The scene of her sexcapades with Frank (gross), her tiny hovel is like the epicentre of shame. No longer able to bear it, she goes to her former colleague Lucas' apartment (the guy who tried to kiss her a few episodes back), and asks to stay there. Of course they end up sleeping together, but it probably means nothing more to Zoe than a little bit of security after dealing with Frank's complex, soulless affections. The same can probably be said for Claire, whose escape into hedonism may provide release, but it will be fleeting.

All of these people have made their beds, and they can avoid lying in them for a while, but eventually they'll have to head back there, to their homes, and face whatever reality -- however grim -- they've helped create.

Best Frank Quote: "It only takes 10 seconds to crush a man's ambitions."

You can stream House Of Cards at any time on Netflix.

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