HOME STREEETCH! We’re nearly there, House of Cards fans. The end of season three is in sight. This was a doozy of an episode. All of the feelings, fights, shake-ups and break-ups were on display. I’m nervous going into the finale, someone or something is going to crash down hard.
Things are heating up on the campaign trail with one week left until the Iowa caucus. Frank trails six points behind Heather Dunbar, but it’s still anyone’s race to win. The President has enlisted his wife to help out with an endless list of events, luncheons, and door-to-door campaigning. Claire scores high with voters, particularly women, showing high favorability rankings in polls. She’s becoming just as important (if not more) in wooing voters than her husband.
At the same time, Frank finally receives the first chapter of the book Yates has been working on. It’s revealing and far more open about the Underwoods marriage than they would like. Yates hits close to home, saying legacy is the only heir to the couple’s reign. There’s truth to the statement, but certainly not something Frank wants out in the open. He sends for Yates to give him the news in person.
When Yates arrives, Frank makes things very clear. The book should be focused on promoting America Works, not the Underwoods marriage. Frank admits the situation is just not working out and fires Yates, but the writer does not want to let go. Bad idea, haven’t we learned that Frank always gets what he wants? He threatens to reveal Yates’ dark secret about his first novel. Publish the book and find yourself in a world of trouble. The President also knows about his relationship with Kate Baldwin, he should have tried to be more discreet. Yates backs down, another person easily defeated by Frank.
Meanwhile, Heather Dunbar sits down with Justice Jacobs. The judge has finally decided to retire and wants Heather to be his replacement. She declines though, saying “I am meant to be president of the United States.” Dunbar has gone from the moral center to wanting a power role at whatever cost. Still ahead in the poles, she wants to cement her victory in Iowa with a little insurance. Dunbar remembers the journal Doug showed her — the one where Claire admits she lied about having an abortion on national television. She calls Doug, who tells her to name a price citing “Betrayal doesn’t come cheap.” Oooh, someone is finally turning to the Dark Side.
Dunbar contacts Frank and the two arrange a meeting (he assumes it’s about the Supreme Court nomination), the pair end up in the stairwell of the White House. The same one where Petrov and Frank smoked cigars together. Coldly, Heather tells the President he knows Claire’s secret. She’ll give his campaign three days, but if he doesn’t drop out the information will be revealed. Frank commends her on finally getting her hands dirty like everyone else in politics. Dunbar leaves, and Frank breaks the fourth wall telling us if she harms Claire — he’ll slit her throat.
Unknown to Claire just yet, she continues to campaign by going door to door in Iowa. She encounters a woman with a young baby who doesn’t support Frank for President, but her husband does. Claire asks to come in and speak with her without cameras or reporters watching them. In the house, the woman goes off into a ramble about her cheating husband, the struggles of newfound parenthood, etc. She even confesses a fantasy about smothering her baby. Eeek. The woman tells Claire if she had to do it all over, she would live childless like herself. The situation clearly shakes Claire who gets up to leave. The woman apologies for scaring her and adds that she’s a good listener, perhaps she should run for President someday.
In the car, Claire gets the fateful phone call from Frank. She goes into a panic, begging him to fix things. Frank assures her that the secret will never get out. He’s already sent Meechum to get Doug. We see Claire fragile and numb for the first time in awhile, something has finally broken her down.
Meechum brings Doug back to the White House and straight to the Oval Office. He sits and pulls out… the journal. So he didn’t give it to Dunbar after all. Doug knew that he would be brought in, it was a very clever ploy. He tears out the page with Claire’s secret and burns it right in front of Frank, admitting he just burnt up two million dollars. Having (hopefully) proved his loyalty, Doug comes right out with it — he wants to be back on board as Chief of Staff. Frank relents, and the two call up Dunbar to let her know she’s been played. Crafty, Doug got exactly what he wanted in the end.
Lastly, in a small little side plot we see Jackie and Remy meet at her office. She wants to offer him a job, but he turns it down. “I’m done with politics,” claims Remy. Jackie seems genuinely surprised by his statement. Later in the episode, she visits at his apartment and admits that she still has feelings for him. Remy brings up her marriage and kids, the two can’t get together. As Jackie reaches for the door to leave, she decides to go for it anyway and kisses Remy. There’s no way this will end well, I only hope the two aren’t completely scathed by their actions.
Will Yates get his book published after all? Can Frank take Iowa? Drop your thoughts in the comments below for us.