House of Cards: Chapter 38
March 23, 2015 7:47 AM - Season 3, Episode 12 - Subscribe

Heather Dunbar goes for the jugular, forcing Claire to confront her worst fears. The rift between Frank and Claire widens.

The Iowa caucus is a week away! Dunbar's leading by six points but Claire is so well liked that she's bringing Frank within the margin of error. The whole episode has little bits of dialogue telling Claire how much awesomer she is than Frank.

But first, Dunbar meets with her Supreme Court judge buddy who has Alzheimer's and learns that he wants her to replace him. It's a sweet deal since the position is for life and that she can really make a difference being the swing vote on the bench. But no, she admits that she really wants the Presidency. In fact, she realizes that she's meant for it.

Dunbar's campaign looks for a way to counteract Claire. They can't find any dirt (and Remy is out of politics for good, to Jackie's dismay) but Heather remembers the journal Doug has and offers him 2 million for it, even when she's reminded she said she would never do that to another woman. She gives Frank three days to drop out of the race before she threatens to go public. Frank hardly flinches but gloats how she's become a politician and does some Petrov-like "Even if the journal existed, you don't have the guts to do it" posturing.

Claire has some wacky campaigning hijinks when she ends up at a house with Underwood posters outside but with a Dunbar supporter inside. She goes in alone to talk and it becomes this whole symbolic parallelism thing about Frank and Claire's marriage. It's also where Claire gets the idea that she could just leave and start over. Maaaaaaaybe even run for President? But when Frank tells her about Dunbar's threat, she is completely freaked out.

Doug meets Frank in the Oval. He burns the journal page in front of Frank, basically declares his love for him, and wrangles the Chief of Staff job.

Who else makes up or breaks up in this episode?

Doug and Seth - make up with no hard feelings since Seth wanted to be Chief of Staff and maybe even has this sorta mutual respect thing although Doug is clearly alpha dog.

Doug and Gavin - well, they will once Doug finds out where he exactly is in Venezuela.

Jackie and Remy - initially they break up because Remy's decided to drop out of politics and be a happy ray of sunshine, which is both inspiring and yet soul-crushing to Jackie. When she visits him, she admits her marriage is for the wrong reasons and that she is almost out the door when he says her name and they kiss and get their make up sex on.

Frank and Tom - Tom's written the first chapter of the book which is not and never has been about America Works but is about Frank and Claire's marriage. Frank dumps Tom and when Tom refuses to bury the book, Frank threatens to reveal the secret that he didn't wholly write his first book. This unfortunately means we'll never have any more scenes of Meechum being totally disdainful to Tom.

Tom and Kate - he gives her the chapter to read and when she agrees with Frank that the book should die and he should move on, he walks out of her life. Kate'll be fine. She just wrote an article trying to expose the covert SEAL team operation in the Jordan Valley.

Frank and Claire - she is relieved that the page is destroyed but is upset that Doug was made Chief of Staff. She's even more upset she wasn't even consulted on the decision. She tells Frank she's beginning to question what they're really doing and what they're trying to accomplish and doesn't buy Frank's answers. And on Air Force One, she tells him that they've been lying to each other.
posted by zix (4 comments total)
She tells Frank she's beginning to question what they're really doing and what they're trying to accomplish

The writers have weird ways of breaking the 4th wall.
posted by hellojed at 11:36 AM on March 23, 2015 [7 favorites]

There is not enough WTF in the universe for Doug's plot line this season.
posted by dialetheia at 12:11 PM on March 23, 2015 [4 favorites]

Yeah. Doug's plot is just WTF on so many different levels. Mainly that there is no reason for Frank not to have him around once he's physically recovered--Doug's been the only truly loyal person to the Underwoods, no way is Frank going to throw that away.

Good to see Claire being Claire again though.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:43 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

The most unrealistic thing about this series is the Windows phones.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:50 PM on January 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

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