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HOUSE OF CARDS Recap: Chapter 34

Tharrr she blows! Hurricane Faith is headed straight for the eastern seaboard and she’s looking for trouble. Unfortunately, she picked a fight with the wrong person. President Underwood isn’t one to back down so easily, and he remains confident it will pass without much damage.

Meanwhile, FEMA desperately seek funds to prepare for the impending storm. The money that was in there was appropriated by Frank to fund the America Works program. Obviously, the President is reluctant to de-fund arguably the only major success he’s had while in office. FEMA remind him hundreds (possibly thousands) of lives could be lost if Faith makes land. The agency estimates around $8 billion dollars would be needed for disaster preparedness. There’s nowhere near that kind of money currently in the fund, leaving Frank no choice.

HoC Ch. 34 - Frank and Congress

The President meets with the new senate majority leader to ask Congress for an emergency appropriation. (What happened to Hector Mendoza? Frank explains away that he was booted out over some ethics violation to do with not reporting his speeches as income — but it all flew by so fast I didn’t know if I should care about the departure at all.) Congress agrees to give him $10 billion dollars, if he agrees not to spend any additional coin on America Works. Frank is in a crunch: he can sign the bill which will send money and protect American lives, but it will kiss his precious jobs program goodbye. It’s all up to Faith to decide. (Enough with the heavy-handed metaphors, writers! I see what you did there.)

Concurrently, Heather Dunbar and Jackie Sharp are both out on the campaign trail drumming up support. After a rousing speech (Is Heather subbing in for an Elizabeth Warren-esque figure, perhaps?) against greedy corporations, Dunbar gets a call from Doug. He’s creepily got that CCTV feed from New Mexico on his laptop screen, watching it while in bed. Ewww.

Stamper advises Heather to play nice with Jackie and invite her in for a meeting. There, Dunbar tells her competition that she will be suspending her campaign for the duration of the hurricane. Jackie doubts her sincerity, thinking it’s more of a power move than anything else. As a last resort, Dunbar appeals to Jackie by bringing up her new motherhood duties due to her marriage and it hooks her in completely. The pair announce the news at a joint press conference.

HoC Ch. 34 - Dunbar and Sharp

But hold up, you didn’t think we got about Freddy just yet, did you? As part of the America Works initiative, Frank asks his team to give him a few profiles per day of people who have signed up for jobs under the program. Well wouldn’t you know it, Freddy shows up one day on his radar. How convenient! The President invites him to the White House and he graciously accepts with grandson in tow. Frank offers Freddy a job as a cook in the White House kitchen, but instead the former bbq king asks if he can be a groundskeeper instead. “I’ve always wanted to work outside,” he says. Frank immediately calls the appropriate people to make it happen. How about that, there’s still some humanity left in President Underwood after all.

Frank’s conscience reaches him and finally, the President signs the bill to give FEMA added disaster preparedness funds for the incoming hurricane. After retiring to bed, he’s woken up by Claire the next morning with undesirable news: Hurricane Faith didn’t make landfall. It turned out to sea after all. He should have stuck to his gut feeling that the storm wouldn’t hit. Frank desperately tries to see if he can recall the funds but it’s too late, the damage has been done. The money is already in FEMA’s hands. America Works has been de-funded and halted.

HoC Ch. 34 - Frank signs bill

In the midst of this downturn, there appears to be one bright spot in Thomas Yates. We see him throughout the episode reading bits from the prologue of his novel to Frank. The writer wants the book to be different vignettes of characters, stressing readers will believe in showing people persevering rather than flinging an idea directly in their faces. After the defeat of America Works, Frank calls Yates into his office to discuss further moves. Yates thinks the project is dead, but instead Frank wants it to be the cornerstone of what will become his announcement of a presidential run in 2016. The novel will show voters what America Works can do, it will clearly be a huge topic if Frank does indeed run for office.

We haven’t seen the last of Yates, he looks to be sticking around at least for a bit longer. He also looks to be making friends (and sleeping with) Frank’s enemies as well. Kate Baldwin (who was set to run a scathing piece on Frank only for it to be tabled when the hurricane failed to hit) cozies up to him and we see the two starting a possible relationship. This seems like a risky move, and Yates could be setting himself up for a fall. Hopefully he learns not to cross either side, or there will be repercussions.

HoC Ch. 34 - Yates and Frank

Can America Works make a comeback? Does Frank actually have a shot at victory in 2016? Will Yates’ book be a success with the public? Hit us up with your thoughts below.

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