Sunday, March 23, 2014

Chapter 4 Season 1 – House of Cards Episode Summary 1.4

Zoe Barnes gets fired
Episode Summary: Congressman Francis Underwood puts in motion a complicated strategy to force Speaker of the House Bob Birch to take the Education Bill he disapproves of to the floor.  Peter Russo becomes an unwilling pawn in his scheme and sacrifices the people of his district in order to save his own skin.  Tom Hammerschmidt fails to get approval to terminate Zoe Barnes and promotes her to White House correspondent instead.

House of Cards Chapter 4 Recap: Representative Francis Underwood shows Speaker of the House Bob Birch the draft of the Education Reform Act only to learn that the congressman has issues with the anti-collective bargaining provision of the bill.  He is unwilling to take it to the floor concerned that he will lose the next election because of it.  Francis relays Bob’s reluctance to Chief of Staff Linda Vasquez, who refuses to touch collective bargaining and only agrees to allow Bob speak with President Garrett Walker only when he has set a date to put the bill on the floor.  Francis conveys Linda’s directive, but Bob refuses to accept it and insists that he speak with the President directly.  He also reminds Francis that he works for him and not for the President.  Francis, in turn, reminds Bob of the Chief of Staff's power and authority.Continue reading...

Francis meets with the President and Linda and is surprised to hear that the President has agreed to remove the anti-collective bargaining provision from the bill.  Moreover, the President has agreed to meet with the Speaker of the House.  Francis dissuades the President from doing so for it shows their weakness at conceding to Bob’s demands.  He finds that Linda is in disagreement with his advice for she believes that not getting Bob’s cooperation will present difficulties in getting the bill to the floor.  Francis stands by his advice citing that giving in will result in Bob walking all over the President for the rest of his term.  Moreover, he provides his assurance that he can get the bill on the House floor as is.  To Linda's consternation, the President follows Frank’s advice.  Francis made it a point to embarrass Linda after she had tried to take credit for his idea that she refused to accept initially.

Tom Hammerschmidt proposes the termination of Zoe Barnes after the young journalist continued to accept TV interviews despite his expressed prohibition.  He argues that her insubordination that highlights her lack of respect for authority gives him enough reason to fire her, but Margaret Tilden refuses to terminate The Washington Herald’s most popular journalist, much to his dismay.  Mrs. Tilden speaks of an anecdote to convey her point that they are not in need of people who follow the rules, but rather those that have personality.  Moreover, she approves of Zoe appearing on TV and welcomes more TV appearances from her.  Unable to get the support of Mrs. Tilden, Tom instead decides to make Zoe, The Washington Herald’s new White House correspondent.  It was Janine Skorsky’s position before Tom promoted her to become the Midwest Bureau Chief.  Believing that Tom had called her to his office to fire her, Zoe is dumbfounded at hearing her promotion.  She, however, asks for a day or two to consider the promotion surprising Tom, who figured that the young journalist would grab her good fortune.  Zoe confides to Lucas Goodwin the promotion Tom offered her.  Moreover, she reveals her dislike of it, believing the insipidness of the news from the White House given its proclivity to provide canned statements.  Lucas finds her ungrateful for whining about a promotion other journalists would have killed to receive.

Remy Danton drops by CWI to inform Claire Underwood that SanCorp is now again willing to donate a large sum of money to her organization.  Moreover, the company is increasing their donation to $1.5 million with the pretense of benefiting from good public relations. SanCorp remains reticent of what it truly wants in return.  Claire informs Francis about her meeting with Remy in the hope that her husband will agree to her accepting SanCorp’s offer.  Francis, however, knows very well that the donation will make him beholden to SanCorp despite its insistence that the money will not require anything from him.  Claire finds it difficult to reject the donation, aware of what it can do to help her organization.  She arrives at her office the next morning and learns that Gillian’s South Sudan project requires water filters and well-digging equipment that cost two hundred thousand dollars.  Knowing that Claire will find the expense questionable, Gillian argues that the costly project will be the organization’s flagship project in Africa.  Moreover, CWI will be the first to work on that scale.  Claire dismisses Gillian to give her time to think it through and finds a package that came through messenger.  Inside it is a framed photograph of her and Francis seemingly taken after he had won the elections.  Attached to it is a note from Francis telling her that she does not need SanCorp, because she has him.  Claire then gives Adam Galloway a call to ask him a favor.

Francis sees Majority Leader David Rasmussen having Pizza Hut for lunch at the cafeteria and decides to join him in order to entice the congressman into seeking Representative Bob Birch’s position as Speaker of the House.  Francis tells him that he only needs 218 votes to depose Bob, a feat that is plausible.  He believes that they can get 205 votes from the Republicans leaving them only needing 13 votes from their fellow Democrats.  Colluding with the Republicans is a strategy David disapproves of and so does Francis, but it is one Francis believes will work aware that the Republicans would approve of Bob’s ousting.  He confides that Bob’s defiance towards the White House has prompted him to seek his help.  Despite the promise of a higher position, David rejects Francis’ idea with disgust.  With David opting to go with the herd, Francis has to find other ways to unseat Bob.  He begins to look for the one person who can bring in twelve votes.  Doug Stamper suggests the Black Caucus and Francis sets his eyes on Womack.  Doug finds that three thousand people in Womack’s district is about to lose their jobs, because the DOD is about to close the McCuddin Air force Base.  Francis now only needs to find another base to shut down to leave enough money to keep the McCuddin Air force Base running.  He finds his deliverance in Peter Russo.

