Feb 27, 2015 · 2 minutes

When Netflix flipped the switch on the third season of House of Cards Friday morning at 3 am, I was up -- bleary-eyed but game -- to watch and recap each episode. You can read all thirteen recaps from my sleepless marathon in one article here, but for convenience's sake we also split them up into individual reviews, all of which you can find right here.

“Chapter 33″

Frank and Claire have fought in the past, but even Frank admits in this episode that none of those fights compared to what occurred in the aftermath of their ill-fated Moscow trip. Claire’s “I should’ve never made you president” line cut the deepest; because despite how enamored Frank is with his own “self-made man” narrative, he knows somewhere deep in his charcoal soul that he would never have become president without her. Hell, he may never have even become a Congressman without her. TV critics don’t call her Lady Macbeth for nothing.

But when the couple Frank and Claire bear the closest resemblance to are the black-hearted Macbeths, it raises a legitimate question: Why should we root for this pair of evil assholes to get back together?

It’s because, despite the fact that Frank and Claire inevitably make anybody who wanders into their sphere of influence hopelessly miserable, they complete each other in a way that would be corny, if the two weren’t so darkly cynical about everything and everyone else. Like Mickey and Mallory in Natural Born Killers, their loyalty to one another is a model for all couples, even if the rest of their behavior is deplorable. So it hurts to watch this episode and see Frank eviscerate his wife in a staff meeting for bringing a less-than-perfect idea to the table; and it hurts to see Claire, who normally brings a sense of cool and calm with her wherever she goes, be reduced to pettiness and spite toward her husband.

“Chapter 33″ isn’t the most eventful House of Cards episode — not of this season nor any other. But viewers may appreciate a come-down episode after the high-burning emotional intensity of what happened in Moscow. And more importantly, the show needed a whole episode to bring Frank and Claire back into each other’s arms. Anything less would have felt rushed or rang false. And if there’s one component of House of Cards that never feels dishonest, it’s their strange love affair.

Grade: B-

[illustration by Brad Jonas]