House of Cards season 3 introduces President Petrov of Russia. The official Netflix synopsis for episode 3 reads:
The Russian president’s state visit becomes a cold war of wills, and some punks heat things up.
Read on for spoilers.
1. Petrov Visits the White House
The episode begins with Frank awaiting a meeting with Russian President Petrov. Outside, LGBT activists are protesting Petrov over his human rights violations in his treatment of gay people.
Before Petrov’s arrival, Speaker of the House of Representatives Bob Birch tells Frank that he’s not sure America Works can really be pushed through as far as Frank had promised in his speech. After Petrov arrives, Petrov tells Frank that he has no interest in better relations with the United States or Frank’s summit plans.
Meanwhile Claire and Secretary of State Cathy Durant are sitting down with Palestinian leaders seeking bilateral relations with Russia in the region, with Palestine and Israel’s help, to establish peace in the Middle East. Claire is now the U.N. Ambassador to the United Nations, having been appointed during the congressional recess.
Frank turns to Claire and Cathy to help soften Petrov.
Elsewhere, Doug is sitting down to a lunch meeting with a Congressman Brad of Hawaii. Brad wants him to join him in his election run as a “special advisor.”
2. Frank Gets Real With Petrov
In the Oval Office, Frank gifts a surfboard to Petrov, who is a surfer.
Then he gets to business and asks him why he even came to the White House if his response to work with the U.S. in the Middle East was “no.” Petrov says he doesn’t want it to be a strictly American plan. Frank asks Petrov to get to the point and tell him what he really wants. Petrov plays coy.
Meanwhile in a meeting with Israel and Claire and Cathy, Israel voices doubt in the White House’s ability to get Palestine under control.
At the FBI headquarters, Gavin Orsay is brought into an the office with the Deputy Director. The director threatens Gavin with more charges if he doesn’t continue to help them.
That night Frank hosts Petrov at a state dinner with Claire. Frank and Petrov give speeches, and at the end Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, members of the Russian band Pussy Riot who have (in real life) suffered under Russian rule, stand and ask to make a speech too. They accuse Petrov of human rights violations and of establishing an oligarchy in Russia.
They walk out of the dinner.
3. Doug & Seth Talk
Meanwhile at Doug’s apartment, Seth comes over and Doug tells him about the lucrative job offer from Congressman Brad. Doug accuses Seth of setting the job offer up so he will get out of Frank’s circle. Seth denies it. Doug tells Seth to tell Frank that he’s ready to get back to work.
Doug’s computer goes on the fritz and it’s Gavin Orsay trying to meet up with him to help him find Rachel.
Back at the dinner, Remy urges Jackie to go work on Bob Birch to get the list of potential DNC candidates.
After having a private conversation with Claire where he insults her, Petrov brings in $750k bottles of gold vodka and does a toast with a shot. He then urges another shot toast, making VP Donald Blythe make the toast this time. Blythe fails miserably. Petrov insists on another shot toast, and asks Claire to do the toast.
A pianist then comes to the party and Frank ends up singing the blues. Petrov comes up and wants to sing, too. He sings a traditional Russian song. At the end, Petrov ends up passionately kissing Claire.
4. Gavin Decides to Help
That same night, Gavin and Doug meet up and Gavin agrees to use his FBI position to help track down Rachel’s exact location.
Back at the White House, Frank and Petrov smoke Cuban cigars and Claire and Cathy share some scotch. Frank and Petrov discuss the kiss. Frank wants to kill Petrov for kissing Claire. Petrov then says he knows why he’s there about the Middle East. Claire and Cathy, meanwhile, are playing beer pong. Cathy is beating Claire badly. Claire tells Cathy that Petrov can’t be trusted.
Claire tells Cathy that the U.S. shouldn’t partner with Russia because Petrov can’t be trusted.
Cathy says that the United Nations should send troops to the Jordan Valley and that even though Russia would veto it, there is a way around it: “uniting for peace”, same way the United States found away around Russia’s veto for the Korean War.
Frank and Petrov have words about the United States’ NATO military installations around Russia.
5. Petrov Wants NATO Out of his Area
The next morning, a hungover Frank is talking to Seth. Frank had set up the job offer to Doug.
At the FBI office, Gavin is busy locating Rachel Posner on the facial recognition database system. Someone is watching his movements.
In the Oval Office, Frank and Petrov discuss NATO scale back. Frank says he can’t announce it. But Petrov won’t help with the Jordan Valley unless Frank announces it. Frank basically kicks Petrov out of the Oval Office.
Another Cold War appears to have begun.