Peter Russo forgoes the meeting with the shipbuilder’s public affairs team in order to fetch his kids from school after his wife called to inform him that she is flying to Orlando at the last minute to meet with the man she met on eHarmony.  Later that night, Francis interrupts dinner with his kids to inform Peter that they need to close the shipyard in his district.  He instructs Peter not to testify in defense of his district’s shipyard at the BRAC hearing the next day.  Peter refuses to accept Francis’ order knowing that twelve thousand people, people who elected him, many of which are his friends will lose their jobs if he agrees to it.  Francis tells him that his order is mandatory and advises against disobeying it.  The next day, Francis meets with the head of the Black Caucus, Representative Terry Womack, with an enticing offer of making him the first African American majority leader in the United States Congress.  Womack is aware that Francis only needs him to round up the votes and the majority leadership will be his reward for doing so.  The congressman has second thoughts about conniving against Bob, but Francis persuades him into accepting it after he offers to keep the McCuddin Air force Base open making Womack a hero for keeping 3,000 jobs in his district.  Womack guarantees Francis the ten to eleven votes needed to unseat Bob Birch.

Adam Galloway arrives at Claire’s office to look over photographs for the silent auction.  The man finds her irresistible especially in her black dress that Francis helped choose.  Adam invites Claire to his hotel room at the Mandarin, but Claire changes her mind about rekindling their affair.  She arrives home and finds her husband by the window smoking a cigarette surprised to see her home that night.  Moreover, Claire tells him that she had informed Remy of her decision not to accept SanCorp’s generous donation.  They are going to have to raise the money for her organization through the gala.  Since Claire had turned down SanCorp’s donation for him, Francis needs to get many of his powerful and wealthy colleagues to attend the gala.  Claire, on the other hand, has decided to invite the Holburns to dinner with the goal of having Felicity Holburn purchase tables for the gala.  Claire need not beat around the bush for Felicity had guessed the reason behind the dinner invitation.  The Holburns agree to donate money.  Felicity finds it a fitting compensation for procuring them tickets to the Jefferson Ball.

David gets wind of the Black Caucus backing his play for the speakership and confronts Francis about it threatening to tell Bob of the collusion against him.  Francis counters his threat with a promise to leak the story to the press leaving Bob with no other choice but to drop him even if the current Speaker of the House believes David’s testimony.  David is left to comply with what Francis has put in motion.  Francis celebrates the success of his collusion at Freddy’s BBQ Joint when he receives a call from Zoe.  The young journalist has decided to accept the White House correspondent position and just called to inform him about it and to assure him that she will remain at his disposal.  Francis, however, disapproves of her promotion, because her new position will no longer afford him the availability he requires of her.  Zoe drops by Janine’s cubicle to apologize, but she is confronted with a snarky colleague.  Janine is upset at having been sent to the Midwest to give way for Zoe.  The young journalist, however, did not only come to apologize.  Zoe asks Janine to accompany her to Tom’s office for she plans to turn down the promotion.  This, however, only upset Janine even more.

Peter appears before the BRAC commission to provide his testimony in favor of the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, but he does not offer any.  Christina Gallagher arrives at Peter’s apartment looking for him only to find his two young children there unsupervised.  Peter did not divulge where he is going and left his cellphone in the apartment.  He returns home heavily inebriated and ashamed for forgetting his children.  He wakes up the next morning and finds Christina preparing the kids for a trip to their grandmother’s house.  Christina had called Peter’s wife, Madeleine, with an excuse that Peter had to travel for work.  Peter tries to explain his actions or lack of it at the BRAC hearing, but Christina is more concerned about the way he left his children.  Christina breaks up with Peter and resigns from being a member of his staff.

Francis meets with Bob to inform him that David has been making a play for the speakership.  Moreover, they have gathered enough votes to unseat him.  Francis, however, offers Bob a way to keep his position as Speaker of the House.  Bob needs to make Terry the majority leader and he must allow the Education Bill to pass.  Bob accepts the offer and David loses his position as the majority leader to Terry.  David is to acquiesce otherwise the DCCC will support his primary opponent in the next elections.  Meanwhile, Zoe informs Tom of her decision to reject her promotion after she had already agreed to accept it.  With Janine already in the Midwest, Tom becomes furious at Zoe and catches himself using a derogatory term for a woman.  Zoe hears enough of it that she challenges him to say it again.  Tom accepts the challenge and repeats the term over again without hesitation.  Zoe begins to tweet about the incident while she is still at Tom’s office causing panic to the editor-in-chief, but the man fires Zoe instead of apologizing.  Zoe decides to send the tweet.  She leaves the office and spends two hours in a bar drinking.  Later that night, she calls Francis, who is delighted about her decision.  She invites him to her home.  Francis arrives at Zoe’s squalid apartment and finds her ready for him.

Watch Chapter 4 of Season 1 of House of Cards
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