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Top 10 Most Shocking House of Cards Moments

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Sean Newman Frank Underwood for president means plenty of lies, manipulation, blackmail, murder, and unbelievably shocking twists. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 shocking moments on “House of Cards.” For this list, we’ll be looking at events throughout this show that left audiences in utter astonishment. Any scene in the first four seasons is up for grabs, as long is it’s surprising or significant in progressing the show’s narrative. Also, this should go without saying, but a major Spoiler Alert is in effect. Have an idea you want to see made into a WatchMojo video? Check out our suggest page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and submit your idea.
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Transcript
Written by Sean Newman

Frank Underwood for president means plenty of lies, manipulation, blackmail, murder, and unbelievably shocking twists. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 shocking moments on “House of Cards.”

For this list, we’ll be looking at events throughout this show that left audiences in utter astonishment. Any scene in the first four seasons is up for grabs, as long is it’s surprising or significant in progressing the show’s narrative. Also, this should go without saying, but a major Spoiler Alert is in effect.

#10: Frank Starts a War with ICO
“Chapter 52”


One thing that makes this series so compelling is its willingness to reflect the modern geopolitical landscape. Season four introduces the fictional terrorist group ICO, which shares more similarities with their real-world counterparts – ISIS – than just a similar name. Tension between the extremists and The U.S. Government heightens throughout the season, culminating with the internet-streamed execution of an American hostage. Frank delivers a powerful and fear-mongering speech to the US people, admitting that many soldiers and civilians will die in the war against ICO. The final moments of season four make it clear that Frank sees the deaths of innocent people as nothing more than a setback in his never-ending quest for power.

#9: Michael Corrigan Hangs Himself
“Chapter 32”


After taking on the role of UN Ambassador, Claire travels to Moscow to meet with Michael Corrigan, an American citizen who was arrested for protesting Russia’s treatment of the LGBT community. Russia’s president agrees to let him go, with the condition that he publicly apologizes upon his release. Corrigan refuses, and Claire spends the night in his cell, attempting to persuade him to set aside his cause for his freedom. She wakes up the next morning to find that Corrigan hanged himself during the night using her scarf as a noose. This scene gives us a brief glimpse into the complexity of Claire’s character, while Corrigan’s emotionally driven act of protest serves as a foil to The Underwoods’ cold, calculated pragmatism.

#8: Claire Admits to Abortion & Rape on Live TV
“Chapter 17”


At the beginning of season two, Claire reveals that she was raped years ago by a man who is now a U.S. general. We also learn that she has had several abortions during her relationship with Frank, and that information could be used against her by people sniffing around for controversy. Claire is put on the defensive during a televised interview, so she decides to kill two birds with one stone by admitting to an abortion and claiming it was to terminate the pregnancy after General McGinnis raped her. It’s satisfying to see her abuser brought down, but this moment also demonstrates that Claire’s ability to mislead and spin the truth is as formidable as her husband’s.

#7: Frank Threatens to Kill the Secretary of State
“Chapter 49”


Frank’s Southern charm has done wonders for him, but when all else fails, he relies on fear to get what he wants. When Secretary of State Catherine Durant stands up to him, Frank lets her know just how far he’s gone, and how far he’s willing to go in order to get his way; all while holding a letter opener to her stomach. He eventually laughs it off as a joke, but not before making it clear to Catherine that she’s putting her life in danger by defying him. This terrifying display of dominance does the trick while once again highlighting Underwood’s absolute ruthlessness towards those who oppose him.

#6: Rachel Attacks Doug, Doug Survives
“Chapter 26” / “Chapter 27”


Speaking of dominance, Doug is tasked with keeping Rachel and her role in Peter Russo’s downfall a secret. His twisted obsession with her makes it impossible for Rachel to lead a normal life, and she finally makes her escape in a spectacularly violent fashion. Viewers are left wondering whether or not Doug would survive the attack before eventually witnessing his long and troubled road to recovery the following season. Despite Doug’s intriguing and devious exploits, you can’t help but root for Rachel for finally standing her ground. Fortunately, Doug returns to his duties more eager than ever to let the President know that whatever Frank needs, he “will take care of it.”

#5: Meechum Has a Threesome with Frank & Claire
“Chapter 24”


Meechum’s absolute loyalty towards Frank and Claire has provided him with a front row seat to their ongoing quest for power, but we learn in season two that the dutiful bodyguard is willing to take more than just a bullet for them. While some of the series’ bigger moments hit the viewer upside the head with shocking twists and major character deaths, this scene quietly creeps under your skin with its haunting score and dramatically slow build-up. Oscar Wilde once said that everything in the world is about sex except sex – this unforgettable scene makes it clear that Frank couldn’t agree more.

#4: Doug Kills Rachel
“Chapter 39”


Remember how Rachel nearly killed Doug? Remember how he wound up spending months recovering from his physical and psychological injuries? Well, Doug remembers, and season three ends with Rachel’s murder at the hands of Frank’s perpetually loyal Chief of Staff. The writing, cinematography, and editing in this haunting scene make it remarkable and memorable, but Doug’s motives are what really manage to stick with the viewer long after he’s done the deed. Instead of seeking revenge, Doug aims to remove all distraction in his life, and Rachel was the last remaining chink in his armor. To him, love means weakness, and there’s no room for weakness in the Oval Office, particularly in Francis J. Underwood’s administration.

#3: Frank Gets Shot
“Chapter 43”


It was only a matter of time before someone took a shot at Frank, and few of his living enemies had been scorned to the extent of journalist Lucas Goodwin. After a routine political rally, Underwood agrees to open a dialogue with his defectors, and tension grows by the second in the moments leading up to the shooting. Viewers were saddened by Meechum’s death, while left on the edge of their seats as Frank battled for his life in the following episodes. For the first time in four seasons, President Underwood is literally and figuratively put on his back, suggesting that the faintest gust of wind is all it may take to tear down Frank and Claire’s delicate house of cards.

#2: Peter Russo “Commits Suicide”
“Chapter 11”


Peter Russo was an alcoholic and a womanizing train wreck, but the audience remained sympathetic to his struggle as Frank helped to pull the congressman’s life together while he campaigned for Governor. However, all it took for Russo to spiral out of control were a couple of wine coolers and a call girl, which Doug willingly arranged. Unfortunately for Underwood, Peter’s pity party was more public than he would have liked, and Frank decided that a long nap in his garage would be the best course of action for Russo. Frank’s graduation from manipulator to murderer is shocking to say the least, and we eagerly follow him down the rabbit hole of corruption and lies all the way to the Oval Office.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

- Jackie Sharp Endorses Heather Dunbar
“Chapter 37”

- Claire Leaves Frank
“Chapter 39”

- Frank Becomes President
“Chapter 26”

#1: Zoe Is Thrown in Front of a Train
“Chapter 14”


A character’s death only truly carries weight if a show invests in said character and allows the audience to grow attached to them over time. Fourteen episodes were spent learning about Zoe Barnes and her twisted relationship with Frank; lulling fans into a false sense of security coming into the second season. However, after she asks one too many questions about his suspicious rise to power, Frank disposes of Zoe in a grisly fashion that made us question why we love cheering for Underwood in the first place. We’d be remiss if we didn’t also highlight the superb editing that heightens the brutality of the scene, which all culminated in a perfect storm of shock and horror that’s left fans buzzing ever since.
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