Episode Summary: Marty Spinella threatens to hold a teachers’ strike after learning of Francis Underwood’s betrayal with the inclusion of the collective bargaining amendment in the Education Reform and Achievement Act. Hearing of Francis’ hand in the withdrawal of support from the NEA, Marty goes after Claire Underwood’s fundraiser event. Meanwhile, Zoe Barnes receives numerous job offers from media companies, but upon Francis’ direction ends up accepting a job at the political news magazine, Slugline.
House of Cards Chapter 5 Recap: News of Zoe Barnes resignation from The Washington Herald reaches media companies such as CBS and MSNBC with job offers for her to become a news correspondent. Francis Underwood advises that she remain as a print journalist and becomes interested in the budding political news magazine that is the rival of Politico, Slugline. Zoe apprises Frank of the merits of Slugline particularly the progressive work environment she believes will afford her the freedom and exposure The Washington Herald failed to provide. Francis arrives home from his tryst with the young journalist and deliberates it with his wife as though they were discussing a recent purchase of a car. He informs his wife of the benefits of having a journalist to serve as their mouthpiece as needed and declares his control over his pawn removing any doubt about the young woman’s manageability.
Tom Hammerschmidt finds himself in a meeting with Margaret Tilden and The Herald’s legal team to confirm Zoe Barnes’ claim of his use of a derogatory term against her. Mrs. Tilden speaks with him privately to discuss the incident that led to his predicament. She is more concerned at Tom’s decision of allowing Zoe to leave The Herald than his behavior towards her. Tom argues that he is unable to work with a journalist he cannot control, but Mrs. Tilden disagrees. Moreover, she clarifies the need to pander to an employee’s desires especially to one that can offer something he cannot provide. Contrary to Tom’s beliefs, Mrs. Tilden finds Zoe an asset to the failing newspaper. She was relying on the young journalist’s sudden rise to fame to counter The Herald’s financial losses. Tom, however, continues to believe that enriched media including Zoe Barnes are just fads that will not sustain The Herald. Mrs. Tilden is disappointed of Tom’s principles and she hands him the prepared resignation letter for him to sign. Although surprised with Mrs. Tilden’s disappointment, Tom accedes to his forced resignation. Meanwhile, Zoe meets with the editor of Slugline, a woman who also finds that the controversial journalist will be an asset to the news outfit. She, however, is unwilling to woo the young journalist despite her knowledge of the numerous job offers Zoe received. She instead allows Zoe to spend time at the news magazine’s office believing that immersion with Slugline’s work environment should help the young woman with her decision. Her strategy worked and Zoe finds herself writing an article on the floor instead of a cubicle. Moreover, she learns that the editor finds no reason to review articles before publishing favoring speed over quality. They both, however, agree that Zoe can do much better than the midterm predictions she was about to post.
A livid Marty Spinella, head lobbyist for the teachers union, meets with Frank after learning of the collective bargaining amendment that The Whip deceitfully included in the education bill. Frank maintains that the amendment was only included as leverage, but Marty is cognizant of its real purpose and will never allow a threat to cut federal funding from union school districts be part of the bill. Frank asserts that the amendment will not be staying in the bill, but only if the teachers union agrees to the performance standards. This statement, however, only incensed the head lobbyist who comes to a realization of Frank’s betrayal. Frank never intended to remove the performance standards from the bill despite his agreement of its exclusion during the negotiations. Marty Spinella leaves Francis Underwood’s office determined to begin a war against the house representative. Francis becomes alarmed at his failure to reason with Marty. He speaks to Doug Stamper in order to discuss their options only to learn of another pressing matter. Speaker of the House, Bob Birch, decided to hold the DNC leadership meeting at Francis’ office instead of the DNC headquarters due to the green-energy renovations that makes it currently unusable. Francis and Doug find themselves in a meeting with fellow Democrats listening to Patricia Whittaker, the highly competent DNC chair, talk about the party’s priorities for the special election in November. Patricia apprises their colleagues of the need to win Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania to ensure President Garrett Walker’s reelection. Haven taken the Governor of Pennsylvania as his running mate to help win the election, the party is now in need of a replacement for the beloved Pennsylvania Governor, Jim Matthews. Patricia emphasizes the importance of electing another Democrat to replace Matthews with a note that the new Governor will oversee redistricting that can consequently lead to the loss of seats and ultimately the Democrats’ majority in Washington. They are in need of a fresh face that can compete with the former mayor of Pittsburg, Jack Swofford, who has gained the support of the RNC for his statewide name recognition and campaign machinery. The committee goes over the list of congressional representatives for potential candidates, one that included the name of Peter Russo. Patricia, however, immediately removes him from consideration for his lack of experience and expertise. Despite this, Francis discusses with Doug the idea of making Peter the new Governor of Pennsylvania. Doug is in disagreement with Francis’s proposal until he brings up the notion of controlling the race and involving the Vice President of the United States in it.
