House of Cards Season 3, Chapter 34 Summary – Hurricane Frank
This episode opens with Kate Baldwin (Kim Dickens), writing her negative Post article, comparing Hurricane Faith to Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey). She gives a historical recount of how he crushed his way to the Presidency. It then switches to Thomas Yates (Paul Sparks), who is writing Frank’s American Works propaganda story, telling an opposite, positive and much different story of Frank’s success to the Presidency. This segment bounces between these two writers, as Frank deal with hard decision regarding the oncoming hurricane.
Frank meets with Henry Mitchel, senate majority leader, and Bob Birch, the minority leader, to discuss replenishing the FEMA fund Frank has stolen to fund his America Work program. If the hurricane hits the coast and FEMA is not refunded, there will not be money for relief and thousands will die. This is a awkward and tough moment for President Underwood, as he needs congress to cooperate or his American Work program is dead.
The scene changes to one of Heather Dunbar’s 2016 rally speeches in Cedar Rapids. Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) calls her and tells her to meet with Jackie Sharp (Molly Parker) about suspending their campaigns to focus on the hurricane relief effort. They agree and do. Dong then leaks this information to the President, proving as we suspected, that he really still is in Frank’s corner. President Underwood is not happy with Jackie about this decision.
Kate turns in her smear piece to her editor, who is displeased that it is an editorial and not a factual piece on the President. He tells her that he won’t print the editorial, but will print a balanced piece with views from both side. Thomas Yates reads his American Works book opening to Frank. The President is not exactly pleased that he doesn’t mention American Works, but instead wrote venues on the President’s life and character.
In reviewing success stories on American Works, Frank finds out that Freddy Hayes (Reg E. Cathey) is a dishwasher. He calls him to the White House to offer him a job in the kitchen. He turns it down and asks for a job in ground keeping. Frank reveals to Freddy that he is going to sign the bill.
Frank signs the bill.
Kate meets with Thomas to get a different perspective for her editorial. They sleep together.
The hurricane turns and misses the coast.
The President calls Thomas into his oval office. Thomas believes he is being fired since America Works is dead. Instead Frank tell Thomas that he is going to run for re-election and book is now a part of his campaign. Thomas agree to keep writing and Frank gives him the pen he signed the bill with as Thomas takes notes.
I never tried to swim to Fort Sumpter. Thomas probably knows I made it up. But he wrote about it anyway. Because he understands the greater truth. Imagination is it’s own form of courage.
Fred Campos’ Thoughts on the Episode
This episode focuses deep on the character of Frank Underwood. It is told reflectively through the eyes of two opposing writers–Thomas Yates tells the positive stories of pushing the limits, boy to President. While Kate Baldwin tells of the tyrant who rules harshly, steps on everyone, and breaks all the rules to reach the top.
It also reflects on the difficult and major decisions we make everyday that change our lives. Should I risk hurricane lives for the good of American Works? Should I take the job in the kitchen or change to work outside as a groundskeeper?
Like most decisions we make in life, there are no clear or easy answers, nor do the questions stop. Some of the story is our imagination as we oscillate between the Thomas and the Kate views of our character.
Four Stars for Chapter 34.
Images from Netflix.com House of Cards.