Peter Russo arrives at his office and finds Christina Gallagher settling the work she is about to leave behind. The reliable assistant and former girlfriend has also already briefed the person who is to take over her responsibilities, while Peter finds her replacement. Sensing the finality of Christina’s decision, Peter has nothing else to say, but gratitude. He later meets with his friend and senior official of the Shipbuilder’s Association, Paul Capra. The man has come to speak to him about his decision not to testify in the BRAC hearing that led to the closing of the shipyard, but gains nothing but a realization of Peter’s betrayal after learning that the loss of 12,000 jobs was the result of politics. Soon, calls about the closing of the shipyard flood Peter Russo’s office. He leaves his office dispirited only to return later that night intoxicated. He reads the contemptuous messages and stumbles upon one that sought help instead of assigning blame. He begins to write a reply, but fails to complete it unable to provide a suitable reason for the closing of the shipyard.
Having spent the day at the DNC leadership meeting, Doug and Francis discuss the threat of a teachers’ strike at his house during the wee hours of the night. Francis proposes negotiating with the NEA with a promise of protection in exchange for their cooperation. Claire Underwood is hard at work too preparing for the gala she hopes will match the funds SanCorp offered, but she declined as per her husband’s request. However, as it stands, the donations from the gala are nowhere near the $1.5 million dollars SanCorp offered. She is disappointed at agreeing to Francis’ demands and trusting him to round up the people needed to raise $1.5 million dollars. She once again turns to Adam Galloway for comfort, but the man chooses to ignore her call. Meanwhile, the call Francis made to Chuck Sloan of the NEA paid off. Marty is aghast with the news of NEA’s withdrawal from the teachers’ strike and is outraged at learning that Frank Underwood influenced NEA’s decision. He fights back by going after Claire’s gala. Marty uses his connections to force Hotel Cotesworth to refuse to hold CWI’s gala. Francis personally speaks with the hotel manager about the issue and learns that Hotel Cotesworth is afraid to have three hundred disgruntled guests when its unionized employees decide to go on strike. Hotel Cotesworth upholds its decision in spite of Congressman Underwood’s threats of loss of business for its choice to cancel an event that will have 41 members of the United States Congress in attendance. With no other venue available and the repercussions of confusing guests with a last minute change in venue, Claire decides to hold the gala picnic style in front of the hotel replacing the string quartet with a DJ and hotel food with Freddy’s barbeque. Husband and wife bring together all their work force to make the benefit for Claire’s charity a success despite the circumstances. The manager of Hotel Cotesworth learns of the resolution that resulted in their guests having to walk around the hotel to gain entry. He threatens to call the police only to learn that the police commissioner will be at the gala. He apprises Marty Spinella of the situation prompting the union lobbyist to send two hundred teachers at the Cotesworth Hotel. The teachers union protest amidst the gala for Clean Water Initiative quickly made the news, but the chants from the picket line could not deter the guests enjoying an open bar and dance music. Determined to please his wife, Francis personally serves alcohol to the Holburns and candidly asks for donation for his service. However, his efforts are of no match to Adam Galloway’s charms. The photographer has decided to attend the gala after hearing Claire’s voicemail the previous night. Claire tasks him to meet potential buyers of the photographs he donated in order to help increase their bids at the auction; his photographs managed to raise eighty thousand dollars, twenty thousand dollars more than what Francis coaxed from the Holburns. Zoe, wearing the same dress she wore at the symphony that first caught Frank’s attention, attends the gala at his invitation. Her invitation comes with strings; the only reporter invited to the gala, Zoe is to feed Frank information overheard from their guests, Washington’s elite.
Out in the street, Marty Spinella speaks to reporters about the protest against the Education Reform and Achievement Act informing them that his decision to hold the protest at the CWI gala was due to his knowledge that members of the Congress are at the event. Moreover, he criticizes the Congress at the gala for their generosity towards foreigners while neglecting the teachers of their country. His statement, however, backfires as one reporter notes that the charitable donations are private money. Moreover, one of the reporters becomes incredulous of the protesters sensing that not all of them are teachers. In fact, Frank Underwood recognized them as members of the Teamsters and not the teachers union. He and his wife along with their guests offer trays of food to the protesters. Much to Marty’s consternation, the protesters accept the food and cheer with their mouths full as they receive a keg of beer from their supposed enemies. The failed protest resulted in the labor union lobbyist’s decision to hold a strike at midnight of the following day. Meanwhile, the Underwoods relishes the evening’s success with the gainful fundraiser and the defeat of the protest. They arrive home to find a dejected Peter Russo at their doorstep. The Underwoods receive him showing hospitality, but Peter knows that their warmth is only skin-deep. Peter breaks down in defeat for acquiescing to the closing of the shipyard and for taking the blame for it. Frank is disgusted of the man’s helplessness that he continues to display as he complies with his order for him to get in the bathtub and take the aspirin. He speaks to Peter of standing up for him at the DNC Leadership meeting where he proposed to keep him in contention for the Governor’s race in Pennsylvania, a proposal Frank now regrets. Frank offers him a razor blade leaving Peter with the decision to take the coward’s way out and commit suicide. Peter is too weak to take his own life that he shows up the next morning without a scratch and with hopes of becoming Pennsylvania’s next Governor. Frank agrees to help him if Peter can manage to stay sober in one month’s time.
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